World Travel Tales

Rome, Italy

Knights of Malta

An Italian friend I made while diving in Honduras, Marco, took me on a great private tour of Rome. It included many things that he thought were really unique and worth seeing, but not often included on a whirlwind tour of the city. The keyhole at The Knights of Malta was one of those things.

As we drove up to a nondescript building in a pretty normal looking neighbourhood of Rome, there seemed to be nothing spectacular to see. But Marco explained to me that there was a little surprise. Without further explanation, he told me to bend down and look through the old fashioned key hole on the front door.

I was understandably nervous to peer through the unknown keyhole since our last stop had been the Bocca della Veritá, the Mouth of Truth, where accused liars of ancient Rome would stick their hand through the mouth of a stone carving and have it severed off by a sword bearing soldier concealed behind the wall in which the carving was housed.

With Marco's assurance that I wouldn't be poked in the eye by someone behind the door, I reluctantly peeked through the keyhole, and what I saw was the secret of The Knights of Malta.

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, also known as The Knights of Malta, are headquartered in Rome. They designed this building with a long entrance corridor leading to a large open window. Through the window there was a spectacular view of Basílica de San Pedro, or St. Peter's Basilica as it's known in English, at Vatican City. But their secret is that you don't have to be inside the building to enjoy the view, since it's clearly visible by just peering through the keyhole on the locked front door of the building.

Since Marco had been here many times, he knew the best timing to see the view was at sunset. We had a beautiful sunset that evening so I was treated to this stunning view of St. Peter's Basilica through the keyhole.

This photo is a composite of two images. Using a tripod, I focused on the keyhole with the first exposure, and then another exposure focused on St Peter's Basilica in the distance. I laid them over each other and erased the non-focused portion of each image to create the in-focus version that you see here.

Location: Rome, Italy

Related Link: Sovereign Military Order of Malta on Wikipedia

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain

Probably one of the most photographed fountains in the world, and for good reason - it's absolutely amazing.

The Italians have a long history of spiting their enemies by any means available to them. The designer of this fountain is no exception.

His brother had a barber shop in this square, and his brothers rival was in a little shop right beside the soon to be Trevi Fountain. So taking a designers liberty, he modified his original plan to move the fountain into a spot that more obscured the view and the visibility of his brothers bitter rival.

Location: Rome, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 200, 1/10 sec at f/18.

Rome, Italy

Shadow Play

While wandering around Rome I happened across this cool lamp casting it's curly shadow perfectly on the building.

Location: Rome, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 100, 1/50 sec at f/4.5.

Rome, Italy

Colosseum

It's tough to find a spot to photograph the Colosseum without having a million tourists in your photo, but I did manage a couple times.

Location: Rome, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/400 sec at f/8.

San Sebastiano al Palatino near the Colosseum in Rome.

Pre-Entrance Jitters

While visiting the Colosseum I stumbled upon a bride about to enter the chapel to be married. She was in a classic convertible with either her dad or grandfather, who I presume would be giving her away.

Location: San Sebastiano al Palatino near the Colosseum in Rome.

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/40 sec at f/5.

Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio

This unique bridge lined with little shops used to be the home of many butcher shops and meat sellers, but have largely been replaced by jewellery shops.

I found a nice vantage point to watch the sun set over the picturesque city.

Location: Florence, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/60 sec at f/8.

Somewhere in Florence, Italy.

Italian Fast Food

I went in to a cute little restaurant for a quick lunch and discovered that Italy has some really great fast food. I'll take this any day over the crap most fast food restaurants serve.

Location: Somewhere in Florence, Italy.

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 400, 1/15 sec at f/8.

Florence, Italy

Leaning Tower of Florence?

Googling to find a leaning tower in Florence didn't provide any results, but this tower is definitely leaning. So, let me introduce to you to the quite unknown Leaning Tower of Florence.

Location: Florence, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 800, 1/160 sec at f/8.

Milan, Italy

Castello Sforzesco

This castle was built by the Viscontis, but later became the residence of the Sforza dynasty, which were the ruling family of Renaissance Italy.

Location: Milan, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/200 sec at f/8.

Sardinia, Italy

Perfect Mediterranean Water

It's pretty difficult to imagine water any more beautiful than that of the Mediterranean Sea surrounding Sardinia.

Location: Sardinia, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/640 sec at f/6.4.

Sardinia, Italy

Pebble Beach

Many of the beaches of Sardinia aren't sand. They're these light coloured small rounded pebbles that give you a thorough foot massage when you walk on them. Tender feet tend to feel a bit beat up after extended beach walking, but love it or hate it, it's very pretty to see.

My foot for scale...

Location: Sardinia, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/1000 sec at f/8.

Cala Gonone, Dorgali, Nuoro, Sardinia, Italy

Seaside Caves of Cala Gonone

The Bue Marino cave is one of many cool looking caves in this region, and the clear blue water is among the prettiest water I've ever seen.

Location: Cala Gonone, Dorgali, Nuoro, Sardinia, Italy

Camera: Nikon D300 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
Settings: ISO 500, 1/500 sec at f/5.6.