Italy In Photos


Beauty. History. Wine. Laughter. More laughter. Pasta. Old friends. New friends. Sunsets. Olives. Breezes. More wine. More laughter. And lots and lots of walking.


Where to even begin?

So many good memories made over the last two weeks.

Here's some of my favorites:


Riding bikes on top of the wall around the city of Lucca.


Visiting the Leaning Tower in Pisa.


I want to remember the people. A seriously wonderful group of people – about 40 total (including three husbands + Jim and Paolo). Some I traveled with to Greece last year and others who are new friends that now have a very special place in my heart. And of course it’s always awesome to spend time with Paolo. We’ve been friends since high school (going on 22 years now) and he is a really great travel companion.


Walking through the narrow streets of San Gimignano.


Lots of looking up.


And lots of looking out.


And seeing things through doorways and arches.


We visited two different wineries. Both were excellent in terms of food and wine and hospitality.



I want to remember the laughter. There was so much laughing on this trip. I don’t think there was a single bus ride without a bunch of people laughing at various times. It was a combination of Jim’s entertaining skills and the silliness that ensued within the group as the trip progressed.


Riding up the hill to Montecatini Alto on a funicular.


Always lots of talk about taking photos and lots of photo-taking action.


Just awesome.


We spent one day in Sienna.



I could eat pizza everyday - I think I just about did. I'm also a really big caprese salad fan.


It was less crowded than the last time I was there. That piazza is amazing anytime.


We spent a lot of time on the bus. Good times. A majority of the laughter seemed to occur on this bus. I love these people.


Riding the funicular with the Stahl sisters.


At the second winery we had a cooking demonstration and got to learn how to make pasta.



I want to remember the simplicity of making handmade pasta. We learned such a simple process using flour and an egg. I’m excited to try it out at home.


One day was spent at one of my favorite places the Cinque Terre. We visited Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso.


This was one of my most favorite spots when we visited as a family last summer. It came at the end of our trip and it was so awesome to arrive there and just hang out on the beach.


This time I loved that I was able to see two other towns. Each one is so unique.


Our last day in Tuscany was spent in Florence.



I loved the contrast between the two churches above - the ornate and the simple.

Florence Instax

I took about 90 Instax shots on this trip. Love them. Super fun to have others on the trip bring theirs along too. Lots of chatting about this fun image maker.


And then we headed off to Rome.


The Colosseum and part of the Forum in the background.


St. Paul's Outside The Walls - one of my favorite churches.


The weather was just right the whole time we were there. Very mild. Loved seeing evidence of fall.


St. Peter's

St. Peter's.

St. Paul "outside the walls" in Rome

St. Paul's.


More Instax play.


And then there was the cappuccino. Yum. To be honest I never really knew that I liked it.


I definitely know now!

Saw this advertisement in the airport in Rome and loved the design.


All in all a really fantastic trip with wonderful people who I miss after spending two weeks together. Big thanks to Jim West for being himself and for inviting me to come along.

Looking for an international adventure with other people who love memory keeping? Next fall (late September) I'll be traveling with Scrapmap and Karen Russell to Ireland for a photo and scrapbooking tour. More details to come soon.

93 thoughts

  1. Jeni

    2011-10-20 04:43:01 -0400

    Beautiful pictures. I wish we could all go back!

  2. Nancy G.

    2011-10-20 05:01:48 -0400

    Loved seeing your photos. Even though I was there for 2 weeks this summer, your photos show there is so much more to see. Travel is so beneficial to the soul.

  3. Cris

    2011-10-20 07:14:45 -0400

    Love from Italy :)

  4. Joy Taylor

    2011-10-20 07:50:36 -0400

    What a truly magical trip that you have had, so many wonderful places and obviously spent with some truly beautiful people...thank you for sharing this with us..hugs

  5. Sharon Dryjanski

    2011-10-20 10:14:15 -0400

    Ali ,
    totally phenomon photos...looks like fun i wish I was there you have given me inspiration Italy and London the best....Are you planning another cruise class like that for next year? what great memories....hugs blessings

    Sharon dryjanski Phoenix AZ missed you while you where gone....

  6. borcherding

    2011-10-20 10:59:49 -0400

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G....some day, I want to take an adventure like that!!

  7. Jolynn

    2011-10-20 11:38:07 -0400

    The pictures are amazing and looks like you had loads of fun. I bet Ireland will be beautiful as well.

  8. kristina

    2011-10-20 12:43:52 -0400

    Gorgeous photos, wow! Looks like you had an amazing time...the food pics are making me SUPER hungry, yum!!:)

  9. Katrina Grabowski

    2011-10-20 19:59:28 -0400

    Such beautiful photo's!!!! QUESTION>>>>are your shoes DANSKO"S??????

  10. Poupee

    2011-10-20 21:32:03 -0400

    Ali, great shots! Btw, where do you buy your film for the fuji instamax? Thanks!

  11. cinback

    2011-10-21 11:53:47 -0400

    Ali, just wondering if you had any issues with carrying your unexposed Instax film through security? Did they send your film through the scanner? Did you have to open the boxes at all?

  12. annie

    2011-10-21 13:03:07 -0400

    Ali, these are gorgeous. Looks like you had fabulous weather too. I'm so glad.

  13. Steph S

    2011-10-21 13:58:35 -0400

    Oh Ali,
    I (**HEART**) this post! This vacation was really wonderful in so many ways, and you were such a big part of it! Having a difficult time explaining it to friends other than saying, "It was great. So SO SO SO great." Thanks again for your friendship, your laughter, and your great sense of humor. I want to be like you when I grow up:)

    Steph (the one you met in Italy)

  14. Cindy

    2011-10-21 16:12:32 -0400

    Wonderful pictures.....I'm still in awe! I would really like to try the Ireland trip....will have to think about that one for some time, I still think it would be an awesome trip, even if it's not Italy!! (I've always wanted to go to Italy.) Thanks for sharing those amazing photos.

  15. Karen Watson

    2011-10-22 16:33:22 -0400

    You look like you had an amazing time Ali! The food photos were making me salivate!!

  16. Steph.S

    2011-10-22 22:00:23 -0400


  17. Tinka

    2011-10-23 01:50:22 -0400

    Thanks for sharing your photos...I had so wanted to go on that trip but it just didn't work out. :( But Ireland is another place I've always wanted to visit so I am making that a priority for next year's trip!

  18. Jane

    2011-10-23 12:24:42 -0400


    Gorgeous photos.

    I live in Dublin, Ireland so I look forward to hearing more about your trip. We were out and about in Dublin's city Center today where an International Art Festival is on until the end of Oct. (It was a 'no shadow' day!)

    The St. Patrick's Day parade, is interesting for photography. Simon might enjoy this story which was written by Roddy Doyle (who you may know as the writer of the story behind the 'The Commitments' movie). It was for the 17th March last year as part of the celebration of Dublin as the 4th international UNESCO City of Literature. It's a free download and called 'Brillant',

    Most Americans particularly enjoy the castles and scenery too.


  19. Paolo

    2011-10-23 13:53:59 -0400

    Dude, always grateful for the our adventures. :)

  20. Diane

    2011-10-24 16:35:19 -0400

    What lovely, lovely pictures, Ali :-) You are such a wonderful photographer of life. But then… in the midst of them all, pictures of San Gimignano? Could it really be? The very same town I visited with my husband in 2002 and a town I fell in love with instantly? A visit that seems a lifetime ago? It is the very same. I could hardly believe it. We loved the alleyways and courtyards, the tiny church where I felt my grandmother for the first time in a long time and wept. Oh, and the coffee! I loved the doors – so many of them painted, old beautiful. I must have taken hundreds of pictures there. I desperately wished we could stay. Of course we didn't. We had our son a few years later but things became bigger and harder than either of us could anticipate or handle. Although friends, we are now getting divorced. He moved to Oregon and I stayed in the mid-west. Our son is now 6. I hadn't thought of that beautiful Italian town in a very long time. So I wanted to say thank you, Ali. Thank you for not even realizing what you do for so many of us each and every day. Thank you for putting us in touch with ourselves, for allowing us to remember, even when it hurts. This is life, such as it is, in all it's awkward, painful beauty. Thank you from my souls core for helping me to remember and to see beauty in something I had tried to forget. I'll go back one day… with my son… and we will walk those streets together. I will continue to remember. I wish for you only love, peace and happiness on your journey. Thank you.

  21. Nena S.Janssen

    2011-10-26 20:55:34 -0400

    Hi Ali,I am a big fan of your work.I own some of your books and a lot of your clear stamps.I am always inspired every time I see your scrapbook layout and try my hardest to accomplished a little semblance even though I don't own the right papers you used.My husband built a beautiful scrapbook room for me and it just finish after our travel from Italy,April of this year.I know you've been to Italy twice now and we almost went the same places you've been to.My question is, what did you do with your photos of Italy?I'd like to know how you put it together. Sincerely,Nena J.

  22. Beatrice

    2011-10-27 08:29:20 -0400

    Every so often I check your blog to see what are you and your family up to. So strange to say that to someone I barely know, but you are one of my inspirations to stay "connected" and remember that little things count!
    Question... Does Paolo scrapbook too?

  23. Friday Favs | Nikkilooch

    2011-10-28 15:34:40 -0400

    [...] makes me miss home… uhh I mean Italy Have a great weekend and try not to eat all the Halloween candy you’ve been stock piling. [...]

  24. Elina

    2011-11-15 15:44:29 -0500

    Hey I was in Italy in October, and am still sorting through my pictures (which are at least a thousand!). It is such a great country to visit! Thanks for sharing your story. All the best

  25. Alison B

    2011-12-28 14:14:51 -0500

    **hello** IRELAND here!!! Woooohooooooo, I'm in Ireland! I'm in Dublin :-). Be still my heart. YOU'RE COMING TO IRELAND! I knew if we were patient that you would come! I simply CANNOT wait to hear about it!!! If the truth be known, I can hardly type I'm so excited!

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