Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

October 19, 2011

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.


  • 51.
    rhonda said…

    Stunningly beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing these with us Ali!

  • 52.
    Lya Lin said…

    Ali, thanks for sharing these breath taking images. Just Lovely! I’m curious about your next year’s adventure and who knows, maybe I can join you! I’m a believer!

    Warm hug,
    Lya Lin

  • 53.
    Anya said…

    Wow… simply stunning photos… I wish I was there… so wish!

  • 54.
    Michelle said…

    What gorgeous photos!!! Such an amazing place. Never traveled anywhere much. Would love to though. A trip to Ireland and with Karen Russell! I have always wanted to go to Ireland (my mother’s side is mostly Irish-from County Cork), and Karen’s photography is amazing! You will have a fun time!!

  • 55.
    Jeannie L said…

    Absolutely love your photos… Hope to travel to Italy some day. It’s been my wish for years! How fun it must have been to go on a photography trip.

  • 56.
    Monica said…

    Wow! Looks like it was lots of fun!!! I wish I was able to go with you and share this wonderful experience. Never been to Italy but love it!!! Thanks for sharing.

  • 57.
    jennifer said…

    awesome pictures; looks like it was an absolutely fabulous time. you must miss the kids like crazy?!

  • 58.
    Suz said…

    Absolutely gorgeous pics Ali! Can’t wait to see you scrapbook some of them. Stunning!
    Glad you had a wonderful time. :)

  • 59.
    sarah said…

    your simple words and beautiful photos told quite a story of your trip. what a fabulous adventure!

    i’m currently plotting how i can budge for ireland in 2012. it’s a country i’ve always wanted to visit, and with you AND karen teaching? sounds like something i wouldn’t want to miss. i’ll have to keep watching that website for the details to be announced.

    welcome home :)

  • 60.
    Melissa said…

    May I ask, was this trip part of a pre-arranged “Photo Safari” type trip that you took with a group? Did you know the members of the group before you went on the trip, or did you meet them all once you arrived in Italy? Were they all from America, or from all over the world? And may I ask you how much a trip like this costs (if you don’t feel comfortable revealing this information, I understand). This is something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do, but I am a BIG FAT CHICKEN when it comes to traveling abroad by myself (because if I did an international photo-safari-type trip, hubby would probably be staying home). Thanks for letting me ask! The photos, as usual, are simply brilliant. THANK YOU so much for sharing them with us!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Melissa – this was a tour through a company called Scrapmap: They do a variety of different tours that include scrapbooking/photography/journaling emphasis. On this trip I taught two classes to the group. I knew some of the people in advance through the internet and from a trip I did with them to Greece last year. The cost was around $3000+ if I remember right (included airfare, hotel, some meals, etc) for the Tuscany portion and then there was an additional cost to go on to Rome for a couple of days. About half the group was from America and the others were from Canada, South Africa, and England (I might be missing another country too). There were about 40 people on this trip. There were quite a few people who came with friends (and three husbands too) but also quite a few who came along “solo” and became part of the larger group.

  • 61.
    sophie said…

    truly beautiful pictures, Ali! looks like an incredible adventure.

  • 62.
    Evelyn said…

    Thanks Ali! What a great trip and I am so glad I met you. I love the caprese salad too and I ate it several days. Your pictures are fanatastic.

  • 63.
    Anna Aspnes said…

    Lovely Ali. Some familiar shots. Must catch up some time :)

  • 64.
    Erica Hettwer said…

    Gorgeous pics! My neice is in Italy right now with another aunt for her senior trip. I hope she has half as much fun as you appeared to have had. :)

  • 65.
    Lise said…

    Your pictures are just stunning. They remind me of our trip to Italy. Cinque Terre was my absolute favourite. I left my kids when they were 4 months old to go on a trip. It was a bit early to leave them but I certainly don`t regret doing it. I totally agree with what you said about travel and how doing something so enriching and inspirational for yourself. You have truly inspired me at Creative Escape and it certainly was an experience that was worth remembering! :)

  • 66.
    Sarah B R said…

    Love Italy. Used to go every year. Haven’t in 2 since baby was born. Hubby is going alone this year :-(
    I have a photo in the piazza of Venice with only hubby and Me. It was very early (thank you jet lag!)
    Next time try to visit Chiavari, 45 min away from cinque terre with train. The food there was amazing but very different. Try farinata, white lasagna and baked pear yum! buonissimo :-)

  • 67.
    Anthea said…

    Thanks for the vicarious tour Ali, one day I will go.

  • 68.
    Louise Fortune said…

    Wonderful photos of your trip, will the trip to Ireland involve a hop across the pond to the UK ?

    I just pinned that type image you posted from the airport in Rome hope you don’t mind.


  • 69.
    Jeni said…

    Beautiful pictures. I wish we could all go back!

  • 70.
    Nancy G. said…

    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.

  • 71.
    Cris said…

    Love from Italy :)

  • 72.
    Joy Taylor said…

    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

  • 73.

    Ali ,
    totally phenomon photos…looks like fun i wish I was there you have given me inspiration again…love 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….

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’ll be going to Ireland with Scrapmap next fall. It’s not a cruise though – it will just be on land.

  • 74.
    borcherding said…

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

  • 75.
    Jolynn said…

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

  • 76.
    kristina said…

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

  • 77.

    Such beautiful photo’s!!!! QUESTION>>>>are your shoes DANSKO”S??????

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yes – love them!

  • 78.
    Poupee said…

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

    • ….
      Ali said…


  • 79.
    cinback said…

    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?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      No issues this time. When I was in Greece last year I carried the film and asked to have it hand-checked and they refused. All the photos turned out fine so this time I just left them in my carry-on bag.

  • 80.
    annie said…

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

  • 81.
    Steph S said…

    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)

  • 82.
    Cindy said…

    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.

  • 83.
    Karen Watson said…

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

  • 84.
    Steph.S said…


  • 85.
    Tinka said…

    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!

  • 86.
    Jane said…


    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.


  • 87.
    Paolo said…

    Dude, always grateful for the our adventures. :)

  • 88.
    Diane said…

    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.

  • 89.
    Nena S.Janssen said…

    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.

  • 90.
    Beatrice said…

    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?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      He does a bit – he does other sorts of art, collage, photography more than scrapbook.

  • 91.
    Elina said…

    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

  • 92.
    Alison B said…

    **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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