A Summer Trek Through Northern Italy

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The northern half of Italy offers some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Europe. For the purposes of this post, my definition of northern Italy is from the city of Florence north to the Swiss border. Along with Florence, (and the Tuscan region) this includes the cities of Venice and Milan. North of these cities the region is home to lakes and majestic mountain ranges. Lake Como and the Dolomites are excellent examples of each.

As I write this, it is the Spring of 2020, and this region has just recently been devastated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These areas are some of the most popular tourist designations in the world. I do not doubt that this region and the rest of Italy will be back in business in the not to distant future. Photographers and others will happily return when allowed. The landscape and the people very welcoming. The contents of this post are the result of my travels to the region in the Summer of 2018.

The purpose of my post is the show the beauty of the region, talk photography, and discuss my equipment and what I found to be most helpful. I decided to bring my Fujifilm X-T2 (the X-T3 had been announced but not released yet) and two lenses. My lens choice was the Fujifilm XF 10 – 24mm and the XF18 – 135mm. Each lens is compact and offers a full range of focal lengths. The two lenses together off a full-frame equivalent focal length of 15 – 200 mm. The camera, lenses, batteries, and filters easily fit in a small shoulder bag. Size (and weight) matters; this trip required several air travel flights and train rides and hiking.


The itinerary for this trip was Venice, then a train ride to Como. After Como, it was onto the town of Bellagio situated on a Peninsula in the middle of Lake Como. From there, it was back on a train to Milan and then a second train to Florence and our eventual home in Tuscany – Tavarnelle Val Di Pesa. In Tuscany, I explored Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, and Monteriggioni.


Although I brought two lenses with me, ninety percent of the time, the XF 18 – 135mm lens was attached to my camera. The sub-title of this post could be – Northern Italy on One Camera and One Lens. This lens is the perfect travel lens for the Fujifilm X-series camera system. Its compact, light, and affordable. The lens has a linear motor for quiet/quick autofocus, five-stops of image stabilization, and it’s fully weather sealed. It’s full-frame equivalent 27 – 206mm focal length comes neatly wrapped in a 67 mm filter tread. It screams travel lens. I used this lens for every photo in this post.

Tavarnelle Val Di Pesa

The weather did cooperate, as it always seems to do in September. Each morning I was greeted with a beautiful sunrise and treated to an equally beautiful sunset each evening. The days provide ample opportunity for robust travel photography. Make sure to bring extra memory cards and plenty of extra batteries. Mirrorless cameras don’t have large powerful batteries and you will be away from your hotel/home for most of the day.


My ten-day trip concluded with a flight out of Florence and unto Dublin, Ireland. For ten days I was treated to lovely scenery, welcoming people, beautiful landscapes and historic architecture. One could not ask for a more conducive atmosphere to take meaningful photos. I look forward to the regions return to health and my next visit.

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