Siiri Kumari


Italy is a wonderland and everyone who has ever been here probably knows that. It was sometime in the beginning of 2016 when our studio crew got this crazy, spontaneous idea to go there for a week

Here is a little summary of our adventures, among with some photographs that I took. I shot only film, two rolls and 60 frames (Revue HCR 100 & Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400) to keep myself more occupied with the experience of travel rather than remembering everything through the viewfinder.

On the first night we arrive to Milan just before midnight. The air is warm and slightly moist and everybody is too excited to go to sleep so we decide to embark on an adventure to the Duomo, completely abandoned and empty at two in the morning.

Laughter consumes us all and we run through the nighttime streets like kids while the rest of the city is sound asleep. Ten almost strangers, only united by their profession, now on the way to becoming close friends. Travel tends to change people like that. 

We wake up at six in the morning, having barely slept at all, and half of us board a fast train to Venice. The tourist season has not started yet and as soon as we get off the main streets, we end up almost alone between the canals and Istrian stone houses. 

Our first meal in the floating city is a mild disappointment but later we buy two huge slices of pizza from a street vendor, less than two euros each, and moan happily over every bite. I try gelato for the first time in my life (pistacchio and coconut) and decide to give up my sobriety for a week. Wine costs less than water and of course we all drink.

We catch a train to Firenze at six in the evening and then another one to Pisa where the rest of our company is waiting for us, in a 400-year-old stone brick villa with a huge backyard. We are dead tired from the trip but they have prepared a surprise dinner for us and the exhaustion disappears in seconds as we indulge ourselves with pasta.

On the last day in Filettole we find the ruins of an abandoned derelict fortress and ignoring the “no entry” signs, we march right in. The location is straight out of a fairytale, with wild rose thorns pricking our feet, we climb a very unstable ladder to one of the watchtowers and fly out a drone. 

We are lucky to travel in the less known places and stay in secret hideaways, vacation homes that are far off the main roads, located deep between the mountains.

Travelling with photographers is almost unreal. we stop by all the beautiful viewpoints and wait for the best possible light before heading out to our adventures. Some of us wake up with the sunrise ☀️

We sleep for two nights in Giovanni’s villa in the hills of Chianti, surrounded by acres of olive trees and wineyards. The view from here is incredible and the moody spring skies enchance it even more. Every hour the light is changing and we are out shooting and exploring. There are no worries these days other than figuring out what to make for dinner. 

On the last evening in Montechianti we have a barbeque and tiramisu. Giovanni tries it too and gives the dessert his approval, but promising to email us “the proper” recipe so we can make it right the next time we come here.

We spend the remaining two days of our trip in Cinque Terre, exploring old castle ruins and picturesque villages by the Mediterranean. It’s a lot of time spent in cars but I still think it’s worth it. We eat gelato everywhere we go and I feel like I could eat it forever. Italy has marked a huge footprint on my heart and I could easily imagine living here during my retirement years. 

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