We had been putting off our trip to Italy for a long time but finally made the plunge this past October for 2012. My wife and I decided it was time so we planned starting in July of 2012. Other than a few mishaps such as leaving the train tickets back at home everything went as planned. We had to purchase new tickets as needed. Milan was where we landed and then we had to catch a train to Venice. The next two days were magical as we saw many of the famous landmarks such as Rialto Bridge, St. Mark's Square and the gondolas of Venice. Now onto Florence and more spectacular landmarks such as the Florence Cathedral and Boboli Gardens. Caught another train and visited Pisa, then got our rental car to go to San Gimignano, Siena and Volterra. Went back to Florence to return the car and took the train to Rome where more magical sights awaited us.
Italy is a must see country with beautiful architecture and artwork everywhere. Tall towers tempted us to climb them affording beautiful views but I was the only one who did the climbing as my wife had a sore ankle. The Campanile in Venice is the only tall tower with an elevator which is nice for people with sore ankles and or legs. Both of us lost a lot of weight walking to many of the famous landmarks and trying to catch trains that were about to leave the station. Our rental car in Tuscany was nice and we were able to find parking with reasonable rates in the towns of San Gimignano, Siena and Volterra. A travel guru on public television rated Volterra as one of his top ten hidden places to visit so we decided to go there. Volterra is quiet yet beautiful and not nearly as touristy as other places. It is more normal than other places in Italy.
Lastly we visited Rome with its spectacular landmarks such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Vatican. There was not enough time to do this city justice with only two days alloted. The lines to get into the Colosseum and the Vatican were at least 4 hours long so we decided to purchase advance tour tickets at $75.00 per person for each place. A tour guide did provide useful information. Since time was short we could not visit Cinqo Terre which is beautiful place on the coast. Maybe next time. I took over 6000 photos whittling down to the best ones. Italy is very popular with many landmarks covered with tourists so many of my photos are editorial. If people are far away enough from the camera then a photo can be sold as commercial royalty free. By all means climb the towers at many of the famous churches as this will give you a view of the city. Don't forget to take photos of the church domes and artwork on the ceilings. A visit to Italy in the winter might mean colder weather but fewer tourists making it possible to shoot more commercial royalty free photos instead of editorial. My photo technique was just to shoot letting the camera do its thing in program. Yes we are going back someday! Arrivederci!