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Italy on Film

March 18, 2021

In March 2018, Jack and I headed off to Italy to celebrate being together for six years, and I decided to shoot the entire trip on film. It was only our second holiday together, our first holiday being to Berlin at the end of November of 2017. Berlin was a holiday that truly moved me, as, despite the festive surroundings at that time of year; seeing the sights and history of the city were both really harrowing to me as I have a huge interest in German history. Italy on the other hand, was all about exploring, as it was somewhere both of us had never been, and we were so excited to see the rustic charm of its streets, and to explore the most popular cities in Tuscany.

Based in Pisa

We decided to base our entire holiday in Pisa, something I definitely wouldn't suggest doing again. We are wanderlusters at heart, and to be honest, being stuck in Pisa for five nights was a little limiting. However, it did give us a fantastic base to explore the surrounding areas! The streets around Pisa on our way into the city centre were so cool too, they had such a rustic charm about them...

We stayed at Biscuit B & B, a cute little family-run B and B run by the most wonderful lady, just next to the central train line in Pisa. With cake and peach juice for breakfast every day (genuinely living the life!) and a cosy bedroom, I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to stay there!

Tourist things...

On the day of our arrival, we explored Pisa, and you know, did the stereotypical touristy things... (including being hugely overcharged for pizza!)

Shot on film

I shot the entire holiday on 35mm film with my little Yashica Electro 35, which I had bought off of eBay two weeks before. As a 90s kid, I wanted to document our holiday together the way my parents documented my holidays as a child. Not just that, but it made me think more carefully about the photographs I took. I honestly adore the photos it produced, and definitely can't wait to take my new Nikon FM2 on our next holiday!


On our second day, it was truly bucketing it down with rain, so we decided to visit Livorno, and more specifically, the aquarium, where we could still enjoy the day but be inside for a little of it. After we had seen the turtles and stingray, we ventured around the little seaside town and by that point I had finished my first roll of film! It has the most amazing checkered seafront, called 'Terrazza Mascagni' and it was somehow even more beautiful in the rain.

As we ventured around, I also spotted this really cool grafitti, with our initials on it, next to the harbour...


Come Monday, we decided to head to Florence, as it wasn't too far of a trip for us on the train. It was still likely to rain, but we packed an umbrella (given to us by our lovely B&B host) and headed off. The Italian trains are surprisingly easy to navigate, and they ran on time! It was such a lovely day out, until I managed to snap a roll of film within my camera... not the best thing I could've done, but these things happen. With no way to fix it myself without a dark bag, I decided to search for some photo shops in the city, and happened to come across one just a ten minute walk away. It rather oddly opened it's doors for the day at 3:30pm, so, with an agonising hour wait, we waited, and finally in my lack of Italian and the man's 'broken' english (as he said, which actually turned out to be almost fluent!) he was able to retrieve my film and away we went! I was super grateful that he managed to save it, and that it came out upon developing! Thus, here are a few from Florence!

Cinque Terre: Monterosso

On day three, we had been planning to go to the Cinque Terre region, somewhere I had so desperately wanted to go to once I had seen it on YouTube. However, it was still meant to rain (spoiler: it rained every day), but, with sun forecast for at least a few hours, we bit the bullet and headed there, as it was meant to be sunny almost all day! After a two hour train ride, we finally saw the train pulling into Monterosso, the highest and last of the five villages. You can actually walk between all five, but a train runs every hour or so between them in both directions, too! As the train pulled in, we eagerly jumped up out of our seats... and... missed the stop. We got wedged with some American backpacking students in the ONE part of the train carriage with doors that wouldn't open! They, like us, were confused - where would we end up?! Thankfully the next stop ended up being a few minutes away, and we jumped off, explained in broken english that we had missed our stop, and were able to get a train back in two minutes time. The view when we arrived was simply beautiful, and, a little further walk down, and we came across Rocky the dog, who seems to be a local resident and looks pretty content with his life!

Sadly we only managed to have time to view two of the villages, Monterosso being the first...

Cinque Terre: Vernazza

The reason we only had time to visit two of the five villages? Well... Post having some late lunch, we decided to get a train to Vernazza at about 3pm, as it was the next village down, and one we had wanted to see... So we got our 2€ ticket and headed for the train. What did we do? Got the wrong train! When a very stern looking lady approached us for our tickets on the train, we gladly handed them over, only for her to say 'You've not paid for my train. 30€ please.' 'Sorry, what do you mean we have not paid, this goes to Vernazza, doesn't it?' 'No, this is the central line train. Goes to La Spezia Centrale. You've not paid for my train. You have the money? Or it's a fine.' Thankfully we had the money. But we weren't the only person to make the same mistake, a family had done the same thing! One hour later, 36€, a wrong station and a new train later and finally, we arrived in Vernazza... And of course, it rained. And it poured. And actually, it thundered! The photos were worth it though, and eventually the sun cleared, and we could have a browse around!


On our final full day, we were meant to be meeting another photographer for a couple's shoot, but sadly our timelines didn't match, so instead, we took a last minute trip to Siena. Siena is simply gorgeous, and thankfully the sun came out all day, too! I adored the tiny, windy backstreets. It was such a lovely day.

End thoughts

Our final day was spent mostly in Pisa airport, people watching, as you do. As it so turns out, the Italian airport security is a bit less strict than our local airport, and we whizzed through in all of five minutes... Note to self: Don't leave so much time for Italian security! We did manage to spend the morning in the city centre though, so I finally filled up my last roll of film. Our trip to Italy was so wonderful, and we definitely need to go back and explore further!