Rome, Italy, 2022

After our stops in Tuscany at Argiano Dimore and Florence, we made our way over to Rome. Since I had already gone to Rome in 2019 and went to a number of tourist attractions, this visit was more to enjoy the city as a local, eat as much food as physically possible and to do some shopping given the Euro currency drop. Therefore, the images below won’t be the typical ones from Rome.

High Speed Trains

While travelling around Italy, I was surprised to find so many people were driving rental cars around the country. I did the same in 2019 so I shouldn’t have been too surprised, however with the price of fuel and rental cars in 2022 on another level, I expected more people to turn to the excellent rail network. For this trip, I used the high speed rail to get between major cities and have a few tips to share:

  1. Buy your tickets from the official websites of Trenitalia or Italo or use a third party like ItaliaRail or Omio.
  2. Make sure that you’ve selected the fastest trains so that you don’t waste time with excess stops on regional trains.
  3. Upgrade to Business Class fares, which are often only €15-20 more than the lower fares. You get a significantly better seat and much more room for your luggage.
  4. Get to the station maximum 30 mins early since they’re easy to figure out and you’ll have more time to explore the cities.

The upgrade to Business Class was such a huge benefit that I can’t imagine any traveler with large luggage that would not be super happy with the upgrade. Luggage space is very tight on Italian high speed trains, but the Business Class trains have less seats, so less luggage to compete for space. In addition, Business Class provides for a small bottle of Prosecco to get your journey off to a great start.

GFX100S 200mm ISO-640 1/160sec f/8
GFX100S 100mm ISO-100 15sec f/16
GFX100S 35mm ISO-200 1/250sec f/8

For one of the legs of our journey, we decided to spring for Executive Class. It was quite a jump over Business Class so we had high expectations. We were surprised to find that it was essentially Business Class, but in an enclosed area with two other travellers. This may be great for a family of four travelling together, but was actually a bit stuffy and claustrophobic for us. We went for Business Class on every train after and were very happy with that choice.

Data Disaster

After a few long days walking around Rome and taking images, I was excited to edit them and started to download them from the SD Card to the computer (MacBook Air M2 running MacOS Ventura. Much to my dismay, a “Read Error” appeared in Capture One. I had never seen an error like this before so I thought it must be some random issue that a restart would fix. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

Pantheon; GFX100S 36.2mm ISO-1250 1/27sec f/8
Pantheon; GFX100S 42.5mm ISO-200 1/1250sec f/4

More probing found that the SD Card had become corrupted because I had previously “Force Ejected” it on MacOS Ventura because it refused to release my SD Card even though no application was using it. I find this to be an ongoing issue with the Apple Silicon Macs. They don’t like to release external SD Cards and drives. By “Force Ejecting” it, it had somehow become corrupted. With that one small error, I lost a few days of images.

Since the card was a Sony Tough card, Sony provides software (Sony Memory Card File Rescue) that can recover the files. It worked very well at recovering the files, however, Sony doesn’t support Fujifilm RAF files, so only the JPEGs were restored to a format that was accessible by the computer. If you have any idea how to convert the other files into RAF readable files, I’d love to know. Kudos to Sony however for providing this software for free which works with most RAW file formates (excepting Fujifilm).

Pantheon early in the morning; GFX100S 20mm ISO-200 1/105sec f/8
Pantheon; GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/420sec f/13

Trastevere Area

Trastevere is a funky, bohemian area that traces itself to working-class roots. It’s known for traditional and innovative trattorias, craft beer pubs and artisan shops, as well as simple B&Bs and budget hotels. From the pre-dinner promenade until late, a young crowd buzzes around Piazza di San Calisto and Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, the site of a gilded, mosaic-filled church.

We only explored this area towards the end of our Rome trip, but we wished we had spent far more time there. It’s such a cool area, filled with edgy and fun restaurants and bars. The crowd is certainly younger than other areas of Rome, but as dinner time arrives, the crowd becomes more diverse and we ended up fitting right in. Something very cool to do is to visit this area at sunrise as the sun hits the streets at interesting angles and creates so many street photography opportunities.

LEICA M11 35mm ISO-64 1/125sec f/8
LEICA M11 35mm ISO-250 1/80sec f/6.8
LEICA M11 35mm ISO-64 1/125sec f/16
LEICA M11 35mm ISO-125 1/80sec f/6.8
LEICA M11 35mm ISO-64 1/125sec f/3.4
LEICA M11 35mm ISO-500 1/80sec f/4.8
GFX100S 50mm ISO-500 1/40sec f/8

Random Streets

I had been to Rome before, and it was pretty busy in 2019 too, but I could not believe the sheer number of people packed into the narrow streets and tourist sites this time. It was overwhelming. From completely jammed Spanish Steps to the Trevi Fountain, to the shops lining the streets, they were all body-to-body. I recall one shop asking when we’d be coming to pick up some items we had left with them; when we told them we’re just around the corner, the sales associate joked that it would take us 30 minutes to make our way through the crowd; he was actually not that far off!

Trevi Fountain; GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/200sec f/8
LEICA M11 35mm ISO-400 1/80sec f/2
GFX100S 32mm ISO-1000 1/25sec f/4
GFX100S 32mm ISO-500 1/25sec f/4
GFX100S 100mm ISO-200 1/210sec f/8
Trevi Foundation under maintenance at sunrise; GFX100S 20mm ISO-200 1/480sec f/8
GFX100S 33.1mm ISO-200 1/52sec f/5
GFX100S 28.2mm ISO-200 1/340sec f/8

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