Zig-Zagging in Rome

On my most recent trip to Europe I spent a little bit of time in Rome, fine-tuning some logistics for a photo tour I am thinking about leading there. Rome is, after all, one of my favorite cities, and I think it would be great fun to share some of my favorite photo spots with fellow photographers.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy Rome so much is that it is so unpredictable. To be sure, there’s the unpredictability of driving or riding a scooter there, both of which I’ve done on various occasions. And there’s the unpredictability of when you’ll get your check at a restaurant, or indeed if you’ll ever see your waiter again after he delivers your food. But the specific unpredictability I’m referring to is the unpredictability of how you’ll get from one place to another.

For example, after zig-zagging my way from Trevi Fountain to Piazza Navona (one of my favorites for dining and people watching) I thought I’d review a map to see if the route looked as crooked as it felt. And it pretty much did!

After a couple of days in Rome you start to realize that one of the most common sights is a tourist holding a map trying to figure out where they are and how to get where they’re going. You also start to realize that every walking route in the city seems to involve a random assortment of left and right turns, with very few straight lines in between.

It dawned on me that perhaps the primary reason photographers might be interested in joining me for a photo tour of Rome is to have someone who has become familiar with the city there to provide guidance on how to actually get from one photographic opportunity to the next. Rome is one of those cities, after all, that seems to have a purely random arrangement of streets. I had been thinking the draw would be the wonderful photographic opportunities, along with what I like to think is my helpful and friendly instruction. Instead I’m thinking perhaps my biggest contribution will be helping photographers not get lost!

Of course, getting lost in Rome can be even more fun than knowing where you’re going. While I certainly enjoy the major attractions such as Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and more, I have the most fun photographing the smaller details and pedestrian aspects of Rome found among all the nooks and crannies of the zig-zagging streets.

Stay tuned for details of a future Rome Photo Tour, where I’ll help you get where you’re going, but also help you get lost on purpose for the benefit of your photography. And in the meantime, if you visit Rome be sure to carry a map or GPS device to help you get around.

Oh, and if it happens to start raining while you’re in Rome, I highly recommend getting to the Pantheon as quickly as possible. You won’t be disappointed…

About Tim Grey

Tim Grey is in the business of making photographers smarter and happier. He is the author of more than a dozen books on digital imaging for photographers, has written hundreds of magazine articles, and publishes the Ask Tim Grey e-mail newsletter as well as the Pixology digital magazine. He also speaks at a variety of events and leads photography workshops around the world.
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5 Responses to Zig-Zagging in Rome

  1. Bill Brennan says:

    Enjoyed this post about your experiences in Rome, as it is a fun place to visit. We will be on the Via Veneto in two weeks and are planning our zig zag routes around Rome. I agree with you recommendation for a visit to the Pantheon.

    Bill Brennan

  2. Steve Teran says:

    Love Rome, but what about ISRAEL?

  3. R Thomas Berner says:

    ZZ is not limited to Rome. We had a ZZ time in Florence trying to find the grave of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She’s buried in what is know as the English cemetery, which is a big island in a busy street. And the cemetery was closed for repairs when we were there.

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