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Florence, Italy advice please.
  
 
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Florence, Italy advice please.


Hi,

I've a trip planned to Florence next month.
Could anyone share info about which cathedrals/churches/bell towers and museums etc allow photography and maybe allow tripods?

Some locations may say "no photography" or "no tripods" when you email and ask.
But, when you get there, there's no one around... so you get out your camera/tripod and... you know

Any other general tips and location advice (especially interiors like theatres) are welcome.


Thank you



Apr 26, 2017 at 11:13 AM
mdude85
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Florence, Italy advice please.


Can't speak to Florence specifically but have been to Rome and Venice (and many other similar cities) and I would try to avoid pulling out the tripod in churches/cathedrals whenever possible. This might be a good time to take advantage of image stabilization on your lens. Photography in general is a bit more flexible although you should respect their rules (or ask a docent nicely before pulling out the camera). Remember that these places are not just pretty buildings but active religious sites where people are usually praying at all hours of the day and they are doing you a favor by being open to tourists.

Nice photos on your website by the way



Apr 27, 2017 at 01:41 PM
dalite
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Florence, Italy advice please.


What camera and lens are you taking with you? I would assume that, for interior shots, you would take (need) a very wide angle lens which would also work for those open space piazza shots. Museums are very strict about tripods since they take up room and get in the way of people. I had a fixed lens P&S Fuji camera (long before I could afford a more expensive interchangeable lens DSLR) but I was able to get some very decent architecture shots and also piazzas. Selecting the proper viewpoint is important. Consider a monopod if a tripod is out of the question.

And yes, in some museums/galleries photo taking is not allowed. Sneak one at your own risk. Good luck. It should be a fantastic trip.



Apr 28, 2017 at 02:33 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Florence, Italy advice please.


Thank you both for your advice
And thanks for viewing my site too.

I'll be taking a Sony A7R2, Canon 17mm TS-E, Canon 24-70 f2.8 II and Canon 70-200 f4 non IS.





Apr 28, 2017 at 12:18 PM
JohnKS
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Florence, Italy advice please.


My wife and I spent 3 nights in Florence last year on a tour in May. The main cathedral and attraction is the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Here is a link for a quick overview of the cathedral.

http://travel.usnews.com/Florence_Italy/Things_To_Do/Duomo_Cathedral_of_Santa_Maria_del_Fiore_26407/

I'm pretty sure I took a few shots while inside and honestly don't recall if people were using tripods or not. We stayed at the Westin on the Arno River and I was able to get some night shots of the cathedral from their outdoor seating of their restaurant on I believe the 7th floor. I asked the concierge at the Westin if he knew of any good places to get some good photos overlooking the city and he recommended heading over to Piazzale Michelangelo. It was great advice and I spent some time shooting some views of the city and some sunset and night shots. The cathedral is visible from this location as are some other landmarks. I shot with my 70-200 f4 from the Piazzale. Here is a link to this location.

https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-monuments/piazzale-michelangelo.html

Have a great time and yes, those are excellent images on your Flickr page.



Apr 29, 2017 at 02:15 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Florence, Italy advice please.


JohnKS wrote:
My wife and I spent 3 nights in Florence last year on a tour in May. The main cathedral and attraction is the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Here is a link for a quick overview of the cathedral.

http://travel.usnews.com/Florence_Italy/Things_To_Do/Duomo_Cathedral_of_Santa_Maria_del_Fiore_26407/

I'm pretty sure I took a few shots while inside and honestly don't recall if people were using tripods or not. We stayed at the Westin on the Arno River and I was able to get some night shots of the cathedral from their outdoor seating of their restaurant on I believe the 7th floor. I asked the concierge at
...Show more

Thank you very much for the advice and kind words

Did you have any issues entering museums/churches wearing a camera backpack?



Apr 29, 2017 at 02:18 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Florence, Italy advice please.



I didn't bring my backpack on this trip. With this being our first trip to Europe I was a bit leery of walking around the streets of Rome and Florence with a backpack full of camera gear on my back. Instead I brought my Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 Classic on this trip. I was still able to bring my Canon 6D with a 17-40, 24-105, and 70-200 which was more than enough gear for this trip and I was able to carry my gear at my side in the busy streets of Rome and Florence.

We were in Italy for 16 days and walked into so many churches that I lost count. There were plenty of people wearing backpacks, both camera and non, without issue. A bigger issue is dress. Some didn't allow shorts or women wearing shoulder bearing tops. I'm guessing that means no tank tops for you too. Some of the churches were pretty strict about snapping images inside the church. In Assisi I started taking photo's when a gentleman walked up to me and told me to stop. An oversight on my part as I didn't know that camera's were not allowed in this particular church.

The Florence Duomo I mentioned in my previous post is a tourist magnet. It was very busy when we were there. I hope you are able to find good times to get the shots you want like you have on your Flickr site.



Apr 29, 2017 at 10:21 PM
dalite
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Florence, Italy advice please.


- MS - wrote:
Thank you both for your advice
And thanks for viewing my site too.

I'll be taking a Sony A7R2, Canon 17mm TS-E, Canon 24-70 f2.8 II and Canon 70-200 f4 non IS.


______

A nice mix of lenses that should cover most, if not all, situations.




Apr 30, 2017 at 06:08 AM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Florence, Italy advice please.


JohnKS wrote:
I didn't bring my backpack on this trip. With this being our first trip to Europe I was a bit leery of walking around the streets of Rome and Florence with a backpack full of camera gear on my back. Instead I brought my Think Tank Urban Disguise 40 Classic on this trip. I was still able to bring my Canon 6D with a 17-40, 24-105, and 70-200 which was more than enough gear for this trip and I was able to carry my gear at my side in the busy streets of Rome and Florence.

We were in Italy
...Show more

Thank you very much for the advice and wishes
---------------------------------------------

dalite wrote:
______

A nice mix of lenses that should cover most, if not all, situations.



I'm not looking forward to carrying it all around all day though.
I guess I'll have to suffer for my "art"



Apr 30, 2017 at 10:15 AM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Florence, Italy advice please.


We visited my daughter while she was in school in Florence. The only place I used a tripod was in the late afternoon/evening at Piazzale Michelangelo. I might also have used it on the bridge Ponte alle Grazie to the east of the Ponte Vecchio but it still moves around some so the pics were soft. Perhaps the Ponte Santa Trinita, the bridge west of the Ponte Vecchio seemed more substantial for night light shots back?

I didn't try using the tripod for any interiors. Most seemed rather crowded and I didn't notice anyone else using one either. The only place I specifically recall not allowing interior photography was the Uffizi Gallery. IIRC they had a cloak locker area that might be used for a pack.. Check, don't count on my memory, of course. I don't recall too many problems with packs but we went in winter with just a couple of light, smallish cameras, Sony mirrorlesses, and they were easily stashed in coat pockets or under coats as needed. Saw lots of folks with a lot more gear.

I found I did ok using the different camera functions like multi-shot noise reduction (a mirrorless camera) although even the limited noise from that might be noticeable to others and a quick burst on a dslr might really stand out.

The trudge up the Giotto Bell tower is pretty tight quarters but a nice view at the top. My daughter tells me the trip up the dome of the Duomo is also fairly tight quarters so the less you try to carry might be appreciated. I would be a little concerned about getting distracted and too involved with a tripod and losing situational awareness in the piazza in front of the Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria (near Uffizi Gallery with it's statues, etc.), the only places I saw the kinds of crowds and activity that suggested more potential for pickpocket activity although one should use some care any place.

There are many, many churches and museums so it's a bit hard to suggest too many but there are also lots of resources on-line and guidebooks that can help you choose locations. The older historic section is not very large, pretty easily walked and we walked pretty much every where we went. Bus to Fiesole, taxis to/from the airport.

The Bell Tower, Baptistry and Duomo are magnificent. The Academia with the David. My daughter lived about two blocks from the Basilica di Santa Croce. The front facade is comparatively new, the interiror is beautiful with numerous important side chapels and the tombs of many famous Italian artists, politicians, musicians, etc.

We prebooked some of the museums like the Uffizi because of the potential for crowds and there may be a city pass that encompasses multiple sites which can be handy and also reduce line times. A good folding map is handy.



May 07, 2017 at 07:20 AM
 

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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Florence, Italy advice please.


Craig Gillette wrote:
We visited my daughter while she was in school in Florence. The only place I used a tripod was in the late afternoon/evening at Piazzale Michelangelo. I might also have used it on the bridge Ponte alle Grazie to the east of the Ponte Vecchio but it still moves around some so the pics were soft. Perhaps the Ponte Santa Trinita, the bridge west of the Ponte Vecchio seemed more substantial for night light shots back?

I didn't try using the tripod for any interiors. Most seemed rather crowded and I didn't notice anyone else using one either. The only
...Show more

Great advice, thank you
I didn't realise that the Uffizi Gallery didn't allow photography.
I've seen a few photos from there online. They must have been sneaky shots.



May 07, 2017 at 09:23 AM
JohnKS
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Florence, Italy advice please.


- MS - wrote:
Great advice, thank you
I didn't realise that the Uffizi Gallery didn't allow photography.
I've seen a few photos from there online. They must have been sneaky shots.


Photography is allowed in the Uffizi Gallery as of 2014. I had to double check as when I was there last year many visitors were taking photo's. See the link below for clarification.

http://www.uffizi.org/frequently-asked-questions/




May 07, 2017 at 04:06 PM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Florence, Italy advice please.


JohnKS wrote:
Photography is allowed in the Uffizi Gallery as of 2014. I had to double check as when I was there last year many visitors were taking photo's. See the link below for clarification.

http://www.uffizi.org/frequently-asked-questions/



That figures. We were there in early 2014. It may be they decided to just go with the flow of phone cameras.



May 07, 2017 at 06:22 PM
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Florence, Italy advice please.


Thank you both for the clarification.



May 07, 2017 at 07:02 PM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Florence, Italy advice please.


I think it comes to style and interests. How much time to deal with lenses and how much do you want to carry. Tripods for exteriors at night only, essentially.

Traveling by yourself or with others driving the sights and the time available?

There's a lot to be said to not carrying too much, just that it might be limiting. Interiors? wider than 24mm is going to be useful. They are also often very poorly illuminated.



May 07, 2017 at 07:53 PM
Bob Kane
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Florence, Italy advice please.


I just got back from three weeks in Italy, and I have to tell you not to get your hopes up about leisurely photography in popular churches. The line for the Duomo in Florence was about two hours long, and I seriously doubt that a tripod could be used even if it were allowed. The tower line was even longer.

San Marco in Venice prohibits photography altogether. But what they don't know won't hurt them. It was so crowded that shooting hand-held was challenging because of jostling. The Sistine Chapel also strictly forbids photography and uses attendants from the Tokyo subway; they are on the lookout for cameras. You get away with it if you are stealthy and aren't pushed around. My E-M1 gave me clean, sharp shots at long exposure times and at low ISO. My Canons would have suffered.

St.Peter's in Rome was different. It would be hard to crowd the place by emptying Yankee Stadium in it, but I suspect tripods would be frowned upon.

YMMV. We were in Rome and Florence on weekends, extended by Liberation Day and May Day. The crowds were horrendous at all the popular sites (Vatican Museum, Uffizzi, Borghese Gallery etc). Just be prepared and try not to let crowds spoil your trip.



May 13, 2017 at 10:47 PM
JohnKS
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Florence, Italy advice please.


Bob Kane wrote:
I just got back from three weeks in Italy, and I have to tell you not to get your hopes up about leisurely photography in popular churches. The line for the Duomo in Florence was about two hours long, and I seriously doubt that a tripod could be used even if it were allowed. The tower line was even longer.

San Marco in Venice prohibits photography altogether. But what they don't know won't hurt them. It was so crowded that shooting hand-held was challenging because of jostling. The Sistine Chapel also strictly forbids photography and uses attendants from the Tokyo
...Show more

I'm not so sure the Sistine Chapel strictly forbids photography. I think it depends upon the time you are in the Chapel. I was fortunate enough to be on a tour that was given after closing closing hours of the museum. I think there were 38 of us on this specific tour. We had a guide take us through different parts of the Vatican Museum and then we had about 30 or so minutes in the Sistine Chapel. I was awe struck when we walked in the Chapel without anyone in the room. Our guide received permission from our Vatican guard to take photo's, which I did. However, I was much more interested in learning the history of the room and the all the paintings than I was in taking photos. It was a wonderful experience.



May 14, 2017 at 02:24 AM
dalite
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Florence, Italy advice please.


If you do not intend to carry all 3 lenses on some specific days, I'd leave the telephoto lens in our hotel safe. Reason is that the other two lenses should be adequate for almost all of your shots in the cities. Yes, there will be crowd jostling inside those churches. And yes, Santa Croce is also special (I believe most of Florence's famous artists were buried there).

As for getting up to the bell tower of the Duomo, I can relate a similar experience at St Peter's: you will very likely squeeze your way around (literally) extremely narrow steps to get to the lantern. But what a fantastic view that should afford you.

Fuji Finepix 2.4 Mp. Circa 2003












May 15, 2017 at 06:18 AM
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Florence, Italy advice please.


Thank you for the replies
I just returned home from Florence yesterday.

Overall, I was disappointed with the churches I visited.
All but one (Santa Maria Novella), had renovation work taking place on the exterior or interior.
Most are like empty aircraft hangers, with the decorations at one end.
No real character to them.

I used a tripod inside the Duomo without any problems, but the area under the dome was fenced off, due to construction work.
So it was a waste of time visiting.

And also used a tripod at Santa Maria Novella, until I was told to stop.
Just be quick in grabbing your shots
Outside of the main area of the church, is a courtyard, which leads to another room on the "tour", which has highly decorated vaulted ceiling.
My tripod slipped out of my bag and under my camera and no one bothered me in there

I did take a mini tripod to the various churches and museums, but it wasn't much use and didn't use it.


Edit: I'd recommend buying the FirenzeCard to save time waiting in line.
http://www.firenzecard.it/?lang=en



May 19, 2017 at 03:59 PM
JohnKS
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Florence, Italy advice please.


I'm sorry you were disappointed with the churches you visited. I sure hope you had a good time while you were there. Perhaps you will get another chance to visit Italy as there are many fine places to photograph. It sounds like you need a new bag to keep that tripod from slipping out unexpectedly.

Now how about some pics for us to look at from your trip.



May 19, 2017 at 07:56 PM
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