Europe

Hiking the Path of the Gods

One major item we had on our Italy wedding and honeymoon bucket list was to hike the famed Path of the Gods trail. Also known as Il Sentiero degli Dei in Italian, this hiking trail promises stunning scenery with magnificent views of the Amalfi Coast. With views like this, it's easy to see why the Path of the Gods is considered one of the best hikes in Italy. At 7.8 kilometers long, it's not terribly long or difficult, so it's a must-do when visiting the Amalfi Coast. Here's a quick guide on where to find the Path of the Gods and how to access it, along with hiking tips in Italy.

What is the Path of the Gods?

  • Starts in the towns of either Agerola or Praiano
  • Ends in the town of Nocelle (just above Positano)
  • Length: About 7.8 kilometers; it will take about 2-3 hours depending on your pace. We were told it would take 3 hours long, but we easily completed the route in just under 2 hours.
  • Difficulty: Moderate; experienced hikers will find this trail a breeze. Beginning or inexperienced hikers shouldn't have a hard time. Not recommended if you suffer from vertigo or a fear of heights. Also, note that there are long flights of steep stairs at the end of this trail.
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

How to get to the trailhead

The typical route for the Path of the Gods begins in the town of Agerola. This is one of the only places along the trail where you can stock up on bottled water and food and use the restroom. From here on out, you'll have to wait until the hike's terminating point in Nocelle to find facilities.

You can reach Agerola by public bus or private taxi transfer. From Positano, take the bus to Amalfi, and then transfer to a bus to Agerola (this will take about 2 hours). A taxi ride is much faster but will cost a hefty amount. Given the popularity of this hike, it's often best to try and find other interested hikers staying in your hotel and share the cost of taking a private van to the trailhead.

Alternate starting point

There's also a way to start the Path of the Gods from the town of Praiano, but be warned. This route will start off with a long, steep set of stairs that will force you to climb 580 meters above sea level. If you choose to start in Praiano, climb the stairs until you reach the Colle Serra Pass, where the Path of the Gods begins (or terminates if you're coming from the opposite direction).

Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

Hiking the Path of the Gods

Once you start your hike, follow the route's markers, which are red and white signs with the numbers 02 on them. The path is pretty straightforward without any big detours or forks. So it's relatively easy to stay on the right path as long as you keep your eyes open for the markers. Along the way, note the drastically changing scenery. From Agerola, the hike starts out with very rural, mountainous hills. You might find grazing sheep and goats along the way. Towards the end of the hike, the scenery shifts to a decidedly more Mediterranean seascape as you get closer to the beach view.

Speaking of the view, that iconic Positano view can be seen fairly early on in the hike once you start the ascent uphill. Once you spot the view, you'll have many more opportunities to snap photos of the view from different vantage points as the trail gets you closer and closer to Positano. In the sense of iconic photos, there's really only one main shot that you're looking for on this trail, and you'll see it sooner rather than later.

Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

Ending the Path of the Gods

The path terminates in the town of Nocelle, in the upper part of Positano. From here, you'll have ample opportunities to buy food and refreshments to refuel and use the restroom. On your way out, you have several choices. You can walk the remaining 1,500 steps downhill to reach the center of Positano. Or you can walk just part of the staircase to a bus stop where you can bus to the towns of Positano or Amalfi.

Hiking Tips

This is a fairly easy hike, but you'll definitely want to come prepared. Proper hiking or walking shoes are recommended, as much of this path is unpaved. Since there are some steep staircases and tall rocks that you'll have to clamber over, hiking poles are helpful for those who need extra stability. These ultra-portable folding hiking poles are our favorites! Parts of this hike are also very hot and sunny with no places to rest in the shade. Be sure to wear ample sunscreen and a hiking hat. Also, pack plenty of water and snacks as there are no places to stop and refuel along the way.

Have you hiked the Path of the Gods or any other iconic hiking trails in Italy? Share your stories, tips, and photos in the comments below! 

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Path of the gods
Path of the gods
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy
Path of the Gods Hiking in Italy

Self-Guided Walking Tour of Rome, Italy

Visiting Rome is a must-do whenever you're traveling to Italy. This city is so full of history that you can easily fill a day or two simply walking around and taking in the sights. This self-guided walking tour of Rome will take you to many of the highlights that you absolutely must see. We also included our recommendation for the best gelato in Rome! Traveling tip: We found that the best way to do a walking tour of a city is to break it into at least two chunks. Start early in the morning, and take a break (or nap!) after lunch. This is when most businesses also take their mid-day siestas anyway. Head out for round two in the late afternoon to catch sunset and experience a bit of the nightlife. The key to making this all work smoothly is also to have your accommodations as close to the city core as possible, so plan accordingly.

Italy Travel Videos

We made several travel videos and vlogs about our month-long trip to Italy, including drone videos and a video of our destination wedding in Tuscany. Check out the videos below!

Rome Walking Tour Map

1. Pantheon

A former Roman temple, the Pantheon is now a church in the heart of Rome. Our Airbnb was a 5-minute walk away from the Pantheon, so this is where our walking tour begins. It is the largest unsupported dome in the world. Perhaps its most fascinating design aspect is the large hole in the middle of the dome. The Pantheon is said to be the best preserved of all ancient Roman buildings. Entry is free.

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

2. Trevi Fountain

The next stop is the Trevi fountain, one of the most famous water fountains in the world. It is also the largest Baroque fountain in Rome, and it is very impressive to see in person. Expect a big gaggle of crowds at the fountain at just about any time of the day. If you manage to make your way to the water, throw a coin over your shoulder. It is said that doing so will ensure your return to Rome.

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

3. Spanish Steps

Up next are a set of impressive steps that connect Piazza Trinià dei Monti with the Trinità dei Monti church at the very top. There are 135 steps in this staircase. As for its name, these steps were originally created to connect the aforementioned church (owned by the French) with the Piazza di Spagna (owned by the Spanish). Since the Spanish Steps are public, they're open pretty much anytime unless they're undergoing maintenance. Heading here around sunset or evening time is great for photos.

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

4. Vatican City

This is a place that needs no introduction. Vatican City is home to the Pope and much of Rome's iconic artwork and architecture. Saint Peter's Basilica is the Italian Renaissance church pictured below. It's free to enter during daytime opening hours, but the lines will be long. Don't miss the Vatican Museum where Michelangelo's famous ceiling artwork of the Sistine Chapel can be visited. Note that the Vatican Museum does have a cost to enter, but you can make ticket reservations online.

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

5. Colosseum

Also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum is another iconic structure in Rome that can't be missed. Originally built as a 50,000-seat arena for hosting Rome's great gladiator games, the Colosseum still draws many tourists today. When visiting, you can walk around the impressive structure's exterior, or take a guided tour of its complex interior. This is another great place to be during sunset.

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

6. Roman Forum

Not far from the Colosseum is the Roman Forum. This sprawl of ruins once consisted of fancy temples, basilicas, and public spaces. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Forum also fell into disrepair. Today, much of its remains such as Platine Hill and the Temple of Caesar can be toured during your visit. Since it's a rather large structure, check out more details on the Roman Forum.

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

What to Eat in Rome

During our long weekend in Rome, we had our fair share of food whenever we could. Here are some of the typical Roman dishes we definitely recommend trying.

Cacio e Pepe

This dish is incredibly simple consisting of pasta, pecorino Romano cheese, and fresh black pepper. You'll see this dish on menus all over Italy, but it's definitely worth trying it in its place of origin: Rome.

Carbonara

Another popular pasta dish from Rome is Carbonara. It takes the base of Cacio e Pepe and adds egg and Guanciale (cured pork jowl). This is the classic Roman version of Carbonara; other variations substitute Guanciale for bacon and might add peas, mushrooms, and cream.

Best Gelato in Rome

There's a lot of gelato in Rome, but this by far was our very favorite. Funny enough, it was also located right next to our Airbnb, which is how we stumbled upon it. The flavors are fresh and delicious, and you can even see the gelato being made in the window. We really appreciated the natural flavoring of this gelato. Nothing tasted artificial.

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

Rome, Italy Travel Photography

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Looking for more travel planning inspiration? Follow our Best of Italy Board on Pinterest for more ideas for your next adventure!

Walking Tour of Rome Italy

Walking Tour of Rome Italy

More Photos of Rome

How Google Photos Made Us a Free Wedding Video

Tuscany-Wedding-Photos_030.jpg

One of our favorite photography apps just became our all-time favorite. Google Photos is a free photo sharing and backup service that we've been using ever since its inception in May 2015. Besides giving us free, unlimited storage of images and videos, Google Photos has some amazing artificial intelligence that analyzes photos. It will automatically pick out and edit your best photo from an album (and it's often right at picking out the best), and it will even create short movies or GIFs of images that it detects are part of a series. This latter feature has always been a fun feature that recently came in super helpful when Google Photos essentially created a wedding video for us. Seriously--the video is below. Here's how it came together.

What is Google Photos?

When installed as a smartphone app or desktop app, Google Photos can be set to automatically backup photos or videos to the cloud. Every account has free, unlimited storage of media. But there's a catch. Google Photos only keeps photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. If you want to store higher resolution photos or even RAW files, you'll have to pay a monthly fee to do so. Still, Google Photos offers a pretty neat photo backup alternative.

We have Google Photos installed and active on our Android phones and Mac computers. It's astonishingly fast at uploading new content to the cloud. Once on the cloud, that content can be accessed across all of our devices. We also take advantage of shared albums so that we can contribute to the same album.

Google Photos

Google Photos

How Google Photos made us a wedding video

Our wedding photographer in Tuscany did the unexpected and sent us not only his edited image selects. He also sent us the full take of unedited images shot during our wedding, along with permission to choose and edit our own images to our liking. I'm not sure if he does that for all clients, or because he knew that both Martin and I are photographers. Either way, it's very special to be able to go through the extra images and make our own edits.

While copying the full take of photos to our hard drives, Google Photos automatically backed up all of those images to the cloud. It then started automatically generating GIFs for us. The first few were cute and entertaining, but before long, we had a total of 60 GIFs from Google. When going through the full take, it was easy to see how those GIFs got generated. Many photographers, myself included, will often take a series of 3-5 images at a time, just to make sure we capture the key moment as it unfolds. Our wedding photographer did this during our entire wedding ceremony, and thanks to Google Photos, we have a whole series of GIFs that recreate the whole evening.

After organizing the GIFs, it just took an hour of video editing in Final Cut Pro to make a full video. We also decided to meld some drone footage that we had captured ourselves during the ceremony.

Google Photos

Google Photos

Here's the video

This is the final video that we made. Due to the choppy nature of GIFs, it isn't completely smooth. But it does an excellent job of showcasing the day almost exactly as it happened.

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Google wedding video

Google wedding video

Our Destination Wedding in Tuscany

Many brides have the lifelong dream to get married in the fairytale setting of Tuscany, Italy. While it wasn't exactly a lifelong dream of ours, we jumped at the idea when it presented itself. So a week after our courthouse wedding in Seattle, we packed our bags and found ourselves on the other side of the world in Italy. This was where our more ceremonial wedding would take place. All photos below were taken by Studio Bastianoni. Neither Martin nor I are "wedding people." In our eyes, a wedding is to celebrate the unification of families, so that was the only audience we wished to have. The mere idea of a having a large wedding with lots of people made us want to elope. Not to mention, this would be the first time that our immediate family met in person, so we wanted it to happen in an enchanting place that was new to everyone in our family.

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Planning a Wedding Italy

As you might imagine, planning a destination wedding in a foreign country has its challenges. We found it hard enough to plan for a wedding of 7 people and don't even want to think about how a larger wedding would fare. In terms of wedding planning, we did a fair amount of it ourselves. Thus, it was hard to justify hiring a wedding planner as many in Italy insist on planning your entire wedding, from transportation and accommodations to the whole ceremony and reception. To us, a wedding planner is ideal for large destination weddings, but not for small, intimate weddings.

Our Wedding Villa in Tuscany

Tuscany itself is a large region of Italy, and there are many towns to make your home base. After some online research, we chose the town of Cortona as our wedding home base. The main reason was proximity to other major towns in Tuscany that we wanted to visit. It wasn't until much later that we realized Cortona was of Under the Tuscan Sun fame. Our villa in Creti (a town just outside of Cortona) was found on Airbnb. We rented out this beautiful villa that was modern with classic designs. Our particular unit offered 4 bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, and many gathering spaces. There were nearby villas in the complex that had more rooms for bigger parties. In fact, we spied at least one other wedding taking place in the villa while we were there.

Tuscany Wedding Photographer

Tuscany Wedding Photographer

Renting a Car in Italy

Since we all landed and met at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, we simply picked up our rental cars there and drove about two hours directly to our villa in Creti. We used an American car company, Hertz, to rent our car and made reservations online. It was reasonably easy to locate the car rental area in Fiumicino Airport. A few things to note about renting a car in Italy online:

  • Note whether the car you're looking at is a Manual or Automatic. We were initially going to rent a Fiat and quickly discovered it was a Manual. Needing an Automatic transmission (and deciding to treat ourselves), we rented a 4-door Mercedes Benz C-Class Sedan. That ended up having its own challenges (see the suitcase problem below!).

  • Legally, you need an international driving permit to operate a vehicle abroad. These permits can be very easily and quickly obtained in the United States for a reasonable fee. Both Martin and I got our driving permits, but never once had to show them to anyone while in Italy. We still recommend getting one anyway, just in case.

  • Many car brands and styles offered in Europe differ from those in America. For one, many take diesel rather than gasoline. Also, luxury vehicles like our Mercedes Benz operate very differently from our Subaru Impreza. It took a few days to figure out where all the buttons were.

  • Finally, be sure to choose a vehicle with large enough storage space. For the first time in our travels together, Martin and I each brought large luggage . We had much more clothing and gifts to pack and couldn't just bring carry-ons as we did in Hong Kong and Belize. The problem was that these suitcases barely fit into the trunk of our Mercedes-Benz rental car, especially when we had to fit similarly sized luggage from our parents. We barely made everything fit by sharing trunk space with Martin's brother's car rental (a Fiat).

Finding Wedding Vendors in Italy: the Officiant

Even though we decided to forgo a wedding planner, we still needed to hire two vendors. The first was an officiant to conduct our wedding ceremony. After much research, we chose to hold our legal wedding ceremony in Seattle. There were too many horror stories online about trying to coordinate legal wedding paperwork abroad. But we still needed someone to lead our formal wedding ceremony. We ended up working with Jo and Sofia of Tuscan Pledges and highly recommend them. They did a wonderful job leading our symbolic wedding ceremony, and we appreciated their quick communication via email and Skype.

Finding Wedding Vendors in Italy: the Photographer

The final piece of the puzzle was finding an Italian wedding photographer. Since we are photographers, this was an easy process. Essentially, we wanted a local Italian photographer since they would be familiar with the area and style of "Tuscan wedding photography" that we were seeking. From there, it was a matter of doing a Google search for "Tuscany wedding photographer" and clicking through as many online portfolios as we could. After evaluating and eliminating about 20 photographers, we chose Studio Bastianoni. We loved David Bastianoni's use of light and his overall style of wedding photography, and his WPPI accolades certainly helped. David himself was unavailable, but we worked with one of his associates (for a lower price!) and love the results. Looking at our wedding photos evokes the feeling and memory of the day as it unfolded, and that was exactly what we were hoping to achieve.

Beautiful DIY floral arrangements, done by my mom!

Beautiful DIY floral arrangements, done by my mom!

DIY Wedding

Beyond the two wedding vendors we hired, the rest was DIY. I bought my dress and shoes on Amazon, and Martin got his suit and accessories at Nordstrom. We purchased wedding flowers at a local market and our parents handled the lovely floral arrangements. The wedding venue was our own villa. Pro tip, be sure to check with your host before planning a wedding on private property. Finally, our reception was held in the nearby town of Cortona at Osteria del Teatro restaurant. We simply took a walking tour of the town earlier in the week and made in-person dinner reservations at the restaurant we liked the most. The wedding dinner was delicious, and we were even seated in a nice semi-private dining area.

In the End

At the end of the day, our special wedding day of September 7, 2017 was flawless. We were surrounded by some (but not all) of the most important people in the world to us and we were able to happily celebrate the unification of our families. And to our delight, our wedding photos beautifully capture the magic of our fairytale day. Want to see more from our trip to Italy? Check out our travel photos from Italy, or see our honeymoon photos from Milan.

Are you or someone you know planning a Tuscany wedding? Hopefully, you found this post helpful. Feel free to contact us with questions! We're happy to help however we can.

Can't see the video above? Click here.

Wedding in tuscany italy photos

Wedding in tuscany italy photos

Tuscany Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Wedding Photos_003

Wedding in tuscany italy photos

Wedding in tuscany italy photos

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

Tuscany Villa Wedding Photos_003

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Looking for more travel planning inspiration? Follow our Best of Italy Board on Pinterest for more ideas for your next adventure!

Tuscany Destination Wedding

Tuscany Destination Wedding

Honeymoon Photos in Milan with Flytographer

Have you ever wished you had picture perfect vacation photos? Even if you know your way around a camera like we do, it's still a challenge getting actual photos of yourself without using a selfie stick. Thankfully, there's a service for that, and it's called Flytographer. I first heard about it through a friend who is a Flytographer in Seattle and Hawaii (her name is Erin Lodi, and I highly recommend her!). The service is pretty genius: Flytographer hooks you up with the perfect vacation photographer in 200 cities worldwide. This sounded like the perfect treat after our destination wedding in Tuscany.

How to Use Flytographer

Booking a photographer is pretty straightforward. Simply go to the Flytographer website and search by destination for a photographer. You can view their profile and portfolio of images, and also inquire about availability. Photographers are available for casual or formal vacation photo shoots, and some will even do wedding proposal photos. Prices vary depending on the photographer you choose and the length of the session.

In our case, we booked a 90-minute photo session in Milan with photographer Marta G. We met early in the morning in front of Milan's famous Duomo, hoping to capture images before the swarms of tourists showed up. Our session was wonderful and we took photos in a bunch of iconic spots including The Galleria and a local coffee shop. Photos were edited quite quickly and we received an online gallery within a week of the session.

Honeymoon Photos in Milan

What follows are photos from our honeymoon photo shoot in Milan. All photos are by Marta G for Flytographer; note Martin's awesome vintage-looking Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera, which makes an appearance in some photos!

Want to see more from our month-long trip to Italy? Check out our YouTube travel vlogs!

Milan honeymoon wedding photos

Milan honeymoon wedding photos

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Looking for more travel planning inspiration? Follow our Best of Italy Board on Pinterest for more ideas for your next adventure!

Milan Flytographer Photos

Milan Flytographer Photos

Travel Photos to Inspire You to Visit Italy

We just returned from an exhilarating 3 weeks in Italy and have a swath of travel photos to sort through. Our journey began on the Amalfi Coast with a stay in Positano and Amalfi, and a journey out to Capri. From there, we wound back to Rome for a night where we picked up a rental car. We then drove to through Tuscany for a week to meet our families for our wedding. Afterward, we went north to the Dolomites and ended our trip in Milan.

Many photos were taken, in addition to videos that we are posting on our YouTube channel (one teaser video below!) Scroll through some of our select images below. Photos were taken with a mix of cameras including the Fujifilm X-Pro2, Sony a6300, DJI Mavic Pro and Samsung Galaxy S8.

More Italy Blogs

Self-Guided Walking Tour of Rome, Italy

Our Destination Wedding in Tuscany

Hiking the Path of the Gods in Positano

Honeymoon Photos in Milan with Flytographer

Italy Travel Photos

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Looking for more travel planning inspiration? Follow our Best of Italy Board on Pinterest for more ideas for your next adventure!

italy travel photos.jpg