The Winners of the International #TakeWalks Photo Contest!

Photograph by Gary Stewart
Photograph by Gary Stewart

After running our annual Italy travel photo competition for those in the United States and Canada, we opened up a second contest to all international contestants. (Legal issues made it tricky to do everything in one shot… no pun intended!).

And we’re so glad we did! Our friends from Australia, India, England and beyond sent us some truly stunning shots, all of them showing great takes on the #TakeWalks movement.

Here are the 10 winners. (And don’t forget to check out the winning shots of our domestic photo competition!).

Photograph by Gary Stewart

Our grand-prize winner: Between this and Nataal Colalillo’s shot that won our U.S. and Canada contest, it looks like Venice was the place to be taking photographs this year! (We’re so glad that this beautiful, atmospheric city is still inspiring such creativity!). This shot was taken by Gary Stewart of Aberdeen, Scotland. To get this dramatic lighting and the figure in silhouette, he broke one of photography’s most-followed rules… and shot right into the sun! He was at the southern edge of Dorsoduro, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Venice, looking across the water to the island of Giudecca. “This was my favourite photo from my trip to Venice,” he told us. Ours, too!

Photograph by Ioanna Markaki

Finalist: Ioanna Markaki of Stockholm, Sweden didn’t immediately fall in love with Siena. “The extreme heat and crowds of tourists may initially discourage you from appreciating the medieval charm in the air,” she admitted. That’s why, she said, you have to #takewalks! “In an effort to find comfort in shady, narrow streets, you can easily get lost in the alleys defining the different contrade,” she told us. The flags and emblems of each neighborhood “transform the walk into a trip to past, yet still vividly colorful, times.” Which is her favorite contrada? Chiocciola, the one pictured, thanks to the kindness of its people. We’re glad you enjoyed Siena, Ioanna!

Photograph by Jeff Firth

Finalist: Most people visiting Florence take photos of the Ponte Vecchio. But Jeff Firth of Ireland found the people on the Ponte Vecchio—as well as the bridge’s statue of Benvenuto Cellini—far more interesting. He snapped this at Easter, when it was cool weather and, he says, “everyone was wearing dark colours apart from one person!”.  We love the dramatic contrasts of this shot and the way it makes the Ponte Vecchio look so different, almost like a piazza rather than a bridge! Thanks, Jeff!

Photograph by Caz Adams

Finalist: We loved the creativity of this shot by Caz Adams of Lane Cove, Australia—and its sense of being in the moment! While in La Verna Monastery in Tuscany, Caz wrote, “I’d just enjoyed a well-deserved cappuccino when a priest finished his coffee, acknowledged my empty cup, smiled at me and headed down the hall lit by the setting sun.  Time seemed to stand still. This moment was just for me.  After all, what could be more Italian than a cappuccino and a robed priest treading the hall of an ancient monastery!” We agree!

Photograph by Veerle Verhagen

Finalist: This photograph looks like it could come straight out of National Geographic—but Glasgow’s Veerle Verhagen actually grabbed it in Capri! “I was trying to get a good shot of the coast and the sea, but ran into him on my way to a good viewpoint. I had to take the picture quickly because after I’d disturbed his peace and quiet, he only sat around for a couple of seconds,” Veerle told us. We bet! Glad you caught him, Veerle!

Photograph by Trent Marshall

Finalist: Trent Marshall of Coburg, Australia grabbed this photograph in Venice on his honeymoon with his wife, Felicity Giuliani. (The two had their wedding in Positano—you can read about their wedding in Italy on their blog here!). “Everyone expects gondolas and water in Venezia, but this picture captures what it’s really like,” Felicity wrote to us. “It’s about getting lost in the rabbit warren of windy lanes and stumbling across a little gem of a place or a view that you didn’t expect (and will probably never find again!).” Too true! Thank you, Felicity and Trent—and congratulations on your wedding!

Photograph by Missy Ledesma-Leese

Finalist: We loved this action shot, grabbed by Naples resident Missy Ledesma-Leese in Gubbio (one of our 6 favorite spots in Umbria!). She stumbled on this scene while looking for a large Christmas tree that she and her family saw from afar, lit up on the side of the mountain. Instead, they found this: “A group of men playing what I know to be Bacci Ball, though they may call it something different in Italian. The camaraderie, the playfulness, and the fellowship were amazing to witness.” We love little moments like this. Thank you for sharing, Missy!

Photograph by Gary Stewart

Finalist: Grand prize winner Gary Stewart’s photographs were so beautiful, we couldn’t not give this second one a nod! The more we looked at this photograph, the more details came into focus. There’s not just the couple, silhouetted in the door; there’s also the woman actually hanging her laundry out to dry up top. “It was fantastic wandering down the lesser travelled streets in Venice,” Gary told us. “I really liked the very decayed building next to a more restored building. I like how the woman hanging out her washing bridges both homes.” So do we. Gorgeous shot, Gary!

Photograph by Mriganka Kalita

Finalist: Dubai resident Mriganka Kalita wrote us about his trip to Italy, “We were overwhelmed by the culture and beauty of Italy and are itching for a chance to go back.” While there, though, he had the good fortune to take some lovely shots—including this one of Praiano, one of the less-explored villages along the Amalfi coast.  “Tourists usually make a beeline for heavyweights such as Amalfi or Positano,” he said, but instead, “we stayed in this pretty village for a week and spent our days taking leisurely walks in and around the village discovering its many attractions—the winding picturesque walks to the beach, the artist who stays in an ancient stone house by the sea, the Church of San Gennaro, Tutti Frutti (the local grocer who became a friend), views of the Mediterranean from Piazza Moresa and of course, the friendly inhabitants who always greet you with a cheerful ‘Ciao!’.” And that’s exactly what the #TakeWalks idea is all about!

Photograph by Carrie Zimmer

Finalist: We loved this change in perspective from Carrie Zimmer, a resident of Milan. She was in the small town of Vigevano in Lombardy, Italy, and had just climbed Bramante’s Tower. “When you peer through the circular elements of the tower, it allows you to block out other surroundings and stare across the skyline to the edge of the cathedral and dome behind it. We were lucky to have such great weather, and I was thrilled with this shot!” As you should be, Carrie! Thank you for sharing!

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