Picking the winners for our #TakeWalks Travel Photo Contest was very, very difficult. Even with the high bar set by last year’s Italy travel photo competition, we still were blown away by what talented photographers—and curious, open-minded travelers—you all are! After much deliberation, we narrowed the finalists down to nine, plus one grand-prize winner.
All of the finalists were picked based not only on the beauty of their photographs, but for embodying the ideas behind the #TakeWalks movement—ideas like authenticity, going off the beaten path, and seeing even major sights with fresh eyes. Enjoy… and let us know which one is your favorite!
Our grand-prize winner: Nataal Colalillo of Ontario, Canada was on her honeymoon in Italy when she spotted this shot in Venice. “We chose to walk off the crowded path of tourists,” she says, and came to this street, filled with locals and strung with hanging laundry. (Note the child on the bicycle and the woman with the shopping bag in the background!). We love how, even in a city as busy with visitors as Venice, Nataal managed to find a little slice of authentic, neighborhood life. For capturing not only the beauty of Venice, but the #takewalks concept, we’ve chosen this photograph as our grand prize winner! Congratulations, Nataal! (You can see more of her photography here!).
Finalist: Pamela Wynfield, a retired U.S. Navy officer from Warrenton, Virginia, lived and worked for four years in Italy. Visiting Taormina, Sicily, with her husband, she wandered just off the beaten path from the ruins of the ancient Greek theater on the coast… and saw these poppies, just beginning to bloom. We love the unexpected focus on the flowers, rather than the (much more often-photographed) scenery in the background. Spotting these kinds of beautiful details is what the #takewalks idea is all about!
Finalist: On her trip to Italy, Laurel Leidner, of Lake Arrowhead, California, visited the town of Monteriggioni, Tuscany (just outside of Siena). When she saw this couple sitting on a bench, their dog at their feet, she knew she had to grab the shot. “It’s just a simple scene, and yet so full of the flavor of Italy,” she writes. Her advice for getting pictures like this one: “One just needs to spend time walking Italy, strolling slowly, with eyes open to authentic experiences.” Agreed!
Finalist: You don’t have to be in a tiny, unknown town to go off the beaten path and #takewalks! This photograph, shot by Chris and Jill Braun of Harlesyville, Pennsylvania, was taken on their recent trip to Rome. “We took this photo on our way back to our hotel following our Pristine Sistine tour with Walk of Italy (which was fantastic)!,” they write (why, thank you very much!). “This is just one of the many quite little corners you will see while walking through Rome. The location is can be found on the walk between the Vatican and the Pantheon. We like this photo so much we had it enlarged, framed and now hangs in our dining room.” We like it, too!
Finalist: We love this photo by Nataal Colalillo (also our grand-prize winner). She was walking through Rome’s streets on her honeymoon when the chef of this restaurant emerged. “The shot was taken in a matter of a split second,” she says.
Finalist: When Andrew Perrie of Oshkosh, Wisconsin visited Italy, he booked a villa with eight friends in the village of Vescovado di Murlo, Tuscany. “Every morning, low-lying clouds filled the countryside,” he says. He took this shot just before sunrise—from the window of his bedroom.
Finalist: Tamara Gnyp of Hendersonville, Tennessee, grabbed this shot in San Gimignano, Tuscany. “Casually walking across the main corridor in town, I was graced with this vantage point, absolutely awash in texture and feeling,” she writes. We love how she captured the play of light and shadow on the cobblestones, wood, and brick, and how she found such a beautiful, solitary moment in a town that’s often full of tourists! “A little window in time and space, this is,” she says.
Finalist: The best way to discover new vantage points is, often, to literally #takewalks! Dwight Osbaldeston of Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada took this photograph in the countryside of Chianti. We love the sense of exploration—and, of course, the beautiful landscape!
Finalist: Jamie Camfferman of Chicago took this picture on a trip to Venice in 2009. The photograph “captures the essence of Venice that everyone envisions. No staging, no posing, just a true feel of another day in one of the most romantic cities in the world… That, to me, is what the #takewalks movement and touring Italy is all about,” Jamie writes. We couldn’t agree more!
Finalist: Talk about a different way to “see” a city! This photograph of the city of Vicenza, taken by Michael Puig of Peyton, Colorado, is a great example of how just a change in perspective can make a photograph go from “good” to “wow!”. “I used the stone pillars of the Monte Berico overlook to frame the city below,” Puig says. “It’s the essence of my travels captured, I believe, in a single frame.” Very creative, Michael. Thank you for sharing!
Which photograph is your favorite… and how are you inspired to #takewalks in Italy? Let us know in the comments!