Italy is Full of Surprises

I love traveling. I love the careful and detailed planning that is required to make the trip possible. But one of the best things about going on a travel is that you do not know what this journey will bring forth. Some can be bad, some can be good and some can be unexpected. This trip so far has been no different. You guys all know by now that I am out in Italy again (this is like my second home) for my next Kenny Kim PhotoVenture w/ friends.. I arrived here few days early to prepare everything that we need for the workshop. I also brought couple of my good friends in Stevi & Matt Savage of Averyhouse & Kenny Nakai of Nakai Photography a few days early to show them some parts of Rome and Umbria that I’ve been wanting to share with the for sometime.

This trip has not even began yet and Italy is welcoming me with many surprises. Let me share a few with you:

1) While I was in air traveling to Italy, another photographer signed up for my workshop and have made it officially SOLD OUT. Praise God. Talk about last minute!

2) When we landed in Rome, it sudden started to snow – I mean major snow, that it took us almost an hour to get to our hotel (which should have taken us less than 30 minutes). The taxi driver, in Italian, told me that this is crazy because it has not snowed in Rome for over 25 years. At first I thought he was exaggerating (b/c of our language barrier) but later on I found out that he was being literal. Wow, it hasn’t snowed in 25 years and we just happened to arrive on the day that it decided to snow. Had I known this earlier, I would not have taken a nap right away when I got to the hotel. 🙁 I did manage to get couple of shots before I took a quick nap:

Because we all took a little nap, we were wide awake for the evening. So we decided to walk around Rome on a night shoot. I don’t usually do many shoots at night but walking around in Rome (getting lost around Trastevere) made me realize how awesome it is to use different available light to create some amazing shots like this:

Here is a normal view of Colosseum at night:

And here’s an unexpected view of the Colosseum thanks to snow by day that melted into puddle of water by night:

Pantheon is just as breath-taking at night as it is by day. I love Matt Savage’s innocent child-like response to seeing Pantheon for the first time: “This is one of the coolest place on earth!” Matt & Stevi and Kenny Nakai took some unbelievable photos here which I am sure they will share on their blogs in the future.

I almost found out that Kenny Nakai is afraid of heights. I still made him cross over the Tevere river bridge railing and stand on the other side. He’s not smiling in this photo because he is genuinely scared right now:

We walked around Max’s home town in Terni at night. We found out San Valentino (St. Valetine) is the guardian of the city. Because it was close to 2/14, they were having a chocolate festival there. I have never seen so much chocolate in my life. I learned that Nutella is not just a chocolate cream spread – it is a religion. One of amazing things we tasted were these crepes filled with Nutella inside. I think I am not a huge fan of chocolate but I can eat this any day of the week!

Here Stevi & Matt are patiently waiting for their Nutella crepe. Almost too patient that they are getting angry – j/k…maybe..

Now that Stevi got her Nutella, she is a happy camper. Nakai on the other hand did not get one and now wishes he did:

Max had planned another workshop after my PhotoVenture is over with a group of Italian photographers. He told me he reserved a special room for our meeting and when he took me there, I almost gasped. It is deep in the moutains at a monastery where the monks used to live – which now has been converted to a bed and breakfast hotel. This place is unreal and well preserved in time. I cannot wait to do this. Just picture a bald asian who does not know how to speak any Italian teaching these guys about American style of photography. This ought to be interesting:

We also got to visit Assisi again. We went to the Basilica of St. Francis. Normally this place is packed with tourists and St. Francescan followers. Today it was almost empty and perhaps because of that reason, the guards were not there. This church is full of of the gorgeous and breath-taking fresco art. For this reason, they do not allow any photography inside. But since the guards were not there, we decided to be rebels and snapped some shots. Max told us that this is the first time in his life that he did not witness any guards protecting the basilica:

We took a break after Assisi to relax at a nearby café bar as typical Italians would do. We sat next to this couple and I don’t know why but seeing them enjoy a cup of coffee and dessert made me smile. I took a shot of them and it reminded me of how Italians love life and enjoy it to the fullest. It put a smile on my face again. 🙂

And this last shot is pretty amazing – not only is Terni guarded by San Valentino, he also has a church there and is buried there as well. We drove by the church as they were finishing their mass and noticed these heart shaped lights leading them into the church. We couldn’t help but to take this photos for Matt & Stevi. How many couples can say that they celebrated their Valentine’s Day in front of San Valetino’s Church where he is buried? These guys are so cute together they make me sick. 🙂

Anyways, I need to hit the sack soon. We are heading back to Rome to meet all the attendees tomorrow. I cannot wait for this PhotoVenture to start and to see what surprises are waiting for us around the corner. Are you ready? Andiamo & arrivederci!

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13 Responses to “Italy is Full of Surprises”

  1. Jen May says:

    Look at the snow! Oh, how fun–love seeing your photos on this trip.

  2. maybe I’ll bump into you, Kenny. Heading to Florence on vacation tomorrow for a week (will be there Tuesday). Excited, never having been to italy. Thanks for sharing this little taste. bp

  3. Ahhh!!!!
    I friggin’ hate that my little brother had to get married THIS coming weekend, lol.
    We really, really, REALLY wanted to be there with you; and this post just makes it worse!

    Much love to all of you; stay safe, stay warm, be loved.

  4. […] here to read the rest: Italy is Full of Surprises | Chicago Destination Lifestyle Wedding … Tags: amazing-trip, has-not, photo, venture-workshop, with-you-, workshop […]

  5. Sharon Snow says:

    That blog post was like reading a fairy-tale before bed. Thanks for sharing Kenny.
    Stevi and Matt are an amazingly cute couple and that final image is timeless.
    I look forward to following your journey the next couple of weeks blog style, until I can finally jump on board one of your photo venture’s in person!

  6. Jen Kroll says:

    Yup. Jealous. Wish I was there with you all!! Have the time of your life!!

  7. Otto Rascon says:

    I love the pics of Matt and Stevi, especially the angry Nutella photo 🙂 Seriously, it looked you all had an incredible time out there. Thanks again for sharing your life and experiences. Rock on dude!

  8. Jason Thon says:

    Goodtmes Kenny! From sunny Miami just a couple weeks ago to snowy Italy. See you in Vegas!

  9. Sabrina says:

    love it love it love it!! Paris may as well be my second home and Nutella crepes are pretty much one of the best things EVER! so glad you were able to enjoy. Thanks so much for sharing your trip so far. Can’t wait to see and “hear” more!

  10. cindee bae says:

    looks like you’re having a blast Kenny and that 2nd image is wicked cool!!

  11. DAWN DAVIS says:

    I sooooooo wish I was there with you all…!!!!! Travel safe and have fun KK… we miss you!

  12. Pamela says:

    Is it true that St. Valentino performed weddings during a time when they were not supposed to due to war? Just curious. Beautiful captures of a beautiful way of life. Hope to go someday.

  13. Claire says:

    hey kenny – it was good to meet you @ wppi! i am in love with those top two photos — and super jealous of your italy trip!

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