The Unsplash community is made up of talented artists submitting images from almost every country on earth.
We caught up with five Italy-based contributors to hear what makes their country special, and how its landscape and culture influence their creativity.
Who are you and where are you from?
Gabriella Clare Marino: I’m half English and half Italian and I grew up in an international environment in Rome. I also lived in the north of Italy for a while and I have family in the south, so I have a good grasp of the whole country. I love traveling both locally and internationally and I’ve visited a total of 58 countries around the world.
Laura Adai: My name is Laura Adai, I was born in a small Italian country village and I live in Milan. I’ve always relied on my images as a keepsake of the precious moments of my family life, to cherish the beauty that I saw around me: flowers, nature, places, people... often focusing on details of little things that are still my favorite subjects in my work as a photographer.
Eberhard Grossgasteiger: My name is Eberhard Grossgasteiger. Born in South Tyrol, Italy, and raised amidst the picturesque Alps, my passion for nature and landscape photography was undoubtedly sparked and nurtured by my unique surroundings.
Nataliya Melnychuk: My name is Nataliya, I was born in Ukraine 46 years ago. At the age of 25 I moved to Italy, where I live and work to this day.
Claudio Poggio: I am an Italian photographer based in Milan.
What inspires you about Italy?
Gabriella: If you’re into street photography, there are some classic spots that we all love and that never fail to deliver. If you’re into architecture you have over 2,000 years of styles to choose from. If you’re a landscape photographer, we have all kinds of terrain. If you like fashion, well, you don’t need me to tell you you’re in the right place. There’s truly something for everyone and all this variety within easy reach inspires me to try my hand at different genres.
Laura: I love the many shades of Italy: the colorful houses of Cinque Terre, the red and yellow walls of Modena, the terracotta bricks of remote medieval villages, perched on the green gentle slopes of the Marche and Tuscan hills, or the ivory-white stone of the southern city of Lecce. But most of all I am inspired by light, by the Italian sun that takes you out for a walk, that paints shadow drawings on the walls, or highlights the plasticity of monuments with plays of light and shadow. Harsh light can be tricky in photography but I have a memory of the first time I saw the Trevi Fountain in Rome, and how the bright sun made the white marble shine and the crystal-clear water sparkle.
Eberhard: The people's calm and collected nature, along with the varied landscapes that include both Mediterranean and Alpine regions, exude a strong sense of creativity and motivation.
Nataliya: In Italy, summer inspires me a lot, seaside holidays, lemons, colorful fruit, fiery sunsets, smiles and the Italian sweet life, Vespas and Fiat 500s, wine.
Claudio: Beautiful views, exciting excursions and delicious food.
Which regions in Italy do you find particularly captivating for photography?
Gabriella: Italy is a photographer’s dream. The hustle and bustle of Rome, contrasted with its age-old cityscape, always inspires me. It’s forever changing, like a kaleidoscope. I also love the region of Puglia with its whitewashed towns bathed in sunlight. Tuscany is a well-known gem, of course. From the Alps in the north to the sea in the south, each of Italy’s 20 regions has its own flavor.
Laura: Traveling around Italy, the variety of landscapes offers so many opportunities for nature and landscape photography. Unique places like the Ligurian Riviera can give you breathtaking views of the sea coast, with its charming fishing villages. I love walking in the mountains in northern Italy and the Alps are by far my favorite destination. The sky can change so quickly, hiding the landscape or suddenly revealing mountain peaks in a sea of clouds.
In Italy, you are surrounded by art and beauty, world-famous cities, ancient monuments, and stunning churches. You can be overwhelmed by the desire to photograph everything… But my love for detail often leads me to leave the iconic squares and wander the side streets, where you can capture the simple beauty of the faded color of old walls, a vase of flowers on the windowsill or the laundry hung out to dry in the sun, simply to immortalize Italian life beyond the beauty of its artistic treasures.
Eberhard: As I only photograph in my own region, I can only write about South Tyrol. Without a doubt, South Tyrol stands as one of the most coveted places to reside in Europe. With its majestic Dolomite peaks, Alp summits, and thriving vineyards, it effortlessly blends the charm of the mountains with the allure of the Mediterranean. Boasting a trilingual society that speaks German, Italian, and Ladin, South Tyrol seamlessly bridges cultural contrasts. The region proudly upholds its traditions while embracing the present, creating a unique fusion of past and present.
Nataliya: My stay in Italy has been linked for 20 years to a beautiful green island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Ischia. It is a truly fantastic place, a place of sea and mountains. I recently moved to a small town in Lazio, Anagni.
Each region has its own beauties, from the sea to the mountains, and from modern metropolitan cities to cities of ancient art. In particular, I like Tuscany, the entire Amalfi Coast and the Dolomites.
Claudio: Cinqueterre, Versilia, Monferrato, Toscana, Puglia, Sicilia, Milano, Roma, Venezia, Napoli. They all have contrasting landscapes and impressive architecture.
What do you love most about Italian culture?
Eberhard: The culinary culture, the natural appreciation for all things aesthetically pleasing, and the boundless creativity.
What advice would you give to someone visiting Italy for the first time?
Gabriella: Try to explore with a local, otherwise you’ll probably just scratch the surface. A good idea, for instance, might be to contact local street photography groups or individuals and see if you can join a photowalk. I’ve done so in several cities and it’s a great way to make new friends.
What season is your favorite in Italy?
Laura: Winter in the enchanted white wonderland of a frozen alpine lake, or summer in a beautiful sunny seaside location; walking in a golden autumn wood or visiting the ancient streets of the fifteenth-century city of Urbino in the fresh clear light of a spring day.
But then mix it all up and you might be surprised by the unusual beauty of deserted beaches in winter!
Where’s your favorite local place to eat?
Gabriella: It depends on what I’m in the mood for. There are so many restaurants in Rome, we’re spoiled for choice. When I eat out I like to try different cuisines, because I eat Italian food at home. Except for pizza: I’m always ready for Roman-style pizza!
Laura: I recently found the perfect place for me during a winter trip in the Stelvio National Park, in the small village of Oga called Osteria il Triciclo. It was snowing and the fire was crackling in the cozy wood-paneled room. We enjoyed local wines with the most delicious traditional dishes, like ‘Pizzoccheri’ with ‘Pestèda’, a homemade seasoning, made from an ancient recipe by the elderly lady of the nearby village.
Eberhard: Every kind of Italian pasta, from the north to the south!
Nataliya: The Italian Mediterranean cuisine is delicious. Especially the fish-based dishes that every restaurant near the sea offers. In Ischia, I really like the L'Altra Mezzanotte restaurant. And what to say about real Neapolitan pizza? It is the best in the world.
What's your favorite photo you’ve taken that really captures Italy?
What effect does Italy have on your photography?
Nataliya: Italy made me discover my passion for photography; it made me notice details that hadn't previously stood out to the eye; it made me fall in love with people; it made me want to travel; it made me want to show everyone the beauty and uniqueness of this country bathed by the sea.
What is a hidden gem or must-see in Italy for visiting photographers?
Eberhard: Without a doubt, most people are well-acquainted with the renowned tourist attractions in Italy. However, my personal favorite stands out among the rest - Matera. Nestled on a rocky outcrop in the captivating region of Basilicata, in southern Italy, this remarkable complex of cave dwellings, skillfully carved into the mountainside, is an absolute must-see.
Are there any interesting experiences you’ve encountered while photographing Italy?
Laura: I was traveling from the small and colorful island of Burano towards Venice, standing outside on the deck of the ‘Vaporetto', the small ferry that connects the islands of the Venetian lagoon. I had planned to capture the Venice skyline from the sea, but the world had disappeared into a thick cold white-gray fog and I felt like I was floating in the middle of nothing. Everything was just a freezing wet mist, no sea, no sky. Then, slowly approaching the coast, Venice appeared like a pale blue watercolor painting. A delicate shape in the distance, emerging from nowhere. It was magical.
Describe your country in one word.
See you next month with our next around-the-world location — Turkey!