My motto in life goes something along the lines of “I’ll do anything for the gram’”. And when it came to picking a country to go to for a year, what was my biggest influencer? Instagram. The idyllic Instafamous places of Italy would always pop up on my explore page and I just knew that was where I needed to be.
This is a two-part blog post in which I’ll be sharing some of my own pictures of all the places you see spread across social media and what they’re actually like behind the Instagram facade filter. Also whilst you’re here, you can follow me @hayley.wickens cos gal wants to be Instafamous.
About the pictures:
I decided that for Venice I would wear red, cos you know, being in the Italian city of love and all that. This picture was taken on one of the very first bridges you need to walk over to get into the Venice labyrinth. Ideally, we should’ve carried on to a different bridge as on this one there were A LOT of people trying to get through. It all looks very peaceful here, but I reckon there were probably 5 other people along this bridge trying to get the exact same Instafamous shot. Not only that but in between almost every picture that got taken, there was always someone walking in between, lugging their suitcases around.
Ahh, the gondolas. All day, on every turn of a corner, there were gondoliers asking if we wanted a ride but we weren’t fully sold on the idea. However a bit later on, when we no longer knew what to do with ourselves, we decided it was time. Well, turns out that was harder than we thought. For some reason, there was not a gondolier in sight. We walked around for what seemed like forever until we eventually found one. We were so eager to get on that bartering went out the window. I recommend to everyone, play it cooler than we did and barter cos 80 euros for a 40-minute ride is hefty. Also in order to get the pic you want, proceed with caution as those things rock like crazy.
About the pictures:
During peak season, you can almost forget about trying to get a decent picture at Juliet’s house. This place is full to the brim with tourists writing their love letters to Juliet. Under the infamous balcony features a statue of a young Juliet who’s quite frankly over it. Here she is trying to mind her own business whilst everyone is trying to touch her magic boob that supposedly brings luck. In this pic there’s a lot of greenery; that’s because I was literally in the middle of a crowd trying to get a picture with nobody in it.
After a fail photo op at Juliet’s house, we went to the famous Piazza delle Erbe for a pic. The fountain wasn’t on that day, which was good as it meant that literally, nobody was hovering around it. Also, can we just admire how “Italian” that background is? If there’s one thing that Italians have nailed it’s their architecture.
About the picture:
This is the picture we all know and love from Cinque Terre. This Instafamous spot is situated in the 4th village of Cinque Terre, in Manarola. There’s just something about different coloured houses piled on top of each other that looks so pretty. Manarola was by no doubt the busiest of all 5 villages. I feel this is due to it’s rise to fame in the world of social media.
Everybody (and I do mean everybody) wanted this picture. To get it, you walk through the village and then walk up a hill, where you can get the pic at two different levels. Below the houses, there are also rocks that people climb up and then jump off of. So, when you look at this picture, imagine the screams of people diving into the Ligurian Sea. If you want to read up more on Cinque Terre, I have a whole blog post on it, if you click here.
About the pictures:
This picture was taken back in November and even though it wasn’t peak season, it was still busy. When you look around you can see people getting the same posey picture as yourself. Despite the lady walking into shot, what I always find amusing is the little girl on the right who’s just been flung in the air.
This was taken back in February in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is Italy’s oldest (and possibly most stunning) shopping centre and is Milan’s second Instafamous site after the Duomo. To get the right pic you need to work your way through the crowds. Or, like this one lady I saw, bring your own professional photographer and have a full-on photo shoot. Instead of the crowd getting in her way, they were drawn to her cos she looked Instafamous (maybe she was and I’m just not knowledgeable).
In amongst all of the tourists you already need to weave your way through, there are also pigeons. “Oh Hayley, that doesn’t sound so bad” is what you may be thinking, but no. There are people in the square that walk around with bird feed to encourage these flying rats to come your way. And these things aren’t shy, oh no. This picture is my legitimate reaction to a pigeon flying right above the top of my friend Isobelle’s head. I feel this is the true representation of gobsmacked.
About the pictures:
I mean there is only one thing to see in Pisa, that is indeed, the tower (which btw, is surprisingly small). Besides this, there really isn’t that much there (well there’s a river but that’s really about it). The key thing with Pisa is to go there early. First thing in the morning we hopped on a train from Florence, where we were staying and got there within an hour.
I’m so so glad we did because within half an hour of us arriving it was starting to get really busy. I would recommend going to Pisa (for like just a morning) just to get the Instafamous picture as it is ICONIC. I was with a group of friends and we just had such a laugh watching each other’s attempt to get it right. To get the picture, I would recommend standing on the boulders. This allows you to not get the metal barriers in shot.