Flying your drone in Italy

Santuario Madonna di San Luca

Santuario Madonna di San Luca

Nadir shot of the Santuario Madonna di San Luca

Everyone knows just how photogenic Italy is. It has so much history, beautifully designed houses and a lot of class. It’s particularly good for drone photos too!

First of all, we (that is Divesh, Elliot and me) headed from London to Rome for the bi-annual #PhotographyLads weekend. A weekend where we assume we know what we are doing with our film semi-vintage cameras and if we have any questions (about light for example), Divesh will have some long winded technical answer that must be correct. On that, some of the photos from the trip are towards the end of this article. A great way to hang out and spend a weekend.

FLYING IN ROME - I took my drone in my trusty LowePro backpack EVERYWHERE in Rome but at no point did it feel safe to use it. This was due to the large number of men and women wondering around either in pale blue or digital camoflage with really big guns and fingers on the safety switch. To be fair, the laws do state not to fly in cities, also the need for insurance as this blog states. The current risk of terrorism or possibly civil unease (see current Italian Politics) meant that there was a high presence of automatic weapons. There was one spot that I was dying to get a shot of at Palatine Hill. Someone or some artist had arranged HELP in large blocks on the ground which I can only assume was for drone photography, why else would it be there?! We went to many areas but decided not to fly at all in Rome as it would be too nerve-wracking, but I can recommend that if you have a motor, definitely drive around the area of Cinecittà and the south/south east. We saw this area from the bus transfer from the airport to the city and there were plenty of archaeological sites and old Roman aqueducts. What you can do a lot of in Rome though is walking around and eating big meals. I’ll be back there for multiple espressos, carafes of wine, Tiramisu and pasta again soon.

FLYING IN BOLOGNA - I liked Bologna. Quieter, less touristy, bigger streets, less cars and LESS POLICE/MILITARY! Therefore, more potential. Tourist information informed me that it was possible to fly the drone in Bologna however, you require a ‘permit’ from the local police and insurance was ‘necessary’. I didn’t have that conversation with the police as my Italian is non-existent but I did see that outside of Bologna you can fly unhindered by protected airspace. The best place for view was the Santuario Madonna di San Luca, a huge church/monastery to the south west of the city. The video below and the images above are from this visit. Beware, there is a big 4km walk up a steady incline to get there, but the views are totally worth it. If you are visiting this nice city, don’t forget to get some food in the markets off the Piazza Maggiore and practice your Italian. Don’t order a whole roasted chicken by mistake, like we did.

#PhotographyLads images courtesy of Divesh - not including mine as I didn’t load up my film properly and then the camera shutter got stuck… School boy. 

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