There was much to love on our travels through Italy this summer. But there was this one bit that, to put it mildly, I did not like. The crowds. And yes, the irony of complaining about crowds of tourists when I was on the totally beaten path, at the height of high season, as a tourist myself? That hasn’t escaped me.
Still, The Crowds! Sometimes the throngs of tourists were more than I could handle. And I gave up on a sketch. This barely-begun sketch of an obelisk just by the Pantheon in Rome? Abandoned. And those crowds I started capturing aren’t even half the people that were squeezed into that space.
Here are sketches made while being jostled by the crowd to view The Birth of Venus and David.
I’m glad I sketch because there’s no way I could handle being in crowds like these if I didn’t. Inside the Pantheon, sitting on the floor.
At Piazza della Sigonoria in Florence amidst a zillion sculptures and tourists.
And outside the Duomo, where tour guides are smart enough to use a variety of flags on poles so they don’t lose their tour group.
In time I figured a plan: I’d get out at 6am to stroll and sketch around the city before it got busy. Those early morning sketch sessions gave me access to a really different view of the city.