Italy with my dad

Italy with my dad - student project

In May I'll travel with my father to Italy for a two week stay. It will be his very first visit, and we'll be travelling through Tuscany/Umbria, ending with a few days in Rome.

My dad and I love maps and seeing new places, so I want this map to be something he can use when planning the trip, during the trip, and something he can keep as a nice memory once we get back home again.

I'm not sure if I want to show all the areas (Tuscany/Umbria and Rome), or only one of them. I'm leaning toward only doing Tuscany/Umbria. The finished map will be printed, but I also want to keep a digital copy.

As he loves to navigate by maps I want it to be roughly accurate, and include things like the names of roads. I also think it would be nice to add icons from each town/area, showing something they are famous for (cathedral, food, wine, monuments, history).

Right now I can't decide if I want to do hand-drawn (pen and paper, or digital), or use photographs.


  • My inspiration board about maps on Pinterest:
  • My blog:



I've been toying around with ideas for different ways to make maps

Italy with my dad - image 1 - student project

Italy with my dad - image 2 - student project

I've decided I want the map to have a hand drawn-feel to it. 

I've also made lists of what towns and cities I want to add. I've also split them into four different groups, so I might colour code them into the map to show possible day-trips and intineraries.


I picked up the map closest to me, which happened to be a map of Rome, then I closed my eyes and pointed to a random square on the grid. I ended up with the square containing one of my favourite places in Rome: Castel Sant Angelo. I drew this digitally with my Bamboo tablet (into Photoshop), in about 15 minutes. Could have added more detail of course, but I'm pretty happy with the result.

Italy with my dad - image 3 - student project


In this map I've added nearly all of the places we want to visit, mapped out the roads, and marked each town and given them all an icon. I've mostly chosen to draw the town it self, or a famous monument, except for Montalcino and Montepulciano who are famous for their wines, Panzano has the best butcher-shop in Tuscany, and Pienza which is famous for its Pecorino cheese (seriously, the whole town smells like cheese!).

I drew this on my Bamboo tablet, and added the fonts (Claire Hand & Jellyka Delicious Cake)

I'm liking the look of this, but the background is too boring. Some texture would be nice. Also I'd like to add the names of the main roads and try to colour code different day-trips. I also want to challenge myself to make a map or two of the same area, that has a different design to it. 

Italy with my dad - image 4 - student project

USEFUL TIP: (OK, this might be obvious to a lot of you, but I just thought of this.....) One thing that's made my life a lot easier when drawing digitally is using tons of layers. In this map the background is one layer, the roads and dotted towns is another layer, the text is in individual layers, and the drawings are also on a seperate layer. That way I can test things and erase, without worrying that I might  accidentaly erase something important.

Alternative map of Rome attractions:

Italy with my dad - image 5 - student project

Another map of Tuscany and Umbria:

I used a Google map to trace the roads and place the towns and cities. I've colour coded possible itineraries, and added the time they will take to drive (or take the train). I was inspired by how metro/underground maps make it so easy to navigate  because they use colour.

Fonts used: KG Eyes Wide Open and Machlete

I really like the simplicity of this one. Now I have to decide if this is my final map, or if I should try to make a few more....

Italy with my dad - image 6 - student project

FINAL MAP (ta-dah!)

A few days late, due to a cold, here's my final map. It's a little funny that it's so very different from my original design idea (see the first few drawings above), although I did play around with a very simple shape from the start too. It took me a few days to decide if I wanted to incorporate the icons for the different cities, or keep the circles. 

This is drawn on my laptop, with my mouse (no tablet this time). I used google maps to trace the roads (thicker line for main roads) and place the cities/towns. I also used a slightly larger font for our "hometown" Cortona, and for the biggest cities in the area.

This time I colour coded different towns, making 7 possible day trips from our base in Cortona. For example: if we want to travel to the Chianti hill-towns, we can see they're colour coded green, and that the drive from Cortona and back will tak e about 3:28 minutes. Or if we want to visit Siena, and the nearby town of Monteriggioni we should expect to spend around 2 1/2 hours in the car all together.

Hope this makes sense to anyone else?

I've also written down the names of the main roads, for easier navigation.

The fonts are Lazy Day and Richmond (heading). I'm intending to print the map, so sorry if the font is a little small on screen.

Thank you Anne and classmates, we should do this again some time! :)

Italy with my dad - image 7 - student project