Many artists dream about painting in Italy. Now, as retiring baby-boomers are increasingly taking up “brush and pallet knife,” more than ever, painting in Italy is the “thing.” Every day, a new “Artist’s” tour of Italy crops up in travel sections of the newspaper and on the Internet. But there still remains a majority of artists who prefer to “go it alone.” They are independent in their artistic styles, and prefer to be independent regarding their travels in Italy . This blog intends to target these free spirited artists who still need guidance to the best places to paint, especially those idyllic gems that are little known and less traveled. Certainly, independent travelers who are not artists will also benefit from this blog.

With a few exceptions, this blog is not a guide to restaurants, lodging, rental cars, or shopping, (except for art supplies.)

Sprinkled among the posts are: my paintings, and a few Italian proverbs and poems written by notable Italian authors for whom I work as a translator.

Please visit my website to view my original art:


Giclee prints of my paintings, ranging from greeting size to poster size, can be purchased at:


Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I have recently published a novel: Bridge of Sighs and Dreams. In addition to the general public, readers interested in Italian history and World War 2 history should enjoy this novel. Also, I believe this novel would be of special interest to artists, as the protagonist is a political cartoonist and portrait artist who uses her skill to help survive World War 2 Nazi occupied Italy.  The book is available in paperback and eBook at:
BookLocker.com,   Amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com, iTunes.com  and most other online bookstores. An excerpt is available at:  http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html
More information is available at:
Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Below is a short description:

Nazi-occupied Rome sets the stage for Bridge of Sighs and Dreams, where the lives of two women collide in an arena of deception, greed, and sacrifice.  
Following an allied attack, Angelina Rosini flees to Rome from her bombed-out village and a ruthless Nazi officer bent on revenge. In Rome, the spirited portrait artist channels her creativity into the art of survival for herself and her young daughter. Unwilling to merely endure, and armed with ingenuity, wit, and unyielding optimism, she enters the shadow world of the Resistance where she zigzags through a labyrinth of compassionate allies and cunning spies. 

Meanwhile, Lidia Corsini quenches her lust for power and wealth by turning in Jews to the Nazi Police attaché with whom she has formed an alliance. Her spiral into immorality accelerates as swiftly as the Jewish population dwindles, and soon neither her husband nor her son is immune to her madness. 

Once Angelina discovers the consequences of Lidia’s greed, she conspires to put an end to the treacheries; but in doing so, she becomes the target of Lidia’s most sinister plot.

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is a story of betrayal, dignity, and purpose that highlights the brutality toward Italian citizens, under both Mussolini’s Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation, and illustrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


 by Luciano Somma

Since I just wrote below about painting on the island of Ischia,
 I felt it appropriate to share the poem: ISCHIA AT SUMMER’S END
written by Luciano Somma. 
As in all of Luciano’s poetry, we feel the sentimental spirit of one 
of Italy’s foremost poets. 
You can find Luciano Somma at:

Siccome ho scritto qui giù delle località preferiti dipingere 
sull’isola d’Ischia, ho sentito che era adatto offrire la poesia
scritto di Luciano Somma.  
Come tutte delle sue poesie, sentiamo lo spirito 
sentimentale d’un poeta molto noto in Italia. 
Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

                  ISCHIA FINE DI UN ESTATE   
         Di fronte il mare        
         calda la sabbia spesso infuocata                   
         Laggiù il castello Aragonese
         sotto una distesa d’azzurro
         ha luce nuova
         e mi riporta alla mente
         secoli di storia.
         A sera
         là sopra “Campagnano”
         col verde attorno
         e tanti amici
         insieme a festeggiare
         la fine d’un’estate
         ormai alle porte.
         Sulla terrazza
         alla parete
         l’occhio d’un ramarro
         che mi guardava
         uasi per dispetto.
         Luciano Somma
 ISCHIA AT SUMMER’S END                                  
     Facing the sea
     hot sand often inflamed
     by August
     below the Aragonese Castle
     has new light
     and it brings back to mind
     centuries of history.
     At evening
     there above “Campagnano”
     enclosed in greenery
     many friends
     join to celebrate
     the end of a summer
     now at the door.
     On the terrace
     from the wall
     the eye of a lizard
     watches me
     almost for spite.

     Pamela Allegretto (translation)



The Island of Ischia is located in the Mediterranean Sea 21 miles west of Naples.  
Also known as the Emerald Island, Ischia is bathed in radiant light and surrounded by
 luminous waters.  The island, studded with pine groves and ablaze in vibrant bougainvillea, 
poses abundant subject matter for artists. 
The easiest access is from Naples, where you can take a hydrofoil or ferryboat, depending
 whether or not you’re taking a car.  Even though during the summer months traffic and parking
can be a challenge, I recommend bringing a car to facilitate travel throughout the 18 square-mile
If you spend the day painting in Forio, a favorite among artists, stay for sunset and witness the
 famous “green flash” over the Gulf of Gaeta.
Even with a car, you’ll still be doing a fair amount of walking and hiking, so pack your art
supplies on the light side and don’t forget to bring water and snacks.  Note to oil painters: Dispose
of your mediums responsibly.  The Ischitani will slap a hefty fine on any artist who dumps
turpentine or any other chemical medium no matter how minute the quantity.

Buon Viaggio!

The painting below is a watercolor of Sant’Angelo, which is joined to the “Mainland” of Ischia
by a 300-foot-long lava and sand isthmus.  The painting can be viewed at my website:


Saturday, September 1, 2012


SEPTEMBER FIRST by Luciano Somma

On this last day of August and the eve of autumn, I felt it appropriate
 to share the poem: SEPTEMBER FIRST written by
 Luciano Somma.  As in all of Luciano’s poetry, we feel
 the sentimental spirit of one of Italy’s foremost poets. You can find
Luciano Somma at:

Quality giclee prints of the above painting: Fall in New England  
can be purchased at: 

In quest’ultimo giorno d’agosto e la vigilia d’autunno,
ho sentito che era adatto offrire la poema
 scritto di Luciano Somma.  Come tutte delle sue poesie,
 sentiamo lo spirito sentimentale d’un poeta molto noto
in Italia. Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

Si puo` comprare dell stampe di giclee del quadro in alto: 
 Fall in New England a: 

L’ultimo sogno d’Agosto                     
Si sveglia col primo Settembre,                  
questa sera è un incanto!                       
Il cielo è amaranto, uno spiffero di vento           
dolce come la carezza d’un bene                                                        
amaro come il fiele del pianto                          
mi porta una ciurma di pensieri                       
Che affollano la mente 
e mettono in croce questo cuore.              
Vorrei che piovesse e non piove…                                                    
Vorrei tante nuvole intorno                                                                                                                                    
ma la luna è d’argento                                    .
Vorrei che un sogno tornasse                      
ma il sogno non torna.  
Questo sogno è partito
sulle onde                    
dell’ultima sera d’Agosto                     
un grappolo di stelle     
lassù nel cielo amaranto
in questa sera incantata
del primo Settembre.      
Luciano Somma

The last dream of August
awakens with the first of September,
this evening is enchantment!
The sky bleeds red and purple, a light breeze
soft like a lover’s caress                         
bitter like malicious words
brings me a crew of thoughts
that crowd my mind
and crucify this heart.
I wish it were raining and not rain…             
I’d like a cloud-filled sky                                                                                                      
yet view a silver moon.
I wish the dream was ending
But the dream doesn’t end.
This dream has departed
on the waves
of the final August evening
leaving me
a cluster of stars
far-off in the bleeding sky
in this enchanted evening
of September first.
Pamela Allegretto Franz (translation)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

De-Constructing David

De-constructing David
Occassionally, I like to chose a well-known image and scale it down to minimal lines, allowing the viewer's eyes to fill in the spaces.  Michelangelo's DAVID was the perfect image for this exercise.
Giclee prints of this design from greeting card size to poster size can be purchased at:  http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

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Sunday, August 5, 2012


 Italian Poetry / Voglio Di Tenerezza / Luciano Somma

I recently completed the painting above: VEDUTA DI VESUVIO/VIEW OF VESUVIUS, and I thought
 this would be an appropriate space to insert one of Luciano Somma’s poems.  Luciano has lived his entire
 life in Napoli and in VOGLIO DI TENEREZZA / TENDER FEELINGS, his words about Napoli are like
 delicate brushstrokes that paint a rich, mental image. VOGLIO DI TENEREZZA is an excerpt from Luciano’s 
 dual-language poetry book: “L’ALBA DI DOMANI/TOMORROW’S SUNRISE.”
You can find Luciano Somma at:

 The original acrylic on canvas painting can be purchased from my art website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com 
Giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size can be purchased at:  http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

Qualche giorni fa ho finito dipingere il quadro sopra: VEDUTA DI VESUVIO/VIEW OF VESUVIUS e pensavo 
che allora sarebbe il tempo giusto mettere la poema VOGLIO DI TENEREZZA di Luciano Somma. Luciano ha
 abitato tutta la sua vita a Napoli e nella poema, le sue parole per quanto riguarda Napoli sono come pennellate delicate
 che dipingono nelle menti gli immagini intensi. VOGLIO DI TENEREZZA è un brano dal suo libro di 
Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

Si puo` comprare il quadro originale al mio sito d'arte: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com

Si uo` comprarne delle stampe di gliclee qui:   http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

Questa sera     
profuma d’estate 
profuma di te    
un’aria di mare  
e volo confuso  
con la fantasia 
verso lidi lontani                                
il ricordo mi porta 
un sorriso  
e cresce 
come la pioggia in un fiume    
questa dannata voglia   
che ho dentro   
d’un soffio di tenerezza
una carezza  
per vivere.
Luciano Somma

This evening
summer’s perfume
your perfume
a sea air
inebriates me
and I fly confused
with fantasy
toward distant beaches                      
the memory brings me
a smile
and it grows
like rain in a river
this cursed desire
I have inside
of a warm whisper
a caress
to be alive.
Pamela Allegretto-Franz  (translation)

Monday, May 7, 2012


     Shadowed by the Matterhorn, the small, picturesque Lago D’Orta (Lake Orta) is surrounded by forests with a wild and melancholy beauty.  Just eight miles long and less than two miles wide, Lake Orta is one of the smallest and least known of northern Italy's sub-Alpine lakes.  The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who visited the lake in 1882, believed the experience changed his life forever.  He inscribed the date "von Orta an" ("from Orta onwards") as a preface to his masterpiece Thus Spake Zarathustra. I can’t guarantee that going to Lake Orta to paint will change your life forever, but I can promise you’ll come away with some of the most beautiful images you’ve every put down on canvas.  Other 19th-century writers enchanted by its quiet beauty include the French novelist Honoré de Balzac, who wrote rapturously of this "gray pearl in a green jewel-box", and Robert Browning whose poem "By the Fireside" contemplates the beauty of a setting where "Alp meets heaven in snow", describes the lakeside village of Pella as a luminous "speck of white... in the evening-glow".    
     With all this glowing praise, you might imagine Orta San Giulio, the main town of Lake Orta, to be swarming with tourists, but it’s not.  Many visitors ignore this little gem and flock eastwards to the nearby, much larger Lago Maggiore. Their loss is your gain, as it keeps the crowds to a minimum. 
    Parking in the town center can be a bit tricky, well okay, more than tricky: impossible, as it is traffic-free.  But there are a few small parking lots up on the main road and the walk down into town is an easy one.  Don’t try parking on the main road; there are blue lines on each side that indicate resident parking only.  Parking tickets are common sites and the fines are steep and payable on site. 
     In town, you’ll find more than enough paint-worthy subjects: stone archways, flower-choked balconies, and courtyards tucked behind ornate iron gates.  Pastel-washed 16th and 17th-century buildings house small shops, and winding alleyways zigzag to a maze of narrow streets.  Piazza Motta is the perfect location to set up.  This broad, flagged square runs parallel to the waterfront and is partially shielded from the hustle and bustle of the jetty by an impressive row of chestnut trees.  Colorful cafés spread out across the piazza if you prefer to sketch while sipping a glass of the local wine. 
     Certainly, you must allow time to visit Isola San Giulio. From the jetty of Orta San Giulio, boats leave every ten minutes for the five-minute trip to the island in the middle of the lake.  Centuries-old legend says the island was home to dragons, but don’t be scared off, St Julius, the island's namesake and founder of its basilica, arrived at Lake Orta over 1,600 years ago and dispatched the dragons with his sword.  So if you were looking forward to painting dragons, I’m sorry to disappoint you.  But don’t worry, there’s plenty more to keep your artist’s eye excited.
     Even without dragons, the island has a magical “feel.”  Take the flagged alleyway, which flits in and out of the sunlight as it weaves around the island’s interior.  There are many quiet places to stop and sketch.  I emphasize “quiet,” as the alleyway is signed: “the way of silence,” in one direction and “the way of meditation” in the other.  You will also come across small signs in various languages that remind you this is a place for reflection such as: "If you can be yourself, you are everything."   And, “Listen to the water, the wind, your steps." 
     Lovely old palazzi, draped in wisteria and trumpet vines, ring the waterfront of Isola San Giulio, making it an ideal spot to sit and paint or sketch.  The views from the waterfront back to the mainland town of Orta San Giulio are luscious. 
     I recommend bringing along some bottled water if you plan to stay on the island for a few hours.  There is only one small gift shop where water is available. 
     Back on the mainland, Orta San Giulio’s pièce de résistance demands a bit of a climb (325ft above the lake if you’re counting) up to the Sacro Monte di San Francesco.  This hilltop plateau laid out with 20 chapels dedicated to the life of Saint Francis of Assisi is very cool.  All the chapels are unique in design, reflecting the fact that building took place over a 200-year period. 
     Sacro Monte was designated a National Park in 1980. The chapels are built like a village, amid meandering paths, woods, and a plethora of wildflowers, all this, plus incredible views of Lake Orta lying dreamily below on her mountain bed. 
     Do bring water, and I suggest a picnic.  There’s a lot to paint and you’ll really need at least half a day. Once you’re here, your only dilemma will be what to paint first.
      Since this is a National Park, be sure to follow the rules and stay on the designated paths so as not to trample nature’s balance.  If you do go off the paths, there are groundskeepers in the area who will quickly get you back on track.
      Buon Viaggio!

Friday, March 16, 2012


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