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, March 31, 2009


Yesterday I wrote a short bit on translating poetry. Here in the poem, “POETS,” written by Luciano Somma, we feel the hopeful and sentimental spirit of one of Italy’s foremost poets. You can find Luciano Somma at:

Ieri, ho scritto della difficultà traddure le poesie. Qui nella poema, “I POETI,” scritto di Luciano Somma, sentiamo lo spirito ottimista e sentimentale d’un poeta molto noto in Italia. Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

I poeti attendono
lo sbocciare d’un fiore
le catene di tante convenzione
pur di vedere
la libertà in un volo di gabbiani
i poeti pagano
conti salati
a banche senza fondi
urlando tutta la rabbia
scritta in fogli sparsi
i poeti soffrono
ma le loro ferite-come melograni-
restano aperte
davanti a una crudele indifferenza.
I poeti sognano
spaziando in universi
di amori irrealizzabili
isolandosi nel loro mondo
popolato da nani e da giganti
in molti li considerano pazzi
se li vedono piangere
accarezzando una conchiglia morta
e non è giusto.
Luciano Somma


Poets await
the blooming of a flower
the chains of many conventions
and yet to see
the freedom in a flight of gulls
poets pay
a high price
to heartless banks
screaming all of the anger
written on sparse leafs
poets suffer
but their wounds-like pomegranates-
remain open
facing a cruel indifference.
Poets dream
wandering in universes
of unrealized loves
isolating themselves in their world
populated by dwarfs and giants
most consider them foolish
if they are seen crying
while embracing a lifeless seashell
and it’s unfair.
Pamela Allegretto Franz (translation)

Monday, March 30, 2009


Translating poetry presents challenges not found when translating basic text. You arm yourself with the same essential tools: dictionary, verb book, and thesaurus, but for poetry translations you need to add creativity. Your aim is to maintain a line-for-line translation, while sustaining the author’s “voice and subtext.” Given the differences in sentence structure between languages, this can be tricky and occasionally no matter how you hard you try, a line-for-line is impossible.
Other problems occur when you overuse the thesaurus to a point where the word takes on a new meaning. This can happen when you think your word fits the “idea” better than that of the poet. A good translator has to put ego aside and keep the poet in mind at all times. If you think you can do better, write your own poetry, don’t rewrite the work of someone who has trusted you and paid you to do a worthy translation.
There are times when a poem is so encumbered in idiomatic nuance and ambiguous metaphors it can take as long, or possibly longer, to translate than it took the poet to write it. I’ve experienced this on a few occasions, where even after extensive conversations with the poet, I’m still scratching my head and wondering how he got “this” idea out of “that.”
There are some who think translating is little more than looking up each word and writing it down. If you believe that’s the case, you need only go to Babel Fish, or one of the other translating sites on line. Paste a small text in another language and then “hit” translate. Many times the translation, although in English, is almost as difficult to understand as its foreign counterpart.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


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I started my “Views To Go” collection while living in Hawaii. My art studio was a portion of a converted garage with one small window. I played with the idea of painting a faux window on one of the walls, but decided a canvas painting would be more practical as I could take my “view” with me when I moved. Happily, My “Views To Go” series has become quite popular. It seems most people enjoy a room with a view, whether it’s real or a whimsical trompe l’oeil. These acrylic-on-canvas paintings require no framing, as the finished sides are painted to add credibility to the illusion.
Can’t get to Italy this year? Here’s a “View” of the Chianti Region, and you don’t have to suffer jetlag. This painting can be purchased from my art website:

La mia galleria di “Vedute A Portar Via” è una collezione che ho cominciato quando abitavo in Hawaii. Mio studio d’arte è stato in un garage con una piccola finestra sola. Ho pensata dipingere una finestra sul muro, ma ho deciso che sarebbe più practicale dipingere sulla tela, così se cambierò le case potrei portare via “la veduta.” Mi fa piacere che la mia collezione di “Vedute A Portar Via” è diventato molto richiesta. Pare che la gente godono una stanza con veduta, se è reale o un trompe l’oeil. Questi quadri sono tutti dipinto con acrilico su tela, e non ce il bisogno incorniciare siccome i lati sono dipinto a far credibilità al illusione.
Il quadro sopra è una “veduta” del Regione di Chianti. Si può comprarlo al mio sito d’arte:

Saturday, March 28, 2009


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My frequent trips throughout Italy persistently spark my urge to paint. Although it’s impossible to resist an occasional Tuscan sun-drenched landscape or turquoise Mediterranean panorama, I’m primarily lured to paint Italy’s diverse architecture.
Rome is a prime example of this diversity.
Certainly when we speak of Rome and architecture, the first buildings that come to mind are Trajan’s Forum, Caracalla’s Baths, the Colosseum, and Hadrian’s Pantheon, just to mention a handful of the heavy hitters. But I like the back streets of Rome.
I like to shop in the back streets, eat in the back streets, and paint in the back streets. This is where life happens. This is where you can guess at the occupations of the inhabitants by their clothes that hang on lines that crisscross the narrow streets and alleyways. A banker’s white shirt might hang just below the street sweeper’s blue uniform. There’s no class system on the clotheslines in the back streets. This is where residents sit on wood and wicker chairs set outside on the sidewalk to discuss politics and exchange recipes, often in the same sentence. They knit, string tomatoes, read, and nap. Take away the TV’s, cell phones, ipods, and Vespas, and their every day lives mirror that of their ancestral Roman and Etruscan forefathers.

In the above painting, the lopsided shades reflect the lifestyles between ancient and modern Rome: diverse yet connected. Limited edition matted prints of this original watercolor can be purchased on my art website:

I miei viaggi frequente in tutta l’Italia accendono il mio impulso dipingere. Ogni tanto è impossibile resistere il paesaggio Toscano baciato dal sole o la vista turchese del Mediterraneo, però, principalmente mi attira dipingere l’architettura diversa.

Nell’quadro sopra, le veneziane distorte riflettono gli stili di vita fra l’antica Roma e Roma d’oggi: diversi ma collegato. Si può comprare delle stampe di questa acquerello al mio sito d’arte:

Friday, March 27, 2009


Chiaroscuro or Chiaro Scuro is Italian for Light/dark. In art it’s used to apply value to a two dimensional piece of artwork to achieve a heightened illusion of depth. In cinematography it’s applied to indicate distinct areas of light and darkness, especially in black and white film. In writing, chiaroscuro refers to a character or story line that shifts seamlessly between luminous moments and dark moods.
In the poem CHIARO SCURO, from the book L’Alba di Domani, by Luciano Somma, Luciano captures the essence of chiaroscuro to portray a delicate scene.
You can find Luciano Somma at:

Nella Poema, CHIARO SCURO, dal libro L'Alba di Domani, di Luciano Somma, Luciano coglie l’essenza del chiaroscuro a ritrarre una scena delicata.
Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

Filtrano raggi di sole
tra gli alberi del castagneto
giochi di fate e di gnomi
innocenti di danza
profumano vita
nel divenire di memoria
col chiaro scuro
della mia esistenza.
Luciano Somma

Rays of sun filter
among the chestnut trees
games of fairies and gnomes
innocents of dance
sweeten life
into becoming a memory
I dream
with the chiaro scuro
of my existence.
(Translation) Pamela Allegretto Franz

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Certainly, when we think Renaissance we think da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, etc. But those Byzantium rebels, Cimabue and his student, Giotto, are seldom ascribed their proper respect as trailblazers for the Renaissance. What was so special about Cimabue and Giotto?
Cimabue broke with the rigidity of Byzantine Art and expressed, in realistic detail, emotion in his subjects, as opposed to the Church’s symbolic terms. This doesn’t sound like any big deal, but in the days when the Church had a strangle hold on every aspect of the do’s and don’ts of everyday life, believe me, it was one giant step for future artists to follow.
Giotto’s paintings continued to explore Christian themes, but they did so figured with people who walked and talked equally with Christ. This was another big leap toward the Renaissance, when artists began to celebrate “human” feats and accomplishments, not just those of an invisible God.
So let’s tip our hats to Cimabue and Giotto for stepping on more than a few Catholic toes and leading the way to the Renaissance, which is considered the greatest art movement in the history of the world.
The Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi includes frescoes by these two pre-Renaissance giants. Two of the most celebrated frescos are: St Francis Preaching to the Birds, by Giotto, and Virgin and Child, by Cimabue.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


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If you’re looking to get away from cities to do some writing or painting, drive north of Venice into the Dolomiti. Most Americans think of Cortina only as a ski resort. But Cortina lures throngs of nature lovers in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
Cortina is a great place to collect character studies for both writers and painters. Sit in the piazza and you will see people of every shape and hue.
For landscape artists, Cortina has an overabundance of subject matter: the alpine flowers that blanket the surrounding Dolomiti Mountains are spectacular, as are the nearby alpine lakes that reflect the majestic Dolomiti. The colorful and fanciful Tyrolean architecture, complete with flower-laden window boxes, will make you wonder if you had driven too far north and ended up in Innsbruck.
If you want the best views, take the cable car, Freccia nel Cielo, (Arrow in the Sky). There are three stations where you can get off and have a picnic, write, paint, or daydream. I like to go to the top station, Tofana di Mezzo, at 10,543 feet. From Tofana on a clear day, you can see as far as Venice.
If you go, even in summer the weather at the top can be brisk, so bring a sweater or jacket, along with water and snacks if you plan to linger for a while. If you’re an artist, pack your supplies as light as possible.
The painting above is a house outside Cortina. We spotted the house on a previous visit and for some reason, I can’t remember what, I didn’t stop to sketch it or photograph it. The house remained in my mind, and so a year later we returned to Cortina and I photographed this little jewel and later painted it in watercolor. The painting and a few limited edition prints are for sale on my art website:
Buon Viaggio

Monday, March 23, 2009


Here’s another food-related Italian proverb:
"Il Pane diviso è la salute dei denti. "
The literal translation is: "Bread that’s broken into pieces is healthy for the teeth."
So are they advocating eating bread to prevent cavities? Maybe only bread broken into pieces prevents cavities, while biting into a larger piece of bread or a slice of bread might be harmful to your teeth. Those of you who have read earlier posts I’ve written regarding Italian proverbs and food, know that the proverb has nothing to do with bread or any other starch. Well then, that leaves newlyweds. Newlyweds? Sure, why not? If newlyweds break their bread into pieces will they or their future children have healthy teeth? Not likely, but what if newlyweds live apart (like breaking bread into pieces) from parents and in-laws? Since bread is considered the "staff of life," and since parents and in-laws "create life," then the proverb means: "A separate household for the newlyweds prevents quarrels."

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Writing groups and painting groups share the same goals: to improve your work. A good writing group doesn’t take time to edit spelling, comas, and semi-colons. Briefly, their job is to read your work and determine: if your characters are interesting and believable, if your plot moves forward, if your style suits the content, if a phrase or paragraph interrupts the suspension of disbelief, and if there is a cohesive beginning, middle, and end.
Artists in a good painting group don’t impose their individual style or medium. Their job is to study your painting and determine: are your color values correct, is you placement appealing, do you have a pathway leading the eye into, around, and out of the painting, and are your shadows as dark as they need to be and appropriately positioned.
These are just a few of many responsibilities of good writing and painting groups. I highlighted the ones I feel should be at the top of each list to illustrate the correlation between the two.
A good group that offers a positive, constructive critique can be invaluable to a writer or an artist. A group that focuses only on the negative should be written out of your script or painted out of your canvas.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Yesterday I wrote about painting in the Basilicata region. I’d like to suggest that it’s also an area that has enlightened numerous well-known authors. I already mentioned Carlo Levi and his stirring narrative: Christ Stopped At Eboli. It was his painting and his writing that carried him through the hardships during his exile in this primitive and desolate land. Another author who lived and worked in the region and wrote vividly about the landscape, people, and customs is, Ann Cornelisen. Two of her books in particular: Women Of The Shadows and Torregreca: Life, Death, And Miracles In A Southern Italian Village, are stand out examples of a writer who allows all five senses to guide her prose. In one review she wrote: “The south is still not for the easily discouraged. It is for those who can imagine living in another time, who can believe, even for a moment, in the mirage world created by light so piercing that it sears the eyes.”
Basilicata may have to take a backseat to Rome, Florence, and Venice, but don’t through it out of the car. Take the car, your Italian dictionary (very little, if any, English is spoken in most of the smaller villages), pen and paper, paints and canvas, and a strong sense of adventure, and travel south to chronicle for yourself this unique region and its engaging people.
Buon Viaggio!

Friday, March 20, 2009


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For those adventurous artists who have squeezed the last drop from your yellow ochre and burnt sienna while painting Tuscan sunrises and sunsets, head south. I’m not talking Rome or Naples or Salerno, I mean the Deep South that Carlo Levi wrote about in Christ Stopped At Eboli.
In 1935, The Fascists exiled Levi to this region as a political prisoner. For those unfamiliar with this book, it has nothing to do with religion or Christ making a weekend get-away to the Basilicata region. It refers to the idea that if Christ was traveling south in Italy and doing his Godly thing along the way, then he stopped when he reached Eboli. Levi wrote : “upon my arrival, the peasants said, ‘we are not Christians, Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli.’ Christian, in their way of speaking meant human being.” This “God-forsaken" region remains today a land outside time.
So, what do I like about this earthy and primeval region? Just that. It’s earthy and primitive. And the architecture is fun and challenging to paint.
In addition to being an accomplished writer, Carlo Levi was also a doctor and a gifted painter. If you go, don’t miss the Carlo Levi Gallery in Matera, where on exhibit you’ll find some thirty or more of his oil paintings, all of them portraying scenes from Basilicata life.
I recommend traveling by car, as some of the smaller villages are without rail stations. There is a respectable bus service, but in some cases you have to transfer 3 or 4 times to get to one village. If you drive, give the right-of-way to the donkeys that are burdened with bushels of firewood and clip clop down the cobblestone streets.
The painting above is a watercolor that can be viewed at my website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/
Buon Viaggio!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I like this little Italian proverb: “La pera matura cade sola.” The English translation is simple: “The mature pear falls by itself.” But what are we really talking about here? Pears? Fruit? Trees? Is there a lesson to be learned about not getting out the ladder and climbing the tree to pick pears? Is this telling us not to risk injury for a lousy pear? Should we shake the tree to get the pears to fall? What if pears are out of season? What if we don’t like pears is the proverb still viable? Forget the pears. This proverb has nothing to do with pears. Italians hold food in high regard, and thus you’ll find food in many of their proverbs. Check back to my Monday blog on soup, as another example of how Italians utilize food in their proverbs. So what does “La pera matura cade sola” really mean? “Everything in its own time.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009



I recently completed the above still life painting in my winter art workshop conducted by Elizabeth Sennett. Once again, her expert advice saved me from pulling the cloth out from under the pears and pitching the lot into the trash heap. In my opinion, anyone who says that the more you paint, the easier it gets, is living on another planet. You can view this painting in the Trompe L'oeil Gallery on my website at: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/
Mi piacciono tanto i colori in questo quadro che ho dipinto nella classe di “Still Life” con la maestra Elizabeth Sennett. Senza la sua direzione, avrei gettato il quadro nel bidone della spazzatura. Secondo me, chiunque che dice che con ogni quadro che dipinge diventerà più facile, abita su un altro pianeta. Si puo` vedere il quadro nella galleria di Trompe L'oeil sul mio website:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


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Artists who relish painting the diverse Italian architecture and want to step into the pages of a children’s fairytale, should venture to Alberobello in the Deep South near Bari on the Adriatic side, (heel) of the country. The villagers are especially gracious to artists who sit with sketchpads or set up easels in the maze of cobblestone streets that curve through Italy’s most magical village. There are more than 1,000 beehive-shaped trulli, some dating back to the 13th century. These unique limestone structures with conical roofs promise to not disappoint any artist eager to capture a sliver of fantasy on his or her canvas.
Hotels in Alberobello are limited, so either book in advance, or plan to stay in nearby Bari or Taranto. Transportaion? I highly recommend renting a car, but train service is available from Bari.
The painting above is an example of a “Trullo” that I painted in watercolor. The original and limited edition prints can be found on my website:
Buon Viaggio

Monday, March 16, 2009


Here’s a fun little proverb to dissect: "Mangia questa minestra o ti getto dalla finestra! "
Literally, this means: "Eat this soup or I’ll throw you out the window." That doesn’t sound like a proverb; it sounds like a threat from one angry cook. Does it mean: I slaved over the stove all day stirring this bleeping soup; so like it or not, you’d better eat every last spoonful, and do so with a smile on your face, or out the window you go? No, that’s not it. Let’s go back to the eater. If you demonstrate good manners, you eat whatever you’re served. That tells us this proverb is about good manners not soup. So you could say: "If you don’t show good manners, I’ll throw you out the window." Or, you could simply say: "Shape up or ship out."
Buon appetito!

Sunday, March 15, 2009



Fiction writers glean ideas for character descriptions by various means. If you’re a writer who enjoys sitting in a public location and scribbling notes on passersby, my recommendation for the primo spot to garner a wealth of character traits is Piazza San Marco, in Venice.
By noon until the wee-morning hours, every conceivable facial feature and physical trait can be observed in the non-stop crush of visitors from all corners of the globe.
There are three outside cafes that I recommend for optimum people gazing: The Florian; The Quadri; and my favorite, The Chioggia. I prefer the Chioggia for two reasons: one, they play great jazz, and two, because it faces the side of the Piazza where visitors enter after disembarking at the Vaporetto Stop. This way you capture their expressions when they view the Piazza for the first time. Thomas Coryat wrote of this experience: “...For so strange and rare a place as this, glory of it, that my first entrance thereof it did amaze or rather ravish my senses.”
Certainly, the travel guides will caution that sitting at an outside table in Piazza San Marco can be costly, but it’s not over the top, especially considering what you get for that 18 Euro Strega. If you wish, you can sit and sip the same drink for 4 or more hours, and you’re sitting where Shelley said: “It’s temples and palaces did seem like fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven.” Give me a break; does it get any better than that? And to top it off, you get to chronicle the expression on someone’s face whose 'senses have been ravished.'
If you’re really on the dole, you can pack a snack to munch with your drink. The waiter may give you a “look,” but he won’t ask you to leave, nor will he hustle you to buy another drink. If you explain that you’re a writer doing research, he will turn the vexed “look” into a broad understanding smile; Italians love artists, poets, and writers.
When you do call it a night, be a gracious guest and don’t stiff the waiter or the band.
Buon Viaggio.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


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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 island.
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 above 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:

Friday, March 13, 2009

ATTIMO/ MOMENT by Luciano Somma

Until I stumbled into this odd little side gig of translating Italian poetry, my idea of poetry didn’t go much further than: “Roses are red...etc. etc.” Occasionally I read, and reread, and tried to understand some of the poetry written in The New Yorker, but first of all, it didn’t rhyme, so that threw me off, then on many occasions after a third or fourth read I was still asking: “Say What?” I must have snoozed through the poetry segment of English class, because all this free flowing thought was news to me. And now I was being asked to translate it. Fortunately, my first stab at translating Italian poetry was the poem “MOMENT” by Luciano Somma. His imagery of the "sun yawning between clouds and a dove dying in the snow" drew me into the truth that each “moment” in life is merely "a grain of history, a drawing in the wind." Luciano chooses his words carefully and never over-writes. “MOMENT” remains one of my favorites, not only because of its simplicity, imagery, and sensitivity, but also it’s a beautiful reminder of the beginning of a special friendship and collaboration with Luciano Somma. You can find Luciano Somma at: http://www.partecipiamo.it/Poesie/Luciano_Somma/1.htm

Una delle prime poesie che ho tradotte è “ATTIMO” di Luciano Somma. Il suo linguaggio figurato del 'sole che sbadiglia tra le nuvole e una colomba che muore nella neve" mi ha fatto capire la verità che ogni “attimo” nella vita "è soltanto un granello di storia, è come un disegni nel vento." Luciano sceglie attentamente ogni parola e non scrive mai troppo prolisso. “ATTIMO” rimane una delle mie preferite, non solo perchè della sua simplicità, linguaggio figurato, e sensibilità, ma anche è un bel ricordo dell’inizio di un’amicizia speciale e collaborazione con Luciano Somma. Si può trovare Luciano Somma a: http://www.partecipiamo.it/Poesie/Luciano_Somma/1.htm


Il sole sbadiglia
tra le nuvole
una colomba muore
nella neve
granello di storia
strappato all’immensità
`e come un disegno nel vento
`e un pensiero nell’aria
è come una fiammella che violenta
il nero manto dell’oscurita`
intorno è il silenzio
da lontano
giunge solo
un lamento di campana
in agonia.
Luciano Somma


The sun yawns
between the clouds
a dove dies
in the snow
this moment
grain of history
snatched from the vastness
is like a drawing in the wind
it is a thought in the air
like a small flame that assaults
the black coat of obscurity
inside is silence
from far away
rises alone
a bell’s lament
in agony.
Pamela Allegretto Franz (traduzione)

Thursday, March 12, 2009



Translating proverbs can be as tricky as translating poetry. They both require reflection into the metaphors, which can ring through clear as a bell, or be so far out there you wonder what the author might have been smoking when he sat down to write. The following is one of those pesky little proverbs that at first seems easy enough to translate, but then you read it and ask: “Say what?”

“Nuoto chi può e chi non può nuotare a fondo se ne va.” Literally this means: “He who can swim will swim and he who cannot swim will sink.” Sure that makes sense, so what? What kind of proverb is that? So now you have to jump into the pool, or the lake, or the stream, wherever these rascals are swimming and sinking, and figure out what’s really happening. Some swim, some sink, but how are they interacting? Are the swimmers helping the sinkers? No? Well then, there you have it. There’s your proverb: “Every man for himself.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DAVANTI AL TEMPO/ by Bruno Mancini

Poet Bruno Mancini has lived all but the first three years of his life on the Island of Ischia. He alleges that his poetic inspiration originated from ancestral impulse and was nurtured by the rich history and raw beauty of his beloved island. You can find more writings by Bruno Mancini at:

Bruno Mancini risiede ad Ischia dall’età di tre anni. A lui piace dire che l’origine della sua ispirazione o forse solo un iniziale impulso ancestrale ed istintivo, il vero basilare momento poetico della sua vita, si è concretizzato nell’incontro, propriamente fisico, tra i suoi sensi acerbi, infantili, e le secolari, immutate, tentazioni autoctone dell’Isola d’Ischia, dove le leggi della natura sembravano fluire ancora difese da valori di primitive protezioni.
Si puo` trovare Bruno Mancini a: http://emmegiischia.googlepages.com/


Vanire in dolcezza di forma,
sospesa apparenza,
nel gorgo di volute fughe
è l’ultimo ponte.

E tutto si genera nuovo
sparso tra fossili addii.

Poi l’ombra assorbe.
“Ora che odi
lo schiudersi del labbro
stimoli palpiti inganni.”

Acuminata nullità
passione senza pensiero.
Bruno Mancini


To vanish in sweetness of form,
suspended appearance
in the whirlpool of intentional escapes
is the final bridge.

And everything generates anew
scattered among fossilized farewells.

Then the shadows engulf.
“Now hatreds
part lips with
Pricks, throbs, deceits.”

Pointed nothingness
passion without thought.
Pamela Allegretto Franz (traduzione)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I loved the rich colors in this still life that I painted at my autumn workshop conducted by Elizabeth Sennett. Without her expert guidance, my eggplant would have looked like a mutant cucumber and my onion would have taken on the appearance of a cherry on steroids. You can view this painting on my art wesite:

Mi piacciono tanto i colori in questo quadro che ho dipinto nella classe di “Still Life” con la maestra Elizabeth Sennett. Senza la sua direzione la mia melanzana semberebbe come un cetriolo mutante e la cipolla semberebbe come un cigliegia sui steroidi. Si puo` vedere il quadro sul mio website d'arte:


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Monday, March 9, 2009



What do portrait painters and fiction writers have in common? Portrait painters not only have to get the features exact, but the reason some portrait painters excel and others falter is the ability to capture the essence of the subject. It may sound cliché, okay, it does sound cliché, but the eyes speak volumes to an artist with the ability to tune into the spirit behind the visage. A good portrait is not just a canvas and paint substitute for a photograph; it’s a glimpse into inner-self.

In fiction, the reader wants to not only visualize the characters, but also see into the characters. For example, which of these men seems more menacing? "He was a mean man with big teeth." (Yawn, mean man, big teeth, big deal.) Or, "He sneered through a mouth crowded with teeth so large they could devour an entire leg of lamb in a manner of minutes." (Now that’s one angry dude you don’t want to cross on a day he’s skipped lunch.)

My trompe l’oeil painting of Pinocchio is as close as I will ever get to painting a portrait. I’ll leave that to the pros.
Pinocchio is “My Guy.” His devotion to his father and his inquisitive spirit delight me. You can view this painting on my art website at:


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Sunday, March 8, 2009


Not long ago, an artist friend who was preparing to leave for Venice asked for my recommendation on a gallery to visit beyond the “heavy hitters," i.e. The Accademia, Museo Civico, Museo Archeologico, Museo Storico, et al. My recommendation was the Palazzo Valmarana on Calle Nuova Sant’Agnese. Although the Conte Cini collection is small, it’s a precious compilation of masterpieces that includes works by Botticelli, Piero di Cosimo, and Filippo Lippi.
My least favorite: Palazzo Venier dei Lioni, better know as the Guggenheim Museum of Contemporary Art. Although I enjoy the works by Picasso, Kandinsky, and Dalì, I believe Pollock’s mish-mash of non-objective splattering to be an insult to even the most rudimentary artist. I wonder if he hadn’t succeeded to satisfy Peggy Guggenheim in the bedroom, if anyone would even recognize his name, let alone pay to view his chaotic rubbish.
Buon Viaggio.


Saturday, March 7, 2009


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No visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the Via Appia. Via Appia Antica was built in 312 B.C. It's most famous sites are the catacombs, the graveyards of patrician families. This is one of the most historically rich areas of Rome to explore, and the perfect site for artists to practice painting stones. It seemed to me that the painting above, available for sale on my website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/ took me as long to complete as the original road. I love painting rocks and stones, but at first mine were too small, then too large, to bold then too muted. Finally, I believe I captured what I saw. If you go there to paint, which I highly recommend, pack light and bring water and snacks. Nothing ruins a day of painting more than thirst and hunger.
Arrivederci Roma.
Ciao, Pam

Friday, March 6, 2009


Three miles off the Sorrentine peninsula, Capri floats amid the emerald Mediterranean Sea. Known to some as the “Island of Dreams,” Capri has also been called the "Island of Sirens” that tempted Ulysses. I refer to Capri as a “Bougainvillea Lover’s Paradise.” Everywhere you look you’ll find these vibrant, cyclamen, red, and purple, flowering vines climbing villas, clinging to craggy rocks, and spilling out from planter boxes like overflowing glasses of wine. Whether you fancy seascapes, landscapes, architecture, or florals, you’d be hard pressed to find a better location to paint with all these options so closely knit.
Boat service is available from Naples, Sorrento, and Positano. Walking will be your primary mode of transportation; so don’t haul your grandmother’s steamer trunk with you. I recommend a travel set of watercolors or colored pencils, a small watercolor block, pencil and eraser. If you can’t function without your oils or acrylics, bring small tubes and only basic colors; leave all those exotic colors at home. Learn how to mix.
Your biggest obstacle will be deciding what to paint first, so bring that digital camera, because unless you move to the island, you’ll never have time to paint everything you want.
My favorite spot is the top of Monte Solaro. To get there, take a bus from the main square up to Anacapri, and then take the chairlift, (Segovia) to the top. After you spend the necessary time to “Oo and ah,” which you will in spades, paint to your heart’s content.
Buon Viaggio!

The painting below is of Capri's I Faraglioni. It's for sale on my art wesite: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/
Ciao, Pam


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Thursday, March 5, 2009


Lucinao Somma's sensitivity to the past and optimism for the future has made translating his work a joy. His poetry bridges a lifetime spent in Naples, from World War II to the millennium. Whether it is the young boy taking refuge from American bombs, the son speaking to a father long since departed to seek fortune in America, a flight of gulls, or the sunrise of the twenty-first century, Luciano paints his poems using every color on the pallet. My job as a translator has been to provide a new canvas, English, on which to display his words. The poem FORGIVE US can be found in Luciano's duel language poetry book: L'ALBA DI DOMANI, in which I wrote the translations. You can view more of Luciano's poetry at:

Luciano Somma ha una sensibilita` al passato ed un ottimismo per il futuro che mi fanno piacere tradurre le sue poesie. Si puo` trovare PERDONACI nel suo libro L'ALBA DI DOMANI. Si puo` trovare Luciano Somma a: a :http://www..partecipiamo.it/Poesie/Luciano_Somma/1.htm

questa dannata voglia
di vivere in un mondo
a forma di colomba
e non tra fiori finti.
se rifiutiamo limiti e frontiere
e trasformiamo
fili spinati in palpiti d’amore
non ci è concesso forse d’impazzire?
Che razza strana
siamo noi poeti
specie che spesso va
volando verso cieli tersi
per questo nostro osare.
Luciano Somma

Forgive us
this cursed desire
to live in a world
in the image of a dove
and not amidst artificial flowers.
Forgive us
if we disavow limits and frontiers
and we reshape
barbed wire into heartbeats of love
aren’t we allowed perhaps to go a little mad?
What a strange breed
we poets are
species that often go
against the current
flying toward clear skies
forgive us
for this our dare.
Pamela Allegretto Franz (traduzione)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day Four - Set Back

My plan for today was to post my first guest Italian poet, but you know what they say about "best-laid plans", they continually jump up, run around, and spit in your face. I spent too many hours attempting to add a counter to this blog in order to keep track of all my thousands of readers, but luck was no Lady today, she was a stubborn Broad who fought me every inch of the way. So for now, I'll just have to imagine that there are hundreds of readers pouring over my every word.
A domani,
Ciao, Pam

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Day Three - Enlightenment

Wow! I think I'm actually getting the hang of this. Of course in the past three days I haven't painted one stroke on my canvas or written one sentence in my novel. But hey, I have a blog!
Ciao, Pam

Monday, March 2, 2009


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Art Blog Day 2

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the workings of this blog. I could have painted a fair portion of the Sistine Chapel with the time I've spent configuring, reconfiguring, remembering passwords and user words and ID numbers. Am I really that computer-challenged, or did all the millions of bloggers out there suffer the same brain-squeeze?

Whenever I get writer's block or painter's block (Yes, painters experience the same dead zone) I use this trompe l'oeil painting, pictured in the upper right hand corner, as a meditation tool to help sweep out the cobwebs and get back on track. You can view this painting and other trompe l'oeil window scenes on my web site: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/

I had no plans to clutter my blog with a lot of ads or gadgets, but I couldn't resist the cool English/Italian dictionary. Check it out.

Is it "Happy Hour" yet?
Ciao, Pam

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Blog

This will be a brief posting, as it's taken me far too long to set up this Blog . Don't you love it when they say you can be up and running in only five minutes? That's about how long it took just to get my name in the right place.

On this blog, besides advertising my art website, which, by the way is: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/, I would also like to share a selection of Italian poetry I've translated and some insight into poetry translations.

Tomorrow's another day. Right now it's "Happy Hour." Cheers!
Ciao, Pam