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:


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.

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