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:


Friday, March 20, 2009


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!

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