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:


Monday, August 31, 2009


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:

In quest’ultimo giorno d’agosto e la vigilia d’autunno, ho sentito che era adatto offrire la poema IL PRIMO SETTEMBRE 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:

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)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Situated on a hill on the southwest coast, Selinunte, founded in 628 BC, was one of Sicily’s most important ancient towns. Within the archaeological site, “Temple G” is one of the greatest known monuments of Greek antiquity.
Fortunately, for artists like myself who like to sketch and paint ancient ruins but are distracted by hordes of tourists, Selinunte remains one of the less-frequently visited.
If you arrive promptly at the 9am opening you can usually have the entire city pretty much to yourself until the tour buses roll in around 10:30-11am. But even then, this “village of pillars” as the 11th century Arab writer, Idrisi, referred to it, is large enough to find an out of the way spot to set up. If you don’t want to waste time wandering around to locate “just the right spot,” tell the men at the main gate that you’re an artist and ask them for directions to the best sites. They are intensely proud of Selinunte and the fact that you want to paint there will bend them over backwards to accommodate you.
It can get hot there in the summer so bring water. And of course carry out what you bring in. Yes, the gatekeepers love artists; no, they won’t tolerate artists who litter. Remember what I said in my last blog about “sleeping with the fish?”

Friday, August 21, 2009


Homer told the story of the Lotophagi who once inhabited the island of Sicily. All new arrivals were required to eat of the lotus tree and at once forgot their homes and lost all desire to return to their native lands. When you’re in Sicily it won’t take a bite from the lotus tree to cloud your dreams of home and hearth, just stand outside and look in any direction. The inhabitants claim you need four eyes to fully appreciate Sicily’s beauty. I say six!
Goethe praised the road that leads from Palermo to Monreale. “It is,” he wrote, “a wide road, lined with trees, sloping gently, full of fountains, some with jets, others flowing, but all beautifully decorated with ornaments and friezes.” Monreale is such an idyllic spot that the Palermans have a saying: Chi va a Palermo e non vede Monreale, asino va e asino torna. (Whoever goes to Palermo without seeing Monreale – goes as an ass, and returns an ass.) So don’t be an ass. Spend a day painting at Monreale.
Visit the cathedral, built in 1174; it is one of the wonders of the medieval world. Don’t be fooled by the relatively drab façade, the interior is covered throughout with shimmering gold mosaics.
After you’ve caught your breath and still have that glitter of “gold” on your mind, you can set up and incorporate those rich golden hues on your canvas, inspired by sweeping rooftop scenes, valley landscapes, or coastline views.
As always, carry out what you bring in. If you’re an oil painter, don’t dump your mediums. Yes, the Mafia is alive and well and living in Sicily, especially in the vicinity of Palermo. But don’t let that deter you. The Mafia families are great lovers of art and artists, but they don’t like anyone despoiling their beautiful island. Go to Sicily to paint the fish, not sleep with them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


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Since cheese is my favorite food, I felt it was high time I painted a nice ball of aged provolone. Then I had to decide what to add to it. That was easy. What better accompaniment than wine, tomatoes, and olive oil? Buon appetito!
The above painting can be purchesed at my art website: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com
Siccome il formaggio è il cibo che preferisco più di tutto, ho deciso è già tempo che faccio un quadro di un pallone di provolone. Poi ho deciso che non ci sta un accompagnamento meglio che vino, pomodori, ed olio di olivi. Buon appetito!
So pou` comprare il quadro al mio website d'arte: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Rent a car if you intend to take full advantage of this color splashed island. The highway system is relatively uncluttered; and the well-maintained, secondary roads are often times traffic free especially from October through March.
Although touristy, one of my favorite sites is Taormina. (Stay as far away as possible during the month of August) Taormina’s mountaintop location is unequaled, its Greek Theater the most dramatically positioned, and its temperate climate ideal for plein air artists. If you go in the springtime it’s nearly impossible to omit the purple explosion of bougainvillea from your canvas.
Goethe said the Greek Theater commanded one of the most spectacular views in the world. I’ve not traveled the entire world, nor do I think Goethe did, but I’d wager his comment is dead on. To the right, citadels precariously perch on cliffs; to the left, the coastline stretches as far as Catania or even Syracuse; below, lies the town of Taormina awash in bougainvillea; directly ahead, the long ridge of Etna, whose mouth spews its fiery admonition. What’s not to love? Set your alarm or request a wakeup call at your hotel so you can get to the Theater at dawn, when the sun rises from the sea to plant a fat pink kiss on Etna’s snowy peak.
Buon Viaggio!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Importance Of An Artist's Website

I recently returned from a visit to my home state of Colorado. (Yes, that’s the reason for the gap in blog-postings) While there, I had the pleasure of attending an art festival in the mountain town of Breckenridge. The art, which was primarily southwestern, reminded me of the importance of an artist’s website.
Here in Connecticut, the majority of art exhibited in galleries and festivals is New England landscapes and seascapes. When I lived in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, tropical art was the preferred art form. Clearly, regional art is the preferred subject matter at most galleries and art festivals.
But what if your taste in art fluctuates? What if you, like me, get easily bored? Can you eke out a living painting New England landscapes in Colorado? Can you survive trying to sell tropical paintings in Connecticut? Is there a large market for Italian landscapes in Massachusetts? Probably not. So what can you do to keep coins in your pocket and creative juices flowing? Create a website.
Now, this is not a “paid for programming” ad for the host website in which I belong. But I do advocate a website if you want to reach art-lovers around the country and around the world. Selling via the Internet allows artists the freedom of diversity. No longer will you be constrained to a limited subject. Your only restrictions are those you inflict on yourselves.
My advice: Set up an art website and paint what you love.
My art can be viewed at: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/ the host site is ArtMajeur. If you go to this site, you can click on “home” and follow the instructions to setting up a website. It can be free, or if you want a few perks, it’s a minimal amount. There are numerous other artist websites available. Check them out and get connected. Don’t limit yourself to the few visitors each day in a gallery or the one-time art festival shoppers. Of course they are important, but their numbers are miniscule to the visitors you’ll get on the Internet.
Happy painting!!!