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, 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.

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