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:


Saturday, September 26, 2009


No painting excursion in Sicily is complete without a visit to Agrigento. Don’t ignore the modern city; But if your time is limited, at least focus on The Valley of the Temples, which is the most important archaeological site on the island. The site is best viewed in the early morning, not only because of the light, but also, it’s before the crowds descend and impede your artistic concentration. The site boasts no fewer than twenty temples, each worthy of a painting.
The surrounding landscape is replete with grain farms and there are few trees in sight. The colors range from green or yellow, depending on the season. Poets of ancient times, like Pindar and Virgil have praised the beauty of the region. And modern poets, like Salvatore Quasimodo deemed it “idyllic.” Pindar wrote: “Agrigento, loveliest of mortal cites.” Pirandello, A native of Agrigento wrote: Agrigento is where people eat as if they were having their last meal on earth and they build their houses as if they were going to live in them forever. In other cities, between December and February you have fog, ice, and at best, a pale ray of sunshine; here the almond trees are in full bloom, warmed by the breath of the African Sea.”
Okay, so tell me you’re not interested in painting this region!
Buon Viaggio!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Posted by Picasa


When I think of Sicily the first color that comes to mind is gold. The Sun God must have a special place in Her heart for the island; why else would She so generously lavish every field, mountaintop, building, monument, pillar, and ruin with Her precious golden kisses?
Another color would be gold’s kissing cousin, yellow. Not only do yellow sunflowers and daisies sparkle against one of the bluest skies you’ll ever see, but the profusion of lemon trees, with fruit the size of baseballs, scent this sunlit island with an aroma that will make your head spin (in a good way). And when that lemony smell finally triggers your taste buds, yellow drinks are where it’s at. Fresh-squeezed lemonade is served in every bar and pasticeria and it’s guaranteed to spoil you forever to only drink Sicilian lemonade. If you’re looking for a little more “kick” order a Limoncello, that wonderful lemon liquor made from the zest of those amazing Sicilian lemons.
My recommendation for ending a day painting in Sicily would be to sit outside, sip some liquid gold i.e. Limoncello, and watch the Sun paint the sky golden as She settles down for the night.
I painted “SUNLIT,” the monocromatic painting above, because I wanted to capture on canvas my sensitivity to the Sun-kissed Island of Sicily.
This painting is available for purchase at my art website:
Si può vedere e comprare questo quadro al mio website d’arte: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/

Friday, September 4, 2009


While planning one of our visits to Sicily, I did a little research on Enna. One guidebook labeled Enna as a “dreary city.” And yet further assessment indicated otherwise. I decided to find out for myself.
Well, let me tell you, Enna is anything but “dreary.” If you’re looking to paint “killer views” a trip to Enna is a must.
One of the oldest cities on the island, Enna has been called “the navel of Sicily,” by the Greek poet Callimachus, but is usually known as “the belvedere of Sicily”, which seems a better-suited title considering its stunning views. Enna is also the highest capital in Italy.
You can set up in Piazza Crispi and either paint the impressive view over Calascibetta, the Madonie Mountains, or a remarkable view of Etna.
For architecture sketchers and painters, you’ll love the Castello di Lombardia. Six of its twenty towers are still standing and it’s considered one of the most imposing buildings of it kind in Sicily. Byzantine in origin, it contains Norman and Swabian add-ons. Bring your camera and sketchpad up into the tower, called the Eagle or Pisan tower, where there is a far-reaching view over the surrounding countryside.
The public gardens on the outskirts of the city, not only burst with prismatic delights, the octagonal tower that Frederick II built in the 13th century is a must see.
Dreary city, my ass!
Buon Viaggio!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


If you want to spend more than one day painting the honey colored stones at the ancient site of Selinunte, you may want to book a room in the nearby seafront village of Marinella that lies about a mile east of the ancient city. This little hamlet offers up excellent beaches, and an early morning dip in the Mediterranean is guaranteed to wake up any creative juices that may still be lumbering from jet lag. When you’ve finished painting at Selinunte, I recommend setting up for at least a few hours on the beach. If you happen to be with artists of varied interests, you can all still paint together: seascape enthusiasts have the Mediterranean as their muse, while artists who prefer painting architecture can turn backs to the sea and paint the delightful sienna and yellow ochre village.
If you do spend the night in one of Marinella’s few hotels, keep the windows closed at night. Don’t worry; I’m not about to warn you of cat burglars. It’s the bats. Marinella’s bats have a tendency to pay midnight visits through opened windows and balcony doors. Do they bite? I don’t think so. But I can tell you from experience that having bats flapping overhead can spoil a good night’s sleep.
Buon Viaggio!