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, October 18, 2009


For artists and writers (or anyone for that matter) who hesitate to travel to Sicily because of the Mafia “Thing”, get over it. Not everyone who lives in Las Vegas is a gambler nor is every New Yorker a mugger; and likewise, not every Sicilian belongs to the Mafia. If you ignore Sicily, you miss Italy. If you don’t want to take my advice, take the advice of Goethe who wrote: “To have seen Italy without seeing Sicily, is not to have seen Italy at all. For Sicily is the key to everything.”
Writers doing research on the Italian consciousness would do well to spend time in Sicily. For as Luigi Barzini wrote in The Italians: Sicily is the schoolroom model of Italy for beginners, with every Italian quality and defect magnified, exasperated, and brightly colored...Everywhere in Italy, life is more or less slowed down by the exuberant intelligence of the inhabitants: In Sicily it is practically paralyzed by it.”
I consider the Sicilian sensitivity to be a fascinating subject to research. I mean, come on, here’s a land where, in the local dialects, there is no future tense for the verb “to be”, and where a distinctly joyful expression states: “Finchè c’è morte c’è speranza.” (Where there’s death there’s hope.) Say what? Lay that one out on Freud’s couch!
For artists, Sicily’s unique natural beauty challenges your brain to make that seemingly impossible decision of what to paint first: rugged mountains, vine and olive-clad slopes, fields of daisies and sunflowers, countless lemon, lime, and orange orchards, craggy sea-cliffs, sandy coves, Mount Etna. If Sicily’s natural beauty doesn’t totally thrust your brain into overdrive, certainly Sicily’s man-made wonders will finish the job: The Baroque façades on Campania’s churches, Apulia’s Romanesque cathedrals, the ancient Greek ruins in Calabria, the castles, palaces, and churches built all over Southern Italy by Norman, Aragonese, and Spanish invaders – all of these are found on the microcosm island of Sicily.

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