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, December 18, 2009


  • Like hundreds of small Italian villages with populations under 4,000, Faicchio can’t be found on most Italian maps. Don’t be discouraged. You can find Faicchio on detailed maps of the Campania region sold at all gas stations on the Autostrada del Sole (A2).
    Faicchio is my favorite location for painting in the Campania region. Okay, I admit that it’s the village where my grandfather was born and raised. And it’s a definite perk to have my cousin married to the mayor. And if I run out of gas, I can rely on another cousin who owns THE gas station to fill my tank. If I get sick, another cousin who is THE doctor can tend to me and if I need surgery, his son THE SURGEON has all my confidence. Yes, the milk and cheese from another cousin’s dairy farm keeps me satiated. And the figs, tomatoes, pears, and wine at yet another cousin’s farm keep me from going hungry and thirsty while painting en plein air. But aside from all these familial perks, Faicchio is quite simply an idyllic location for artists.
    Located about 45 miles northeast of Naples, Faicchio is situated at the base of Monte Monaco di Gioia in the Matese Mountain Range. To reach the village, drive over the bridge that crosses the Titerno River.
    You can begin by setting up in the small, but enchanting Piazza Roma that fronts the 12th century Norman castle. The Faicchiani love art and have an irrepressible curiosity. This combination is fuel for the small crowd that will no doubt encircle you before you have time to sharpen your first pencil. Don’t be intimidated. They will treat you with no less esteem than if you were Michelangelo. In addition to the castle, the views in all directions are definitely paint-worthy. If you have, or appear to have difficulty decided what to paint, your audience will no doubt offer dozens of fingers pointing in as many different directions. The Faicchiani are immensely proud of their village and its stunning environs and well they should be.
    Midway up the mountain, the 18th century Convent of San Pasquale, looms over the village. You can drive up to the convent or take the paved steps that begin in the center of town. I recommend the steps. It’s a bit of a climb, but there are broad platforms with benches along the way where you can stop and catch your breath, or even set up an easel and capture the stunning views of farmlands, orchards, and vineyards. Once you reach the convent, there are numerous lookout areas where you can set up. You might even find yourself balancing your paint box on one of the 3rd century BC Samnite walls that rise up along the esplanade. Don’t stop at the convent. Allow time to climb or drive to the summit of Monte Monaco di Gioia where the gaze is lost in the Apennines Molisano Mountains to the east and the intermingling of sky blue and the blue of the Gulf of Naples in the west.
    Outside the village, on the road toward San Lorenzello, and about a mile or two out of town, on your left, you’ll find the double arched Ponte Fabio Massimo, a 3rd century BC Roman-era bridge. The bridge can be crossed on foot and at the opposite side you can set up along the riverbed, where you’ll find white limestone and dolomite whose origins date back over 60 million years. The bridge is a favorite artist’s muse. If you stare at it long enough, you can almost hear the clattering of greaves and armor as ghosts of Roman soldiers march across the bridge’s graveled surface.
    Don’t leave the area without a trip up Mont Acero, which you’ll find on your left off the road toward Telese/Telesino. At the summit of this winding road you’ll be rewarded with views that you’ll swear could reach to Rome to the north and Sicily to the south. Before leaving town, stop at the market to buy water, fresh local cheese, regional wine, and bread still warm from the ovens. There are picnic tables at the summit of Mont Acero, so you can dine al fresco while you paint that next masterpiece.