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, July 11, 2009


Lake Como (Larius, as it was known to the Romans) has been called “the looking glass of Venus,” and Virgil pronounced it “our greatest lake.” Not to be out quoted, Stendhal characterized Lake Como as “everything noble, everything evoking love.” With these dazzling recommendations, how can any artist resist this idyllic local?
I recommend not setting up in the town of Como, as it is a busy industrial town. It’s not that there isn’t a plethora of squares and charming buildings to paint within the town, but if your time is limited you may prefer the smaller, more picturesque villages that line the lake.
Bellagio, which is labeled the “pearl of Larius,” and has also been called “the prettiest town in Europe,” is the perfect spot to set up for a day. Be sure to clamp down your canvas as a gust off the lake can kick up unexpectedly. If your canvas ends up face down in your pallet, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My personal favorite is Tremezzo, on the west shore of the lake. Landscape artists will love the luxuriant vegetation that includes citrus trees, palms, cypresses, and magnolias.
Buon Viaggio!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


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The Chianti Region in Italy runs along the state highway SS222 between Florence and Siena. The Chianti region not only boasts rolling hills and mountain top villages, but a wealth of castles. Some of the towns to look for:
Verrazzano (You might recognize the name as Giovanni "da" Verrazzano discovered the NY Harbor and the Island of Manhattan. The Verrazzano Bridge that runs to Staten Island was named after him.) Castello di Verrazzano, Giovanni’s birthplace is an ideal location to set up an easel, (just make sure to ask permission first). If you get thirsty while painting, you can sample and buy wine here.
The medieval town of Greve, which is the capital of Chianti, is one of the more colorful towns in Tuscany. Set up your easel in the Piazza del Mercatale and have a blast painting and smoozing with art-loving locals.
If painting gardens is your forte, don’t miss Vignamaggio where you’ll find the Renaissance villa that was once the home of La Gioconda, who sat for Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The gardens, replete with classical stautes and towering hedges, were featured in Kenneth Branagh’s film, Much Ado About Nothing.
If painting architecture is your preference, visit Castellina in Chianti. This hilltop village still has its fortified walls intact with little houses constructed into the walls and nesting on top of them.
Don’t let the seemingly tortuous, winding roads keep you from setting up in the village of Radda in Chianti. The main piazza is an ideal location to capture on canvas a village unchanged from the Middle Ages.
I have only touched on a small number of villages in this Chianti Region that are worthy of a painting outing; certainly there are many other villages: Badia a Coltibuono, San Sano, Castello di Brolio, and Gaiole, to name a few more.
Don’t forget to always take out what you bring in when painting en plein air. Not all open space is public land; so whenever you’re in doubt, ask first before setting up; trespassing is against the law and fines can be steep. I’ve never know an artist who’s been turned off private land when they asked permission first.

The painting above, La Sera, is an original watercolor and acrylic 12”x16” on 140 pound paper. This is my whimsical version of shop and bar lights spilling into an Italian piazza at dusk. The original painting and limited edition prints can be purchased at my art website:
Il quadro sopra, La Sera, è un’originale acquerello e acrilico 31x41cm dipinto sulla carta di 300g/m2.
La mia idea di sogno d’una piazza Italiana al tramonte, quando le luce si riversarono fuori dei negozi.
Si può comprare l’originale oppure le stampe al mio website d’arte: