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:


Monday, March 22, 2010


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Certainly a trip to the Umbrian region would not be complete without a visit to Perugia, the capital of Umbria. Home to Perugina chocolate, (a reason in itself to visit the city), Perugia has retained much of its Gothic and Renaissance charm, which makes it appealing to artists who enjoy painting architecture.
Piazza IV Novembre is the hub of Perugian life and a top contender for being one of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas. At one end of the piazza is the Palazzo dei Priori, one of the finest secular buildings in Italy. Yes, you read it correctly, a spectacular building in Italy that’s not a church!
In the heart of Piazza IV Novembre is the Fontana Maggiore, and as it name states, it is truly a Grand Fountain. If you want to test your drawing skills, here’s the place to do it. The fountain’s artistic triumph stems from sculpture work by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. Included are allegorical sculpture, saints, biblical characters, statuary that symbolizes the arts and sciences, Aesop’s fables, the months of the year, the signs of the zodiac, and scenes from the Old Testament and Roman history.
After you’ve run out of paper drawing the marvels of the fountain, take the escalator to the Rocca Paolina. The gardens around the old fortress are perfect for setting up to paint the breathtaking views.
Deruta remains one of my favorite towns in Umbria. Since the days of the Renaissance painters, it has boasted the densest concentration of shops and factories that sell the distinctive hand-painted glazed terra cotta. Even Raphael commissioned ceramic-ware with the now famous motif of dragons cavorting with flowers and vines.
As soon as the shops open for the day, the town explodes with color. Baskets and racks and tables are set outside and stacked and filled and hung with vibrant ceramics. Plates and platters and tiles decorate ancient walls. The Piazza dei Consoli is an excellent place to set up and capture this “ceramic” garden on canvas.
Save a little time to shop and appreciate the artistry. You simply must at least buy a spoon-rest; if you don’t you’ll wish you had, once you’ve returned home. If you travel “carry-on only,” as I do, don’t despair; the shops ship worldwide. Hey if it’s good enough for Raphael...
The original and limited edition prints of the painting above can be viewed and purchased at my art website:
Si può comprarne delle stampe e l’originale del quadro in alto al mio website d’arte: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Pinturicchio’s magnificent frescos and the stunning Deruta majolica floor in the Cappelle Baglioni aren’t the only reasons to visit Spello. The town itself, with its limestone houses, narrow, winding cobbled streets, covered passageways, and startling views begs to be captured on canvas. Mini piazzas offer excellent set-up locations. Or if you’re a landscape artist, you can kill two birds with one stone by lunching on the terrace of the reasonably priced Cacciatore, while you paint the views around Mount Subasio.
You can walk off lunch by climbing Via Belvedere that leads to the Belvedere. At the top of the hill, on the site of a Roman acropolis, the views of the Topino Valley are amazing. If you can be there at sunset, you’re in luck.
From a distance, the medieval town of Assisi resembles a cascade of churches, houses, and campaniles. Within the town, narrow alleyways link up and kiss in quaint little piazzas and then diverge, maybe into another piazza, maybe to a dead end, whatever the case, the final destination is guaranteed to be paint-worthy.
Certainly, the central square, Piazza del Comune, is a favorite artist’s site. No matter the time of day, you’ll see artists standing at easels, sitting on steps, perched on walls, or balancing on the edges of fountains.
If you prefer a less chaotic atmosphere in which to paint, or are looking to paint landscapes, visit the Rocca Maggiore. To get there on foot, begin at the Duomo and follow the picturesque Via Maria delle Rose. This secluded lane will take you up the grassy slope. Take time out to tour the fortress before settling down to paint the killer views.
My favorite site at Assisi is L’Eremo delle Carceri. Situated on the slopes of Mount Subasio, this was where St Francis of Assisi yakked it up with the animals. The light that filters through this densely wooded area prompts interesting paintings, and evidently, appealing conversations. In one little nook, outside a cave, you come across, almost stumble over, three life-sized statues lying on their backs and gazing at the sky. This is supposed to be St. Francis and his fellow monks meditating. Most people think this is inspiring; I find it kind of creepy.
After you’ve painted the changeable lights in the forest and chatted up a few animals, take the road past St. Benedict’s Abby up to the summit of Mount Subasio where the views are stunning.
Buon Viaggio!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jam Session

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Jam Session

The above painting is my stylized version of jazz musicians jaming it up. The painting is a 20"x20" acrylic on canvas with 2" finished painted sides. You can see this painting on my art website:
Il mio versione dei musicisti di Jazz. Il quadro e` dipinto con acrilico su tela di 52x52cm, coi lati dipinti di 6cm. Non ce la necessita` di incaricarlo. Si puo` vedere il quadro sul mio website d'arte;