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:


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


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.
If you would rather not travel up and down the boot and prefer to concentrate your Italian painting experience in one region, then you may be interested in checking out The Tuscan Renaissance Center at Borgo San Fedele. This ex-monastery dating back to the 12th century is situated in the Chianti hills, 12km north of Siena. Owners Nicolò and Renata, lovingly restored San Fedele, spending six years to its resurrection. They employed traditional Tuscan building methods and used all original building materials to restore, rather than refurbish the structure.
The views from the large terrace are outstanding, the architecture unique, and the gardens are impeccably maintained. You can even enjoy a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool after a day at the easel.
For complete information on San Fedele, including help with hosting an artist’s workshop or how to sign up for the many exceptional artist’s workshops that are listed on their website, visit:



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