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, November 28, 2010


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While I’ve been busy traveling to and writing about Italy, my good friend from the UK, Kev Moore, recently completed a two-month journey through the southern states of the U.S. His goal: seek out and be inspired by the music heartland of America and then return to his home in Spain and compose a killer music CD.
Kev’s CD: Blue Odyssey, is a masterful blend of jazz, blues, rock, soul, and even gospel. Kev not only captured the heart of the music heartland, he seized its soul.
I recommend checking out Kev’s website: http://mooremusic.biz to learn more about his journey and to find out how to purchase this amazing CD.
While Kev jammed with jazz and blues greats in New Orleans and Nashville, his partner, French artist Miki, sketched and painted these southern music legends. You can see her wonderful music paintings at: http://www.paintingthemusic.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bongo Man

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Bongo Man

This painting above has nothing to do with painting in Italy but it is all about my love for music and bold colors. You can veiw the original acrylic on canvas painting on my website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/ or purchase a giclee print at: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com/ Other music paintings can be viewed at: http://www.paintingthemusic.com Questo quadro mostra mio passione dei colori vivaci e la musica. Si puo` vedere il quadro originale dipinto con acrilico sul mio website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com/ Oppure si puo` comprare delle stampe a: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com/

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


If you’re driving from Florence to Pisa, plan to stop and set up your easel for a few hours at San Miniato, which is about midway between these two popular cities.
Climb the hill from the Prato Del Duomo, (wear sensible shoes, no flip-flops), the vistas are outstanding, and on clear days the view extends from the hills of Fiesole to the sea, and from the Apuan Alps to the cliffs of Volterra. You can set up next to the tower, which is a post-WW2 reconstruction of the last remnant of a fort Emperor Frederick II built in 1240. How’s that for “Painting on Location?”
Bread, cheese, prosciuto, fruit, water, and wine are available in town if you want to enjoy a Tuscan-style picnic while you paint. Try to catch either a sunrise or sunset; you will not be disappointed.
As usual, pack smart (translation = pack light).
San Miniato has an exciting and colorful Kite-flying festival the first Sunday after Easter. If you are in Tuscany during the Easter time, you should make a point to catch this event. At that time of the year he countryside is ablaze in spring colors which add to the vibrant colored kites.
Buon Viaggio!

Monday, November 8, 2010


In addition to the Alpi Apuane, there are various other reasons to visit the Riviera Della Versilia. One reason is the beach resorts that run unbroken between Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi. Much of the sand is leased to various hotels and establishments who rent out chairs and umbrellas. But you needn’t be sucked in; there are numerous public access areas where you can sit and paint seascapes all day without paying rent on a lounge chair.
My favorite town for people watching and sketching is Viareggio. Passeggiata Margherita, the long, palm lined seafront promenade presents an air of elegance without being pretentious. Numerous bars and restaurants offer outdoor seating. For the price of an espresso or limonata, you can sit undisturbed for hours and sketch or paint.
I don’t often recommend restaurants, but here I will make an exception. Grab a bite in the pergola at Ristorante Michele. While you’re enjoying your meal, you can sketch or painting the vine-choked trellises that enclose the patio and hover overhead. If you have one too many glasses of their marvelous, and cheap, house wine, you may envision the broad twisted vines as tree snakes, threatening to drop into your minestrone. Now there’s a great idea for a painting.
Certainly, you can’t possibly be in the area without a trip to Carrara, the “Marble Capital.” Set in the hills, the town offers many prime locations to set up and paint, not only the excellent seascapes below, but also the town itself. Peeling pastel stucco houses and side streets lined with green shutters make excellent subjects.
And then of course there are the marble quarries. One of the more accessible is the site at Colonnata, the Cave di Colonnata. If you’re driving, follow the yellow signs from town up to the twisting road. Don’t worry; you can’t miss it. You’ll see a huge, blindingly white marble basin. It’s floor and sides are perfectly squared by the enormous wire saws used to cut the blocks that are scattered about.
Michelangelo spent eight months in Carrara. So while you’re setting up to paint in the village, on the convenient outlooks to the sea, or at the quarry, you’re likely to be standing in a spot where Michelangelo stood to contemplate his next sculpture or to chose his next block of marble. Does it get any better than that?
Buon Viaggio!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


On the northern coast of Tuscany, the Alpi Apuane Mountains dominate the Riviera della Versilia. Well-marked footpaths that offer huge rewards for plein air artists crisscross the mountains, a forty-kilometer span of indisputably alpine spectacle.
Due to their location and elevation, the Apuane are an ideal blend of assorted ecological habitats, from tundra through Alpine meadow to Mediterranean grassland. An extraordinary assortment of wildflowers makes this one of the country’s richest botanic enclaves. However, the most noticeable vegetation is the vast forest of chestnut and beech, which cover nearly all the lower slopes. These trees offer shelter to many of the mountains’ three hundred species of birds. (If you like to paint birds, you may never want to climb down from this mountain.)
The main approach to the northern group of peaks is from Levigliani. Detailed trail maps are available in town. Be sure to pick one up before you head out. The best-detailed and easiest to read is the Multigraphic-Wanderkarte. Trails #9 and #126 are the most popular and have well-situated clearings for setting up to sketch and paint.
Stazzema is the best access to the southern peaks and trail #5, which is a gentle climb (the best type of climb in my mind) through chestnut woods to the Procinto, a huge tabletop crag mention by Dante. Of all the walks, I prefer this Procinto walk; not only because it’s an easy walk, which is helpful when you’re toting art supplies and food and water, but it allows time to walk up Monte Nona, have a picnic lunch and paint some out-of-this-world scenery, and return to Stazzema in time to view the sunset from an outdoor café` in the town’s charming piazza.
Even though the Alpi Apuane are on the cusp of the Versilia Riviera, don’t think the temperature will be the same. At first, it may feel like a cool relief from the blazing beach, but it can cool down quickly, so never venture up into these mountains without a jacket on hand, ditto, water and snacks.
As always, carry out what you carry in. Your reward will be the opportunity to paint scenery that few artists have the chance to paint. And the icing on the cake: Michelangelo hiked some of these same trails while visiting Carrara to select marble for his David!
Buon Viaggio!