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, 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!

1 comment:

  1. Simply wonderful! I so much want to go there, to sketch all these places, and now, I do want to sit in that restaurant and have one or two many glasses of the house wine! ~And yes, great idea for a painting... who paints it now?
    it was always a dream of me to go to Carrara too.. a kind of romantic vision.. we have a marble quarries here, about one hour from where we live.. I just love these places.... just thinking how many potential sculptures they contain!
    Thank you again for this wonderful post... be sure that it is on our list when we will travel to Italy...


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