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:


Friday, December 23, 2011


Posted by Picasa



In this painting I wanted to convey my desire for all races to hold dear their individual ethnic backgrounds while embracing every other race, creed, and orientation. We are all children of our great Mother Earth, and thus, we are ONE family.
The original 16”x20” acrylic on wrapped canvas is available on my website:
Giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size are available at:

In questo quadro ho voluto fare l'idea che siamo tutti i figli della madre di terra e non e` mica importante il coloro del pelle, il religione, ecc.
Si può comprare il quadro originale dipinto con acrilico su tela al mio website:
Oppure si può` comprarne delle stampe al sito:



In 2000, written by Luciano Somma, we feel the sentimental spirit of one of Italy’s foremost poets. The theme of unity among all the citizens of Earth is as timely today as it was in the year 2000. When I set out to paint my “Citizens Of Earth” (as seen above) I remembered Luciano’s poem 2000 that I had translated in that year. Luciano and I share the same vision of world peace and unity. In this holiday season, if our message can melt even one bigoted heart we will be grateful.
You can find Luciano Somma at:

Nella poema, 2000 scritto di Luciano Somma, sentiamo lo spirito sentimentale d’un poeta molto noto in Italia. Il tema d’unità per tutti gli abitanti di mondo è tempestivo come quando ha scritto nel anno 2000. Quando ho cominciato dipingere “Citizens of Earth” (che si può vedere qui sopra) ho ricordato la sua poema 2000 che ho tradotto in quel anno. Luciano ed io siamo d’accordo la visione d’unità e pace dapertutto il mondo. In questa stagione di natale, se il nostro messaggio potrà intenerire mica uno cuore fanatico saremo grati.
Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

Alle soglie
del nuovo giorno
dal cielo terso
un volo di speranza
diretti verso il sole
dove il Cristo
dei giusti
attende i fratelli
d’ogni razza e colore
dove Dio-padre buono-
vegliera` sui suoi figli
la macchina-uomo
fermera` i suoi ingranaggi
a suonare le campane
e la preghiera
sara` uncanto d’amore
per l’umanita`.
Luciano Somma


At the thresholds
of the new day
a sunrise
from the clear sky
will welcome
a flight of hope
great eagles
directed towards the sun
where the Christ
of the just
waits for brothers
of every race and color
where God-good father-
will watch over his children
the human-machine
will stop it’s engines
they will return
to sound the bells
and the prayer
will be a song of love
for humanity.
Pamela Allegretto (translation)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


No artist worth his or her salt who visits Liguria should neglect the drive along the Riviera Di Ponente facing the rising sun across the Bay of Genoa. In the spring the walls of the gardens and villages in this area are draped with bougainvillea flowers in vivid hues ranging from deep pink to purple. This area on Italy’s “thigh” has long been a haven for poets and painters. It’s an eclectic mix of quaint fishing village and ancient seaports.
San Remo, my favorite town in this area, is known as the “City of Flowers.” With a name like that, no wonder it’s my favorite. In fact, San Remo is Italy’s most important flower market. So if you botanical painters can’t find something to paint in this region, I suppose you can blame it to having been blinded by beauty. In addition to the plethora of flowers, its luxuriant gardens and parks overflow with tropical plants.
If botanical painting is not you forte and you, like I, prefer painting architecture, don’t despair, the medieval center, the Pigna, climbs in concentric circles towards the Piazza Castello in a labyrinth of alleyways, flights of steps, covered passages, and little squares encircled by colorful shuttered buildings. All along this route you’ll find sufficient places to set up your easel or sit with a sketchpad. In the upper town, the Santuario della Madonna della Costa faces a terrace with a superior view, another great spot to set up. Another favorite for architectural painters is the Orthodox church of S. Basillio with its colorful onion domes. The church is in a little square by the sea, which makes for a lovely backdrop to this enchanting building.
As San Remo is a seaside resort, there is no shortage of seascapes to paint. Try a walk out onto the pier, another great place to set up, if you don’t mind curious tourists and fishermen breathing down your neck. If you’re an early riser or an insomniac don’t miss the spectacular opening of business in the flower market, at dawn, in the hall between Piazza Colombo and the Corso Garibaldi.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Posted by Picasa


I decided to take a little side trip away from Italy and travel down memory lane. In that "mental" journey I rediscovered: tie dye, drugs, sex, rock and roll, and the "Mamas and Papas."
Here's my take on that wonderful group.
The original is a 20"x20" acrylic on wrapped canvas and can be purchased on my website:
Giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size can be purchased at:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monterosso In Riviera Di Levante

Posted by Picasa

Monterosso On Riviera Di Levante

I designed the painting above from fond memories of Monterosso on the Riviera Di Levante in the Cinque Terre region of Italy. The warm tones of the village walls, rocks, and sand are the perfect neutral background for the colorful fishing boats.
The original 11"x14" acrylic in canvas can be purchased on my art website: http://www.Pamelaallegretto-franz.com
Giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size are avalable on: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

Thursday, August 11, 2011



Although the Cinque Terre region is no longer considered “off the beaten path” it’s definitely a “must visit” for artists who hunger to capture cliff-hanging, whitewashed buildings set ablaze by ruby sunsets. This fantasy gratifying stretch of the Italian Riviera, or as the Italians call it the Riviera Di Levante, lies between Genoa and Pisa.
The Cinque Terre are five small villages at the ends of narrow valleys that cut through a steep coastal range and are backed by green-terraced slopes of ancient vineyards. Flights of steps occupy narrow alleyways and bougainvillea filled pots spill red, purple, and aubergine petals from mini balconies.
Only the outer villages of Monterosso and Riomaggiore are easily reached by car, but it is exactly this restriction that adds to the regions charm.
Each village has its own flavor. To sample them all, you can follow the fragrant trail through sunny vistas from Riomaggiore to Monterosso.
For decades, Riomaggiore has seduced artists into becoming residents. The tunnel next to the train tracks takes you to a fascinating tangle of multicolored homes. Riomaggiore's beach is a small cove that is a two-minute walk from town. The swimming isn’t the best, but on a hot day, a refreshing dip will rejuvenate your creative juices. From Riomaggiore, the Via Dell'Amore (walkway of love) leads to Manarola where rustic stairways lead to remote rocks where you can set up an easel or sit with a sketchpad. If you’re a figure artist you may be in luck, as nude sunbathing is tolerated. Picturesque Manarola ends in a rocky promontory with a harbor so tiny the boats need to be hoisted out of the water and onto a jetty.
Corniglia is the only Cinque Terre village not on the water. The town center sits on a hill atop 377 stairs (the “Ladarina”) that zigzag up to the town where the view will knock your socks right off the cliff and into the aquamarine sea below. The vista includes not only the coastline and seascape, but also all the other four villages of the Cinque Terre.

The 90-minute hike on to Vernazza is rugged but you will be rewarded with outstanding views of sun-soaked terraced vineyards that blanket the region. Secluded coves and invigorating waterfalls are tucked away along the coast between Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare and beg to have their images preserved on your canvas.
Monterosso al Mare is the most important center and the only one with a broad, sandy beach. Translation: the most tourists. However, Monterosso deserves a visit to sketch its vestiges of old walls, towers, and bastions.
When you arrive at the Cinque Terre, take time to study the footpath maps that are available in all five villages. The Cinque Terre are crossed by a dense network of coastal and interior footpaths. The "Sentiero Azzurro", Blue Path, is the coastal trail while the "Sentiero Rosso", Red Path, or High Path, climbs from Portovenere to Levanto. The "Via dei Santuari", Sanctuaries Path, is more challenging and leads to places of religious interest upon the five villages.
The panoramas from many points of the trails are amazing especially along the coast path. All the paths are of low or moderate difficulty, they say, but I never trust “they.” Who are “they” anyway? Have “they” ever hiked the trail with an easel on their back? My advice, pitch the flip-flops and tie into some sturdy shoes with healthy tread. A sudden rainstorm can make for some very slippery cliffs.
If time is not on your side, I recommend the "Sentiero Azzurro", “Blue Path” which is the most famous and evocative trail of the Cinque Terre. The course has been traced through the centuries, when it was the only way of communication for the inhabitants of the Cinque Terre. In some points, it is a real mule track that winds waterfront offering fabulous views.
As always, bring water and some snacks, an umbrella, and plenty of enthusiasm.

Thursday, June 30, 2011



To my loyal readers: I apologize for leaving you stranded in the Marches region of Italy (not that the Marches region would be such a bad place to be stranded).
Due to family issues, I have been away from my computer for over a month, and it’s looking like it may be another month before I can have access to a computer so that we can resume our trek up the boot.
To you new readers, please go back and enjoy our journey thus far, from Sicily up through Basilicata, Apulia, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Naples, Campania, Rome, Latium, Florence, Umbria, and Tuscany.
When I return, we will head up North to Liguria, Piemonte and Lombardia, the lake regions, the Dolomiti, the Veneto region and of course Venezia.
Best wishes and happy painting to you all.
Tanti auguri,
Ciao, Pamela

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I get excited each time I begin to translate a new poem by Luciano Somma. In honor of Mother’s Day I’d like to present three of Luciano’s poems in we feel the sentimental spirit of one of Italy’s foremost poets. His poem “IMMAGINI/IMAGES” can be found in his dual language poetry book: “L’ALBA DI DOMANI / TOMORROW’S SUNRISE.” It gave me great pleasure to write the English translations in this book as well as to paint the cover art for the book and CD.
You can view more of Luciano Somma’s poetry at:
Mi eccita ogni volta che inizio a tradurre una poema scritta da Luciano Somma. In onore delle festa della mamma vi presento tre delle sue poesie nella quale sentiamo lo spirito sentimentale d’un poeta molto noto in Italia. La sua poema “IMMAGINI” si può leggere anche nel suo libro L’Alba di Domani, nella quale mi ha fatto un grand piacere scrivere le traduzioni.
Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

Come sei bella mammina
nel tuo sorriso c'è il sole
vorrei trovare parole
per dirti quanto ti amo!
Come sei dolce la sera
quando carezzi il mio viso
io sfioro sai il Paradiso
e mi addormento felice.
Quanto sei cara al risveglio
quando mi baci la fronte
si apre un nuovo orizzonte
davanti agli occhi col giorno.
Grazie di esistere mamma
restami sempre vicino
guidami lungo il cammino
tu la mia luce sei vita.
Luciano Somma

How beautiful you are Mamma
In your smile there is the sun
I would like to find words
To tell you how much I love you!
How gentle you are in the evening
When you caress my face
I glimpse heaven
And I sleep content.
How dear you are upon awakening
When you kiss my forehead
It opens a new horizon
In front of my eyes with daybreak.
Thank you for existing Mamma
Always stay near me
Guide me along the way
You my light, my life.
(Traduzione) Pamela Allegretto

Mi sei apparsa vestita di sole
con addosso il tuo nudo integrale
un ricordo fantasma d'estate
che ritona superbo e io sto male.
Mi riporta lontano nel tempo
con la bocca attaccata a quel seno
che succhiavo ingoiando il mio latte
mi vegliava uno sguardo sereno.
Era amore l'amore di madre
proteggeva il suo cucciolo ed io
ero là coi miei occhi di bimbo
che stringevo quel mondo era mio.
Sulla sabbia infuocata d'agosto
non mi brucia soltanto la pelle
ma memorie oggi cenere al vento
foglie morte frammenti di stelle
che comunque tra ortensie e le calle
il pensiero riporta alla mente
quanti brividi caldi d'estate
le mie lacrime piante per niente.
Muore il giorno compare il tramonto
eri solo una statua di cera
sei confusa tra i grani di sabbia
Dio in un lampo già è scesa la sera.
Luciano Somma

You appeared to me dressed in sunlight
on you bared completely
a ghostly memory of summer
that returns proud and I am pained.
It takes me back in time
with mouth attached to that bosom
I suckled swallowing my milk
while a serene gaze watched over me
it was love a mother’s love
it protected her cub and I
was there with my infant’s eyes
I held tightly the world that was mine.
On the sand inflamed by August
not only my skin burns
but today’s memories ashes to the wind
dead leaves fragments of stars
however among hydrangea and bell flowers
the memory returns to mind
how many warm shivers of sunrise
my tears cried for naught.
The day dies to achieve sunset
you were only a statue in wax
confused among grains of sand
God in a flash let evening fall.
(Translation) Pamela Allegretto

Dei tuoi desideri repressi
Navigava il tuo credo di madre
Per istinto felina e protettiva.
“ Donna partorirai con gran dolore “
e lo sapevi quando , per vocazione ,
sentivi dentro al tuo ventre
ad ogni parto
i palpiti e gli spasmi
e tu stringevi i denti
senza un lamento piena d’emozione .
Poi ad uno ad uno , col passar degli anni ,
ti lasciarono sola per andare
in una terra dove il pane è duro
a fare i vu’ cumprà o gli accattoni
ma tu non lo sapevi .
Nell’ultimo sospiro li chiamasti
come un appello antico , una preghiera ,
e in quel momento
non tutti li vedesti al capezzale .
Ora madre senza confini , senza più desideri
tu certamente ascolti
echi dei vu’ cumprà , di quei tuoi figli ,
nel vento , nell’azzurro , nella pace
dei tuoi incomunicabili silenzi…
Luciano Somma

In the ocean
Of your repressed desires
You navigated you mother’s creed
For feline instinct and caring
“Woman you will bear with great sorrow”
And you knew when, for vocation,
You felt inside your womb
To every part
The beats and the spasms
And you grit your teeth
Without a lament full of emotion.
Then, one by one, with the passing of years,
They leave you alone to go
To a land where the bread is hard
To be immigrant street vendors or beggars
But you didn’t know.
In the last breath you beckoned them
Like an ancient appeal, a prayer,
And in that moment
You did see them all at your bedside.
Now mother without bounds, without more desires
You surely hear
Echoes of the immigrant street vendors, of these your children,
In the wind, in the heavens, in the peace
Of your incommunicable silences...
(Translation) Pamela Allegretto

Sunday, April 24, 2011


For a full-on scenic drive and endless painting-ops, take the drive through the Sibillini Mountains from Macerata to Ascoli Piceno. Before you head out, be advised that the road will dip and dive and climb and drop, and unless carsickness is your nemesis, you’ll come away with one-of-a-kind sketches, paintings, or photos.
From Marcerata, the road leads to Passo di Trèia, but be sure to take a detour to the village of Trèia. This medieval town sits on a ridge in the central Potenza Valley, and it has walls and towers and gates that are all ripe for painting, on canvas of course. Don’t try to paint the walls and towers and gates themselves or you may encounter fierce opposition from the otherwise gentile town folk. The Piazza della Republica is an ideal location to set up and paint, as it opens toward the fertile valley below.
Another short diversion climbs to the abbey of Santa Maria di Rambona. (No, there is no correlation to Rambo) The views from the Abbey are spectacular and there are nice level sites to set up an easel and paint.
The next stop brings you to Tolentino, which sits on the banks of the Chienti River. This is another tranquil little gem that is unknown to most artists seeking river scenes to paint.
At San Severino Marche, (which I wrote about on my April 12th blog) this route turns into the Potenza Valley. It passes through rolling hills until you reach Castelraimondo, and then the road climbs the ridge between the Chienti and Potenza valleys. The views from this summit will set your heart thumping, or perhaps it’s the drive itself, in either case, take a breath and choose a spot to set up and paint the exquisite landscape below. Next, the road plunges to Sfercia on the floor of the valley. It crosses the Chienti and climbs to San Maroto and from here the undulating road leads up to Fiastra that sits on the Lago di Fiastra.
This lake is a great place to stop and regain your sea legs. It also offers a serene and lovely location to paint. When you’re ready to twist and turn instead of dive and climb, continue through this picturesque alpine landscape toward Bolognola, the highest community in the Marches. Certainly, you’ll be ready for another break to paint the 360 views; but hold the wine, you’re not out of the woods yet, and you’ll need all your faculties to maneuver the twisting, panoramic road to Sarnano: this is one very cool medieval town with steep, narrow streets that lead to the main piazza.
Depending on your time, there are certainly a multitude of scenic and historic side trips you may chose to take anywhere along this route; I only like to write about places I have personally visited. It’s possible to drive the panoramic road up to the summit of Monte Sibilla (7,135 feet), where you’ll find a famous cave you might like to explore. And if the drive didn’t already take your breath away, certainly the views over a majestic sweep of mountains to the Gran Sasso will finish you off. (But in a good way)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Posted by Picasa


At some point in each artist's life an attempt at a self-portrait is expected. The painting above is my idea of a true self-portrait: a portrait painting itself. The original 16”x20” wrapped canvas is available on my website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com
Giclee prints are available at: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Posted by Picasa


ISLAND BEAT This is Winston, one rockin’ conga drummer. His red-hot, reggae rhythm is as cool as a tropical breeze. You can view this original 16"x20" acrylic on canvas painting on my website: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com or purchase a giclee print at: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com Ecco Winston. Un batterista di conga che suona con brio la musica di reggae. Si può` vedere il quadro originale dipinto con acrilico su tela al mio website: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com Oppure si può` comprarne delle stampe a: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


For a great workout after a eating a bit too much pasta, (the local cuisine boasts this delicious four-vegetable rigatoncini) take a drive to Ostra Vetere. (No, the drive is not considered the workout.) Park in the center and take the pathways that link this picturesque medieval village with terraces and flights of steps. The views at each twist and turn are absolutely “paint-worthy.” Leave any bulky easel back at the hotel; a sketchpad, watercolor block, or small pochade box will be more appreciated, (don’t forget you’ll also have a full stomach). If you are interested in painting wine cellars and casks (and maybe having a taste or two while you’re at it) visit Fratelli Bucci cellars. If you are aching to paint a medieval village, then make a point to visit San Ginesio. It is surrounded by a defending wall with towers dating from the 14th – 15th centuries and holds a commanding position on the Fiastrella River. The Piazza Gentile is an ideal location to sit and paint the impressive Gothic campanile. The village is virtually tourist-free and thus, the local people will shower you with both curiosity and generosity. San Leo is another typical medieval town. It is positioned on an enormous rock mass above steep cliffs that over hang the lower reaches of the Marecchia. The Forte, with its majestic cylindrical towers, is set on the highest point of the rock and Machiavelli considered it to be the finest example of a military fortress. (Hey if it’s good enough for Machiavelli...) And I consider it an excellent location to paint. In town, climb the bell tower for exceptional views. San Severino Marche is another picturesque little town in the Potenza Valley. The old center (il Castello) dominates the town on the peak of Montenero. From this center you will find multiple vantage points to set up and paint the magnificent view of the surrounding hills. BUON VIAGGIO!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

PAINTING IN ITALY /MARCHES/Conero/Fermo/Gradara/Grottamare

A large section of the “calf” of the Italian boot is taken up by the Marches Region, which stretches between the Abruzzo and the Emilia Romagna regions. Sandy beaches line the coastline while inland green hills and river valleys run down the eastern slope of the Apennine chain to the Adriatic Sea. This region is still not well known to visitors, and thus, an artist with even only a few basic words of Italian is treated as an honored guest. Although Ancona, the capital, which poses a theatrical setting above the sea, may be a great place to put down roots for the night, for painting I recommend driving to Cingoli. Its impressive hilltop position has earned the little town of Cingoli the title of “Balcony of the Marches.” Set up your easel at the belvedere, just behind the apse of San Francesco, for spectacular views over the hills and as far as the Adriatic. Surrounded by walls, the town is secluded and quiet. The Conero promontory has magnificent views and cliffs that drop to the sea. The flora is interesting and rare and the abundance of birds includes the peregrine falcon and sand martins. Drive up the road that climbs the mountain ridge to the church of Santa Maria di Portonovo. In this enchanting setting your plein air mojo will go into over-drive. Just be sure to bring water and snacks: it really sucks to cut a painting secession short due to lack of sustenance. Fermo is another well-placed hill town that commands wonderful views. In addition, the steep alleyways of this medieval town offer architectural artists and photographers a plethora of inspiration. Gradara is a scene-stealer when it comes to turreted walls and magnificent views. According to tradition, the Rocca at Gradara was the setting for the tragic tale of Francesca da Rimini, related in Dante’s “Inferno.” So how cool is that? To walk around the walls as far as the highest tower, get out you sketch pad, and capture the amazing view while imagining where Dante stood when he conjured up his “Inferno.” When you have had you fill of damnation, drive to the seaside resort of Grottamare. From the center, a narrow street climbs to the remains of a 14th Century castle with excellent views and no signs of hellfire and damnation. BUON VIAGGIO!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Posted by Picasa


I am running a "limited time /limited number" special price for a giclee canvas print of the above painting Matera at: http://fineartamerica.com/weeklypromotion.html?promotionid=59806
Please click on this link to check it out.
To go along with this special price, I decided to re-post below my Matera article that I wrote last March.


For those adventurous artists who have squeezed the last drop from your yellow ochre and burnt sienna while painting Tuscan sunrises and sunsets, head south. I’m not talking Rome or Naples or Salerno, I mean the Deep South that Carlo Levi wrote about in Christ Stopped At Eboli.
In 1935, The Fascists exiled Levi to this region as a political prisoner. For those unfamiliar with this book, it has nothing to do with religion or of Christ making a weekend get-away to the Basilicata region. It refers to the idea that if Christ was traveling south in Italy and doing his Godly thing along the way, then he stopped when he reached Eboli. Levi wrote: “upon my arrival, the peasants said, ‘we are not Christians, Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli.’ Christian, in their way of speaking meant human being.” This “God-forsaken" region remains today a land outside time.
So, what do I like about this earthy and primeval region? Just that. It’s earthy and primitive. And the architecture is fun and challenging to paint.
In addition to being an accomplished writer, Carlo Levi was also a doctor and a gifted painter. If you go, don’t miss the Carlo Levi Gallery in Matera, where on exhibit you’ll find some thirty or more of his oil paintings, all of them portraying scenes from Basilicata life.
I recommend traveling by car, as some of the smaller villages are without rail stations. There is a respectable bus service, but in some cases you have to transfer 3 or 4 times to get to one village. If you drive, give the right-of-way to the donkeys that are burdened with bushels of firewood and clip clop down the cobblestone streets.
Buon Viaggio!
The original of the painting above can be viewed at my website: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com
Giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size can be purchased at: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Posted by Picasa


This is Rita, one hot Latina Jazz Diva. She rocks Jazz and wails the Blues and loves to “glam” it up. You can view this original 16"x20" acrylic on wrapped canvas painting on my website: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com or purchase a giclee print at: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com
Ecco Rita. Una cantanta Latina molto caliente. Lei canta il Jazz ed i “Blues” con brio. Si può vedere il quadro originale dipinto con acrilico su tela al mio website: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com
Oppure si può` comprarne delle stampe a: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Posted by Picasa


Today, I’m taking a little detour from Italy to Spain. I want to announce that the art gallery, "El Retiro" in Turre, Spain, is hosting an artist's exhibit on Friday, February 11, 2011. The theme for the exhibit is Valentine's Day and all the art will have with Love as its theme. It's a great honor to be included in this exhibit, and I give great thanks to my dear friend Miki Fonvielle for making this happen for me. I also thank Curtis Helm, the proprietor of "El Retiro" for including me in this exhibition. My painting is "Island Love." See painting above. Giclee prints and greeting cards of this painting are available at: http://www.PAMELA-ALLEGRETTO.FINEARTAMERICA.COM I am very excited to be included in the exhibit with my dear friends and amazing artists: Miki: http://www.artmiki.com and Kev: http://mooremusic.biz
If you are lucky enough to be in this delightful town on Friday, please stop by the gallery. To view paintings of Turre, please visit: Http://www.paintingbycountries.com
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Posted by Picasa


My friend Emmanuel Baliyanga painted “Food Market In Cameroon” shown above. Giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size of this painting and other colorful paintings of Africa and African life can be viewed and purchased at: http://www.emmanuel-baliyanga.fineartamerica.com/.
Emmanuel was born in the north of Rwanda where at a very young age he was admitted to an elite art school run by Belgian monks. There he learned everything about drawing, painting, and sculpture. He obtained with honors his arts diploma 6 years later.
In 1994, his parents and his eight siblings perished in the Rwanda Genocide. Emmanuel fled to Zaire. In 1995, to escape the tough life and epidemics of the refugee camps, he and other refugees tried to flee to the French Congo, but were forced to retreat. Back in Zaire, a Nun’s charity organization helped them to reach Cameroon, where he now lives.
Having won an art competition for AIDS awareness, he used the prize money to put himself through art school in Yaounde’.
In viewing Emmanuel’s vibrant, joyful art, one would never imagine that his life has been wrought with unthinkable hardships and sorrow.
Sadly, Africa is not a good market for selling fine art; however now, thanks to the kindness and assistance of French artist Miki Fonvielle, Emmanuel has his art on the Internet for the world to enjoy and purchase.
Please take time to visit Emmanuel’s site. In addition to depictions of African life, he paints remarkable portraits of African American celebrities, and his wood sculptures are breathtaking.

Friday, January 21, 2011


When you’re ready to paint your personal interpretation of the Florentine view seen in many a Renaissance painting, travel up the Viale dei Colli to Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the best known and most popular of the vantage points offering a view over the city and its basin. The Viale dei Colli was specifically laid with the intention of offering Florentines and visitors an incomparable scenic route. The road curves along the slopes of the hills with some sections cloaked by lush vegetation. If you aren’t driving and aren’t up to the steep walk up from the city, you can reach Piazzale Michelangelo via bus #13.
The best time to visit the Piazzale Michelangelo is at dusk, when the purple-fringed Tuscan hills frame Giotto’s bell tower, Brunelleschi’s dome, and Palazzo Vecchio. Certainly, at various times of the day the Piazzale can be overcrowded with tour buses, usually midday during the summer months, but it’s rare that you can’t find a place to park your car, and there’s always space to set up an easel; and most importantly, the view of Florence will make you forget about any hubbub going on around you.
In the center of Piazzale Michelangelo is an impressive replica of the David. Speaking of the David, here’s a great little story regarding the nose of David. According to art historian Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), after Michelangelo had finished the David and was working on the scaffolding, the Gonfalonier, Pier Soderini, the highest authority of the Republic and therefore the patron of the sculpture, praised Michelangelo but added that ‘it seemed to him that the nose was too big.’ Michelangelo, who understood the patience necessary when working with a client, took a handful of marble dust and pretended to chisel away at the nose of David, allowing dust to trickle out of his hand. After the supposed finishing touch was complete, the Gonfalonier said ‘it pleases me more, you have given him life.’
From Piazzale Michelangelo you can continue on foot up to San Miniato al Monte. This clearly must be one of the best-loved churches in Italy: for it’s dramatically placed hilltop location overlooking Florence, for that same position as an eye-catcher up from the Florentine center, and for its brilliant black, green, and white marble façade. The church is dedicated to Saint Minias of whom legend has it that after martyrdom by decapitation the saint’s corpse was seen to carry his severed head over the river and up the hill (no, not to grandma’s house) to this spot. Look up the Church of San Miniato al Monte in your travel guide and take time to go inside. It is the oldest surviving church building in Florence after the Baptistery and it’s like no other church in the city. From the church grounds you’ll find many convenient vantage points for painting the Florentine vista.
Buon Viaggio!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I lived in Florence for two years and believe that I still only scratched the surface of “paint-worthy” locations.
Certainly, before you even pick up a brush, you’ll want to visit the “heavy hitters”: Michelangelo’s David, Il Duomo, The Baptistery, The Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, The Ponte Vecchio, etc., etc. There are a whole host of guidebooks available that offer in depth information on these sites and the multitude of piazzas that are all worthy of your attention and your paint time. My purpose is to tell you about my favorite, lesser-known sites where you can set up your easel or sit with your sketch pad.
Florence’s city center is situated on the “Right Bank” of the Arno River. On the “Left Bank,” known as the Oltrarno, and behind the Palazzo Pitti, you’ll find the Giardini Boboli. It is said that the Marquis de Sade preferred the enchanting Boboli Gardens to Florence’s women whom he considered “arrogant, impertinent, ugly, dirty, and gluttonous.” Well, given his reputation, I suppose the Florentine women should have counted themselves fortunate to have been able to keep the Marquis at a safe distance.
The Boboli Gardens extend over eleven acres and occupy a hilltop position with awesome views over the city and its surroundings. The Boboli Gardens offer an overall impression of a refined integration of art and nature. Secluded paths lead to numerous resting places equipped with stone benches for sitting with a sketchpad or Pochade box. Surrounding these little tranquil pockets you’ll find grottos, fountains, and statues in close harmony with the emerald backdrop of cypresses, pines, laurel hedges, and lemon trees. Take time to visit the Grotta del Buontalenti where it’s fountains, frescos, and statues (Giambologna’s Venus in particular), are guaranteed to inspire you.
At the top of the gardens is the Giardino del Cavaliere with incredible views and more than enough convenient places to set up. You shouldn’t miss the fountain island, Isolotto, at the far end of the gardens. The most dramatic approach is along the central cypress avenue, Viottolone. Be aware that many of the statues along this path are Roman originals.
If you neglected to pack a picnic or drinks, don’t despair. There’s a charming little snack bar at the top of the gardens with lots of tables to sit and eat and drink and drink in the spectacular panorama. It’s also a great place to sketch or paint. But unlike other bars where you can get away with sitting and painting for hours for the price of one espresso, if you’re there on a busy day you’ll be encouraged to buy something more to eat or drink, or else pack up that Pochade Box and move on down the line. You can’t blame them. Given the plethora of artists who visit the city, the bar would quickly go belly up if every artist who sat at its tables only ordered one coffee and then proceeded to sit for four hours.
Buon Viaggio!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


About a 25-minute drive from Piazza San Marco in Florence will take you to the hill town of Fiesole. As you take this panoramic drive you’ll pass fountains, statuary, and lush gardens. If you prefer to not drive, you can take the #7. However, if you take the bus, you won’t be able to pull off along the way and sketch the amazing views, which I highly recommend. Piazza Mino da Fiesole, Fiesole’s main square, is a great place to sit and have an espresso or sip Campari while you sketch the ochre-colored buildings with their charming green shutters. Character studies abound as visitors from around the world gather in this little slice of heaven.
When you’re ready for a short but steep hike, take Via San Francesco, which parallels a terrace that offers a show-stopping view of Florence. At the end of the goat trail, you’ll reach the Convent of San Francesco and the church of Sant’Alessandro. From behind the churches there is an idea spot to set up and paint another grandstand view of Florence. Do take a break from painting to visit the two churches, where you’ll find works by Piero di Cosimo and some gorgeous marmorino cipollino (onion marble) columns. From the front of San Francesco go through the gate that opens into a charming, wooded public park that makes for an enjoyable descent back to Piazza Mino. If you’re a nature painter, you’ll want to set up for a while in this delightful locale.
Back in the main part of town beyond the Duomo, in Via Marini you’ll find the entrance to the Teatro Romano. Built in the first century BC, this amphitheater is equipped to seat three thousand spectators. It was excavated at the end of the last century and is in such a good state of repair that it’s used for various theatrical and musical performances. As you arrive at the theater, you are at the top looking down onto the stage. Also from these upper seats there are views that beg to be painted. It’s an ideal spot to easily set up and paint the theater stage and the panorama behind it. Can you imagine anything much more remarkable than sitting in the same seat as Roman spectators sat over 2,000 years ago and drawing or painting the same view they witnessed? Okay, so maybe the trees have grown a bit higher on the distant hills during these past 2,000 years, but let’s not allow trivial details to spoil the mood.
Take time for a picturesque stroll to the outskirts of Fiesole and wander down the narrow Via Vecchia Fiesolana to the hamlet of San Domenico. This is another “must stop to paint” location, not only for it’s charm and amazing views, but also the local folks love artists who venture outside Florence to paint its environs. You will no sooner open your sketchpad or set up your easel, than a mini crowd will form to see what has caught your fancy. No matter what you have decided upon, there will be at least four or five other opinions on what you should have chosen. It’s always all in good fun and offers of wine, soda, water, cheese, panini, and etc. will no doubt abound. You may not get much painted, but you will have a wonderfully memorable experience.
Buon Viaggio!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Posted by Picasa


The painting above is a scene from a back street in Siena. The original watercolor painting can be purchased at my website: http://www.PamelaAllegretto-Franz.com. Giclee prints can be viewed and purchased at: http://pamela-allegretto.fineartamerica.com.



On three sienna-colored hills in the center of Tuscany lies the walled city of Siena (Sena Vetus). Planted solidly back in the Middle Ages, this show place of Italian Gothic preserves its original character perhaps more strikingly than any other city in Italy.
In the heart of Siena sits Piazza del Campo. This concave piazza makes for perfect viewing and sketching of the infamous Palio delle Contrade held each summer on July 2 and August 16. If you’re in Siena at this time, it’s impossible to not get caught up in the grip of Palio fever. For those unfamiliar with Il Palio: it’s a wild and thrilling horse race dating back to the Middle Ages and it maintains all the pageantry, costumes, and celebrations of that specific period. It’s a “no rules” event where even a horse with no rider can win the race. (Yes, riders do get knocked off their mounts. Try suggesting that scenario at the Kentucky Derby.) Personally, I find the race itself to be cruel to the horses, but the pre-race pomp and ritual with heralds, child drummers, flag-bearers, and Renaissance costumes make great quick-sketch muses for future paintings. Hang onto your hat, your sketchpad, and your wallet, as the rowdy crowd can swell to uncomfortable numbers.
Clearly, your guidebooks will lead you to all the big-hitter, must-see museums, galleries, and churches, so let me lead you off the beaten path, especially if you have survived intact a day at the Palio. If you’re a fan of painting architecture, Siena will fill your cup to over flowing. At each turn of the city’s undulating streets you will find a paint-worthy scene. And don’t forget the streets themselves, which are all brick-paved, and that imitate the dominant building material of brick at it’s very warmest and most subtly toned. Stairways lead to more stairways and arches frame spectacular views.
One of my favorite sites to sit and paint and drink wine (what else could one ask for?) is at the Enoteca Italica Permanente. Located at the Fortezza Medicea, Viale Maccari, this Italian government owned and operated establishment lies just outside the entrance to an old fortress. Here, you’ll find several sunny terraces for outdoor wine tasting. You can sit at a table, order a glass, and paint undisturbed for hours. The out-laying vistas will knock your socks off. Just don’t let that wine do it first.
Buon Viaggio!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Italian Poetry / PRIMO GENNAIO/ Luciano Somma

In “January 1st” Luciano Somma carefully selects a minimum amount of words to create a maximum punch for this thought-provoking poem.
You can find Luciano Somma at:

Nella poema “PRIMO GENNAIO” Luciano Somma sceglie attentamente la minima quantità delle parole a creare il massimo pugno per questa poema stimolante.
Si può trovare Luciano Somma a:

Ancora storditada
tanto frastuonola
notte sbadiglia
perchè è già domani.
Avrà il volto nuovo
quest'alba che spunta
neonata speranza
d'un anno sereno?
Laggiù all'orizzonte
Io vedo una luce
più intensa e più chiara
sarà forse inganno?
Soltanto chimera?
Oppure aria pura
è questo l'augurio
per tutti quaggiù
Vogliamoci bene
la vita è una solteniamola cara
vivendo in amore
Con tutte le razze
da veri fratelli
sarà un'utopia?
Può darsi, chissà!
Luciano Somma

Still dazed
from so much racket
the night yawns
as it's already tomorrow.
Will it have a new face
this sunrise that awakens
newborn hope
for a peaceful year?
There on the horizon
I see a light
powerful and radiant
Will it be a fraud?
Only illusion?
If not, this greeting
is a pure manifestation
for everyone on earth
to love each other
life is unique
we hold it dear
living in love
with all races
from true brothers
will it be utopia?
It's possible, I wonder!
Pamela Allegretto Franz (translation)