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, 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!


  1. Wonderful Pamela! So exciting to read all that, thinking that we might go there soon...

  2. When I read all that I have the feeling that there are so many things to see and visit, that I will never have time to sit down and sketch. My feeling is that it would be better to visit and paint Italy in very small regions, taking many weeks for one region alone. I will have to discuss this theme with you before we go. I certainly don't want to feel frustrated having to leave many subjects behind, I prefer to take time for one place instead of rushing from one to the another.
    This blog is wonderful for visitors and painters of Italy. I wished it would be a book which I could take with me....


Thank you for your comment. Grazie per i complimenti.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.