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:


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!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! I want to go there!!!!
    I will remind you when I will have you planing my painting trip in Italy!
    Thank you so much for making these posts, they are so useful , exactly what a travelling painter needs!


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