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, 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!!!