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 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!!!

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