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)

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