I’m back . For almost three months now. I returned May 9th.
I had a terrific time. It was a long trip and it had its up and downs, but it met its goal, which was to get away from my regular life and refocus my attention on painting. And there are few better places to paint then Italy.
I spent the first five weeks in Rome, painting a lot with my friends Marco Carloni and Claudia Manelli. We painted at the typical tourist spots, but they, as Rome residents, introduced me to some of the more of the beaten track spots. One can’t really recommend a favorite place to paint in Rome. It’s all good! The Aventine Hill stands out in my memory for its variety of views and sights.
My favorite new discovery in Rome this trip was the Museo Pietro Canonica, a wonderful former sculpture studio in the Villa Borghese Park. A great place to draw (and free).
Rome has convenient public transportation and many possibilities for day trips. Next time I visit I hope to see more of the countryside.
But…., Rome is noisy and chaotic. After being used to my quiet life in Maine, I found the chaos began to grate on me. So I decided to go to Florence instead for the second half of my trip.
Florence is definitely calmer place, but still a busy tourist city. I borrowed a bike from my Roman friend and artist Kelly Medford, and I was on my way. That made it much easier to get around as I had rented a room a bit on the outskirts of the city.
Some of the highlights of my Florence stay were taking a bus to Caldine, where one can get into the country-side near Florence in about 45 minutes, the whole area around San Miniato and the San Niccolo neighborhood, and especially interacting with some of the artists connected with the various art ateliers in Florence. Both the Florence Academy of Art and Charles Cecil Studios have life drawing sessions and as a bonus, Cecil Studios has an interesting Thursday night art lecture.
While I was there I also took a day trip to Arezzo, which is a gorgeous and quiet small city. I’d love to take a week there to paint sometime.
I always tell people who are surprised that I can afford to go to Italy for over two months, that it can be quite inexpensive. The secret is to stay long enough so you can rent a room by the month that includes a kitchen. Because unless you stay in the tourist places and economy, Italy is far cheaper to live in then the US. In Rome I had a connection from an earlier trip, and in Florence I used AIR-BNB.
The three paintings in this post were the last ones I did in Florence. To see more of the work from this trip, take a look at the two previous posts.
And, of course, I sell my work. If your interested in purchasing paintings, and supporting my endeavors, take a look at my online shop here. If you don’t see a specific painting you saw of mine in my shop, please inquire, I may just have not put it up.
Originally posted on stephangiannini.com