Tuesday, 3 November 2015


"San Lorenzo" oil on canvas cm 50x100

So you have chosen Tuscany as a destination for your next holiday, but haven't decided where to stay yet.When looking for accommodation in Tuscany, you are faced with tons of options.

In the art cities you can find hotels for all price ranges, but if you are planning to spend some time in the countryside, why not consider staying at an "agriturismo"?

An Agriturismo is a working farmhouse where rooms or apartments are rented out to travellers by the family who ownes it. In order to be classified as agriturismo more than 50 per cent of the income of the farm must derive from agriculture. This insures that the land is worked and preserved.

Staying at an agriturismo is usually cheaper than a hotel (although we also have luxury ones that are pricey), and it's a good way to experience the real Tuscan lifestyle, as in most cases you will be in close contact with the family and you will have the chance to taste food produced in the property. The whole thing is usually very informal.

Today's painting is a view of an ancient hamlet recently turned into an agriturismo, with great views over the hills a few miles away from Siena.


Monday, 12 October 2015


"Autumn is here"  oil on canvas cm 40x60

Autumn really is a magical season, and one of the most inspirational!

Autumn skies are the most exciting and dramatic. Dark grey clouds can make you want to stay at home, in bed, reading a book, and ten minutes later the sun can come out and reveal the most brilliant blue sky. With their changing moods, autumn skies are never boring!

And every day you can notice the little shifts in the colour of the leafs, as the vines and trees gradually take on golden and amber hues.
In today's painting you can see the colours that we are enjoying right now here in Tuscany, with the warm yellow and orange colours of the vineyards, and the oak trees that are just starting to turn.
I hope you like it!

Monday, 28 September 2015


"Sunny Vineyard" oil on canvas - cm 70x90

Are you looking for a good excuse to plan your next visit to Tuscany? Why not wine tasting?  
Millions of people travel to us every year with the purpose of being able to sip exquisite wines while sitting in a terrace, enjoying a stunning view over the Tuscan vineyards.

The Province of Siena, where I live, includes some areas of wine production that are famous all around the world. 

The area between the city of Siena and Florence, (which is the capital of Tuscany, by the way), is called Chianti Classico, just like the world-famous red wine produced on its hills.

About 40 kilometers south of Siena is Montalcino, the home of  Brunello, considered the king of Italian wines for the extremely long ageing process it undergoes, which transforms the Sangiovese grapes into a complex and full-body wine.

Further east, the hills around another beautiful medieval town, Montepulciano , offers the Vino Nobile, also produced mainly from another type of Sangiovese grapes, called Prugnolo Gentile. 

Finally,  San Gimignano, 30 minutes north-west of Siena, is famous for its 14 medieval towers and also for the Vernaccia, a white wine produced from the most ancient variety of grapes, Vernaccia, the production of which is thought to have been started in Italy in the 6th century BC!

Today's painting was inspired by a vineyard just outside San Gimignano on a hot Summer day. 

So...I hope I gave you enough reasons to visit Tuscany soon!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


"Casetta Civinini" Oil on Canvas cm 35x45 

Tuscany is mostly famous for the beauty of its countryside, but we also have great beaches, especially in the southern coastal area.

September is my favourite month for going to the beach!

I made a small painting of one of my favourite beaches, where I often go with my mum, my boyfriend, my girlfriends, or by myself.

Its called Casetta Civinini and it's a wide uncrowded sandy beach with a pinewood  that separates it from the road. It is a few miles long so you can take nice walks.

If you wish to learn more about the lovely beaches in Tuscany, click here.

Monday, 24 August 2015


"Waiting for the Harvest in Tuscany" Oil on Canvas cm 60x80

The bunches of grapes hanging on the vines in the Chianti area are already looking ripe, and this year we are expecting an excellent vintage.

Since we have had a very hot summer the harvest may start a little sooner than usual and in the southern part of the region the white varieties such as Trebbiano and Malvasia are already being picked  this week. In the province of Siena, which is right in the centre of Tuscany, we will probably begin the first week of September.

Most of the work is done by hand and many people are hired by the hundreds of wine producers all over Tuscany.

If you are interested in joining the harvest and get a taste this joyful and hectic time of the year, you can check out this website that has a list of some of the main producers in Tuscany.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Pen and Watercolour on Paper

How could I live without my sketchbook?

Sketchbooks are creative people's best friends and I would advise everyone to get into the habit of using one.
A sketchbook is a book with blank pages that you can carry with you at all times and use it as your private place to draw, write, scribble or do whatever you want, there are no rules, and nobody will see it unless you want them to.
So, what's so great about them?
In a sketchbook you can:

  • write down or draw creative ideas before you forget them, 
  • develop ideas, for example try out compositions for a painting or drawing,
  • experiment with different mediums you are less familiar with, provided the paper you choose is suitable
  • use it as a visual diary, drawings help you remember experiences better
  • practise handwriting 
  • make lists
  • stick stuff in it
  • have fun, doodle and make a mess!

Watercolour on Paper

There is no right or wrong way to use a sketchbook.
Some people do a lot of writing in them, some consider it a proper form of art.
Check out artists like Andrea Joseph, Fabio Consoli     and Lapin , for example.

Pen and Watercolour on Fabriano Paper

Most of my pages are quite messy and I usually don't spend a lot of time on each drawing. I like to capture what I see around me and I often use it at home to relax or on days when I can't paint.

I carry a sketchbook with me all the time and there are some days when I don't use it at all, but I have to know it's there in case I need to draw or write something!

Ballpoint on Fabriano paper

What about you? Do you like sketchbooks and can you think of other reasons for starting using them?

Ideas for future paintings..

Monday, 13 July 2015


"Sunny Morning in Tuscany"  Oil on Canvas cm 60x80

If you were travelling around Tuscany right now you would be seeing miles  and miles of sunflower fields everywhere.

Every summer it's the same old story: I promise to myself I will not paint any sunflowers this year, as they are quite messy to deal with, but as soon as I see them popping out, I can't help it. So the other day I took lots of pictures in the countryside south of Siena, and then spent many hours in my nice and cool studio, trying to get something good out of them...

Here is a series of pictures that will give you an idea of how this painting came to life. I hope you enjoy them!

 Here is how I started out by using diluited acrilic colour for the underpainting,

I then established the dark areas,

made them darker,

and even darker,

I then started painting the sky and distant hills and fields,

then suggested  the greens and the shape of a few flowers in the foreground,

and eventually everything fell into place!

Monday, 6 July 2015


"One Late Spring Afternoon" Oil on Canvas cm 25x35

Living in Tuscany is great.
Especially if you are a landscape painter.
Many artists throughout history have considered this part of Italy as one of the most picturesque places in the world. And  this applies particularly to the countryside of the province of Siena, where I happen to have been born.

In today's painting you can see what the Val 'Arbia, just south of Siena, looks like in Spring. 
This valley is named after the river Arbia, which flows all the way through it, and which is reminiscent of the greatest and most cruel battle between the Sieneses and the Florentines during the Middle Ages, the  Battle of Montaperti.

It was the bloodiest defeat suffered by the Florentines in their centuries long struggle against Siena, and Dante, in his Divina Commedia, described it as " The havoc and the great slaugther, which dyed the Arbia red".

This was back in 1260 though, today it's actually a pretty peaceful place..

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


" Road to the Vineyard" Oil on Canvas cm 25x35

Sometimes people from abroad  ask me weather I ever get tired of living in Tuscany, or get used to all the beauty around me. They smile when I answer that I probably wouldn't get tired in a hundred years.

I think being painters also means being able to appreciate what surrounds us in a special way and feeling the need of observing our environment more accurately, in order to communicate what strikes our attention most.

In today's painting you can see a spot I've been wanting to paint for ages. I drive past it very often and it is right off the main road that goes all the way through the Chianti Classico area. From the crest of the little road one can enjoy one of the most exquisite views of the famous wine area, overlooking miles and miles of vineyards, woodland and olive groves.

Monday, 8 June 2015


 "I Love Poppies I " cm 18x24 oil on Canvas

" I Love Poppies II" cm 18x24 Oil on Canvas

"I Love Poppies III" cm 18x24 Oil on Canvas

We are having very beautiful weather over here and it already feels like summer.
The colours are changing again and finally the acidic greens are leaving space to warm golden hues. Most probably very soon poppies will be gone with all this heat.

Last week I painted these small paintings. They represent the same spot seen from different angulations. This field is In the Maremma area near a small town called Roccastrada, and I noticed it when I was on my way to the beach.
I hope you like them!

Friday, 29 May 2015


"In the Vineyard" Oil on Canvas cm 30x40
Today my friend Edward invited me to paint in his wonderful property in the area of Montalcino, where he produces some of the best wines in the area.
The name of the winery is Poggio Rubino and it refers to the ruby colour of the grapes!
I arrived there a little late in the afternoon, so I just managed to fit in one little study, but I have already decided it will be the first of a long series!

Monday, 18 May 2015


"Mediterranean Scrub" Oil on Canvas cm 40x30
When you think about Tuscan countryside, cypress trees, sunflower fields and endless vineyards probably come to your mind. They are in fact very characteristic features of our landscape, especially in the most popular and touristic areas.
But if you have ever visited the Region you probably know that a lot of the land is covered by thick forests and the typical Mediterranean Underwood.
Today I painted this view, in the village where I live, where you can see the beautiful broom bushes, now in full bloom. Behind the mountains in the distance, covered in forest, starts the beautiful Maremma area.

Thursday, 14 May 2015


"Baby Cat" Oil on Canvas cm 20x25

Once in a while I like to go back to my favourite subject: cats!
Most of my paintings when I first started learning how to paint were of cats and painting cat portraits was my main obsession at that time...
There is just one thing I like more than cats. Guess what it is? Kittens!
So today I took out a photograph I was given a few months ago. It was among other photos for me to choose from to paint a portrait of this gorgeous cat. His name is Thor, and he lives in Rome. The commissioners had asked me to make the portrait from an "adult" picture, but told me I could keep them all and use them for other paintings if I wanted to. In the one I used today he must have been only a few weeks old!
You can contact me at if you are interested on information about cat or kitten portraits!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


"Scents of the Mediterranean" Oil on Canvas cm35x25

"Colourful Shady Spot" Oil on Canvas cm 35x25
At this time of the year it can be hard to decide what to paint, as everywhere you look you see lush vegetation and flowers blooming, and wonderful perfumes fill the air.
Here are two of my latest studies, painted around the village where I live.  In both cases I had to work very quickly as the weather was very changeable. While I was painting the first study the sun kept hiding behind the clouds and then coming out all of a sudden, and the second time it actually started raining, so I had to finish the painting at home. But it was fun!
I think I might use both studies as reference for larger paintings, perhaps re-arranging a few details!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


"Afternoon Light" cm 60x120 Oil on Canvas
This is a recent studio painting which represents the most famous part of Tuscany , the one between Siena and Firenze, known as Chianti Classico.
Thousands of visitors are attracted here every year by the beauty of the hilly countryside and by the wines which have been produced in the area since the Etruscan and Roman times.
The Chianti Classico area was a battle field for several centuries, for during the fights between Siena and Florence in the Middle Ages,both cities wanted to establish their power over this  rich and poductive land. Many castles and fortifications were built at that time on top of many hills overlooking the countryside and still today they bear testimony to this glorious past.
In the painting you can see one of the typical farmhouses built with the stones found in the rocky Chianti soil.
I have worked to render a strong sense of space and distance, pushing back the far away hills  using cool colors which contrast with the warm evening light in the foreground.  

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


"Old fashioned Tractor" cm 35x25  Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

I am finally getting into the habit of painting outside more often.

Somebody was watching!

Getting out there with all the stuff you need, (and so far each time I had to go back and fetch something  I had left behind), is not as comfortable as sitting in the studio, but there are many benefits that make it worth the effort.
When you observe your subject firsthand you have much more information than any photograph could ever provide.
Painting outside, looking at your subject directly, is a more exciting experience, and the result si more fresh and immediate, as you need to work quickly to capture the mood of the moment.
Observing from real life you learn much more and this makes your painting skills improve more quickly (at least I hope!).

I painted these two studies a few days ago in the village where I live.
The owner of the tractor, who was pruning his olive trees in the meantime, couldn't understand what it was that attrcted me in that "old and rusty piece of junk" as he put it, while I thought it  was very cute and deserved to be portrayed. I also thought the oak trees at the back made a nice cromatic contrast.

"Little Country Road" cm 30x20 Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

In the second study I enjoyed trying to create a sense of depht and space using the shapes of the cast shadows on the road.
I always take a photo of the subject too so if for some reason I can't finish the painting on location, I can continue in the studio.

Time to leave..

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


"Old Farm by the Vineyard" cm 40x60 Oil on Canvas

Wine is one of the main reasons why so many people travel to Tuscany every year, and our excellent wines are known and exported all over the world.
From my point of view, this translates into the fact that one of the most typical features of our landscape, which I love to paint, are the rows and rows of vines grown in several areas of the region.
This painting was inspired by a picture I took on a beautiful October afternoon, just as the vine leaves were turning yellow and orange. Right now the vineyards don't look just as attractive because growing season is hasn't started yet, so they are still bare...
This spot is near Montepulciano, one of the most characteristic and ancient walled towns in Tuscany.

Sunday, 29 March 2015


"Spring Sunday"  Oil on Canvas cm 25x30

Today we set the clock forward by one hour for Daylight Saving Time. 
This really  makes us feel we are in Spring, and everything is starting all over again.
I think also the sketch I painted just before lunch shows a lot of the changes that are going on in nature!
The plum trees are in flower, the grass is growing quickly and wildflowers are starting to pop up (even though the poppies are not actually there yet...I made them up to break all the green in the foreground a little bit.) 
I liked this spot especially for the way the white road disappeared out of view, making me wonder what would be behind the curve...

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


"Flavio's Tractor" Oil on Canvas cm 25x35
Last week I painted this small tractor, parked just in front of home. My plan was to paint outdoors for three days in a row but then I was busy with other things and the weather was nothing special, so this is all I did in the end.
However, from now on I am planning to paint from life, outdoors, at least once a week, and possibly increase later on. I will probably do most of this plein air activity in the village where I live. Why bother driving around when I live in such a cool place which offers so many interesting subjects..

Thursday, 19 March 2015


" Spring Colors", cm 70x90 Acrylic and Oil on Canvas

I have been wanting to paint this house for a while. It is just outside of Buonconvento, a medieval village about twenty minutes south of Siena, in an area called Val d'Arbia.
This area, just like other parts of the Tuscan countryside, is full of these large farmhouses, a lot of which have been abandoned at the time when Italy became an industrial country, and many people went to live in the new city outskirts (and at that time they even thought that was great!)

I used a photo I took a few weeks ago as reference only for the house and composition, and completely made up the flowers in both versions. I did so to make the paintings prettier, (I hope!), but also to create more sense of perspective in the middle and foreground.

If you wish to see more of my paintings, please visit my website.

" The First Day of Spring" Oil and Acrylic on Canvas cm 60x80

Friday, 13 March 2015


Oil on Canvas cm 25X35

Today I finally started painting outside again, after quite a few weeks. I consider most of my outdoor paintings studies which I can use as reference for more polished work later in the studio.

If you haven't tried "plein air" painting before, you might not know how stressful it can be. It involves dealing with heat, cold, wind, bugs, and, if you are not well organized, hunger and thirst. For Tuscan people, like me, it  usually involves a lot of swearing, too. If you have ever been to Tuscany you probably know that here everybody swears all the time, particularly in stressful situations (like beeing stuck in trafic, for instance), and it is considered perfecly accectable. 
All my swearing is concentrated during my plein air painting sessions. At least at the beginning, while I try to figure out how to prevent stuff from flying and falling  all over the place, and before starting to actually concentrate. Then I shut up.

Today, luckily, was the perfect day to start getting accustomed to the "outside world" again. No wind and perfect temperature. I found this very secluted spot, at walking distance from home, where I was undisturbed the whole time, and this shed attracted my attention.
I especially liked the contrast with the dark greenery behind it, and the shadow of the olive tree. The rusty bins were also very interesting, and useful to add cromatic variety.
I will certainly paint this again, both from life and in the studio..

My "Plein Air" Studio

The final result

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Giovanni Fattori "Silvestro Lega che dipinge sugli scogli", 1866, Oil on Board, cm 12x28 

Tuscany is not only famous for its breathtaking landscape and delicious wines, but also for its artistic legacy. It is considered the birthplace of Renaissance and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art.

Whereas everybody knows Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, probably fewer people outside of Italy are familiar with the "Macchiaioli" painters.
This group, of about 20 artists, started an artistic movement which is now considered to have been the most important in Italy in the 19th century. Among them were Giovanni Fattori (1825–1908), Silvestro Lega (1826–95), Serafino da Tivoli (1826-92), Giuseppe Abbati (1836-68) and Telemaco Signorini (1835–1901). 
Not all of them were Tuscan, but the movement developed in Florence, mainly between 1855 and 1870, around the central "Caffè Michelangelo", where the artists used to meet up to discuss art and politics. Their main supporter was the critic and art collector Diego Martelli, who was also the group's theorist, and who often hosted them in his house in Castiglioncello, by the coast, for painting retreats.

The name "Macchiaioli" derives from the term "macchia" (patch) and initially it had a negative and denigrating connotation. It refers to the fact that these artists used to apply colour in bold patches, creating strong contrasts,  as they considered the areas of light and shadow to be the key components of a work of art. The result was  a fresh and spotaneus simple construction.
This tecnique was very different from the conventional stlyle of the time, propagated by the Academy, and for this reason they were not appreciated by the critics of their time. 

Raffaello Sernesi "Tetti al sole" 1860 ca. cardboard, cm 12,3x19.  Roma, Galleria Nazionale
d'Arte Moderna e Contemporeanea

Their subjects were not conventional eighter, as they chose to represent everyday life scenes instead of literary or historical subjects. They were mainly landscape painters but also produced a quantity of portrait art, as well as a few historical works, due to the fact that some of them were involved in the uprisings of 1848 and the ongoing Risorgimento struggle, which would eventually lead to the unification of Italy.

Giuseppe Abbati  "Stradina al sole" 1863-64. Milano, Jucker Collection

The Macchiaioli painters have often been compared to the French Impressionists, who were active about twenty years later. The two groups had many things in common, like the  passion for plein-air painting in order to better capture natural light, shade, and colour. However, due to a number of factors, the Tuscan painters never achieved the same fame and success as their French collegues.

Works by the Macchiaioli can be seen in several of the best art museums in Italy. If you happen to be in Livorno,  you can visit the Giovanni Fattori Museum, which houses a beautiful collection of some of the most meaningful works of the group. 

Among my favourite paintings, I chose three images which, in my opinion, are particularly emblematic of their approach and style.  

Monday, 2 March 2015


"Lawn with Poppies" Oil on Canvas cm 30x40

This little painting is on its way to Malta.
Hopefully it will be delivered in time and in good conditions (with Poste Italiane, you never know..) to be exhibited in Valletta at the SHout Art Exhibition, organized by the Malta Organic Agriculture Movement to raise funds to support SHout, the official NO campaign for the referndum on Spring Hunting.
 The referendum, which will be held on 11th April, will be the first referendum to be held in Malta, following a petition signed by over 40,000 people.
The purpose is to abolish Spring Hunting, a cruel hobby which kills thousands of migrant birds every year, when they fly over the island on their way to other european countries.
A lot of artists from Malta and other countries have already donated one or more pieces of work for this cause. I am half Maltese but since I don't have a Maltese citizenship and cannot vote, this will be my small contribution.
The exhibition will be at Din L-Art Helwa, Old Bakery Street Valletta, from Friday 13 March at 18:00, until Friday 27th March at 18:00
The painting is a very simple view of a lawn with red poppies, one of my favourite subjects. I am working at a large poppy-painting right now, which you will see when it will be ready, next week suppost...

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


"Pic-nic Spot" Acrylic and Oil on Canvas cm 60X80

Sometimes when I find a subject I particularly like, I paint it in different versions. I might try different compositions, different points of view or different formats. Sometimes I also represent a subject in different seasons. This new painting shows a spot I know very well: This farmhouse, surrounded by vineyards, can easily be seen when driving to one of the best known Michelin star awarded restaurants in Tuscany, "Osteria di Passignano". It is located by an ancient monastery dating back to 395, right in the heart of the Chianti Classico region. As you can imagine it's quite an amazing place.
Below you can see another painting of mine of the same farmhouse, from last summer. It is seen from a different angle and I took the liberty of transforming the tarmac road into a white road. I thought it would be so much quainter like this, and that it would give the idea of our hot and dry August weather.  

"The White Road" Acrylic and Oil on Canvas cm 60x80

I'm sure I'll paint this farmhouse again in the future...
I'd love to know which of these two versions is your favourite!
If you wish to have more information about the restaurant and plan a meal on your next visit to Tuscany, you can visit their website.

Friday, 20 February 2015


Afternoon Shadows  Acrylic and Oil on Canvas cm 60x100

Here is one of my my new paintings, now available at Beaux Arts Gallery in Siena. 
This is a house in the Chianti area, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards.
I think late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky, (early morning is not an option for me), is the time of the day when you can find the best painting opportunities. The sunlight striking from the side creates more light and shadow patterns and this helps to convey an illusion of volume and perspective.When painting outdoors though you must keep in mind that the light changes really quickly as you get closer to sunset!

Monday, 16 February 2015


On the Way to the Beach  Acrylic and Oil on Canvas cm 30x40

Today's painting shows a summer view of one of my favourite parts of Tuscany, the Maremma area.

Once in a while I really feel like spending a some time there. It is a very large portion of Tuscany, including most of the territory of the provinces of Grosseto and Livorno.
It is still wild and unspoilt and probably not so well known abroad like other areas such as the Chianti region or Montalcino, even though it has so much to offer.
Its territory is incredibly diverse, with beautiful beaches, pine woods, green hills and flat areas. Until less than a century ago these were unhealthy marshes, so for a long time the Maremma region was considered the "poor" part of Tuscany.

It is a land with very ancient roots, where the Etruscans and then the Romans flourished and there are some of the quaintest towns and villages that you can see in Tuscany, and many medieval castles. And, last but not least, wonderful red and white wines are produced!

If you wish to know more about the Maremma region you can have a look here.
And  on your next trip to Tuscany remember to schedule a couple of extra days to explore the beautiful South!

Friday, 13 February 2015


Thinking of spring  cm 35x45  acrilic and oil on canvas

We are enjoying a taste of spring. Blue skies, birds singing and also a few bugs flying around.
When I think about spring red poppies immediately come to my mind. The first ones usually show up in April and they last through all summer.
Like other wildflowers they are a weed, so they grow on the sides of the roads, in abandoned fields and in the most unexpected places. I love them since they are so simple and humble yet so pretty and joyful that they are one of the things I am looking forward to in spring.
I hope you like them too!