Guest blogger Pat Fiorello and the artistic attraction to Italy:
Why do so many people dream of traveling to Italy? The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) ranks Italy as one of the top five most visited countries in the world.
And this fascination with Italy is not new. From about the 1660s through 1840, Italy was part of a traditional trip in Europe called the Grand Tour. It was an educational rite of passage for nobility and the wealthy to visit Italy to expand their horizons in terms of art, culture and the roots of Western civilization. And many artists, including John Singer Sargent and others, dating back to Corot, have made Italy a destination for extended painting excursions.
As a professional artist of Italian descent, I was curious about why Italy has been such a perennial draw for so many artists and beauty lovers. I have taken several workshops there as an art student and over the past seven years have taught at least 10 painting workshops where I have brought Americans to Italy to learn to paint while having a wonderfully enriching experience immersed in the enjoyment of Italian art, food and culture. Beyond being the inspirational birthplace of the Renaissance, there’s something about the beauty of the landscape that is compelling and enduring when it comes to art.
In preparing to teach my first workshop in Tuscany, I pondered the question of why Italy has had such an attraction for artists for centuries through the perspective of art. I observed that Italy naturally possesses many of the aspects of well-designed art. Its beauty is inescapable. From the enchanting and elegant lakes in the north to the lush agrarian beauty of Tuscany, to the breathtaking cliffside towns on the Amalfi Coast, beauty is all around.
There are many contrasts in textures and natural color harmonies as the old stone buildings came from the earth so they perfectly complement the landscape that surrounds them. There are powerful diagonals in the landscape, for example in Tuscany with the rolling hills and vineyards that create a dynamic composition so they eyes to enjoy. And there is the story telling power of centuries old buildings that have character. One can only imagine what life was like in those towns 100, 500 or 1,000 years ago.
So viewed through the eyes of an artist, it is easy to see why Italy holds such a unique appeal.
I go further to explore and share the beauty and magic of Italy in my book, Bella Italia, Italy Through the Eyes of an Artist. It’s a visual tour of Italy through over 80 of my paintings. The book is meant to celebrate the beauty of Italy. If you have been there, it is sure to bring back warm memories. And if you haven’t visited yet it will surely have you be dreaming of Italy! And just maybe booking that next trip! — Pat Fiorello