Monday, June 4, 2012

Was Italy Awesome?

In a word, si. It's difficult to encapsulate such a beautiful, extraordinary trip to Italy into a few words for a blog, especially for an illustrator. Words are hard! I posted some illustrations while on the trip, but didn't send out a blog blast, so those are at the end of this blog, because they were posted first (it's a space-time continuum thing that Einstein wrote about, which I choose not to explain here). Quick highlights: flew hungover, thanks so much to our sweet next door neighbors, the Lucifers, who plied us with tequila the night before; landed in Rome, where our friends Henry and Gabriella met us. We followed the path taken by the homing pigeon in David Maccauley's "Rome Antics" (VERY fun walking tour of Rome). After three days of walking, red wine and pasta, we took the train to Arezzo, where H & G have been living for eight months (read their blog for more on Arezzo) where we rented our own apartment (it's listed as a B&B, but you only get one B, so it's really an apartment - a nice apartment). We took day trips by bus and train to Anghiari (picture a Tuscan hill town. Now make it better), then Cortona ("Under the Tuscan Sun") then Florence (if you go, find the Hotel Torre Guelfa and climb to the roof for a drink and then thank my friend Sprince Arbogast for this tip), then rented bikes in Arezzo for a ride in the Tuscan countryside (oh my god), complete with picnic near an olive grove, then rented a car and drove to Montepulciano (what kind of wine do you think we drank there?), then to the Villa Rignana in Chianti (again, what do you think we drank there?). Lots of walking, eating, drinking and sketching. Lovely people, beautiful country. And many, many thanks to Henry and Gabriella for inviting us into the thoroughly Italian lives they have created for themselves in Arezzo. These are only a few photos and sketches. I can show you more if you show up with a bottle of decent (or not) Italian red wine.

a presto (until later), Dana
The ugliest building in Rome
View from our apt. in Arezzo

our picnic spot outside Arezzo

view from our bike ride

Gabriella, Biker Chick 

Gabs showing me the countryside

Vicki gets picnic supplies from Sr. Mazzoni

Tuscan poppies

Vicki, Biker Chick

"There's a perfect picnic spot just ahead, I can feel it."

"This is it!"

enough with the breathtaking beauty, already!
Giacomo shows off some wine at La Stricscia

Henry, Gabriella, me, Vicki tasting wine at La Striscia

Vicki wanted to stay at La Striscia
Montepulciano (go ahead, say it!)

Possibly the best coffee in all of Italy, from the Osteria del Borgo in Montepulciano

View from Montepulciano
Painting at Villa Rignana, Chianti region

Lugging my special milk crate from home might have been a mistake. 

"Italy, Even Our Sheds Are Beautiful." 

The real thing. When you can't paint something (like logs) you can leave 'em out.
"Gabs and Henry in Italy..."


We stayed two nights at the Villa Rignana, near Creve, Chianti, Tuscany.

my sketch

Good thing Gabriella and Henry speak (and understand) Italian fluently. They heard the announcement that this was NOT the train to the Rome airport and advised us to get off.
Add caption

Which isn't all that easy to do with a ton of luggage.

Our final meal in Italy - at the hotel near the Rome airport (quite delicious!)

after 26 hours of travel, home again!


  1. Well, clearly the trip to Italy sucked. Thank god you're home. :)Well done!

  2. Wow, your flowers are beautiful! Easy to come home to. Love your watercolors, Dana - thanks for the pics and I'm sorry I won't be in that countryside while I'm there!! -Joni

  3. Thank you! Now that I do my traveling vicariously, I really appreciate the effort you made to make sure my trip was so incredible. Gosh it's great to be home again, though, huh?

  4. You didn't really lug a milk carton from home...! Loved the photos, drawings and paintings; and the end to end smiles. (I'm not jealous, I'm NOT!)

  5. Wow!!! What a magical, sun-soaked, wine-soaked, painting-soaked trip! Can't wait to hear more about all the adventure - glad to see you got so much painting in too :)

  6. Very envious, my friend. Looks like a wonderful time! Welcome home.

  7. Looks like heaven! Thank you for representing the US so well--you both look so dashing and good-looking! Can't wait to hear your adventures!

  8. Well, I was dashing, but Vicki was the good looking one! Thanks!

  9. Your sketchy water colors are just what they should be! Quaint colorful little windows through your eyes to see another part of the world.

    Love them all Dana.

  10. It all looks like it was fabulous! Gorgeous photos and beautiful sketches! I particularly like the ones of you, with your crate, painting plein air.

  11. I LOVE youse guyz!!! You brought back so many fond memories of being in the magnificent Montepulciano (that's easy for YOU to drink!) countryside.

  12. Awesome pics! Seems like a wonderful time has been had... yes by the 2 of you! Hope you are having a fantastic summer!

    - Wambui