en plein air

Where You Grew Up

“If Italy could get its tourism act together, it would be the most visited country in the world,”  a friend expounded over drinks on Friday night.  We all have the best tourist experiences here.  We were recounting to him our visit to Tarquinia, which externally had all the romance of visiting a series of cow sheds, but the Etruscan tombs beneath the ground were extraordinary.

We drove to Tarquinia via Viterbo, with friends, and onto Cerveteri, with a lunch outdoors, all a stone’s through from the Tyrrhenian Sea.  An unpopulated beach, with a couple of charming Sengalese selling whatever you might need, was a perfect respite from the hot, sunny necropolis’.  Our guest and I bought flower-lined umbrellas (against the sun) from a Bangladeshi confined to the restaurant.   A perfect day, all within an hour of here.  We dropped our friends off at Fiumicino airport.

Blair and I love Italy, with or without visitors.  Yesterday we went to Orte to paint.  The sun was in the wrong position.  I forget that I admire it from the highway coming from Florence, which means it is at least after 1PM when I see it.  So we pressed on, looking for other painting sites.  On the way, we passed near a local streetfood truck, serving sausage and broccolini sandwiches, and we couldn’t resist.    In the end, we painted quite close to our own town.

We visited the peony garden on Saturday.  There were more than 600 varieties of peonies and 200,000 plantings over about 40 acres.  We were almost the only car of people there, because unless you were in the know, you’d never find the place by the directions on the internet.  It claimed to be in Vitorchiano, near Viterbo, but in fact it was four miles away.   The delightful fragrance announced the place.  The preponderance of bused-in older folk made me feel like a teen-ager.

We’ve been spending the late afternoon sitting on the benches in Stimigliano, drawing pictures of the locals as they sit around rehashing local events.  We visit while drawing (I’ll include some pictures next artnotes).  A local, 68 years old, tells us how his son works in Chicago, USA.  “And he says Americans never stop:  they’re always working, always earning money”.

I guess it all depends where you grew up.

​Grape Vines  ​Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acryic/canvas  15 x 18″  38 x 46 cm  275.00

Laurie and Blair PESSEMIER


3 thoughts on “Where You Grew Up”

  1. I love your post and beautiful gallery of paintings displayed. A 40 acre peony farm sounds fantastic!. It is true….in general, we do not know how to take a proper break from our toils in America. Each generation seems to mimic our parents, who never learned either. My own family is a good example of this sad state, so you are most accurate in saying, “it all depends where you grew up.” Thank you for sharing your part of the world in words and paintings. ❤️😎


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