Italy in Colors: Sketches and Stories

A rainy day in Venice, a super sunny day in Rome, quaint restaurants along steep and narrow alleyways in Siena, Medusa in Florence and vast ocean in Amalfi Coast. Read More

While many bring back souvenirs from all over Europe, these Italy sketches  were mine.


Is Venice unhappy or glad we are here? The little town was flooded the day we arrived and the day we left, which is pretty much the same day. We walked through Venice. Is that something I should be proud of or should I have signed up for the traditional gondola rides or water bus? My visit to Venice was all about meandering through narrow alleyways and figuring out the direction to Rialto Bridge, later the San Marco Basilica – it felt more like getting lost in a maze.

The vintage doors are quite the charm – most face the waterfront – locals hop onto the vaporetti and head to work. It’s a rainy and super dull day. Many guides on Italy recommend avoiding the carnival and the rainy season. I did not witness the carnival but I experienced the latter and its true. We sat in a restaurant by the Grand Canal on the street towards the right side of the Rialto Bridge. A plate of seafood pasta, the dim colourful bulbs blinking from inside cone-shaped glass lamps towering the jet black gondolas – certainly makes up for a dull yet romantic and a great evening.

Florence and Siena

After soaking in the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo, walk downward through winding roads to the intriguing streets of Florence. Sit for a bit at the Loggia Del Signoria facing the Palazzo Vechio, while you watch artists sketch the famous sculpture of David. Multitudes of tourists take their historic tours in large groups. As Rick Steves talk about Menelaus, Perseus with the head of Medusa, and the rape of Sabine women as well as Polyxena, I know what he means with just a glance at the intricate sculptures that explains the story by itself – the Roman History.

Yes history! A subject that never made sense to me back in school. Now it does – its scientifically proven that the most effective way to remember something is to relate it to a visual image.

Read; Piazzale Michelangelo 

siena and florenceIn one of the tiny alleys in Siena, you’ll find restaurants along the steep pathways – tables spilling out towered by tall historic buildings. Chianti Wine seduces passers-by in a jiffy. Of course, it’s a primary  intention of all restaurants in Italy. Proof? a little fancy table adorned with baguettes, wines, candle light and menu – in the most tiniest alley I have ever seen. Like how Bali in Asia follows an authentic culture, Italy takes pride of its own.

Read Under the Tuscan City, Siena

Amalfi Coast

Few words. Bright day. best gelato ever tasted.vast ocean. romantic.beautiful vista. That’s Amalfi. Pictures nor sketches can justify it’s true beauty. It’s where the celebrities vacation. It’s where I would love to vacation for a couple of more days.

Read One Day in Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast

That’s it folks. Stay tuned for part II next month.

Meanwhile, tell me how unique was your trip to Italy? Do you still dream of it after returning home?

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  1. says: Nikki Near And Far

    Shilpa, your paintings are so lovely! I must learn from you. =) What an amazing way to capture your travels. The Amalfi Coast is high on my bucket list — must make it there soon!

  2. says: writingmoose

    I love your art work. I too have such a love affair with Italy that I began learning the language a few years ago. The colors you use in your work are so reminiscent of how the place made me feel. Also, thanks for stopping by my blog! – Nicole at the Writing Moose

    1. says: Shilpa Balakrishnan

      That is so true Nicole. Apart from “Io sono meravigliosa” (” I am awesome), I don’t know anything else in Italian. Haha.

  3. Beautiful sketches and the perfect souvenir–I would rather have this than something junky! I loved reading about your adventures in Italy. It help me relive a few of mine and I felt as though I was walking right beside you as you told your stories!

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