Monday, January 23, 2012

Umbria Itinerary: with artist Patricia Glee Smith

Otricoli  at sunset 

Via Cassia &  Via Flaminia lead north from Rome
  In the past  few decades   many expats , including myself, have  abandoned the chaos and high prices of  Rome  to enjoy the quieter lifestyle  and larger spaces found  in small towns along the  original Roman roads such as the  Via  Cassia   and the Via Flaminia.

center of Otricoli 
Built  to connect the empire, these roads, separated by  the Tiber river valley, and now also  by the Autostrada  del Sole, led north into Etruscan territory. 

Roman  inserts surround a  medieval door, Otricoli

Artist  Patricia Glee Smith  found her Umbrian hideaway at  the 70th  kilometer of the Via Flaminia  in the ancient  hilltop  town of Otricoli, a  silent  medieval  village located  a stone’s throw from  the ruins of a rarely visited site of ancient Roman Otriculum.

entrance to Otricoli
Patricia  now prefers  her  quiet  Umbrian hill town  to the cacophony of  central Rome  where she was a longtime resident. 
painting by  Pat Smith,  cover  illustration for  "Etruria-travel,history  and itineraries"

  Her evocative paintings  can be  seen on her website. They include the misty hills and olive groves of her adopted  Umbria  and  still life paintings  of objects  from  her  vast collection.

The artist  in her studio 

arriving in Otricoli

Model and antiques dealer
When  she needs a human model  it is often a  neighbor or local friend, like Isabella who posed as  Sybil, the fortune teller, for a recent portrait.    
Syblil/Isabella  invited us in to browse  in  her Cose Vecchie shop on the outskirts of Otricoli . 
A jumble of  antique objects, furniture , vintage clothing , records, books and  decorative items, it is a picker’s  paradise with  prices  more than  reasonable.

For centuries   Otricoli  was  very   poor,  a fact that helped save its original  character.

 Where  there is  little wealth for renewing old buildings there  also are no  ugly additions or   aluminum shutters.

Even the original cobblestone lanes have been  restored  using  original techniques  and hand labor

view from  Patricia Glee Smith's  terrace, Otricoli
Home for the artist is a 12th  entury palazzetto  set on the ancient town walls  that she and husband Giangi have slowly brought back to life with a loving restoration.

work in progress 
 Because many of  Pat’s canvases  are of  large  format, she has set up her  studio in the modern part of town  where she has  ample light and work space for the creative process. 

Many thanks to  Patricia  Glee Smith for her photos of Otricoli.



  1. I love Otricoli...and Patricia Glee Smith's art. Both are fabulous. Thanks Mary Jane for reminding me of both this morning.

    1. You are so right, Diane, both are fabulous.
      The atmosphere of the town and Umbria give quiet, concentration and inspiration for the artist's creative process.

  2. Wonderful photos! I've never been in Otricoli, now I have more than one good reason to go!!!

  3. Debra Borys said, "Yes, thank you for this article. Patricia's art has so much detail and essence to it that I always feel I am experiencing it in real time. And the photos and description of Otricoli make me want to move there."

  4. Gabrielle Ellis wrote: This site makes me very happy that I have been able to visit Otricoli and lucky enough to meet Pat whose talent is awe-inspiring...looking forward to coming back again!xx
    5 minutes ago ·

  5. Thank you for introducing me to Patricia Glee Smith's art work; it's glorious. And Otricoli at sunset looks as fine a place as I could ever hope to visit. (I'll never have enough time in Italy to see all the remarkable places you write about!)


  6. Thanks Susan/Anonymous for your words which I will forward to Pat.

  7. Thank you for sending me to your lovely blog and introducing me to Particia Glee Smith's art work! I could stare at her work all day!

  8. Patricia, Grazie Mille! Your creativity is absolutely stunning and meditative. Now that I've see where you live, I can understand where all your inspiration comes from. Thank you for exhibiting for us at the U.S. Embassy. My best wishes to you and your husband, Giaggi! Buone Feste! Anna Maria