A walk through Guardia Sanframondi

View from my apartment of the valley below Guardia Sanframondi
I spent the month of July on an artist residency in southern Italy, incorporating the local plant life into my colored pencil drawings.  Guardia Sanframondi, the residency location, is a small medieval town in the Campania region.  It is on the hillside, overlooking the valley below.  The rural setting is peaceful; the town is welcoming to foreigners and especially supportive of the arts.  Locals Clare, Carlo and Vittorio were especially kind to me and the other artists-in-residence, showing us around town and introducing us to some wonderful people and places.  Below is the entrance to the studio and around the corner, I followed these stairs to my apartment and garden.  The narrow alley opened up to a beautiful view of the valley, lined with plants both familiar and exotic.  There were usually a handful of cats lounging along the path home.
Most streets in the centro storico (historical center) are accessible only by foot, though I saw quite a few tiny cars squeeze their way down unbelievably narrow paths.  An earthquake in the 80s left a lot of the homes (along with a church) in this section of town structurally damaged.  There is quite a bit of reconstruction going on and plenty of affordable real estate being purchased and fixed by foreigners.  In fact, one of the artists-in-residence purchased a little one room house with a garden while we were there!
This is a view from the bottom of the garden, looking to the residency complex above (the stone and terra-cotta colored walls).  The apartment is the bottom two floors with the stone walls, with access to the tiered garden. The studio and a second apartment for artists is directly above on the third floor, with terra-cotta colored walls.  It was accessible from the street above, Via Filippo Maria Giudi. Homes here are laid out like labyrinths, connecting to one another and stacked into the hillside.  The garden contained three levels, filled with fig and olive trees, grape vines, passionfruit, star jasmine and flowering artichoke plants taller than me.  
 The wild artichokes in the garden were in full bloom and I used them in several of my drawings.
Many mornings, I passed this apartment with the partially painted yellow wall on my walk into town for espresso and a donut (bombolone).   
 The final night in Guardia Sanframondi was beautiful, spent with my friends and fellow artists-in-residence Crystal, Ingrid and Margaret.  We watched the sunset from Crystal's porch in the garden, had an impromptu art installation, sipped champagne and talked about our art and travels.  We experienced a lot together in one short month, and I am grateful for their friendship.  Later that night, our friends from the town joined us for a farewell party with tiramisu and tortes with homemade jam.  Grazie, tutti!  Alla prossima volta!


  1. Thank you for your view of Guardia Sanframondi, it was as if I were there with you! Amore, madre!


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