Shades of Italy

by Erika Woelfel


The fall season is a great time of year to visit Italy. Though the major cities and attractions are always going to bustle, by October the crowds are thinner, lines are shorter and the weather is cooler. This makes sight-seeing so much more pleasant! Camera in hand I walked the streets of Rome, Venice and Florence on the look-out for ancient ruins, creative inspiration, and a great gelato or slice of pizza. It was a wonder to see with my own eyes those monuments and works of art that I had only ever viewed in art history books.

Whenever I go to a new place I’m also on the look out for color cues, especially in fashion and architecture. My first observation was that many Italian buildings seemed washed in a similar shade of dusty-gold, light yellow or muted sienna stucco. This wasn’t a surprise knowing Italy is a sunny, hot Mediterranean place and brick, stucco, marble and limestone are accessible building materials. But as the tour continued and I went back through my camera roll over the next few days, a different story was revealed. There were many more  regional color differences than I may have first seen. Whether bold or subtle, the color schemes in each place fit harmoniously with the local climate, geography and culture. It seemed there was never a color “out of place”, as if all of Italy had been stylishly co-ordinated. Bellissimo!

When it comes to local color in Rome, there is a warm yellow or sienna-dusted base on many building facades.


Villas in Rome show off high Baroque ornamentation. Light base colors are often trimmed in white. Shutters aren’t merely decorative. They block the light and help keep things cool, very often found in dark colors.


The waterways and gondoliers give Venice a certain old-world romance!

Rosy pink and coral facades with intricate Moorish details are seen in Venice. Shutter and door colors are usually always a darker contrasting hue in brown, black or dark green.


There is no holding back in some smaller lake district villages. Exteriors are vibrant in bold yellow and orange combinations. Bright bursts of flowers complete what I call a joyful color celebration.


Restrained neutrals in Florence. Top building shows what the tour guide called “freedom style” ornamentation. Subtle gold and olive green trim are often paired with reddish brown shutters and doors. Interesting note: there were no screens on windows here!


Colorfully yours,



2 responses to “Shades of Italy”

  1. Jenifer says:

    Wow, this paragraph is nice, my sister is analyzing these things,
    so I am goijg to tell her.

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