Artists of all kinds find success in Italy

By Megan Brugger

FLORENCE – Rich in art, architecture and everything in between, Italy is a popular destination for artists of all kinds. Because of that, it makes sense that up-and-coming actor and musician Elio Russo came to Italy to be found.

Russo works as a doorman at Hotel Brunelleschi Florence, saving up to move to Milan where he hopes to “make it big.” He has lived in areas all over the world including New York City, but feels Italy is where he needs to be. 

Up and coming actor and artist Elio Russo works at Hotel Brunelleschi, where he is able to meet celebrities during their stay. (Megan Brugger)

Convenient for Russo, Hotel Brunelleschi is where many celebrities stay while vacationing. Among those actors is Glen Powell, or “Hangman” from Top Gun: Maverick. Russo loves and utilizes this, as he’s able to talk about, to and with them about finding success in the art industry. 

Art has always had a dominating presence in Italy, dating back to even before the Renaissance. The Renaissance was primarily when art appreciation took off, however, and Italy was a prime location for that. According to Britannica, Italy was “surrounded by the material remains of antiquity.”

Italy’s appreciation for the arts has only grown, and Russo considers himself fortunate to be able to live in an area where he can more easily thrive and make connections. 

However great the opportunities are, Russo claims it takes more than simply location to find success.

“I am lucky because being an artist is in my nature. Somebody cannot just wake up one day and decide to be an artist, it has to choose you. I know that I am meant to be an artist because it chose me,” he said.

Another reason Italy has a prime art scene is because of the educational opportunities. Italian-born and raised painter Luca Romano chose to study and work in Italy because, according to him, “why would I go anywhere else?”

Italian artist Luca Romano paints and sells Italian landscapes. Romano loves sharing the beauty he finds in the world, including the painting pictured here with article author Megan Brugger. (Emma Keddington)

Romano studied at the Florence School of Fine Arts and has been able to make a successful life for himself because of that. Now, as he’s retired, he paints small landscapes and sells them on the streets. 

Even throughout his career, Romano has loved selling on the streets the most because of the people he is able to meet. 

“I have met people from all over the world. Asia, the Americas, Idaho… you name it. I usually don’t know what they’re saying but if they’ll give me a smile and the money I know I did good work,” Romano said.

Romano said that if he could leave his customers with any advice, it would be to open their eyes and see the small daily beauties, as “it is the reason people get up every day.”

“Art is what makes me the happiest. It helps me find beauty in small things and brings me so much joy to continue sharing that beauty with the world through my paintings,” Romano said.

Categories: Europe Travel, Profiles

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