You Pick your Dates|
Expressions of Italy 2 (A Custom Designed Tour for Your Own Group)
Bring your own private painting group to the quaint medieval villages in the province of Arezzo for an Italian style retreat experience and painting en plein air.
Time & Location
You Pick your Dates
Tuscany, Tuscany, Italy
Expressions of Italy 2 Plein Air Painting Tour
Our lovely villa located near Arezzo is closest to the village of Subbiano, a characteristic Tuscan town on the left bank of the Arno. Here one notices the remains of numerous water mills. Close by is the village of Arezzo, the charming town used as the backdrop for Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful." Once one of the most important Etruscan cities, today Arezzo is beautiful for an array of architecture spanning centuries, from Etruscan ruins to the Roman amphitheater and the Medici Fortress.
We'll be visiting and painting in Anghiari, located in the east of Arezzo province, on the border with the region of Umbria. It's a lovely medieval town lying between two rivers, the Tiber and the Arno. The powerful thirteenth century walls made the town an invincible fortress which constituted an important reference point and kept the Tuscan flag flying during the many historical events that occurred in this delicately balanced border area. On the 29th of June in 1440 the famous Battle of Anghiari, which was subsequently painted by Leonardo da Vinci in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, reaffirmed Florentine rule in Tuscany.
Surrounded by castles and village churches Anghiari looks out over the beautiful High Tiber Valley landscape, a natural amphitheater filled with the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. The countryside around Anghiari has an untouched atmosphere with ancient woods dotted with monasteries and archaeological sites. Artisan shops and the workrooms of furniture and antiques restorers enrich the small squares of the town; its towers and churches are embellished with masterpieces of painting and sculpture and there are breathtaking views and vistas to be found from every corner of the ancient town.
We'll shuttle you from FLR airport in Florence, Italy to your accommodations the day prior and the day after your workshop. The tentative itinerary for these upcoming Plein Air Italy Workshop Tours are as follows:
Tour: Day 1-2
The villa in Tuscany features rooms full of antiques, warm wood-beamed ceilings, and original stone walls that all add a romantic touch to the already welcoming ambience. You won’t just enjoy the luscious scenery while staying at this beautiful villa, but the delicious food prepared by the lovely, Eleonora and fun excursions as well! During our first two days, we'll be painting in and around the village of Montagnano and within the walled village of Pienza.
After dining on our daily hearty breakfast of local products, farm fresh eggs and home baked treats at the villa, we'll head to the small and quiet walled medieval village of Marciano Della Chiana for a full day of painting. The structures and homes of Val di Chiana show signs of the medieval age as well as the Renaissance, rich in works of art from the Renaissance to the contemporary age, it's exhilarating painting the rich architecture among the locals and with almost no tourists in site.
We'll enjoy a day off in the company of new friends. We'll do a little sightseeing followed by lunch at a typical trattoria and you'll have the choice of painting in nearby Monte San Savino or simply enjoying the solitude of the villa with it's private pool and breathtaking beauty. The villa is literally surrounded by the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. There's a large terrace furnished with tables and chairs perfect for enjoying meals and painting en plein air. Our wonderful host Eleonora will prepare a savory lunch for those who wish to sit out the sightseeing and stay put. We all convene back at the dinner table for our typical amazing four course feast prepared by our extraordinary chef.
We'll be heading to Cortona for some sight-seeing and painting. Cortona and Tuscany are the subject of several highly readable books by Frances Mayes who wrote about renovating her house, "Casa Bramasole", in the area where she still lives for part of the year. These books give a highly authentic impression of life in this part of Italy. One of her books, Under the Tuscan Sun was made into a popular movie and inspired the name of the Tuscan Sun Festival held in Cortona every year usually during August and featuring classical music concerts, art exhibitions etc. At the end of our afternoon painting, we'll stay a little longer and enjoy a fine meal on the balcony of a tratorria overlooking the piazza.
We'll be painting in the nearby village of Lucignano, pearl of the valdichiana, a small village that represents one of the more extraordinary examples of medieval urban planning for its system of elliptic rings arrived intact over the centuries. We'll enjoy a lite lunch with local fare when we break long enough to eat, followed by more afternoon painting. Then we'll head back to our villa for a fabulous dinner prepared by Eleonora.
Standing high atop a hill in southern Tuscany not too far from Siena, Montepulciano is a medieval town of rare beauty. We'll enjoy a full day painting in Montepulciano. The town has received great attention following the filming of the vampire saga Twilight sequel New Moon here.
We'll be painting in hilltop village of Montalcino. The streets of Montalcino with their stone pavements are truly enchanting and the village is a wonderful place to stroll around among the labyrinth of charming arts and crafts shops, cafes, restaurants and wine bars. If you wish to take home a bottle of superb wine, this is the right place to take advantage! After a full day of painting, we'll enjoy another night out on the town partaking in the local fare.
Because of its spectacular views and quaint piazza and shops, we'll head back to the amazing walled village of Pienza, in the province of Siena. Pienza has an unusual trapezoidal piazza that's defined by four historical buildings. The principal residence, Palazzo Piccolomini, is on the west side. This structure is similar to Alberti's Palazzo Rucellai in Florence and other later palaces. Noteworthy is the internal court of the palazzo. The back of the palace, to the south, is defined by loggia on all three floors that overlook an enclosed Italian Renaissance garden with Giardino all' italiana era modifications, and spectacular views into the distant landscape of the Val d'Orcia and Pope Pius' beloved Mount Amiata beyond. The Duomo (Cathedral), which dominates the center of the piazza, has a facade that is one of the earliest designed in the Renaissance manner. Palazzo Vescovile, on the third side of the piazza, was built to house the bishops who would travel to Pienza to attend the the pope.
We'll devote our last day to taking in the views from our villa, sketching on our own time, relaxing and walking around the nearby village, packing up our gear and suitcases and enjoying lively conversation and critique of our work over the dinner table as we wind up our Expressions of Italy Plein Air Painting Tour.
We'll say our goodbyes and shuttle you to FLR airport in Florence where you can either continue your Italy adventure or head home from there.
We'll be staying in a beautiful country villa situated within a large estate in the striking and peaceful Tuscan countryside. There's a covered terrace furnished with a table and chairs and a private swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers and umbrellas. Air conditioning is provided, yet we probably won't need it for this excursion in the middle of the mild temps of September. A fully equipped gym is provided to help work off the delicious Italian food. Amenities included: satellite TV and wireless internet connection.
The villa has double beds and twin beds available for singles, couples or shared accommodations. The lodging rates vary depending on your lodging preferences and whether you're joining us as a student or a guest of a student.
We offer specific rates for solo students in a private room or a shared room, students travelling with another student who wishes to share a room with 1 queen or 2 twin beds, a student travelling with a guest spouse or a non-student partner, etc.
How to spend our down time: Something to consider during your time off during the workshop or if you want to extend your trip... for wine lovers, the Terre di Arezzo wine trail is close by, a more than 200 km long route crossing through the Province of Arezzo, is a fantastic way to become familiar with the wines of Tuscany. This trail passes through the growers of Chianti Colli Aretini DOCG, Cortona DOC, Colli dell‘Etruria Centrale DOC, Colli Etruria Centrale DOC and Vinsanto del Chianti DOC. Wine is not the only thing to be found along this trail! Near Cavriglia is the Fineschi Rose Garden with over 8,500 varieties of roses as well as the Cavriglia Park in the heart of the Chiantigiani mountains. Admire the Cennina Castle (Valdambra) and Gargonza Gastle (Monte S. Savino) along the route or any of the beautiful ancient churches and Etruscan and Roman remains.
Pay a minimum deposit on this workshop/tour. 1 Room for 2 ppl. (2 Twin beds) w/ private bath. Beds can be pushed together for couples. Price is per person cost This package includes: Pick up and drop off at FLR Airport 11 nights accommodation Breakfast, some lunches, most dinners Chauffeured with group to painting sites
Pay in Full
Pay in Full for this workshop/tour. Package 5. 1 Room for 2 ppl. (2 Twin beds) w/ private bath. Price is per person cost (5 SPACES LEFT) This package includes: Pick up and drop off at FLR Airport 11 nights accommodation Breakfast, some lunches, most dinners Chauffeured with group to painting sites INSTRUCTION from Ray and Peggi has been added to this rate. At this point, we can only accept students in the workshop.