TUSCAN Frolic 2018

In May of 2018, Laura Shea and I took artists to ITALY to paint.
This may have been our best trip ever — what a wonderful group!
Here we are perched on the steps of the Siena Duomo.

Just getting there can be a delightful experience. Laura, Ann and I arrived several days early and enjoyed seeing Florence by moonlight. Here’s the Ponte Vecchio bridge over the Arno river.

Set in rural Tuscany, about 45 minutes from Florence, IL GRANDE PRATO was an idyllic place to be.

here are scenes from our trip

click on images to enlarge

Created from an old homestead, Giulia’s villa is filled with art, folk art and historical artifacts. The setting is stunningly beautiful! Dotted with private nooks and grand vistas, whimsey punctuates the grounds.

Here we are traveling by train to Siena, a truly congenial and cohesive group of people. Each participant added something valuable to the experience. 

We were also blessed with Tom and Al as companions who joined us for meals and some of the excursions and other times went off on their own. 

Filled with inspiration, immediately people began to paint. We had some serious fun!!! 

The food was to die for, every evening a different menu, served family style with traditional Italian courses. Here Azzurra, Jiulia’s assistant, explains the meal to us. Tuesday night was pizza night and Mama Vito helped light the fire in the outdoor oven.

One evening we had a cooking lesson where we made homemade pasta and terra misu. Of course, we ate our creation that evening! 

We took a train ride to Siena with Mary Lee helping us to navigate. The Duomo is totally amazing! The library alone, filled with illuminated books, is worth the admission. It is a great place to people watch because everyone is so focused on what they see that they’re oblivious to picture taking.

In the Siena piazza they sometimes have horse races but on this day it was perfect for shopping and people watching. 

  We drove to Volterra where they carve alabaster – note, both hands firmly on the wheel! I picked up a pair of earrings and a lidded bowl, both of alabaster. On other days a group hired a van to drive to San Gimignano and some went to the Ufizzi Museum in Florence.

  For a celebration Thursday they organized a wine tasting party for us with live harp music. It was outdoors at Nico’s place (Giulia’s son) just down the road. We had beautiful evening light for photos.

On our last day we enjoyed an art share to appreciate each other’s accomplishments. Mary Lee and Geary joined us for dinner that evening.

Departing was sad, but we left richer for the experience! On returning to Portland, the group plans to meet and continue painting together and sharing ideas.

Join us when we return in 2021!

Stay tuned for a sampling of our Italy art…

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