April 24-May 1st
DAY 1: You arrive in Rome! We gather for Italian happy hour and celebrate what is all in store. We will continue our evening with dinner at a local Trattoria and getting acquainted.
DAY 2: The two Michelangelo's who transformed Rome. We will start out early in an attempt to be the first visitors to the Sistine Chapel. This is a true bucket list experience and can be transformational! Next, we will visit the Pinotecca and the sculpture galleries.
DAY 3: A visit to the Villa Borghese. We will experience and view the most extensive private collection of masterpieces and works by Caravaggio and Bernini. The afternoon then will be yours to explore as you wish.
Painting in Tuscany
DAY 4: We head to Tuscany. After departing Rome, we will visit the ancient town of Orvieto and see the exceptional Duomo which houses the monumental frescos of Luca Signorelli. After lunch and an espresso in a local, Michelin recognized trattoria, our bucolic retreat in the countryside and painting await us.
DAY 5: Today we start painting in one of the most visually and compositionally rich areas in Tuscany. Be ready to be surprised by the magnificent beauty as we paint before and after lunch, which we will do daily. Montepulciano has some fantastic valleys surrounding it. We will spend the day in and around, discovering just a small portion of what it has to offer.
DAY 6: More painting awaits. Today we will visit Sant' Antimo, known as one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in all of Italy. Afterwards, we will stop in the majestic, promontory-like town of Montalcino, known widely for it's wines.
DAY 7: Your Tuscan countryside adventure continues. We will paint in one of the most revered spots in Tuscany where 100 year, and older, cypress trees will line our welcome. Afterwards, we will have lunch at one of my most favorite places to eat, the world over, before heading out for our afternoon painting session- but not before an espresso alfresco!
DAY 8: Our destination today is the area southeast of Montalcino. Using farm roads you will discover some wonderful places to paint, including ancient castles perched on mountain tops. A sublime and hand-prepared picnic with be delivered to you easel-side, as you take in the splendor of your surroundings and paint away.
DAY 9: Another incredible handmade Italian breakfast will fuel us, before we venture to an area I like to call the "lost valley" because it is so hard to find! You will not see another car or person in this area. After an unforgettable alfresco lunch among ancient cypress trees, we will depart for an afternoon around the area of Mount Oliveto Maggiore. This monastery houses the magnificent frescos of Signorelli and Sodama.
DAY 10: Buon Giorno! Though our last day of painting has arrived, the discovery continues. We will explore the immediate area and techniques that will be suitcase friendly, as we pack up by days end - but not before our last aperitivo hour and mingling with old and new friends.
DAY 11: We will depart for Cortona, a pre-Etruscan, mountain-top gem. After checking into our charming new accomodations, lunch and the afternoon will be open to exploring this truly remarkable town. In the evening we will gather for an educational and more intimate look at some of the treasures underlying this historic site. Dinner will be at a very small establishment, where the Tiramisu alone, is worth a trip to Italy.
DAY 12: We will walk to visit Santa Margarita, a trip that's worth the climb! The walk can feel more like a climb up the Matterhorn then a small Tuscan town. It is steep, but the views are fantastic and the hike will make us hungry for our next meal. We will take lunch in a little place that is not in any guidebook. The husband and wife team (now in their 80s) banter back and forth in Italian to the amusement of anyone in the trattoria. In the afternoon we will visit the enormous and engaging museum of Etruscan Art.
DAY 13: Lunch today will be prepared by us under the incredible guidance of the one and only, Antonella. She is an amazing chef with a beautiful kitchen! We will make picci pasta by hand, among other delectable Tuscan classics. Our last evening dinner will be taken at a local pizzeria that still uses a wood-fired oven- this has actually become quite hard to find in Italy these days.
DAY 14: As this is the conclusion of our incredible adventure together, many of us will be off to Rome or beyond. A driver can be arranged for trips into Rome, the airport, or the train station.