595 Parra Grande Lane

Santa Barbara, CA 93108

805.448.9166

pleinairtuscany@gmail.com

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THE HEART OF TUSCANY

 

 

Please schedule your flights to arrive before noon or, better yet, arrive in Rome a few days before the program.  You will be picked up by a professional driver for the 2-hour drive to Cortona.  After arrival into Cortona we will take stock of any art supplies that we need to purchase.  We will begin the afternoon with some sketches in the countryside.  If you are already in Italy or missed the transportation then simply take the train to Camucia Station or Terontola.  A ride to our base in Cortona can be arranged.  We will dine as a group at Trattoria la Grotta.  The highlight of the meal is the panna cotta ai fruiti di bosco! 

 

SAMPLE ITINERARY 

01

02

ARRIVAL INTO ROMA, FIUMICINO AIRPORT

 

Please schedule your flights to arrive before noon or, better yet, arrive in Rome a few days before the program.  You will be picked up by a professional driver for the 2-hour drive to Cortona.  After arrival into Cortona we will take stock of any art supplies that we need to purchase.  We will begin the afternoon with some sketches in the countryside.  If you are already in Italy or missed the transportation then simply take the train to Camucia Station or Terontola.  A ride to our base in Cortona can be arranged.  We will dine as a group at Trattoria la Grotta.  The highlight of the meal is the panna cotta ai fruiti di bosco!

03

CORTONA

 

Since it is our first day we will take it easy and paint in and around Cortona.  In the morning we will paint on the north side of Cortona.  Near the striking Chiesa Santa Maria Nuova.  After painting we will take a introductory walk thru town, culminating with a stop in the tiny church of San Nicholo.  Which contains a rare Luca Signorelli painted on two sides!  Give the (sometimes sleepy)caretaker a couple of Euro and he will open up the elaborate painting.  Today you can choose from one of the many recommended eateries in Cortona.  After lunch we will meet up again to paint just outside the Etruscan gates.  Evening is open to self explore.  

04

VAL D' CHIANA AND MONTEPULCIANO

 

In the morning we will drive across the beautiful valley to Montepulciano.   There are so many fantastic valleys to paint in this area.  We will spend the day exploring as much of this area as we can.  Come hungry as we will be rewarded with a bounty of local foods.  In the afternoon we will head back to Cortona a little tired and ready to stroll Via Nationale during passeggiata.  For those wanting some more art we will meet at Museo Diocesano Del Capitolo.  This amazing little museum houses some of the best examples of Renaissance art anywhere. Highlights include the famous Annunciation by Fra Angelico and some of the best works by local artist Luca Signorelli.  Evening is open to self explore.  

CASTELNUOVO BERADENGA

 

The landscape is very different from the previous locations.  We will spend both the morning and afternoon exploring this region.  Lunch will be at one of most wonderful little Osterias.  You will dine among local farmers and hunters. This is a great little find.  After lunch (and an espresso) we will spend the afternoon painting among the olive trees.  Upon our return to Cortona, before dinner, we will have our first group critique.  Afterwards join the group for dinner or explore the town on your own.

PANACALE 

 

In the morning we will cross the valley to the south, skirting Lago de Tresimeno. Passing through the site of one the the great defeats of the Romans by Hannibal in the Battle of Tresimeno.  Arriving in Panacale we will visit the Martirio San Sebastiano with its amazing frescoes by Perugino.  We will either paint in the town or in the nearby countryside.  A bountiful picnic lunch will be provided.

In the afternoon (after another espresso) we will paint in the valley below Cortona, while admiring the amazing hilltop position of the town.  After our painting session and recuperation time we will meet at Enoteca Molesini for a directed wine tasting by Marco.  Evening is open to self explore

 

05

06

07

PIENZA e MONTALCINO

 

With sadness we will pack up and leave beautiful Cortona.  This day we will pass through Montepulciano on the small country road leading to Montefollonico. This valley has innumerable painting vistas.  Situated below San Biagio one can paint in any direction.  This is also a fantastic area to hike, especially after our country lunch of local charcuterie.   On the way to Montalcino we will stop in the lively and (now overly touristy) Pienza.  The town is fantastic place to photograph and taste the famous Pecorino d'Pienza, preferably with some local honey.   Leaving Pienza we will paint near the little Romanesque church.  The position and beauty of this country church has been the subject of many of my paintings.  Light seems to rake across this amazing little church.  The evening is open to self explore in Montalcino or join the group for dinner.

08

MONTALCINO

 

The area of Montalcino is enormous in size and pictorial drama.  We will spend the next couple of days discovering all sides of this vast hill.  Lunch will be al fresco in between painting sessions.  Dinner will be taken in Montalcino; either join the group or discover your own new eatery.  Make sure you try some of the famous Brunello's.  Evening is open to self explore or eat as a group. 

09

MONTALCINO

 

Today we will explore the southern region of Montalcino.   Highlights include a church that Charlemagne is said to have founded;  it is still run by Gregorian monks.  We will listen in on a service.   After a picnic lunch and another espresso we will head to the hills south of Montalcino.  This area provides a trove of subjects for painting.   

10

ASCIANO AND MONTICCHIELLO

 

The Asciano presents the painter with different and more challenging subjects. Bizarre abstractions and simplified landscapes are the rule here.   After the morning session we will take lunch at the Osteria La Porta.  Although the food is outstanding, it is the view that you will remember!  After our meal (and another espresso) we will head out of town to a small backroad to work.   Monticchiello is also known for its unique linen shop.  After our painting session we will review all the work we did on the trip.  You will be amazed at your progress.  Our final dinner will be at Osteria Cucina Semplice at the base of Montalcino. 

LEAVE FOR HOME OR FLORENCE EXTENSION

 

Today we say farewell. Transportation to Rome can be arranged or you may choose to head out on your own adventure across Italy.  

On the following day, I will be leading the "Florence through a Painters Eye" extension.   Please sign up as early as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Please take note that the itinerary is subject to change.  As with anything Italian, expect the unexpected!