September 28 – October 12, 2016
Planned and guided by Williamsburg-based painters, art professors and Italophiles Linda Carey and William Barnes, this small group program will provide an off-the-well-beatenpath experience of Italy. We will take the time to soak in the art, architecture, landscape, wine, food, and people of Italy. Time will be set aside almost every day to sketch or paint, with instruction and critiques. If spouses or partners opt out of painting and art instruction, some alternatives are museum and walking tours, fairs, markets or time to just relax and soak in the ambiance. This trip will appeal to people who want to have an authentic cultural experience, and will offer flexibility as to the activities they wish to participate in. Most of the traveling between locations will be by public trains and buses, and in some cases taxi and van transportation will be provided. Accommodations will be in charming small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts located in the historical city centers. Leisurely meals will provide an opportunity to discuss Italian art, history, culture, and of course, food & wine.
The first 3 days in Rome will be spent taking guided walks through scenic and ancient areas of the city, seeing some of Rome’s most beautiful and least visited churches, sites and museums, drawing spectacular views or details, and enjoying wine and snacks on the terrace of our centrally-located hotel. The next week we will be staying in the historical center of Arezzo, Tuscany, located about 45 minutes southeast of Florence, and home of the extraordinary Piero della Francesca fresco cycle in San Francesco. Our home in Arezzo will be the charming La Corte Del Re bed and breakfast, in a restored medieval building just off the Piazza Grande, one of the most beautiful medieval piazzas in Tuscany. From Arezzo we will be taking a day trip to Pienza and the exquisite countryside of the Val d’Orcia, with optional trips to Assisi, Siena and Cortona. Some of the activities included are a wine-tasting and dinner at a family-owned vineyard and 2 restaurant near Montepulciano, a cooking class/dinner at the home of a chef, and guided tours of ancient towns, churches and museums. We will then spend two nights in the architecturally unique town of Poppi, 20 minutes north of Arezzo. There are panoramic views of the Casentino valley from the castle, Castello dei Conti Guidi, one of the best preserved medieval castles in Tuscany. The Albergo Casentino next to the castle has an excellent restaurant and hotel. We will spend two leisurely days exploring the town, drawing and/or painting. Our final two nights will be in Florence. The focus here will be walking tours and seeing some of the less visited churches and museums such as San Marco, Santa Maria Novella, and San Miniato. Participants can decide on the balance of museum and site visits versus art making. A visit to the Uffizi is optional but not part of the itinerary.
About the Art Instruction
In advance of the trip, Linda & Bill will offer a workshop at BSSS for participants who will be taking part in the art making and instructional part of the trip. Strategies for on-site drawing and painting, recommendations for art materials and packing, and suggested readings to enrich understanding and appreciation of Italian art and culture will be provided.
It is recommended that participants have some background in plein air sketching or painting, but students at all levels are welcome. Participants can use drawing or water-based mediums or oils. If the weather is inclement, we will draw from some of the world’s greatest sculptures in museums and churches, or paint from a studio set-up of autumn market fruits and vegetables.
Linda and Bill teach painting and drawing at the College of William & Mary, and have taught workshops at BSSS and various other art schools. They have spent many months in Italy over the past two decades, traveling, painting and looking at art. Linda’s Italian pastels were featured in a recent edition of Pastel Journal, and both of their Italian works were featured in Fine Art Connoisseur. Both exhibit regularly in galleries, juried exhibitions, invitationals and museums, and have been fellowship recipients at several international artist residencies.
Program Costs Included: all accommodations, breakfasts, four dinners, four lunches, wine & cheese gatherings, vineyard wine tasting, tour fees, Tuscan cooking lesson, art instruction, BSSS workshop, museum and church entrance fees, and ground transportation. Since there are two guides/instructors, there will be days when alternative activities are offered. The cost will be the same for all participants and their companions. 15 days total. Space is limited: maximum 14 participants. Not included: airfare, most lunches and dinners, visits to museums that are not included in the itinerary, trip insurance, service gratuities. Participants are required to purchase trip insurance.