Day 1 - Arrival Day/Benvenuto!
Welcome to Italy! We'll be met at the Florence airport by our private driver who will whisk us off to the Tuscan countryside. Our accommodations for the next 9 nights is at an agriturismo villa (authentic Tuscan farmhouse) situated in the center of Tuscany, very near the town of Cortona, made famous by Frances Mayes in her book, “Under the Tuscan Sun” and movie by the same name. There is a large studio for painting as well as wonderful grounds and gardens for the opportunity to paint outdoors. There is also a large pool for those who wish to relax with a leisurely swim after a day of painting or exploring. Enjoy a welcome cocktail upon arrival at our accommodations and meet the villa owner for an orientation meeting and check in. Settle in to unpack, relax or stroll around the property. The rest of the afternoon/evening is yours to explore or relax. We'll conclude the day with a group welcome dinner including local wines, served in the comfort of our villa. (D)
After breakfast, we'll zip off to the renaissance city of Florence. Our first stop will be the vibrant and colorful markets where you can find anything: from a tripe sandwich to a silk scarf! Then enjoy some free time to visit such famous sites such as the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery, Piazza della Signori, Piazza della Repubblica, and more. We'll meet up for lunch at a unique enoteca. After lunch, enjoy a few more hours of free time before we take a tour and head up into the hills above Florence for a look at the city from a different perspective.
(B, L, D)
Day 3 - Workshop & Half-Day Excursion to Arezzo “Where Life is Beautiful”
This morning after breakfast, the group will head off to the on-site studio for your first half-day watercolor lecture and workshop. Later, our driver will transport us to the town of Arezzo (made famous by the movie "Life is Beautiful" by Roberto Benigni). But first, we stop for lunch at a quiet little "Locanda" or Inn where the traditional Tuscan cuisine is created with a modern spin.
Then it is on to to explore Arezzo. Even though the medieval center was destroyed during World War II, Arezzo still has a beautiful piazza and many historical buildings and churches as well as a Roman Amphitheater and the remains of a fortress. Here you can visit the Piazza Grande or visit the park behind the town’s cathedral (with a beautiful vista overlooking the valley), or wander the many quaint alleys and streets for some private sketching and painting time. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - The Val d’Orcia and Pecorino Cheese
Today after our breakfast, we will depart for a tour of two of Tuscany’s most famous towns: Montepulciano & Pienza, set in the Val d’Orcia – what many view as the “quintessential” Tuscany. We'll first stop in Pienza, famous for its Pecorino cheese. Here you have free time to visit shops, take in the view, sketch, or sit outside on the town piazza sipping a caffé and watching the local life around you. We''ll stop for lunch on a farm and then it's off to the steeply sloped town of Montepulciano where you can wander the streets, churches and town squares. As well, we'll visit an enoteca where we can tour the ancient cellars and have a wine tasting. Head back to the villa and relax by the pool before dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Workshop and Half-Day Excursion to Cortona: “Under the Tuscan Sun”
This morning after breakfast, the group will head off to the on-site studio for your second half-day watercolor lecture and workshop. In the afternoon we'll depart for a beautiful and completely organic winery for a guided tour of their vineyards and cellar. We will learn the interesting methods that this winery uses: both in their sustainable farming methods and in their biodynamic approach to their vineyards. Our tour will be followed by a fabulous wine-pairing lunch situated in beautiful surroundings with views of the vineyards, valley and hills. Then it is off to Cortona. Cortona, which has its roots in Etruscan history, is a quiet and romantic town nestled in the beautiful hills of the Val di Chiana in the province of Arezzo. It was made famous by Frances Mayes’ book & movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Again, a wonderful opportunity for you to sketch or paint. Dinner tonight at our villa. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Medieval Siena - Optional Plein Air Day
After breakfast at the villa, we head out to a full day excursion to Siena, a perfectly preserved medieval town set amid the olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti. This charming town is a UNESCO world heritage site and is famous for its piazza, museums, cuisine and “The Palio”, a horse race which is run right through the middle of town twice a year. Built on three hills, Siena's center is lined with narrow, winding cobblestone passages and steep steps. The superb 12th-century Cathedral, constructed of alternating stripes of green and white marble, is one of Italy's most impressive creations. You'll have the entire day at leisure to sketch or paint - plein-air. You could also just meander through the shops and narrow streets of Siena, or relax in an outdoor café on the Piazza del Campo, your window to traditional Sienese life. You also have the option of staying at our villa and painting in the studio. Dinner tonight at our villa (B, D)
Day 7 - Workshop and Half-Day Excursion: Market Day & Cooking Lesson
After a leisurely breakfast at our accommodations, we will head off to meet our chef who will guide us through our half-day cooking lesson. We'll learn to make all sorts of Italian specialties, from antipasti to dolce. The menu will be determined by the season and what is fresh in the garden and the market. Following our lesson, where I guarantee there will be plenty of laughs and wine, our lunch will be all the delicious dishes that we have produced. After lunch we will return to our accommodations to begin an afternoon workshop & lesson. Dinner with local wines at our villa. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Assisi (home of St. Francis of Assisi) & Deruta (Ceramics)
After breakfast this morning after breakfast, we'll immediately depart for Assisi, in the Umbrian region. Assisi: Home-town of Saint Francis, peacefully set on the slopes of the Subasio Mountain, and famous all over the Christian world. The Basilica of Saint Francis is one of Europe's most important sanctuaries and undoubtedly the cultural highlight of the entire region. Upon arriving we will first meet with our guide for a private 3 hour walking tour. After lunch on your own, we'll move onto Deruta which is also set in Umbria and well-known as the center of refined majolica manufacturing and is famous for its ceramics. We can first tour and watch how these famous ceramics are made and then shop at some of the area’s ceramic shops. (B, D)
Day 9 - Workshop & Olive Oil Mill Tour
Today is a about La Dolce Vita - the Sweet Life. After breakfast and your final workshop, we're going to head out to an area of Tuscany that is off-the-beaten path. We'll visit an ancient olive oil mill that has been in the same family since the late 1400’s with a tour, tasting & lunch with the owner’s family. Here you will see that they still crush the olives with an old stone wheel. After our visit, we will stop at a nearby small medieval village, where you can shop, visit local artisans, or stop and smell the caffè in neighborhood bar. Final goodbye dinner tonight at our villa. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Departure Day
Early morning breakfast at our villa as we say our goodbyes. We'll board our vans and depart for the Florence Airport FLR. Bid Arrivederci to Italy! (B)
Key: B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner, included
*Itineraries are subject to change. Vitalia Tours and its partners will strive to provide you with the best possible tour and experience. It is our intention to adhere to the outlined itinerary as published. However, please be advised that it may be occasionally necessary to substitute an activity due to events that cannot be predicted. Therefore, Vitalia Tours reserves the right to make changes in accommodations, tours or excursions, meals, and itineraries at any time should it become necessary or desirable.
This tour is open to painters and non-painters alike
Our fall ‘Watercolor Workshop in Tuscany’ tour with Dodie Davis is an exceptional combination of activities, food & wine events, excursions and painting workshops.
Tuscany is quintessential Italy and an artist’s dreamscape – The ideal landscape to capture through drawing and painting. Amazing scenery is everywhere: Rolling hills dotted with cypress trees, patchwork quilts of fields and vineyards, iridescent green olive groves, all interspersed with winding roads and postcard-perfect medieval hilltop towns.
Additionally, fall in Tuscany is a glorious time; Throughout the countryside, the autumn colors are brilliant and at their peak: the leaves of trees and vines provide a dazzling display of warm colors from plums and purples, to rich reds, deep gold, and shades of brown. Mother Nature’s palette, the astonishing landscape, the exquisite changing lights and shadows, the many subtle details seen in small villages and the architecture are all sources of inspiration.
Your adventure will be as much a culinary tour (complete with a Tuscan cooking class) as it is a watercolor painting tour. We’ll be visiting wineries, farms and artisanal food purveyors learning all about the authentic Tuscan traditions.
Deposit: $1000.00 - along with a signed & completed registration form is required to secure your reservation(s)at time of booking to reserve your spot
Traveling Solo? We can suggest a roommate so that you avoid having to pay the single supplement!
September 25 - October 4, 2017
Venice Add-On: September 23 - 25, 2017
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* There is free wifi at our accommodations
** We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance to protect your investment. This is to ensure that you are covered in the event of loss of deposit and cancellation fees, medical emergency or health expenses, personal accident, flight cancellation or delays and to protect your luggage against any loss or damage.
This watercolor workshop is ideal for beginners and as well as experts, as instructor Dodie Davis presents a relaxed itinerary that allows for a great deal of experimentation and play at all levels. In addition to the half-day workshops, plein-air painting opportunities and studio time will be available for those who wish to take advantage of it. Your instructor Dodie Davis will also offer valuable tips during our plein-air day trips. We guarantee you will be inspired by the amazing scenery and landscape – whether you are painting for the first time or are more experienced.
This tour is designed for painters and non-painters alike, as well as solo travelers, as it offers a selection of handpicked activities, unique excursions, and special culinary events that offers the most genuine Italian experience for our guests.
This is more than just a watercolor painting workshop; this will be a unique and authentic cultural adventure in the beautiful Italian countryside.
Dates: September 25 - October 4, 2017
10 Days/9 Nights
w/Optional Venice Add-on (see below for details)
Group size: 6-14 Guests Maximum
Tour Cost: $4100 USD per person/double occupancy
$450 USD single supplement
September 23 - 25, 2017
3 days/2 nights
* Transfer from Venice airport (VCE) to Venice
* 2 nights in a beautiful hotel in Venice
* Walking tour of the highlights of Venice
* Gondola excursion
* Cicchetti tour (Typical Venetian "pub crawl")
* All water transportation
* Excursion to Murano & Burano
* Transfer to Tuscany
* All of the above mentioned in the Tuscany tour
Tuscany with Venice Add-on:
$5,550.00 per person/double occupancy
Single supplement: $550.00
(All prices quoted in USD)