Depart U.S. on Sept. 25 and return from Italy on October 8, 2011
Join us on an artistic trip to Italy. Travel with us and experience the marvel of watercolor art with Robbie Laird under the guidance of experienced and native guides. Playing with color in this part of the world is truly magical!
We will immerse ourselves in Italy, the center of inspired art through the ages!In Tuscany our artists’ eyes will take in the rich tapestry of interlocking, shapes, forms, colors and textures that are unique to the rolling vineyards, villages, piazzas, and ancient structures we will visit.
This workshop for all levels is based on Robbie’s inspiring premise about “Informed Intuitive” painting.
If you wish to join us on this journey and choose to not be involved in the watercolor sessions, you are welcome to do so. To find out more of what is available for you, scroll down to the section: “Other Options”
As painters we not only want to immerse ourselves in the riches of travel to inspiring places, we want to return home with our sketchbooks full of captured images that will provide what we need to do wonderful paintings of our experience.Our time together in Tuscany will be about capturing quick sketches, color studies, small paintings and photos of our experience.We will explore ways to make the most of our travel /painting time, filling our paint-books with ideas for creating the textural effects of ancient buildings and bustling piazzas.We will explore new color choices for painting rolling vineyards and vistas and the beautiful light of Tuscany.
Many of our days will be a balance of going short distances to see new places and staying long enough for short painting sessions as well as great photo opportunities.The paintings we will be doing will be small enough to finish and fit into our suitcases.When we have a full day of painting together, we will work at the Villa where we are staying, so we will not need to transport all of our painting equipment (minimal equipment required).During those sessions of painting, Robbie will be demonstrating how she makes the best use of all the resource information she collects in her sketches on location.She will demonstrate how to use a design structure to create a strong painting from her collected information.
Robbie will share how she extends her personal vision by exploring a subject, then experimenting with effects by layering various media such as gouache, watercolor crayons and acrylic mediums. Layering and combining effects enables her to have more control while remaining spontaneous.She will demonstrate how she uses the strength of design as well as information gathered, to allow the most freedom while painting.
Each painter will be encouraged to identify and capitalize on his or her own painting strengths, and may use watercolor alone or a variety of watermedia. Realistic painting and abstract painting are equally encouraged.
Individual critiques and assistance will be given each day.Robbie has a reputation for encouraging painters, whatever their level of accomplishment, to breakthrough to new levels of freedom and confidence in painting.What better place to do that, than in Italy!
We will spend our time experiencing, savoring and SAVING our Tuscany!
For a materials list and more details on the format of the workshop, click here
You will be staying at a splendid villa in the heart of Tuscany surrounded by lush vineyards, fertile olive groves and spectacular countryside panoramas.
This is an example of one of the villas you may stay in. … gorgeous gardens, relaxing swimming pool, fruit trees, flowers, gazebos, and a short walking distance to a small Italian village where you can really feel the pulse of the country.
Take a look at this example of our accommodations...
Your Hosts Franco was born and raised in Italy and in his heart still considers it his home. He loves sharing his insights and love of this beautiful country.
Kay lived and worked in Florence and has wonderful memories of her experience there. She knows the area very well and has wonderful connections throughout this region.
Our vision is to provide personal growth opportunities for you while you are exploring Italy and to offer experiences that encourage celebration of other cultures. There are so many wonderful things we can all learn from each other as we visit people and places around the world. We provide safe and quality travel that allows you to be in another country not simply as a tourist but more as a compassionate individual interested in connecting with others in the world.
We want to share the beauty and excitement of this amazing country with people who we know will appreciate and celebrate this enchanting part of the world.
(You may click on the small photos to enlarge them)
B = Breakfast Included D = Dinner Included
We will begin our journey in the Liguria region– After we pick you up from the airport we will drive you to your villa where you will immerse yourself in this amazing region for the next five days. We are currently making the final arrangements for this portion of the journey, and we will have more details available soon.
For the folks who have been with us on the pre-trip, after breakfast this morning we will drive to Tuscany and go to our Villa. We will call this day Two of the main trip Day Two – For those of you arriving today, we will meet you at the airport and transport you to the villa. Depending on arrival time, you may have a light lunch and get cozy in the place that will be your home for the next several days. If you wish you may explore a quaint nearby village after you have rested and settled in, you may walk in the surrounding countryside and vineyards, you can take a dip in the pool or just relax and enjoy the sweet country air. This is also an opportunity to set up your artist’s station. A welcome dinner will be served. B D
Day Three – For those that wish to be up early and experience that Tuscan daylight as it awakens the horizon, we offer a meditation and yoga session. Breakfast will follow, and then we are off to explore the spectacular Chianti region. Castel Gabbiano, Castel Palaggio, and Verrazano are among the wineries we visit. Usually at this time of year there are several wine and harvest festivals in the area and we will help them support their local customs. Studio time will be in the late afternoon upon our return. B
Day Four – After yoga and breakfast, there is studio time and then we are off to San Gimignano and its unique walled city with seven distinctive towers. In the afternoon we visit Volterra once a Neolithic settlement and an important Etruscan centerwith an exciting history. Scroll down to learn more about these two walled citadels. Towards evening we go to the village of San Donato for a marvelous dinner at Ristorante Locanda and then return to the villa. B
Day Five – A full day in Florence awaits you after our morning ceremonies and breakfast. Florence is rich, colorful and inspirational. A detailed description of this center of the arts is written below. Upon your return to the villa, you will be pampered with a wine tasting event and a delicious Italian dinner. B, D
Day Six – Yoga and meditation is offered for those who wish and then breakfast. For the watercolor artists you have a full day in the studio which will be mostly outdoors in an inspirational garden. For those of you not painting, you have wonderful choices for your day: You may visit Montespertoli, Rada in Chianti, or other villages; you may choose to go back to Florence for the day, walk in the countryside, relax and read by the pool?? You get to decide! B, D
Day Seven – After our morning ceremonies and breakfast we are off to Pisa! The leaning tower, which is pretty magnificent, the cathedral, and the museum are all captivating sights. Upon our completion we drive to the coast to have lunch and experience the splendor of the Mediterranean Sea. Late afternoon offers studio time and time to unwind in the alluring countryside air. B
Day Eight– Meditation, breakfast will be served, studio time, and then a fascinating day in Siena, a medieval wonder. Surrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti, Siena is one of the most beautiful cities of Tuscany. Scroll down for more on this fascinating walled city. We have dinner in Siena and return to the villa in time for a social gathering. B
Day Nine – Well, this is the end of this astounding Tuscan chapter and after breakfast we have a concluding event, say good-bye to our villa and head out to the airport for the flight home.
This last day is always filled with many emotions and memories. For the last several days, you have been a part of the rich history, the ancient culture, the invigorating art, the delightful people, the exceptional food and wine, and the striking architecture of this intriguing country. All of that is now inside of you, and as you leave this exquisite country you can always take with you the magnificence and magic you experienced.
“Speriamo che tutti si sono divertiti e che avete fatto un viaggio fantastico!” (We hopeeveryone had a terrific time and a fantastic journey!) B
Hugs and good-byes...for now
If you are interested in going on this fabulous journey and you prefer to not be a part of the watercolor workshop, you are certainly welcome to join us. You will be included in all the visits to all the places we are going to, you would be involved in all the same activities, events, dinners, etc. except for the direct studio teaching time with Robbie. During the time that watercolor participants are working directly with Robbie, you would have alternate activities available to you. Give us a call and we can go over this possibility with you. The cost for you would be reduced. For pricing details, scroll down to: Cost & Details
Cost & Details Dates: October 1 - October 9, 2010
Cost: $ 2,495(full participant)
$ 2,250(not participating in watercolor workshop)
The package includes: lessons, demonstrations, classes, studio time and individual critiques and assistance from Robbie Laird(for full participants), picking you up and returning you to the Florence airport, providing all the internal transportation throughout the journey, all accommodations at a beautiful villa in Tuscany (double occupancy), all breakfasts, three dinners at the villa, wine tasting gathering at the villa, vineyard experience.
You will need to provide: your air-fare, all lunches, five dinners and gallery/museum fees.
Pre-trip extension: Cinque Terre and Venice September 27 - October 9
$ 3,099(full participant)
$ 2,850(not participating in watercolor workshop)
The entire package includes everything listed above plus: internal transportation to Cinque Terre and Venice, driving you to the airport in Venice, all accommodations in Cinque Terre and Venice, breakfasts, ferry ride to and from hotel, and a gondola ride in Venice.
Deposits, Refunds and Support
Airfare Support: If you would like assistance with booking an air fare, call: Global Journeys @ 516 343 3210 and we will be happy to assist in any way we can.
Deposits and Payments: A $500 deposit will hold your place. Half of the remaining balance is due on June 25, 2010, and the final balance is due on August 16, 2010. Please note: If paying by credit card, a one time processing fee of $50 will be charged to the credit card.
Cancellations and Refunds: A minimum of $300 per person cancellation fee will be assessed for cancellations. After half of remaining balance payment is made, a 50% cancellation fee will be assessed for cancellations A 100% cancellation fee will be assessed for cancellations received after the final payment Travel Package: Upon registration you will receive a travel package including information on: a suggested packing list, baggage allowance, credit cards, customs, passport information and other details.
Registration or More Information
If you would like to register, or if you have any questions, give us a call and we'll gladly answer your questions and take care of registration. Global Journeys 516-343 3210 You may also e-mail us at email@example.com If you prefer, you may fill out the form below and we'll respond to you within 24 hours. Also, scroll down to learn more about the places you will explore.
Florence... a City of Stone
Florence is an amazing city situated in the Arno valley. It's historic importance and artistic contributions make it a city that is a must to visit.
At the heart of the city is the Fountain of Neptune, which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still functioning Roman aqueduct. The Arno river, which cuts through the old part of the city, is as much a character in Florentine history as many of the men who lived there. Historically, the locals have had a love-hate relationship with the Arno — which alternated from nourishing the city with commerce, and destroying it by flood. Many of the bridges across the Arno were built by the Romans.
One of the bridges in particular, however, stands out as being unique — The Ponte Vecchio, whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. First constructed by the Etruscans in ancient times, this bridge is the only one in the city to have survived World War II intact.
The most famous palace in the city is San Lorenzo, which has become a monument to the Medici family who were one of the most powerful families in Florence during the 15th century. Nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the finest art galleries in the world.
San Gimignano... La Cittá delle Belle Torri
Perched on a hill with its towers thrown into sharp relief by the deep green mountains behind it, San Gimignano looks like a town plucked from a fairy tale and set into the Tuscan countryside. Of course, it's not. Nor has it always been the sleepy little town it is today: In the late middle ages it was one of Central Tuscany's most important trading centers, strategically perched astride the intersection between the main highway from Rome to the Alpine passes, and the road connecting the Tuscan heartland to the maritime republic of Pisa and the coast. We will spend a half day or so visiting this ancient village that afforwonderful opportunities for unique photography and marvel at the beauty and spirit of its structures.Here's a little more information about this charming town. San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill-top town in Tuscany, Italy, about a 35 minute drive north-west of Siena and about the same distance southwest of Florence. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers. In Tuscan medieval walled towns, rich families competed in the erection of high towers, that served as lodgings, fortresses and prestige symbols. Because San Gimignano sits atop a hill the skyline can be seen for several miles outside the town. In medieval and Renaissance times it was a stopping point for pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican.
While in other cities like Bologna or Florence, most or all of the towers have been brought down due to wars, catastrophes or urban renewal, San Gimignano managed to conserve about 15 towers of varying height. The modern town has extended some kilometres out and is no longer affected by this race.San Gimignano is also famous for its Torture museum, with a display of instruments and devices for torture in various times and places, complete with multi-lingual descriptions of their use.There are many churches in the town: the two main ones are the Collegiata and Sant'Agostino.The town is also known for the white wine grown in the area, Vernaccia di San Gimignano.A fictionalised version of San Gimignano features in E.M. Forster's 1905 novel Where Angels Fear to Tread as Monteriano.
The town was a Neolithic settlement and an important Etruscan center with an original civilization; it became a municipium in the Roman Age. The city was a bishop's residence in the 5th century and its episcopal power was affirmed during the 12th century. With the decline of the episcopate, Volterra became a place of interest of the Florentines, whose forces conquered Volterra. Florentine rule was not always popular, and opposition occasionally broke into rebellion. These rebellions were defeated by Florence.
When the Florentine Republic fell in 1530, Volterra came under the control of the Medici family and later followed the history of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Roman Theatre (1st century BC), excavated in the 1950s.
Piazza dei Priori, one of Italy's most beautiful squares.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. It was enlarged in the 13th century after an earthquake. It houses a ciborium and some angels by Mino da Fiesole, a notable wood Deposition (1228), a masterwork of Romanesque sculpture and the Sacrament Chapel, with paintings by Santi di Tito, Giovanni Balducci and Agostino Veracini. In the center of the vault are fragments of an Eternal Father by Niccolò Circignani. Also noteworthy is the Addolorata Chapel, with a terracotta group attributed to Andrea della Robbia and a fresco of Riding Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli. In the nearby chapel, dedicate to the Very Holy Name of Jesus, is a table with Christ's monogram, allegedly painted by Bernardine of Siena. The rectangular bell tower is from 1493.
Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, with thousands of funeral urns dating back to the Hellenistic and Archaic periods. Main attractions are the bronze statuette "Shadow of the Night" and the sculpted effigy of an Etruscan couple in terra cotta.
The Etruscan walls, including the well-preserved Porta dell'Arco (3rd-2dn centuries BC) and Porta Diana gates.
Chianti is a vast geographic area from the hilly landscape placed at the center of the Tuscan region, between Siena and Florence, whose limits are distinguished at the North in the Ombrone river; at the East in the Monti ofthe Chianti, at the South in the Arno and at the West in the valley of Elsa. Its hills, crossed by a rich network of short rivers, those of the Pesa, the Elsa, the Greve, the Ombrone and the Arbia, are everywhere famous for the incomparable naturalistic beauty and as an example of harmonious union between environment and human activity, which is reftected by the orderly cultivation of vines and olive trees and by the golden expanse of grain. The rural reality of the Chianti region is not however monotonous, it also presents, in fact, woodland areas composed essentially of oak and chestnut trees of coppices that cover the slopes of the surfaces. The fascination of this territory lies in the perfect equilibrium between the soft forms of slopes and the thousand nuances of color and crowded woods, populated by ancient castles, secular parishes, pleasant villas and large Jarms, in which the tradition well mixes with the most modern criteria of organization and production. A region, so to say, with a primarily agrarian vocation, whose roots go back to a very remote past, as it is shown by it's name, "Chianti, " that according to some scholars would derive from the Latin clangor which stands far "sound of the trumpet": referring to the noise produced by the instrument anciently used during the hunting parties in this territory; according to others, from Clante, the name of etruscan families who lived here between the VII and the VIII centuries BC and to whom the introduction of the vine and it cultivation in Thscany is attributed. The term appears far the first time in 790 in a manuscript drafted by a monk in the Badia of San Bartolomeo a Ripoli, even though the description that he gave of the territory does not seem to correspond, since the monk describes it as a very humid zone as opposed to the mountainous and dry characteristics of the Chianti region. Later, in documents of the XIII century, the term comes to refer to the Monti of the Chianti (which in reality, in spire of their name, are little more than high hills). Already around the year 1000, these lands began to appear among the possessions ofthe marquis Ugo ofTuscany and of his successor Bonifacio, who donated ampie portions ofthem to the Fiorentine abbey. An approximate division ofthe territory between rural earldoms and the great abbeys of Passignano, Montemurlo and Coltibuono dates back to the same age: an equaI partition between civil and religious power. This is the period ofmaximum expansion of a demolished domain that covers the region with a great number of castles spread for the most part on little hills, in militarily strategic positions. Among them are those of Cintoia, Lamole, Montefili, Montefioralle, Panzano, Verrazzano, Uzzano, Vicchiomaggio, Cacchiano, Brolio, Meleto, Tornano, Vertine, and Aiola. In this time originates the long easting contrast between Guelph Florence and Ghibelline Siena for the supremacy on a such a vast and rich area. A curious legend narrates an episode which illuminates us on the grade of existing rivalry, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, between the two republics for the attribution of their boundaries. The argument was centered on a competition of speed between two horsemen, who were to depart, one from Florence and the other from Siena, and meet at a point which would then delineate the limits of their respective territories. The hour of departure was fixed at the first calI of the rooster: The Florentines, astutely would use as an alarm clock a young black rooster which, kept without food, launched his calI much earlier than dawn. It was in this way that the florentine horseman, departing earlier could cover a greater distance than his rival, conquering more land for his republic. The place in which the two horsemen met stilI carries the name of Croce Fiorentina.
Siena... a medieval wonder
Surrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti, Siena is one of the most beautiful cities of Tuscany. Set on three hills, the city is drawn together by winding alleyways and steep steps, whilst the Piazza del Campo stands at its heart, and the Duomo and St Maria della Scala serve as additional cultural landmarks. Famed for the "Palio", the annual historic horse-races that take place on 2 July and 16 August, it is also home to one of the oldest Universities in Europe, which ensures a vibrant Italian student atmosphere throughout the academic year.
There are so many great things you will see in Siena. It has uniquely preserved medieval architecture, and you can walk from tiny piazzas shared by you and a couple of pigeons to stately 14th and 15th century buildings. There is always something to notice and admire as you explore this unique city. Limited traffic within the city centre enhances your experience and adds to the feeling of stepping back in time into a medieval world.
Here's a bit of history about Siena and links to find out more about this enchanting place. Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the provincial capital of Siena province.The historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Siena, like many other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900 BC to 400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina.
The Etruscans were an advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in heavily armoured hill-forts. It has been argued that their Pagan society which practiced matrilineal inheritance, and was devoted to their goddesses was one of the reasons why Roman Goddesses such as Diana and, with the arrival of Christianity, the Virgin Mary came to be of such importance to the people of the Italian peninsula. If this is true, it suggests that the Cult of the Virgin which is omnipresent in the fabric of Siena's ancient stones has an origin which is older still.
What we can say for certain is that the Romans founded a town called Saenna Julia on the site of a pre-existing Etruscan settlement, and from this has grown modern Siena. Siena may then have been under the control of invading Gaulish forces – who are known to have sacked Rome in 390 BC. Some archaeologists assert it was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Saenones.
The Roman origin accounts for the town’s emblem – a she-wolf suckling the infants’ Romulus and Remus. According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, who was in turn the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Statues and other artwork depicting a she-wolf suckling the young twins Romulus and Remus can be seen all over the city of Siena. Other etymologies derive the name from the Etruscan family name "Saina", the Roman family name of the "Saenii", or the Latin word "senex" ("old") or the derived form "seneo", "to be old".
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the Arno River on the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its Leaning Tower, bell tower of the cathedral, the city of over 87,500 residents contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces, and various bridges across the Arno River. Ancient times
Pisa's origins remained unknown for centuries. The city lies at the junction of two rivers, Arno and Serchio in the Ligurian Sea forming a laguna area. The Pelasgi, the Greeks, the Etruscans and the Ligurians have variously been proposed as founders of the city. Archeological remains from the 5th century BC confirmed the existence of a city at the sea, trading with Greeks and Gauls. The presence of an Etruscan necropolis, discovered during excavations in the ArenaGaribaldi in 1991, allowed to clarify its Etruscan origins.
Ancient roman authors referred to Pisa as an old city. Servius wrote that the Teuti, or Pelopes, the king of the Pisei, founded the town thirteen centuries before the start of the common era. Strabo referred Pisa's origins to the mythical Nestor, king of Pylos, after the fall of Troy. Virgil in his Aeneid states that Pisa was already a great and developed centre by the times described; the foundation of the city in the 'Etruscan lands' has been credited to settlers from the Alpheus coast.
The maritime role of Pisa should have been already prominent if the ancient authorities ascribed to it the invention of the rostrum: it took advantage of being the only port along the western coast from Genoa (then a small village) to Ostia. Pisa served as a base for Roman naval expeditions against Ligurians, Gauls and Carthaginians. In 180 BC, it became a Roman colony under Roman law, as Portus Pisanus. In 89 BC, Portus Pisanus became a municipium. Emperor Augustus fortified the colony into an important port and changed the name in Colonia Iulia obsequens. From 313 it became the seat of a bishopric.
Cinque Terre...the gem of the Italian Riviera
The Cinque Terre (CHINK-weh TAY-reh, which means “five lands”) is a series of villages clinging to a remote stretch of the Riviera coastline. Each town is a variation on the same theme: a pastel jumble of homes crouching in a gully like crusty sea creatures in a tide pool, undisturbed by traffic or modern development.
The rugged villages of the Cinque Terre, founded by Dark Age locals hiding out from marauding pirates, were long cut off from the modern world. Today the villages, linked by a milk-run train, a ferry, and a spectacular trail, offer their charm and uniqueness as we explore this rocky coastline of northern Italy with terraced hills and vineyards sloping steeply down to the sea. You can enjoy hiking, swimming, drinking wine, eating delicious food and watching the blazing Mediterranean sunsets away from the busy tourist spots. The area is surrounded with terraced olive groves and vineyards, orchards and chestnut woods.
To find out more about each of the villages, click on their names:
The Cinque Terre are five coastal villages in the province of La Spezia in Italy. "Discovered" by foreigners in the late 20th century they have come to be among the most touristed areas of Italy. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all encapsulated in a national park of the same name.
The five villages are, from west to east (i.e. towards LaSpezia):
Volumes have been written, miles of canvas have been painted, and scores have been sung to describe this wonder. Is it a city of canals and palaces...or a tawdry sewer alive with crowds and charlatans? Venice's nature is dualistic: water...land, long history...doubtful future, airy delicacy...dim melancholy. Franco spent several summers there living with his grandmother. His experience of this is unique city is one of awe and magic. "The light is entrancing, meandering through the maze of canals and lanes is sensual, and the hushed backstreets are filled with surprises and charm."
In Venice light and water combine to create a restless magic. All borderlines are eradicated some where between dream and reality, present and past, the ethereal nature of this town has fascinated many famous people. Here it is what some others have said about Venice...
"Between the still-slumbering walls of brick and marble, beneath the ribbon of the sky, more and more brightly gleamed the ribbon of the water." Gabriele D'Annunzio "Nothing is simpler than to lose oneself in Venice; and nothing is more fun than to be in this labirinth without a Minotaur, as a Theseus without an Ariadne's thread." Jean-Louis Vaudoyer "The Grand Canal, the most beautiful thoroughfare in the world that I know of, has the best houses along it, and runs from one end of the city to the other." Philippe de Commynes "When I went to Venice, I discovered that my dream had become-incredibly but quite simply- my address." Marcel Proust "It is charming to disembark at the polishedsteps of a little campo- a sunny, shabby square with an old well in the middle, an old church on one side and tall Venetian windows looking down." Henry James "And at night they sang in the gondolas, and in the barche with lanterns; the prows rose silver on silver,taking light in the darkness." Ezra Pound "Here it is S. Marco, the tower, the piazza, Palazzo Ducale. Probably such a jewel doesn't exist anywhere else in the world." Hippolyte Taine "A realist, in Venice would become a romantic, by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him." Arthur Symons "Venice is not only a city of fantasy and freedom. It is also a city of joy and pleasure." Peggy Guggenheim
Accommodations in Cinque Terre and Venice
Cinque Terre Hotel
In Venice you will stay at the Riva Hotel located just a short walk from St. Marks Square. From this centralized area you have easy access to many of the splendid sites of this memorable city.
The Cinque Terre Hotel where you will be staying has comfortable rooms, a great location and a delightful and friendly owner and staff.
Franco and Kay have so many great stories and memories of this part of Italy. Call them with any questions or to just get more of a feel for this journey. They love to talk and share about this inspirational country.