Painting under the Tuscan Sun

May 31 – June 9, 2019
Discover Your Inner Artist
Join Artist & Teacher Rhonda Hill for a painting excursion through the Tuscan Countryside

Tuscany is quintessential Italy and an artist’s dreamscape. 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 villages.

Additionally, Spring in Tuscany is a glorious time; Throughout the countryside, the hills take on a velvety green hue, red poppies dotting up amongst the fields, and within quaint villages, balconies will be spilling with waterfalls of flowers and potted plants. Color is everywhere.

Our painting workshop in Tuscany with Rhonda Hill is an exceptional combination of activities, food & wine events, excursions and painting workshops.

Artist Rhonda Hill has been teaching for the last 6 years in Acrylics but works in various mediums including Oils and Watercolor. Her inspiration comes from many things but reveals that Tuscany is one of her favorite subjects.

Taste of Italy Tour
Taste of Italy Tour

Rhonda will be guiding you step-by-step to paint your very own masterpiece of the beautiful Tuscan scenery using watercolor. This workshop is perfect for the absolute beginner artist to those with a bit more experience. Rhonda will encourage and inspire you to create your work of art, while keeping the workshop relaxing and social. You’ll come away with an understanding of watercolor with useful tips and techniques to start your own art journey,

Your Tuscan adventure will be as much a food & wine tour as it is a watercolor painting tour. We’ll be visiting wineries, farms and small hilltop villages. This tour promises to have a little bit of something for everyone.

Come join us if you have an interest in painting, or just want to have a truly authentic escape to Tuscany. Let yourself be seduced by the food and wine, the amazing scenery, the exquisite light, and the charm of Tuscany in the Spring.

This tour is open to painters and non-painters alike.  Beginners Welcome!

Our first trip to Italy and it won’t be our last! We initially had to cancel our trip due to a family emergency but then were able to reschedule it 9 months later. Catherine was very understanding and helped us through everything. What could have been a disaster, turned into the trip of a lifetime. We could not thank her enough for making this trip such a memorable one!

J.M.

Book your trip NOW!!! I had the most delightful trip. Everything was arranged perfectly. They really listened to what I wanted and didn’t want in my itinerary. We went to places I never would have found on my own. Worth every penny/euro. I have been telling all my friends that want to travel to Italy about Vitalia.

Martha F

Catherine, I can’t thank you enough for all the information! Great advice and insights! Thank you for all the travel and restaurant info as well. I have a feeling this is going to make the difference between a good stay and a great stay! You’re providing a great service! Thank you so much. So exciting and looking forward to trying your recommendations in Rome!

M.H.
Taste of Italy Tour

Tour Highlights

  • ​10 Days/9 Nights
  • ​​9 Nights accommodation in an agriturismo villa
  • ​Dedicated painting studio for workshops
  • Private guided walking tour of Florence
  • ​Watch local artisan demonstrations
  • ​Several winery tour & tasting excursions
  • Visit the Chianti region
  • ​Wander the Tuscan villages of Pienza & Montepulciano
  • ​Tour a Pecorino cheese farm with tasting
  • Private cooking lesson
  • Shop at local markets
  • Visit to an ancient olive oil mill with tasting​
  • Elegant wine-pairing luncheon overlooking the hills & vineyards
  • Open to painter & non-painters alike - Beginners Welcome!

*Contact us for the art supplies list

Itinerary:*
Day 1 - Arrival Day/ Benvenuti!


Welcome to Italy! We'll be met at the Rome airport (FCO) 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)

Day 2 - A Renaissance Day in Florence
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! Next, Next enjoy a guided tour of Florence learning all the mystery and history of this beautiful renaissance city.

Lunch is on your own today and the afternoon is yours with some free time to explore, shop, or just sit in one of the many piazze and watch the world go by. We'll meet up later in the afternoon to return to our accommodations. Dinner at our agriturismo villa with local wine. (B, 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 - Visiting 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 a relaxing lunch and then it's off to the steeply sloped town of Montepulciano where you can wander the streets, churches and town squares. There are also plenty of shops and cantinas to visit where you 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 - Full day workshop
After breakfast, the group will head into the studio for a full day workshop. That doesn't mean it is all work and no play...There will be some long leisurely breaks where you can relax and enjoy "Far Niente" - The art of doing nothing.

Relax by the pool, wander the beautiful grounds, do some sketching or painting, pick up a good book, or take a nap - the choice is yours. Lunch and Dinner will be at the villa. (B, L, D)

Day 7 - 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 - Chianti: Farm Lunch & Wine
After breakfast, we'll depart to the Chianti region – an area of Tuscany made famous by the red wine of the same name. This is a beautiful region of terra-cotta-roofed towns and winding roads, leading through groves of olive trees, with cypress and endless vineyards stitching sun-dappled rolling hillsides – this is wine country. We'll visit some quaint villages, have lunch on a local farm and sample some wine. What else would you do in Chianti? And since we are in Italy, we'll stop for some famous gelato! Dinner at our villa with local wines. (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Workshop & Olive Oil Mill Tour
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. 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
Breakfast is provided depending on your time of departure. We'll say our goodbyes to all of our new friends.

Private transfer to Rome Airport (FCO).

Bid "Arrivederci" to Italy! Or...you could add days on to your tour.

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 Includes:

  • Small group size: Maximum of only 10-14 travelers
  • 9 Nights in an agriturismo villa set in the Tuscan countryside
  • All breakfasts, buffet style
  • 7 Lunches
  • All 9 Dinners included
  • Regional wines with most meals
  • Dedicated studio space
  • Watercolor instruction & demos by Artist Rhonda Hill
  • Private full-time escort, interpreter and driver
  • Private bus/van & driver for our daily excursions
  • Guided walking tours in Florence
  • Cooking lesson
  • All excursions and entrance fees as outlined by the itinerary
  • Winery tours and tastings
  • Cheese & olive oil tasting events
  • Airport Transfers (FCO)
  • Pre-trip information packet
  • Local VAT taxes and government fees, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, and parking fees​​​​

* Transfers to/from other airports can be arranged for a fee

Not Included:

  • Art Materials
  • Airfare
  • Travel insurance*
  • Travel documents & fees: i.e. passport and visas (if required)
  • Any telephone, cell, data & internet usage**
  • Items of a personal nature​
  • Travel-related expenses outside of the tour itinerary
  • Any meals, food or beverage ordered by traveler that is not included or presented during meals including: wine and other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks & gelato
  • Any taxes on personal items purchased
  • Optional tips to guides, staff or drivers. These are not required and are given at your discretion.​

* 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.​ ​​​​​​ ​

** There is free wifi at our accommodations

Details
Dates: May 31 - June 9, 2019
10 Days/9 Nights

Where: Tuscany
Group size: 10-14 Guests Maximum

Tour Cost: €3500.00 per person/double occupancy
Single Supplement: €450

Deposit: 50% of tour total at time of booking to reserve your spot

Balance due: 60 days prior to tour start date

 

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