Frequently asked questions
Below are a few frequently asked questions relating to our painting holidays in Tuscany. If there are any further questions you need answering, please do not hesitate to contact us using our Contact Form.
None whatsoever. Everything is included in the cost of your course: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals (including dinner with wine at charming local restaurants), and local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport; the excursion by train to Lucca or Cinque Terre) . All you have to do is to get to Pisa and we do the rest.
On the excursion day (transport is free), at breakfast time we'll provide materials for your own picnic lunch or, if you prefer, you can buy yourself a snack or a more formal lunch when you are out - it's up to you!
Other than that you only need money for personal needs, postcards and the odd cappuccino in the piazza.
We pick you up at Pisa airport on the first day between 10am and 1pm. We organise precise pick-up times to fit in with our guests' flight arrivals times.
Transfers to the mill later than 1pm are extra, at cost. If you arrive later than 1pm, we can arrange a local taxi to come to pick you up at Pisa airport. This will be cheaper than hiring a taxi at Pisa airport. The cost for a taxi is of the order of 150 Euros. Alternatively, there are trains from Pisa Centrale (shuttle bus from airport) to Aulla Lunigiana station and we can arrange to pick you up there, where the taxi fare will be far cheaper than from Pisa. If there are other people arriving outside our pick-up hours, we'll let you know and you will be able to share the transport costs.
Alternatively, you may care to arrive a day early and stay in Pisa overnight (See Where can I stay in Pisa? below) and come to the airport on the Saturday morning. The airport is close to the town and there is a shuttle bus from the centre, as well as a train and taxis. We will tell you the precise times we will pick you up from the airport on Saturday morning.
We depart for Pisa on the last Saturday after breakfast. In practice, this usually means there are two minibuses, leaving 8.30 am and 9.30 am, but precise timing does depend on all our guests' flight times. Since the mill is about a one-and-a-quarter-hour to one-and-a-half-hour's drive from Pisa airport and since check-in starts two hours before flight time, your ideal return flight time should be later than about 1130 am /noon. If your flight is earlier, we’ll try to help with our complimentary drop-off, but it depends on our guests’ departures – and if your flight time means that you have to leave Posara before 7.30 am, we will arrange a taxi for you, for which you will have to pay.
For those who are leaving Pisa airport later in the day, we will drop you off at the airport in the morning. It's easy to leave your luggage there and enjoy sightseeing in the city. The airport is close to the town and there is a shuttle bus to and from the centre, as well as a train and taxis.
Please let us know your flight details as early as you can so we can make all the necessary arrangements.
A handling charge of £75 per person per week will be levied on all cancellations. In addition, if you have to cancel four to eight weeks before departure, a charge of 40% of the total price is payable; at two to four weeks, 60%; at one to two weeks, 80%; at less than one week, 90%. Once the course has started, 100% is payable. We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance that includes provision for you having to cancel.
We don’t stay there ourselves of course, but our travel advisors and guests have in the past recommended:
- Bologna Hotel Pisa - bologna.pisahotelsitaly.it/ - 4 star
- Alessandro della Spina - www.hoteldellaspina.it/ - 3 star
- Hotel Roma - www.hotelroma.pisa.it/ - 3 star
- Relais dell'Orologio - www.hotelrelaisorologio.com/eng/#!/page_splash - 5 star
- One of our guests regularly stays at the cheap and cheerful B&B Gate 52: www.gate52pisarooms.it/ and he swears it was exceptional value and very convenient.
- We also have heard good things of the 4-star Republica Marinara - www.hotelrepubblicamarinara.it/en/
Our Personal Travel Adviser, Jan Handley, of The Co-operative Personal Travel Advisers, can find a hotel for you. There is absolutely no obligation to use her, but if you would like her help, her UK phone number is 0844 8716162 (freephone) or +01964 626360 (local call charge) [From outside the UK. Dial +44 844 8716162 or +44 1964 626360] and her email address is email@example.com.
For our UK guests:
You can book your own flights (there are good connections from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, East Midlands, Birmingham, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Bristol and an increasing number of other UK airports).
Or, to make life easier, you can use the services of our Jan Handley, of The Co-operative Personal Travel Advisers, who will fix everything for you at very competitive prices.There is absolutely no obligation to use her, but if you would like her help, her UK phone number is 0844 8716162 (freephone) or +01964 626360 (local call charge) [From outside the UK. Dial +44 844 8716162 or +44 1964 626360] and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We have found that many travel agents these days are not very helpful and are often tied to big tour operators. Jan will give you personal service.
For our USA and Canada guests:
We have asked Amy Furie, Director of Leisure/Travel Consultant for New Act Travel, Los Angeles, California, to act for us and our guests. Her office number is 1-310-201-0808 and her Direct Line is 1-310-284-5134. Her email address is Amy.email@example.com. Amy has been in the travel business for more than 20 years. She says: “I have traveled extensively over the years and continue to travel to extend my knowledge of our vast world we live in.”
Of course you can. You can park at the mill and we'll give you full instructions on how to get there. (We haven't lost anyone yet!). We reckon you can do Calais to the mill easily in two days using the French autoroutes and the Italian autostrade and it is even more fun if you take three days and make a holiday of the journey. We recommend stops near Strasbourg and beside Lake Como if you make a three day trip. We'll gladly share our experiences of motoring down, suggesting routes and places to stay.
Yes, of course. Italian electricity supply is 220 Volts, You will need an adaptor from your plug to a 2-pin continental socket. We have wi-fi available in the communal sitting room.
Your tutor will be in touch well before the course with a suggested list of materials, but we are generally very relaxed and there's no obligation to bring anything specific.
To save you being overloaded on your flight we can provide:
- portable chairs
- drawing boards
- water bottles
- white spirit
We also have a number of lightweight portable easels, although many people prefer to bring their own or just use drawing boards on their knees. Let us know if you would like an easel.
No, all linen and towels are provided. There's also a washing machine for communal use, but please ask us first so we can fit you in around the mill's laundering.
There are hairdryers in each room. If you bring your own, the electricity is 220V. You will need an adaptor from your system to a two-pin European plug.
In an emergency it's probably best for your friends or relatives to contact Bill on his Italian mobile: +39 366 488 2587. Or Lois at +39 328 471 3589. Or you can call our manager Karsten on his mobile: +39 347 979 3294. It has an answering service and he will pick up messages regularly if he's not able to answer immediately.
If you bring your laptop you can receive emails in our communal sitting room.
Please note that the numbers above are correct; don't add or subtract zeroes to those above.
We stay in and around the mill on the first day, then take you each day to nearby locations by minibus or car. There's no strenuous walking, except perhaps a steep slope down to the castle at Verrucola. But you can paint from the car park above the village if need be.
The Wednesday excursion is to Lucca or the Cinque Terre is by train. How much walking you do when you get there is entirely up to you! There is some strenuous walking in the Cinque Terre if you want to do it, but you may just want to sit in a cafe and watch the view. Or there are ferry boats (and trains) between the villages.
Non-participating partners are welcome to join the groups. You should certainly come on the day we go to the wonderful Al Vecchio Tino restaurant (usually the Friday) in its spectacular setting, and on the excursion to Lucca or the Cinque Terre on the Wednesday. And we have many suggestions for fun places to visit and things to do while your partner is busy on the course. If you come by car, of course, you will enjoy even more freedom. Many non-participating partners, however, find it rather relaxing to choose a quiet spot in the walled garden the lavender garden or the riverside gardens and settle back with a book or enjoying a dappled-sunlight snooze....
Visit our Partners activities page HERE for more information
Painting holidays latest 'guests' comments
A few of our many recent comments offered by our guests attending a Watermill Painting Holiday In Italy:
My painting is improving – all down to having the time away in the beautiful location of The Watermill where I can concentrate and really analyse what I really want to achieve.
Thanks again for everything: it was a very very good week. All was perfect: the Mill, Sarah, the people, the surroundings... even the weather!!!
Wonderful meeting you, eating your divine food, staying at your extraordinary place...thank you so much for all the effort and thought you have put into our experience there. I am sure we will be back and look forward to that.
What a wonderful and memorable week I have had!! The ambiance was just perfect for a painting holiday and your warm hospitality took the chill out of the air and I am sure I have gained a few pounds with all the delicious desserts and the gourmet style food we feasted on. Of course, Keiko was a wonderful teacher and its really been a perfect painting holiday!!
I couldn´t enjoy more those terrific days I spent with you and all my new artist friends and teacher. The group was amazing, the lessons fantastic and you are fantastic hosts, who made me feel at home!!!
Many thanks for a most enjoyable week spent at the Watermill. I felt very relaxed after being looked after and fed so well. Trevor's paintings are always an inspiration to me and I welcomed the chance to meet him again and spend lots of time painting and sketching with his expert help.