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Meet the Italian Language holiday team

The Watermill at Posara

Lois and Bill Breckon

Lois and Bill Breckon, who own and run the watermill have more than 25 years’ experience in running relaxing, inspiring and fun-filled creative holidays and courses. They are world-famous for their creative writing courses and for their painting courses with renowned international tutors, attended by students from all over the world (75 different countries at the last count). Lois and Bill live at the Watermill in the Summer and in Florence in the Winter.

Lois has a track record of successful entrepreneurship with particular experience in publishing and marketing. For many years she worked alongside Bill in Media Alliance, the international marketing and communications consultancy. She also organised the restoration of a 16th-century castle in Scotland, establishing it as an acclaimed centre of excellence for residential painting and creative writing courses.

Bill’s early career was as a writer and broadcaster specialising in medical topics and in current and consumer affairs: it spanned newspapers and magazines, radio, television and books. He set up and ran the international Media Alliance communications agency, but is now largely retired. He has recently published a detective story, A Matter of Perspective set in Renaissance Florence where the hero is the miller's son at Posara! His latest book in progress is a series of essays on lesser-known Italian towns, called Just in Time for an Aperitivo.

Giulia Balestri

Giulia Balestri

Giulia, who was born, and now lives, in Pisa is passionate about Tuscany and about the Italian language. And she thinks that there is more to learning Italian than just mastering new language. She says: “I’m convinced that studying a foreign language not only gives people the opportunity to have an extra communications tool, but also opened their minds to different points of view, stimulating curiosity and a passion for different cultures.”

She became passionate about teaching Italian after attending a special course at the University for Foreigners in Siena nearly 10 years ago, a passion augmented by her experience as a lawyer, dealing mainly in criminal law and immigration. Since 2014 she has been collaborating with the Alif language school in Pisa, where she was born and now lives.

Giulia says: “For the teaching of the Italian language we favour a communicative approach, which allows people to learn in a comfortable and stimulating environment, despite the different linguistic backgrounds of the students and sometimes also their different starting levels.”