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Dear Friend,

Paintings by Randy Hale and mike Willdridge

With best wishes to everyone for a calm, contented and creative New Year from all of us here at the Watermill. I’m sure we had all expected the worst of the Covid crisis to be over by now, but it still seems to linger on. There are considerable grounds, however, for optimism, with the new variant seemingly much less virulent than previous versions and with new anti-viral drugs coming into play.

We are sure that before long the worst will be over and we will be beginning our workshops in April, as planned. We already have more than 255 people booked in for our 2022 courses, a wonderful sign of the support that our clients have given us.

You will find details below of all our creative courses, in painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. You will see that many of our courses are already fully booked, but if you want to come with a particular tutor or on a particular week, don’t despair: there are often cancellations and if you let us know which course interests you, we will put you on a waiting list.

Meanwhile this January, by popular demand, we are restarting our unique online, interactive painting sessions. We’ve already created a truly international community of like-minded people enjoy painting along with our sympathetic and enthusiastic tutors on Thursdays. There are details below of the first four online sessions this year. Come and join us. You will have a wonderful time!

Fivizzano Christmas
the main square of the nearby
mediaeval town of Fivizzano,
decked out in its seasonal splendour

In this month’s newsletter we have stories on:

  • Why The Economist made Italy Country of the Year in 2021
  • Details of our new interactive online sessions
  • Paul Talbot-Greaves is inspired by... cows!
  • Why does painting tutor Pamme Turner always travel with a tin of cat food?
  • Painting tutor of the month Varvara Nieman brings Russian artistic vision to Tuscany
  • Our thanks to the Italian government for their financial help in our restoration project
  • Be inspired by the Tuscan countryside, knitting with Louisa Harding
  • Learn Italian, the language of music, with us

Happy reading!

Paintings by Mike willdridge and Randy Hale

Come to the watermill in Tuscany with your partner or friend
“After Florence, let’s go to the Watermill”
Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter
in A Room with a View“

Bring a partner:
there's plenty for them to do

They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations.

We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Italy named Country of the Year, by The Economist no less! And for its politics and finance!

Lights on in Florence
Seasonal celebratory in lights in Florence

Given the Italians’ fiscal and political reputation, we were surprised to read in The Local, the online English-language newspaper, that Italy had been crowned ‘Country of the Year' by the prestigious English magazine The Economist.

The Local reports: “2021 has been nothing short of momentous for Italy – from winning the European Cup to triumphing in the European Song Contest and claiming Gold in the Olympics, the country has repeatedly stood out for its global achievements this year.

“However, these aren’t the reasons Italy has been named ‘country of the year’ by global news magazine The Economist. Instead, it’s taken first place for its politics.”

The Economist has often criticised Italy for picking leaders, such as Silvio Berlusconi, who, it says could usefully have followed the Eurovision-winning song’s admonition to ‘shut up and behave.’ The magazine says: “Because of weak governance, Italians were poorer in 2019 than they had been in 2000. Yet this year, Italy changed.”

Mario Draghi

It attributes Italy’s newfound economic success to the country’s leader since February 2021, Mario Draghi, its “competent, internationally respected prime minister”, who inaugurated a national recovery plan and managed to get support from a broad majority of Italy’s usually squabbling politicians.

Draghi unveiled the €222 billion plan last April, designed not only to overcome the economic damage caused by Covid but also to introduce much-needed structural reforms.

Celebration at the watermill in Tuscany
We, too, will raise a glass:“Viva Italia.”

The Local says: “The country intends to pump capital into economic recovery, job creation, research, public transport, the construction industry and renewable energy. Another pillar of Italy’s acclaimed success in the ranking is its vaccination rollout, cited as one of the highest in Europe". More than 85% of the eligible population over 12-years-old are fully vaccinated and nearly 14 million booster shots have been given.

The Economist report also stated that Italy’s economy is recovering after“a difficult 2020 and, in fact, “more speedily than those of France or Germany”. Italy’s GDP grew by 2.6 percent in the third quarter of 2021 and ratings agency Standard & Poor has revised its outlook for Italian debt from stable to positive.

The Economist’s designation was welcomed by the Italian Embassy in the UK, who said they were “proud and delighted” and would “toast to that with some Prosecco”.

A dominant dome, snowy scenes, a dirty coffee cup, and bouncing boats: interesting themes for our first online interactive sessions of the season

Alls quite in Florence
Turn a ‘busy’ photo into the painting with ‘pop’, painting along with Randy

We are looking forward to a Happy New Year and happy painting with the Watermill’s unique, interactive online painting sessions which, by popular demand, are starting up again this week.

Kicking-off the new season is the renowned American watercolourist Randy Hale, who ran a number of very successful online sessions with us last year. His next session, on Thursday 6 January 2022, will show you how to produce vibrant paintings from commonplace photographs. Just click here to sign up.

Randy says: “Cameras are mechanical and capture every detail. Our job as artists our is to simplify, to make a ‘busy’ photo a much more interesting painting. We’ll work with a photo of a view of the famous Duomo in Florence, using a limited palette of complementary colors.”

“Understanding where light originates allows us to transform our subject (caught on a cloudy day) into one that paints the light with a lot of drama. Rather than focusing on details within the photo we will reduce our subject to basic shapes. And value contrasts bring necessary definition, while color charging washes introduce reflected light that glows.”

Randy will walk everyone through this painting in stages, brushstroke-by-brushstroke..

Dome painting by Randy Hale
Just click here to sign up for Randy’s session


Learn from the watercolour masters, painting a snowy scene like this along with Mike

Painting by Mike Willdridge

We are delighted to welcome back Mike Willdridge, who inaugurated our online sessions last year. Sympathetic, inspiring, adventurous, fun... Those are just some of the adjectives applied to Mike’s previous online painting sessions, and you’ll find they apply to his first session with us this year. Just click here to register.

Mike says: “You learn to paint by painting and that, I believe, is as true for the great masters as it is for the novice painter.” The subject is a simple scene of a few bare trees in the foreground and a suggestion of trees in the distance, all blanketed in a cold, snowy, wintery setting in Norfolk, England. The inspiration for this session is the great English watercolourist Edward Wesson (1910-1983), whose paintings are known for their simplicity, boldness and mastery of brushwork. Mike is a great admirer of his work, as are many other artists.

Mike says: "Wesson returned, not only to the same subject time and time again but, often to the very same spot – a low bank of trees. Wesson painted these trees in all four seasons; these paintings are from his winter oeuvre".

In this session, Mike will help you learn from Edward Wesson and to paint a snow scene similar to the one shown above. He says: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to practice your washes, consider values and, of course, to brush-up your brushstrokes.”

Mike Willdridge online
Just click here to sign up for Mike’s session


Be inspired, like Mike, by a dirty coffee cup: an interactive session on how to create a remarkable piece of art from a mundane still life

Painting by Mike Willdridge

Mike Willdridge thinks a great painting can come from anywhere – even a dirty coffee cup which has left rings on a tablecloth. And he’s sure you’ll agree when you paint the scene above in his latest online session.

The idea came to him when, in an excursion from the Watermill some time ago, he was enjoying a cup of coffee in a café and, as is his practice, made a quick sketch of it. (Mike takes his sketchbook everywhere andencourages you to do the same.)

Back home in England, he recreated the dirty cup and messy table from that sketch, to form the unusual subject for the still-life painting in this session. You can see a photo of that reconstruction above. It’s the source image for the session.

Mike says: “Still Life is a much-underrated genre, which some artists tend to ignore because they think it is a little boring. But it’s a great way of learning to paint, and it can be tackled at any time of the day or in any kind of weather, from any sort of objects you have lying around.”

From that messy source image, you, too, will be able to create a remarkable piece of art. Just click here to register for the session.

Painting by Mike Willdridge online
Just click here to register. Florence is quiet, but as beautiful as ever.
Picture: the Florentine


Our online, interactive, watercolour session with Randy Hale, featuring boats sparkling on the water.

Painting by Randy Hale

Don’t miss this fun paint-along session with Randy Hale. He’ll have you painting a couple of boats in water. Perhaps you recognize that they are from Cinque Terre! Randy says: “In this exercise we’ll treat the boats as negative shapes to give them definition as our center-of-interest. The background is not important, so it is softened and blurred. Water becomes a loose impressionistic interpretation. But reflections in the water and highlights on the boat up close become important elements that convince the viewer these boats are floating in sparkling water".

He adds: “We’ll do this painting in a number of stages. In each step I’ll show you how to lay down a wash, or execute necessary brushstrokes, then give you time to actually do it. Over the course of three hours you’ll end up with a finished painting and have the information to create another similar set up.” To register for this online session please just click here.

Alls quite in Florence
To register for this session please click here


Paul Talbot-Greaves is inspired by… cows!

painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves

One of the inspirations for Watermill painting tutor Paul Talbot-Greaves this winter has been... cows!

He painted that magnificent Belted Galloway above, dominating a corner of the snowy English countryside. Paul says: “They’re my favourite breed, and incredibly hardy”. If you are tempted to purchase her, or rather Paul’s, acrylic version, please just go to his website at and click on Paintings.

No sooner had we published that cow-and-a-half watermill blog, then along came another one, or rather three. Here they are:

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves

Paul says: “With my loose brush application, the rear cow looked like a mouse at first, then a bear, before becoming a cow. I found the light irresistible though.”

Yes, Paul is known for the wonderful way in which he captures light in his paintings. And if you think, like Paul, that English light is irresistible just wait until you see Italian light when Paul joins us in Tuscany for his painting course next year.

Paul will be with us for a week-long course in watercolours from Saturday 20 August to Saturday, 27 August 2022. Details and a link below. And don’t forget if you will be Cool and Green at the Watermill – all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic cells which makes us self-sufficient in electricity.

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves
The sunlit road to Posara,
painted by Paul on his last visit
to the Watermill

Paul Talbot-Greaves is a professional English painter who works primarily in watercolour: “I seek out compositions employing patterns of light, shade and contrast and I aim to achieve vibrancy in the colours that I use.”

As well as receiving many accolades for his work, Paul is also an inspiring and sympathetic tutor. He says: “I get enormous pleasure seeing people improve and enjoy their own work.”

As a student on Paul’s last course here said: “The combination of the place, the excellent art course with Paul and the care from you and your staff made a really lovely experience.”

Paul Talbot-Greaves

Paul Talbot-Greaves - still plenty of places
20 - 27 August 2022
Watercolours (and acrylics)
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Why does painting tutor Pamme Turner always travel with a tin of cat food?

Painting by Pamme Turner

It’s not every Watermill painting tutor who is a fully fledged college professor and who carries a bag of cat food with her on painting expeditions. But that is the case with our newest tutor, Pamme Turner. We can’t wait to meet her!

Pam loves Italy and she loves painting en plein air. Her course is called ‘Plein Air Essentials’ in watercolors and gouache, and will run from Saturday 9 July to Saturday 16 July 2022. And she loves cats! If you click here to go to part of her website called Fun Stuff/Mediterranean Cats you will see more of those she has met on her travels.

Cats who have met Pamme on her travels
Another cat Pamme met on her travels (left) and an optimistic cat beside the fish stall
in Fivizzano market

Pamme Turner

Pamme Turner is a professional artist and college professor with multiple degrees in the Fine Arts. She has BFA/MFA degrees in Fine Arts, technical expertise in multiple and diverse art mediums, and is currently a full-time professor and former EI Department Chair of Fine and Liberal Arts at Saddleback College in Southern California. She teaches Beginning through Advanced Watercolor and Oil/Acrylic Painting, Plein Air Painting, Intermediate/Advanced Studio Painting, Life Drawing, Ceramics and Art History.

She has taught art classes and art workshops all over the world and has more than 30 years of teaching experience. She says: “I am fascinated by the creative art-making process and encourage my students to experience that same joy in all of their works.” A previous student says: “An incredible workshop; more educational than a whole college semester! And so much more fun!”

As well as cats and painting outdoors, Pamme loves Italy: “There is something wonderful to be said about Italy as a ”little slice of heaven“ situated in those gorgeous, surrounding wine-dark seas. The history, the people, the culture—the architecture, art, light, music—all come together to form a perfect blend of sights and senses for the traveller, photographer, art-lover, painter—or even international foodie”

Painting by Pamme Turner
A quick sketch by Pamme
of a fruit and vegetable stall
on a canal in Venice

In this lovely workshop you’ll learn to paint with both transparent and/or opaque mediums “en plein air”, with an emphasis on beautiful watercolour techniques. As well as painting in the glorious Tuscan countryside you will also be working in the light and airy Watermill studio. The course is designed for painters of all levels.

We have only recently opened Pamme’s course for next summer, but already nine people have booked in, and more are in the pipeline.

Pamme Turner

Pamme Turner - three or four places left
9 - 16 July 2022
Watercolour and gouache en plein air
To learn more about Pamme and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

A Christmas present from the Italian powers-that-be

Gal notice for the watermill in Tuscany, Italy

We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to GAL Lunigiana, the Gruppo di Azione Locale, which, together with the Region of Tuscany’s Programma di Svillupo Rurale (Rural Development Programme), the Italian Republic and the European Union, for giving us a grant towards the cost of our photovoltaic electricity-generating system and the restoration of some roofs and façades. The money arrived in our bank account recently. A super Christmas present!

Energy at the watermill in Italy

The pictures shows the beautifully restored the southern façade of the Watermill (left above.) Our large array of photovoltaic panels (right above), hidden away in the south-facing roofs, now makes us self-sufficient in electricity production, to say nothing of reducing our carbon footprint. We have already produced more than 36,000 kWh of electricity from the sun and saved more than 25 tons of carbon dioxide production.

It is all part of our efforts to make the Watermill Cool and Green. (We use the electricity in part to run the air conditioning in all the Watermill bedrooms and public rooms.) Come and join and get even more pleasure from the glorious Italian sunshine.

Watermill in Tuscany's Painting NewsPAINTING NEWS

Our inspiring 2022 painting tutors

Here is the complete list of our painting tutors for 2022. You can find out more about each of them by clicking on their Profile page link in their entries below.

Mary Padgett

Mary Padgett - fully booked, waiting list open
30 April – 7 May 2022
Pastels (and other portable materials) en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Keiko Tanabe

Keiko Tanabe - one or two places left
21 – 28 May 2022
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Maggie Renner Hellman

Maggie Renner Hellman - fully booked, waiting list open
28 May - 4 June 2022
Courageous Color Workshop’ Your choice: oils, acrylics, pastels and/or watercolour travel sketches
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Ruth Korch

Ruth Korch - fully booked, waiting list open
4 - 11 June 2022
Art journaling
To learn more about Ruth and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Randy Hale

Randy Hale - one or two places left
11 - 18 June 2022
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Ted Dansey

Ted Dansey - still plenty of places
25 June - 2 July 2022
Watercolours and drawing
To learn more about Ted and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Vicki Norman

Vicki Norman - fully booked, waiting list open
2 - 9 July 2022
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Pamme Turner

Pamme Turner - three or four places left
9 - 16 July 2022
Watercolour and gouache en plein air
To learn more about Pamme and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Carl March

Carl March - three or four places left
16 - 23 July 2022
Drawing and watercolour en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Paul Talbot-Greaves

Paul Talbot-Greaves - still plenty of places
20 - 27 August 2022
Watercolours (and acrylics)
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Rebecca de Mendonça

Rebecca de Mendonça - still plenty of places
27 August - 3 September 2022
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Mike Willdridge

Mike Willdridge - fully booked, waiting list open
3 - 10 September 2022
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics, with a special emphasis on drawing on location.)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman

Varvara Neiman - still plenty of places
10 - 17 September 2022
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Milind Mulick

Milind Mulick - fully booked, waiting list open
17 - 24 September 2022
‘Colourful watercolours’
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Cynthia Armstrong

Cynthia Armstrong - fully booked, waiting list open
24 September - 1 October 2022
Watercolours and gouache
To learn more about Cynthia and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Tim Wilmot

Tim Wilmot - fully booked, waiting list open
1 - 8 October 2022
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.

Grahame Booth

Grahame Booth - fully booked, waiting list open
8 - 15 October 2022
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2022 Profile Page.


Featured painting tutor of the month: Varvara Neiman

Painting by Varvara Neiman

We are delighted to welcome back Varvara Neiman to the team of inspiring painting tutors. She will return for a week-long course in water-based oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolours next September. (Details and link below.)

Varvara Neiman, who now lives in Buckinghamshire, England, was born into an artistic family in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has an MA from the Academy of Fine Arts there. Her work combines classical discipline with a modern imagination. She is enthusiastic about painting en plein air and loves Cezanne’s famous quote: “Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensation.”

You can savour the sensation in Varvara’s painting above of the market walled town of Fivizzano near the mill, where we go to paint on Tuesdays with our groups.

Paintings by Varvara Neiman

Above are another two of atmospheric Varvara paintings, of one of the demijohns in the Watermill courtyard (left) and of the millstream bubbling back into the river (right).

Varvara has been a popular and inspiring teacher for many years. She is skilled in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolours and will teach in any of those mediums. (Water-based oils for easier transportation.) During her course at the Watermill there will be group demonstrations as well as one-to-one guidance, and a friendly group atmosphere, where students can share their experiences.

Among the praise for Varvara’s teaching: “I have been coming to classes with Varvara for almost 10 years and she never ceases to amaze me both with her artistic knowledge and range of techniques.”Another student said: “Not only is she excellent teacher she is also good artist… there is no-one better to teach you.”

Come and realise your own sensations with Varvara this September.

Varvara Neiman

Varvara Neiman - still plenty of places
10 - 17 September 2022
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.

Watermill in Italy's Knitting NewsKNITTING NEWS

Another space suddenly available for Louisa's week

Louisa's Tuscany poster

We have had recent cancellations for our inspiring creative week with the renowned knitting designer Louisa Harding next May, so now is the chance to grab your place and be inspired, along with Louisa, by the beautiful Tuscan countryside surrounding the Watermill.

Louisa, who has a worldwide reputation for beautifully flattering, classically inspired designs, will be here for a fabulous week of Knitting and la Bella Vita, from Saturday 7 May to Saturday 14 May 2021.

In your first few days here with her, you will be creating a stitch sampler, and at the same time, you will be pulling together images and notes on the surrounding area, using them as inspiration for the second half of your week when you will create your own shawl, scarf, wrap or cowl under Louisa’s expert guidance.

And as ever, your knitting week at the Watermill will combine expert tuition, like-minded company, wonderful food and the delightful ambience of the Watermill, it’s gardens and riverside walks, and outings into the surrounding unspoiled countryside of Lunigiana in Tuscany, Italy.

Louisa's yarns

Louisa will bring with her a mix of yarns – in colour and texture (cashmere, mohair, silk, chenille and alpaca – for you to use.

To make your booking enquiry, please click on the link below.

Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding - one place left
7 - 14 May 2022
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit our 2022 Profile Page.

Here are the dates and links for next year’s knitting courses, but first some comments from guests on our previous knitting weeks

The Watermill is an idyllic setting for a knitting course – beautifully situated on the river, you are lulled to sleep in your comfortable room by the sound of the millstream. Bill and Lois are perfect hosts and your every need is catered for. BE

Thank you and for such a lovely week at the Watermill. It was truly a memorable week to stay at the Watermill, knit, meet new friends, enjoy fresh Italian cuisine and be shown such a glorious part of Tuscany. EP

Thanks for such a wonderful week! It had everything: fun, knowledge, good food and drink. Like a week out of time. RG

Thank you both for making a brilliant week of knitting even better. As usual, the Watermill was amazing with wonderful food, great rooms and wall to wall sunshine. JMcB

Bill and Lois have the knack of making everyone feel special. Add a magical knitting tutor, and the result is an unforgettable experience. I can’t wait to go back! Excellent food, relaxing atmosphere, lovely people. Perfection! Thanks to you both for another wonderful knitting holiday. I feel ten years younger! NB

Absolutely loved my stay for the knitting week. The food was so yummy, I had the best sleep, and the ambiance of the Watermill and its surrounds is pure bliss. PM

Norah Gaughan

Norah Gaughan - fully booked, waiting list open
23 - 30 April 2022
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Norah and her course at the mill, please visit our 2022 Profile Page.

Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding - one place left
7 - 14 May 2022
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit our 2022 Profile Page.

Debbie Abrahams

Debbie Abrahams - fully booked, waiting list open
14 - 21 May 2022
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her course at the mill, please visit our 2022 Profile Page.

Knitting group at the watermill in Italy

Don't forget your partner!

And don’t forget that your friend or partner doesn’t need to participate in the creative course, whether it’s painting, language or writing.

We offer them a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our 2021 courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.


Creative writing News at the watermill in ItalyCREATIVE WRITING NEWS

We must confess that we haven’t got much writing news to write home about this month, except to say that our renowned Writing Your Life Stories course with Jo Parfitt is currently fully booked. But, as we always say, there will be cancellations, so if you’re keen to come please don’t hesitate to let us know and we will put you on a waiting list.

Writers at the watermill in Tuscany, Itay
The vine verandah, a perfect place to share your thoughts

Jo’s course is the perfect first step for any writer wanting to develop the skills and confidence necessary to move into writing memoir, non-fiction, articles or blogs.

We have had amazing feedback over the years on the value of Jo’s course, and we are glad to say it remains as popular as ever. The course is designed to help both enthusiastic beginners and more experienced writers. It will help you to produce your best work, to find your true writer's 'voice' and to write authentically.

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt is an author, journalist, teacher, blogger, conference speaker and poet. She has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 250 authors get into print and more than 2,000 people to begin writing. Jo's a compassionate, inspiring, and encouraging teacher: her motto is 'sharing what I know to help others to grow'.

This creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer's 'voice' and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories. Jo says: "The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. You will be empowered to write in a compelling way, bringing your experiences to life."

The workshop will include several methods and genres and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a calm and supportive environment, this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.

Here are some comments from guests on Jo’s previous courses at the Watermill:

“The most magical trip to Tuscany, which will stay with me forever!” “It is a very special and beautiful place, and everything was organised so perfectly. Jo is a great tutor and we all had an amazing time.” “It was just wonderful. The attention to detail and beauty are a sure recipe for a wonderful stay. Jo is an inspirational teacher.”

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt - fully booked, waiting list open
18 – 25 June 2022
Write your life stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2022 Profile Page.



Join us for a harmonious week learning Italian: a musical language and the language of music

Italian Music

We always have a fun time in our unique week-long Italian Language course at the Watermill and I’m sure that one of the factors adding to the enjoyment is the melodious nature of the language itself. So we were intrigued by an article in the Quora Digest on the Internet, where a student called Harry White addressed the question: How does Italian sound to speakers of other languages?

He says:“Before I could speak Italian (I am British), what struck me was the beauty of language" He adds: “Although Italian in syntax and grammar is very different to English and most other non-Romance languages, speakers of other languages (from my experience as a speaker of English, French and a bit of Spanish) can often work out simply sentences or phrases from Italian, simply due to the fact that many of our words are etymologically-rooted in Italian and Latin.

“Italian is melodic, beautiful and historical, and its status as a stage in the etymology of many languages gives it an even deeper significance when heard. It is not some alien-sounding language in which no word can be decoded; it sounds like the beautiful past.”

Our special week-long language course, where you can soak up Italian and enjoy la bella vita iItaliana, will be running this October. The dates are Saturday 15 October to Saturday 22 October 2022.

Italian at the watermill
Learning the language
under the dappled shade
of the vine verandah

This really is a ‘course with a difference’. Not only are there formal lessons on the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but you also make trips and excursions to savour the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area around the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speak Italian, and practise what you’ve learned.

The Watermill has teamed up again with the wonderful Italian language tutor Francesca La Sala, to produce a week in which you can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way. Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be also be individually customised, to suit your curiosity and your interests, helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are.

Francesca La Sala
Enthusiastic teaching
from Francesca

This exciting language course is suitable for all levels of ability, because of the special approach. The philosophy and method are inspired Professor Bertrand Schwartz of Paris University, who overturned the concept of teaching to adults, with a method that not only develops theoretical knowledge, but practical know-how as well.

The aim is to enhance the personal qualities of each student, tailoring the teaching to their needs and ambitions, establishing active and confident relationships, where the student is the true protagonist in the course.

One previous course participant said: “A super language week: well organised, giving us a taste of the ‘real Italy.’ Despite the disparity in ability our tutor managed to help all of us towards a better understanding and production of the Italian language. The lessons were fun, interactive and helped me enormously.”

Another added:“I can honestly say it was the nicest week I have had for a long time. Francesca was charming and very patient.”

Our 2022 Italian Language course

Francesca la SalaFrancesca la Sala - still three or four places
15 - 22 October 2022
Learning Italian with the Italians
To learn more about Francesca and her
2022 course at the mill, please click here.


The watermill in Italy's newsletter specialsNEWSLETTER SPECIALS

Everything's included in your watermill painting holiday, creative writing holiday, knitting week or Italian Language course

Don’t forget that everything is included in the cost of a painting holiday, writing, knitting, or language holiday: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport; an excursion by train to visit the ancient walled city of Lucca or the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre).

All you have to do is to get to Pisa airport and we do the rest.

Whether you're travelling alone or with a partner you can be sure of a warm welcome, and that you'll be well looked after. We have built our reputation on the comfort of the mill and the care we provide.

Become a Patron of The Watermill at Posara

Visit our Watermill Patrons website (Link below). Just follow the instructions to subscribe and enjoy special privileges. By becoming a Patron you’ll enjoy many exclusive benefits, including practical and inspiring tips from our international painting and creative writing tutors, recipes from the watermill’s mouth-watering menus, and podcasts on Italian life. And there are also exclusive offers at the higher tiers for our courses and holidays.

Thank you for reading the watermill in Italy's newsletterTHANK YOU

We very much look forward to welcoming you to the mill and, for those of you who have already tasted the many delights at The Watermill at Posara, we look forward to welcoming you back.

Your hosts at the watermill, Italy

With very best wishes a tutti

Your hosts at the watermill in Tuscany

Lois and Bill Breckon