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Typical painting holiday's itinerary

The following is a typical painting course itinerary but it will all depend on the weather and other unpredictable factors. According to the weather, we'll pick the best locations for each day's painting excursion.

Itinerary

First Saturday:

  • Pick-up at Pisa airport between 1100 hrs and 1300 hrs (1pm). Transport by minibus or car to the watermill.
  • Light lunch in the watermill courtyard dining room.
  • Afternoon: settling in; exploring the mill, the gardens and the river.
  • Cuisine at the Caffe Elvetico in Tuscany
  • Early evening: aperitivi on the vine verandah; brief welcome from The Watermill team. Discussion of the week’s activities.
  • Transport by minibus to the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano (about 5 minutes’ drive).
  • Dinner: an introduction to Tuscan cuisine at the Caffé Elvetico in the Piazza Medicea Fivizzano: locally made antipasti, including hams, salumi, crostini, bruschetta, caprese, torte locale varie; ‘patriotic pasta’ (three different pastas, with red (ragù), white (salsa di noci) and green (pesto) sauces, the colours of the Italian tricolore; local pecorino cheese, served with insalata verde; locally made dolci. Local red wine and white wine; acqua minerale, coffee/teas.

Sunday

The watermill in Tuscany, Italy
A painting of the watermill at Posara's courtyard, Italy
  • Continental breakfast at the mill (cereals, fruit juices, fresh bread/toast, brioche, jams, fruit, boiled eggs, coffee, tea).
  • Painting around the Mill, with individual tuition.
  • Lunch in the watermill courtyard dining room: finocchio al forno (fennel in a white wine, cream and cheese sauce); bresaola, with parmesan shavings, olive oil and rucola; panzanella (the watermill’s own recipe); hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise and capperi; insalata verde (from the watermill garden in season) with borage or nasturtium flowers according to the season and a mustard vinaigrette dressing.
  • Painting around the Mill, with individual tuition.
  • Facilities for making tea and coffee at the mill.
  • Early evening: aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • Dinner at the mill: tris of fresh tomato purée with stracchino and ricotta cheeses, sformata di piselli (home-made compôte of peas, pickled zucchini stuffed with anchovies; arista di maiale (Tuscan-style roast pork) with seasonal vegetables; home-made chocolate mousse. Wines.
  • After dinner: Coffee/tea and digestivi in the main salotto.

Monday

  • Continental breakfast at the mill (cereals, fruit juices, fresh bread/toast, brioche, jams, fruit, boiled eggs, coffee, tea).
  • Transport to Verrucola: impressive castle with village nestling around; walk around the village. Short talk on its history.
  • Verrucola Castello in Italy
  • Painting at Verrucola, with individual tuition.
  • Lunch at Il Castello restaurant at Verrucola (1300): pasta pomodoro; Roman beef stew (stufatino alla romana); fresh fruit salad; wines; coffee/tea
  • Painting at Verrucola, with individual tuition.
  • Pick up Verrucola late afternoon, with option of drop-off in Fivizzano.
  • Facilities for making tea and coffee at the mill.
  • Early evening: aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • Dinner at the mill: black rice served on piquant carrot purée; crespolini (crêpes/omelettes with a vegetable filling), vegetables and potatoes; home-made apple crumble. Wines.
  • After dinner: Coffee/tea and digestivi in the main salotto.

Tuesday

  • Continental breakfast at the mill (cereals, fruit juices, fresh bread/toast, brioche, jams, fruit, boiled eggs, coffee, tea).
  • Visiting the flower market
  • Transport to Fivizzano (market day in Piazza Medicea, views over valley and Posara from Piazza Belvedere
  • Painting in and around Fivizzano, with individual tuition
  • Lunch in Fivizzano: Panini with different fillings, home-made ice cream and coffee at the Gelateria Ricci in Fivizzano.
  • Painting in and around Fivizzano, with individual tuition
  • Pick up late afternoon or stroll back to Posara
  • Facilities for making tea and coffee at the mill
  • Aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • Dinner at the mill: farfalle alla primavera (butterfly pasta with fresh vegetables); scaloppine Milanese di tacchino (turkey escalopes with seasonal vegetables), zucchini fritti, a speciality of our chef Mirella; home-made pannacotta. Wines.
  • After dinner: Coffee/tea and digestivi in the main salotto.
Cinque Terre
Lucca

Wednesday - (No formal tuition this day)

  • Early continental breakfast (say 0800 hrs) at the mill (cereals, fruit juices, fresh bread/toast, brioche, jams, fruit, boiled eggs, coffee, tea).
  • Transport (say 0830) to Aulla station for train to Cinque Terre or Lucca
  • Morning and afternoon: sightseeing in the Cinque Terre or Lucca. Packed lunch provided by the watermill (or guests can buy their own lunch or a snack at location).
  • Train back to Aulla (arrives circa 1830).
  • Transport to watermill.
  • Facilities for making tea and coffee at the mill
  • Early evening: aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • Dinner at the mill: tagliatelle ai funghi porcini (tagliatelle pasta with porcini mushrooms); salmone al forno (salmon fillets baked in the oven); salad in season, or other fresh vegetables; home-made tiramisù. Wines
  • After dinner: Coffee/tea and digestivi in the main salotto.

Thursday

  • Continental breakfast at the mill (cereals, fruit juices, fresh bread/toast, brioche, jams, fruit, boiled eggs, coffee, tea).
  • Il Convento dei Carmine
  • Transport to 'Il Convento dei Carmine', a privately owned monastery with ancient cloisters and frescoes, gardens and views.
  • Painting at the monastery, with individual tuition.
  • Picnic lunch at the monastery.
  • Painting at the monastery, with individual tuition.
  • Pick up late afternoon.
  • Facilities for making tea and coffee at the mill.
  • Early evening: aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • Dinner at the mill: Gorgonzola soufflés; Tuscan sausage and lentils with a balsamic vinegar dressing, grilled aubergines, sauté potatoes; Torta di cioccolato da Capri (chocolate cake made with crushed almonds instead of flour). Wines.
  • After dinner: Coffee/tea and digestivi in the main salotto.

Friday

  • Continental breakfast at the mill (cereals, fruit juices, fresh bread/toast, brioche, jams, fruit, boiled eggs, coffee, tea).
  • The view from Monte del Bianchi
  • Transport to Monte dei Bianchi.
  • Painting in the village of Monte del Bianchi and/or in and around the grounds of the Vecchio Tino restaurant with individual tuition: ancient houses and church, spectacular mountain views, valleys, hill-top villages, olive groves, etc.
  • Special lunch at the gourmet Vecchio Tino restaurant: risotto con pere e gorgonzola; san martino fish (char or ‘Brook Trout’) baked in chestnut leaves, seasonal vegetables; sorbetto con limone. Coffee, tea. Wine.
  • Transport to the watermill
  • Facilities for making tea and coffee at the mill.
  • Aperitivi, prosecco, farewell dinner (including wine), digestivi at the mill.
  • Early evening: prosecco on the vine verandah.
  • Dinner at the mill: Insalata tepida di riso con pesto (warm pesto rice salad), Involtini di pollo (rolled chicken breast with cheese, ham, herbs); Pears braised in red wine, with cinnamon and vanilla.
  • After dinner: Coffee/tea and digestivi in the main salotto.

Saturday

  • Continental breakfast at the mill (cereals, fruit juices, fresh bread/toast, brioche, jams, fruit, boiled eggs, coffee, tea).
  • Transport to Pisa airport between 8 am and 9 am. Those with late flights may leave their bags at the airport and take a (very short) taxi ride to Pisa for sightseeing

We can cater for vegetarians and others with dietary requirements (please tell us in advance).

This is a draft itinerary. It can be altered to suit the weather and the needs and preferences of the group.

What you need to bring

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
  • rags
  • easels

As for clothing the days are usually warm to hot, but it can rain, sometimes for a day or two at a time. So, we recommend a lightweight waterproof coat and perhaps an umbrella to protect your work. The evenings might be a little cooler, so warm pullovers or tops are a good idea. Sensible shoes for walking are also recommended.