Sunday, 2 March 2014

2014 update

Individual and residential painting classes will be limited to June, July, August and September this year because of other commitments for the 70th anniversary commemorations for the battle of Cassino. 

June is fully booked already, and July is tentatively booked for a workshop run by another artist (you are welcome to join this workshop holiday, see previous post).

Contact me for details of August and September dates and prices for a personalised programme that suits your personal wishes. 

Proposed itinerary for a summer watercolour workshop and holiday with New Zealand artist Amanda Brett

This year I am assisting New Zealand artist Amanda Brett with planning her watercolour workshop in this region. Here is the painting itinerary I have drafted for July, and non-painter activities are below: 
Our base for the workshop is in the historic town of Roccasecca (FR) which has a fascinating history to explore. Founded in 904 AD it has been important politically for centuries. More recent history covers the battles for the Gustav Line and the Hitler Line in WWII. The prominent cleric and philosopher Thomas Aquinas was born here, and the most famous of the brigands was also from one of the little hamlets you will be painting in. Ancient ruins and frescoes over a thousand years old are simply a part of the beautiful scenery that awaits you.
Monday 14th Meet Up Day Your tour starts when we meet in our hotel the evening of Monday 14. For new visitors to Rome an optional night time guided walk around Rome is recommended, although you may like to arrive early and discover Rome before joining the group.
Tuesday  15th Day 1 We meet our local hostess at Roma Termini station and travel to our base for the tour, the ancient town of Roccasecca and settle into our accommodation. Dinner will be our first taste of the wonderful food of Ciociaria. 
Wednesday 16th Day 2. Market day.  Early risers might like to watch the store holders setting up for the local market. For the sleepyheads we start the day with breakfast in the village in true Italian style. This morning is your chance to take a deep breath, inhale the coffee and cornetti filled air, and say "This is real Italy!"  While at the market do take the chance to  paint/photograph/shop for fruit for two hours or so around town. Lunch  is provided at your accommodation, and then it is siesta time. We come together at 4pm staying in main part of Roccasecca. With Amanda you will focus on details of buildings and interesting corners to work into market day photos for later paintings. Dine where the locals dine, where a special menu of local products has been arranged for you.  
Thursday 17th Day 3. Today is a full painting day in historic Caprile. For those who want to explore more there is a walk up the hill  to the ruins and the church in the cave. there is no siesta today unless the weather demands it. your evening meal will be on the terrace overlooking the Liri valley, a magical spot!  
Friday 18th Day 4. This is another full painting day, including lunch and a siesta from 2 until 4 again, In this time you can touch up your paintings, sleep, or explore further. At 4pm  we meet to walk up to ruins at Castello, see the amazing view, sketch views of the village and wait until sunset to get reference photos for more lovely paintings. Dinner at one of the local restaurants with a different focus on the menu. 
Saturday 19th Day 5. Today we take the train to Cassino, For serious shoppers it is the big market day, and you have the excellent Cassino shops to explore. There is also a chance to visit the Benedictine Monastery on Monte Cassino and the Commonwealth Cemetery. Lunch is not provided today but you will be near markets and bars to purchase your own. Your afternoon painting session is at the accommodation and dinner will be served to you early, leaving you free to wander into the village later to enjoy the summer evening. 
Sunday 29th Day 6. Today we visit Aquino and learn more about the history of this important area. You may visit the Aquino market if haven't shopped at the Cassino one. We walk along the first planned road in recorded history, Via Latina, visit a church made from Roman ruins and see the church where Thomas Aquinas worshipped as a boy, and visit the triumphal arch dedicated to Mark Anthony. A visit to the small but fascinating museum concludes this fascinating morning. You will be keen to get back to your painting in the afternoon to capture the fascinating history you have seen in the morning. Your evening meal is on the terrace at Caprile, with a surprise theme to the menu. 
 Monday 21st Day 7. It's time to be a tourist and see what brings thousands of people to the Amalfi Coast each summer. We stay in the lovely Positano for two nights. You may choose to paint, party, or take the ferries to visit other parts of the Amalfi Coast, or perhaps just relax with a boat trip around the islands. Breakfast only is included for the Positano days as there will be many different restaurants for you to choose from. 
Tuesday 22nd Day 8 Positano and optional ferry/bus trips to explore the Amalfi Coast. 

Wednesday 23rd Day 9 After all the fun in Amalfi, not to mention the sketching/photo opportunities here, it will be time to return to Roccasecca. to develop your paintings. Dinner will be a simple pizza, local cheeses, wine and fruit meal, delivered to your accommodation so you can relax after your trip.  

Thursday 24th Day 10 This is a full painting day. We are back in Caprile and have a picnic lunch under the olive trees - served with a cold red wine as the Italians prefer their wine in the summer. Later this evening we dine at the restaurant with the wonderful terrace views again. 

Friday 25th Day 11. This is your chance to ask all the questions about your paintings, developing paintings, and how to best use your photographs for compositions when you return home. After a mini exhibition at our main teaching venue we share our last dinner in our host town. We will dine at the more central restaurant so you can wander home to complete your packing when you like, 

Saturday 26th Day 12. Those wishing to travel home can take the early morning train to Rome with Amanda, and those staying on in Italy can choose a later departure time to be delivered to the local railway station. We say our farewells at the station and wish a "Buon viaggio a tutti!" 

Non-painting traveller? I can arrange for you any of these excursions in the region:

  1. Battle of Cassino tour plus abbey 
  2. Visit to the Historiale and San Pietro Infine 
  3. Maybe visit private collection of war stuff
  4. Climb Monte Trocchio if not too hot
  5. Visit Camusac modern art gallery if appropriate
  6. Caves at Pastena 
  7. Tour of Atina (fascinating hilltop town) 
  8. Trisulti Monastery - Certosa di Trisulti - (90 minute drive into the mountains to this hidden gem). 
  9. Day trip Pompeii and/or Herculaneum 
  10. Visit to Roman temple at Terracina (one hour drive)
  11. Visit to Caselvieri and lunch at Tempo Perso 
  12. Museum at Aquino (very small but fascinating) 
  13. Day at the beach 
  14. Depending on dates, access to an archaelogical dig near here, not always possible but with luck we might strike the annual open day.
  15. Naples or Mt Vesuvius day trip