A Painting Workshop in Tuscany with Frank Eber
Example of Weekly Schedule

Please note that some activities may change due to circumstances beyond our control
but will always be replaced with activities of comparable interest.

Day 1:

Arrival Day: you are met at the Pisa airport or Lucca train station and transported to the Villa Fiori (House of Flowers), set in the Lucca hills. Unpack, settle in and perhaps take a walk around your home for the next ten days. At 5:30 p.m. gather at one of the comfy outside seating areas for wine and cheeses. You'll meet your fellow artist/travelers, and Frank will introduce to you to the workshop activities he has planned and the week’s excursions. Afterward you'll begin the process of making homemade limoncello, which will be ready to sample at pizza night on your last evening. Dinner is prepared for you by the Abbondanza Toscana staff.

Day 2:

Greet a beautiful Tuscan morning with an easy start to our first full day! A mid-morning brunch features some of the fare made by local artisanal producers followed by instruction and painting time. You'll have the day to become familiar with your surroundings. Be sure to take your sketchbook as you wander and begin noting all the views and vignettes you'll want to sketch during your stay at Villa Fiori. Dinner is prepared by Karolina, our Abbondanza Toscana chef who you'll be joining later in the week for a hands-on lesson in Tuscan cuisine.

Day 3:

Today you travel a short distance to Volterra, a hilltop town dating back to the Etruscans. Artisans in Volterra have been creating lustrous alabaster art and crafts for millenia, and it's all on display and for sale. Wander through the small piazzas and admire the Roman ruins at the foot of the cliff. Enjoy the expansive views from all directions. You return to Villa Fiori in time for sharing your work and dinner prepared by our staff.

Day 4:

Today is an "at home" day with time devoted to wandering around the villa and its surroundings for your inspiration: gardens, olive groves, vineyards, hillside views, the villa and more. At 5:00 p.m. half the group will join our Abbondanza Toscana chef, Karolina, for a cooking lesson and to prepare dinner for the group.

Day 5:

Sketch around the farmhouse and its surroundings or hike across the hills this morning for a different view. Or maybe you'll kick back in the hammock or take a swim. After lunch we leave for your introduction to Lucca. We'll wander the cobblestone streets appreciating the mix of architecture, the majestic churches, the shady piazzas that Puccini called home. You'll want to note locations to which you'll return for some sketching another day. Later we'll join the locals in their passeggiatta (evening stroll) through the winding streets of the old city. At dusk we'll hear a Puccini concert in a Romanesque church built over Roman ruins. Dinner is at one of our favorite restaurants with an outstanding wine list.

Day 6:

Our excursion today takes us to the private home of a local ceramics artist who lives and works in a refurbished old barn. You'll see how expertly Italian craftsmen have merged the old with the new to create a charming and comfortable residence. You can spend time in the terrace garden with its refreshing fountain to marvel at the views and perhaps create a sketch or two. Our hostess, Katinka, will be serving lunch on her lovely patio. You'll also have an opportunity to paint your own souvenir plate that Katinka will fire for you in her kiln. Afterwards we can take a short walk through the woods (optional) to an olive wood sculptor for a demonstration. Back to Villa Fiori for dinner.

Day 7:

"At home" today to sketch and paint. Maybe it's time to finish a sketch you've already started or to seek out a new subject. Gnarled olive trees, flower pots abundant with blooms, rock walls and terraces, the outside oven, imposing beams inside the house, an ancient door . . . all are waiting for your interpretation. After lunch perhaps a little nap is in order or a refreshing dip in the pool before you return to your art. Around 5:00 p.m. the second half of the group will join Karolina for a cooking lesson and to prepare dinner for the group. Buon appetito!

Day 8:

After breakfast you’ll have most of the day to explore Lucca. Inside the walls, a traffic-free area, you can wander the ancient Roman street plan enjoying the shaded piazzas, the beautiful churches richly appointed with portraits and murals and the captivating architecture topped with red tile roofs. Our visit coincides with weekly market day that will give you a feel for how Italians shop. You'll find everything from toothbrushes and shoes to fresh produce and confectionary delicacies. Don't miss Palazzo Pfanner, an imposing house built in 1667. It is a favorite painting and sketching venue. The formal gardens are lined with Baroque statuary interspersed with lemon trees in huge terra cotta pots. Colorful flower beds surround the fountain with views of the palazzo behind. When you want to take a break from painting, consider a stroll or bike ride along the tree-lined path on Lucca's famous walls. And save some time for Lucca's world class shopping. Italian leather goods, linens, ceramics, olive oils and pasta all make perfect take-home gifts. Pick up lunch at one of the "take-away" restaurants or pull up a chair at an outside table at one of Lucca's excellent full-service restaurants. At 3:30 the van takes us to visit our favorite biodynamic winemaker for a tour and tasting of wines that are a true expression of terroir. Then it's back to Villa Fiori for dinner after a very full and rewarding day.

Day 9:

The Mediterranean beckons us today. We'll visit a colorful fishing village on the Bay of Poets, where the “Romantic set” hung out, including Percy and Mary Shelley, and Lord Byron. Sandy beaches, dramatic seascapes, an imposing medieval fortress, colorful umbrellas, a village full of arches, excellent seafood, and a long stretch of promenade along the beach lend inspiration to painters. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the many seafood restaurants in town where the fishing boats' morning catch defines the day's menu.

Day 10:

Our last day of painting gives you time to finish up your work with help from Frank. Later in the day, we'll have a gallery of everyone's work with hors d' oeuvres and bubbly and plenty of time with the group to share and discuss your accomplishments and challenges. Dinner is our traditional pizza night using the wood-fired oven. You'll design your own pizza with our pizzaiolo Eduardo and sip your homemade limoncello as a nightcap.

Day 11:

After breakfast, we wish you arrivederci, until we meet again. The van transports you back to the train station or airport.