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Nancy Thompson working
on a watercolor
Spacious dining at Villa Fiori
Colorful flower pots
perched on a hillside terrace

Naancy's sketchbook
illustrating ancient doors
Painting a souvenir plate The Cypress Walk
by Nancy Thompson

A very comfortable bedroom
at Villa Fiori

All the Best of Tuscany,
Sketching and Painting with Nancy Thompson

Dates: May 4 - 14, 2016 &
September 24 - October 4, 2016

Join Nancy Thompson, popular speaker, instructor and accomplished artist, as she returns to Tuscany seeking out inspiration among the shady piazzas of Lucca, the dramatic Ligurian coast, the wine growing region surrounding the small town of Bolgheri and all the everyday sights and pleasures of our new hillside setting at Villa Fiori in the hills above Lucca.

Nancy has always enjoyed the excitement and expression of painting, and her passion includes sharing her techniques with students of all levels so that they can experience the freedom to develop their own art. Nancy has been teaching for more than 20 years and delights in helping students achieve their own styles. Her works are in public and private collections worldwide, and she has been featured on Maryland Public Television and in Southern Living Magazine. Nancy teaches workshops in sketching, watercolor and acrylic both in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is sold through City Art Gallery in Columbia, SC; Bishops Stock Gallery in Snow Hill, MD and through her website A South Carolina native, Nancy now lives in Snow Hill, MD with her husband and fellow traveler, Dick.

The Inspiration of Sketching and Painting in Tuscany

Nancy's workshop combines the best of Tuscany in this opportunity to sketch and paint with a professional . . . inspiring painting and photo opportunities, beautiful expansive views, winding streets in medieval towns, incredible food and wine, a cooking class and maybe even a bit of shopping. This workshop is for all levels of expertise. There will be time each day to sketch, paint and photograph the beauty of Tuscany. Each day Nancy will demonstrate watercolor and sketching techniques and will be available for individual guidance. Her goal is to give each student the tools to develop their own style in small watercolors and sketches.

In addition to the incomparable painting opportunities, you will enjoy a cooking class, garden visits, excursions to markets, the jewel town of Lucca, a Puccini concert and more. After a beautiful day of sketching, we think you should be rewarded with an opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing in a lawn chair contemplating the majesty of a cypress tree or choose a book to read from our library.

On most days you'll have an opportunity to share your work with fellow students and Nancy to discuss what worked and what didn't and to seek suggestions. The week ends with an informal "show and share" of sketches and paintings created during your time together, just before enjoying the final night’s pizza from the wood-fired oven.

Your days will be a mixture of at home, painting around the villa and its grounds, and away days, on excursions to hilltowns, gardens, the architectural wonder of Lucca and special trips to the stunning coastal region and the beautiful town of Volterra.

“At Home”

The farmhouse, Villa Fiori (House of Flowers), your home for ten days, is our new venue high in the hills above Lucca. Villa Fiori is a lovingly restored farmhouse with all the character of its original brick walls and an expansive and open layout that ambles over four levels. The grounds are lush with gardens and outdoor seating areas for enjoying the views of mountains and valleys. Olive groves and forested hillsides beckon for an afternoon stroll to explore the countryside.


We’ve chosen for your excursions stunning landscapes, quiet corners and places where you can discover your own muse. A few highlights:

  • A guided tour of the romantic city of Lucca, a medieval center surrounded by intact Renaissance walls, filled with Romanesque churches and small alleys and home to the very best cappuccino in the world! When you're ready to take a break from your sketching, take a stroll or ride a bike on the city's famous walls, now a shaded pedestrian and biking path. You’ll end your day with a Puccini concert held in a thousand year old church containing excavations of Roman ruins.

  • The beautiful town of Portovenere on the Ligurian coast with its pastel-colored homes lining the water below the imposing Castello Doria where you'll have a panoramic view of the coastline and the tiny islands dotting the harbor. Stroll the cobblestone walk to the Church of San Pietro, built on the site of a former Roman temple. There's also an active fishing trade here so be sure to stop at one of the excellent seafood restaurants for lunch.

  • A relaxing drive to Bolgheri, a quaint little town in the center of the area known for its Super Tuscan wines. Rows of Italy's iconic cypress trees line the road into the painterly medieval village where you'll also taste some of the area's famous wines.

  • A visit to the charming private home of Katinka, a local artist whose studio is in a refurshished old barn with a delightful terrace garden. You'll have an opportunity to create your own souvenir plate to be fired in her kiln. A short walk along the hillside takes you to the studio of a sculptor who works in olive wood. Or capture the surrounding hillside views in your sketchbook.

    Other Activities

    Tuscan food and wine are an integral part of your workshop experience. A cooking class with our own Abbondanza Toscana chef will introduce you to some of the specialities of Tuscan cuisine. You’ll also enjoy dinner at our neighborhood restaurant where the clientele is mostly Tuscans plus a wine tasting with a local vintner. Our pizza maker will guide you through the process of designing your own pizza and cooking it in the outside wood-fired oven.

    The Week's Itinerary

    For a day-by-day schedule of Nancy's workshop, see our sample itinerary.

    Nancy’s Web Site

    Learn more about Nancy, her work and travels and her creative philosophy at

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