Painting Holidays in Italy
Non-Painters in Tuscany
If you want to leave artistic pursuits to your partner and explore other ways of enjoying yourself at Art Toscana then you might be interested in the following things to do and activities that we can arrange for you.
The Garfagnana region of Northern Tuscany is well known to hikers. Walks can be taken directly from the house; short woodland strolls through the chestnut forest and longer walks to Ponte di Catagnana, Barga and the hilltop village of Sommocolonia. Alternatively, you may wish to spend a day or half a day walking with a professional guide. Tuscany Walking take groups of between two and twelve walkers on a series of walks into areas of the Garfagnana National Park which have remained unchanged for generations. You can join day or half day walks leaving from Barga accompanied by an experienced guide who is very knowledgeable about the local area. www.tuscanywalking.com
Traditional Italian Cooking
Eva, Alessandra and Sara are three young women who are passionate about traditional Italian cuisine and have a cookery school in Lucca. Choose one of their lunch or dinner menus and they will teach you to how to cook it, present it and compliment it with the local Chianti wine. www.toscaneggiando.it . Learn to cook traditional Garfagnana cuisine with Imogen; antipasto, pasta sauces, risotto, or whatever you love to eat. www.artwine.co.uk
There are several wine cellars in and around Barga which offer wine tasting, our favourite being the vineyard Podere Concori. It is a small biodynamic family-run vineyard which offers a wine tasting lunch and a vineyard tour with a guide who speaks English. To make sure that the painters don’t miss out on some wine tasting, you will also be introduced to the local red wines by our wine expert Roy, who will tell you about Tuscan wine production while you savour and compare the local Chianti.
There are several artificial and natural lakes in the local area where trout (brown and rainbow) fishing is permitted. These lakes are never crowded and offer contemplative hours in picturesque surroundings.
Barga and the surrounding areas are rich in history and culture. Barga has a beautiful cathedral with spectacular panoramic views, several art galleries including a permanent show of John Bellany’s paintings, narrow streets to meander through and cafes to sit in to watch the Italians going about their day to day lives. Outside of Barga there are several hilltop villages and historical villas to visit, in particular the beautiful house of Giovanni Pascoli the 19th century Italian poet. At the health spas of Bagni di Lucca you can take a massage, bathe in the historical baths and totally pamper yourself. The famous caves of this area “Grotta del Vento” are about a 45 min drive away and a must not only for the spectacular rock formations but for the lovely inexpensive jewellery. www.barganews.com
Barga has its own theatre, the ‘Teatro Dei Differenti’ which presents opera, concerts and drama. OPERA BARGA comes to town in July.
In August, the internationally renowned Barga Jazz Festival hosts bands and emsembles which perform in the town’s piazzas and bars, and also in the ‘Teatro Dei Differenti’
Florence is one and a half hours by train from Barga, changing at Lucca. Florence is a city-sized shrine to the Renaissance. Its churches, museum and galleries catalogue an epoch that shaped history and produced some of the world’s greatest works of art.
Lucca is 35 minutes by train from Barga. Surrounded by four kilometres of walls, which are public walkways. Lucca has over one hundred churches and probably as many palaces. Its narrow streets lead into grand piazzas. Lucca’s architecture ranges from the most severe Romanesque to sumptuous Renaissance styles; the cathedral is a masterpiece of Roman art. The main shopping street, Via Fillungo, is a place for meeting, chatting and posing! Our guests often choose a trip to Lucca on the free day, a “must” if you haven’t already been there.
The marble quarries at Colonnata, five miles from Carrera, are some of the most startling sites in Tuscany. Local folklore records Michelangelo’s pilgrimages to distant corners of the mountains in search of the perfect stone.
“The high standard of everything from the room to the gorgeous food and wine were more than I expected.”