Painting Holiday in Tuscany

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Villa Palagione?
Villa Palagione is situated near the town of Volterra in Tuscany, Italy. 65km from Pisa and 50 km from Siena. The 400 year old villa is now a centre for cultural study offering courses in Italian language, cooking and cultural tours. After being abandoned for decades the villa was extensively renovated by a group of Italian and German volunteers and is now run as a not for profit organisation.


Do I need to be able to paint and draw?
Beginners are very welcome. The art holiday is a careful balance between learning new skills, socialising with like-minded people, relaxing in beautiful surroundings and enjoying good food! Whether you are painting and sketching for the first time or are more experienced, the tutor (that's me) will be there to guide and support you in a range of activities. Pam is a professional artist and tutor with over 25 years of experience who will offer techniques and tips to help you capture the essence of Tuscany. She is able to provide tutoring in a variety of mediums including watercolour, acrylics and all drawing mediums.


What equipment will I need?

You will be sent a materials and equipment list, so you know exactly what to bring. However you don't need loads of stuff to be able to enjoy sketching and painting in this inspiring location. Some people may just want to work in a sketchbook, others may want to paint on canvasses. There are lots of locations at the villa, so you won't need to carry a load of equipment round with you. Suggested items could include a small sketchbook, a couple of drawing pens/pencils, a watercolour paints set and some brushes. Watercolour paper pads are ideal as you don't need to stretch your paper. If you're working in acrylics you may like to bring some canvas boards, a selection of paints and some brushes.


What is the accommodation like?
The rooms are individually styled with traditional Tuscan furnishings. The rooms in the main (pink) villa are more elaborate with frescoed ceilings and the rooms in the Arcate (cream) villa have vaulted ceilings and wonderful views across the countryside. There is no air conditioning, but I think in May this won't be a problem. All rooms have a private bathroom: most en-suite, some external. The atmosphere is friendly and informal. Guests travelling on their own will still have a double room to themselves. If you're travelling with a friend and sharing a room this will be cheaper for you both.


Where will we be working?
The weather at this time of year is perfect for sketching and painting outside: days should be warm and sunny, evenings may be a little cooler. There is always the option to work in the light and spacious studio and around the villa there are many inspiring locations, including panoramic views, traditional rustic buildings, pretty courtyards and formal gardens - something for everyone! We will also take two excursions: one to Volterra and one to San Gimignano.


What's the weather like?
May is one of the best times to visit Tuscany: villages are adorned with flowers and there are spectacular views of the hills and fields. Days in May are usually warm and sunny with average temperatures of around 20C. The evenings may feel a little cooler and a jumper may be needed. 


Where is the nearest village?
The nearest town is Volterra, a medieval walled town with piazza and Palazzo. There are also Etruscan and Roman ruins here. Step back in time and stroll down the narrow streets of the historical centre; taste typical products and visit the craft shops to see hand-made alabaster souvenirs, which Volterra is famous for.


Is there WiFi?
Yes there is WiFi at the Villa but this is rural Tuscany!


Will I have any free time?
Yes, Painting and sketching activities will be planned for the mornings and early afternoons leaving you with a few hours for relaxation. You can choose to continue with your work or take time out to relax, walk, swim or rest! The excursions will both be full days, with some sketching in the morning and some free time to explore in the afternoon.


Can I use the swimming pool?
Yes the swimming pool has stunning views and is a pleasant place to swim or somewhere to relax on a comfy lounger with a glass of wine or a good book.


Are all the meals included in the holiday?

Nearly all meals are included in the cost of the holiday - 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 7 dinners. The menu is inspired by local Tuscan cuisine using fresh, seasonal produce. On warm evenings dinner is served at a long table on the candlelit terrace and on cooler evenings in the cosy dining room. On the days out you will need to pay for your own lunch.


Is there vegetarian food available?
Yes, all dietary requirements are catered for including vegetarian and vegan. Please indicate your requirements when booking.


Can I relax on my own?

There will be taught activities and demonstrations planned throughout the week but you can choose to opt in and out as you prefer. At the villa you will find plenty of quiet corners and there is a salon where you can relax with a book.