Painting Under the Tuscan Sun- Cortona and Chianti

DATES: 06/05/2025 - 06/13/2025
LOCATION: Tuscany
PRICE: $3,350.00
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
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Pat Fiorello is an award-winning fine artist, instructor and author of the book, Bella Italia, Italy Through the Eyes of an Artist.  Her work has been featured in 20 one-woman shows and been included in over 100 juried exhibitions, including the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America and NOAPS. As a finalist in the Florals and Gardens challenge, Pat’s work appeared in International Artists magazine and was also published in The Richeson International Still Life and Floral competition book in 2021 and 2023. Pat’s work was selected as Best Floral in the April 2023 PleinAir Salon competition sponsored by PleinAir® Magazine

Inspired to devote her life to creating and sharing beauty, Pat made a radical career shift following a 20-year career in Marketing. After attending the Harvard Business School and serving as Vice President of Marketing of The Coca-Cola Company, in 2002 she followed her calling and dedicated her life to creating art on a full-time basis.

Pat teaches workshops both in person and on-line, and has led 20 international workshops in Italy, Spain, New Zealand, and France, including private workshops at Monet’s Gardens in Giverny.

 Streamline Publishing produced and distributes a full-length instructional video called “Vibrant Florals, Paint Your Garden” featuring Pat’s floral painting methods. It is now available on PaintTubeTV. Pat was on the faculty of the 2023 Realism Live painting conference, reaching participants in all 50 states and 19 countries worldwide.

See more at patfiorello.com, @patfiorello on Instagram, PatFiorelloArtist on Facebook and Pat’s online gallery

Pat Fiorello is an award-winning fine artist, instructor and author of the book, Bella Italia, Italy Through the Eyes of an Artist.  Her work has been featured in 20 one-woman shows and been included in over 100 juried exhibitions, including the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America and NOAPS. As a finalist in the Florals and Gardens challenge, Pat’s work appeared in International Artists magazine and was also published in The Richeson International Still Life and Floral competition book in 2021 and 2023. Pat’s work was selected as Best Floral in the April 2023 PleinAir Salon competition sponsored by PleinAir® Magazine

Inspired to devote her life to creating and sharing beauty, Pat made a radical career shift following a 20-year career in Marketing. After attending the Harvard Business School and serving as Vice President of Marketing of The Coca-Cola Company, in 2002 she followed her calling and dedicated her life to creating art on a full-time basis.

Pat teaches workshops both in person and on-line, and has led 20 international workshops in Italy, Spain, New Zealand, and France, including private workshops at Monet’s Gardens in Giverny.

 Streamline Publishing produced and distributes a full-length instructional video called “Vibrant Florals, Paint Your Garden” featuring Pat’s floral painting methods. It is now available on PaintTubeTV. Pat was on the faculty of the 2023 Realism Live painting conference, reaching participants in all 50 states and 19 countries worldwide.

See more at patfiorello.com, @patfiorello on Instagram, PatFiorelloArtist on Facebook and Pat’s online gallery

Experience two classic locations in Tuscany

Be immersed in beauty and painting in this brand new, 8-day, workshop offered by instructor Pat Fiorello and Il Chiostro. Our focus for the week will be painting scenes of villages, gardens and flowers as well as distinctive Tuscan architectural features. You will learn how to simplify the landscape, improve your compositions and keep your color fresh working in an alla prima approach en plein air. Workshop is open to artists of all levels and mediums.

Chianti Charm, by Pat Fiorello

Vista of Cortona

The adventure will start in Cortona, the hill town made famous by Frances Mayes in her book Under the Tuscan Sun.  We’ll spend three nights in the Hotel San Luca, high on the edge of town and overlooking the vast Tuscan plain below.  The town is easily walkable with charming streets festooned with colorful flags, historic cafes, shops and restaurants.  Cortona is the quaint town everyone imagines when they think of Tuscany.

After these days of painting in the dual piazzas of the town center, we will shift to the tranquility of rural Tuscany – the historic Villa Barberino between Florence and Siena.

From there we don’t need to go very far to find inspiring scenes to paint.   The manicured gardens are spectacular and could keep us busy painting for a month.  Just a pot of red geraniums on the windowsill of a Tuscan stone home can be as beautiful as a field of wild poppies.  This area is famous for it’s gentle landscapes, its lines of vineyards and its ancient stonework.

This workshop is open to artists of all skill levels painting in all mediums.  If you’re a painter who has not painted in Italy yet, you owe it to yourself to join us and if you’ve been to Italy before we know you’ll want to be back for more memorable times in an all new location.

 


Other Activities:

  • afternoon walking tour of historic Cortona
  • excursions to nearby towns, like San Gimignano, Volterra, etc.
  • tour of the historic cantina on the Villa Barberino property
  • dinners onsite at their award-winning restaurant

This workshop will be limited to 10-12 painters only.  Please save your spot by registering early.


Hydrangeas, oil painting by Pat Fiorello


Price: $3,350 p/p; non-painters $3,050

Supplements: 

  • $500 for single room, limited availability

Non-refundable $500 deposit due upon registration.  Balance due by April 15, 2025.

Includes:

  • Shared double room with private bathroom in Cortona hotel and Tuscan palazzo (single room available for a supplement, see above)
  • Daily traditional breakfast and dinner, (including wine) in local trattorie in Cortona and prepared by our chef at the Villa
  • Daily plein air classes with Pat
  • Walking tour of Cortona
  • Escorted excursions to nearby towns
  • Transportation for all local excursions and between locations
  • Pick up from Florence train station at 3:30pm on arrival day, return to Florence on final day after breakfast

Tuscan Villa, oil painting by Pat Fiorello

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Art supplies
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing

To Register:  just click on the Sign Up Now button.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop.  Payment can be made on line with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail.  Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program.  You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supply list and an electronic invoice for the balance.  Final Balance is due by April 15th, 2025.  Any time prior to your arrival, if you have questions about anything regarding the trip or the program, you can contact us by email or phone and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Contact us for more information: info@ilchiostro.com or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Historic Villa Barberino Courtyard

For this workshop, we will be staying at the Villa Barberino in the town of Meleto in the Val d’Arno between Florence, Siena and Arezzo.  This is in the historic and artistic heart of Tuscany.

All rooms are unique, decorated in the traditional Tuscan style.  Each room has a modern, ensuite bathroom with shower and hair dryer.

Manicured hedges of Villa Barberino

Part of the structure, in its own ancient hamlet, was originally the watch tower of a castle dating back over 1,000 years.  Over the years, particularly after World War II, it fell into disrepair and was eventually abandoned until 1988 when a Tuscan family assumed ownership and began a 20 year project to renovate the estate entirely.  Much of the original structure is still visible including the ancient underground wine cellar that is still intact with hundreds of bottles of wine from their active vineyards.

Today, Villa Barberino is a comfortable, well-appointed venue for guests, with a pool, private garden, tennis court and its own restaurant.

Florence will be our meeting point on the first day of the workshop. A van will pick up the group at the train station at about 3:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.

Above the Ponte Vecchio, photo by Andy Holtzman

We recommend that you fly into either Florence, Pisa or Rome (Milan is a bit too far away). Florence is closer but it doesn`t have an intercontinental airport, so there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change planes in a larger European city. From the Florence airport you must take a shuttle bus (Volainbus) into the center (20 minutes).  

There are more scheduled flights from the US to Rome, many of them direct. From Rome, you will need to take a train to Florence (about 2 1/2 hours).

Important! In making your return flight arrangements, if you are flying home on Saturday after the workshop, try not to book a flight too early. From our location allow 1½ hours to get to the Florence airport or 3 ½ hours to get to the Rome airport.

For suggestions about getting to Rome or Florence, accommodations or other logistics, please consult our Traveling to Italy link in the main menu bar above. Renting a car from all the major rental agencies is possible if you prefer to be more independent during the week.


If you have time, it is a nice treat to stay in Florence before the workshop starts.  It gives you a chance to get over jet-lag while at the same time allows you to see this incredible Renaissance City.  It is filled with incomparable artwork, architecture and history – not to mention great shopping.  Why not stop in for a few days.  (Look at our Travel to Italy tab above for accommodations suggestions.)

Florence-2008_SunriseOverCity-ABenvenuto

Florence: Sunrise Over City, photo by Anne Benvenuto

 

The side of the Duomo, photo by Andy Holtzman

The Food: For us at Il Chiostro, helping our guests experience the food in one of the earth`s richest, most sensual areas is our pleasure. This area is part of Italy`s famous wine and olive oil producing region, but is specifically famous for truffles. Here we want to expose you to the wonders of simple Italian cooking.  The chef uses seasonal, organic products, locally produced by small farms and family shops.  Tuscan cuisine is a simple art that has been refined over the centuries to surprise our palates while the local Chianti wine comforts our souls. Come explore what food can really be all about.

An excerpt from a recent article in the NY Times (February, 2013):

The diet that seems so valuable is our old friend the “Mediterranean” diet. It’s as straightforward as it is un-American: low in red meat, low in sugar and hyperprocessed carbs, low in junk. High in just about everything else — healthful fat (especially olive oil), vegetables, fruits, legumes and what the people who designed the diet determined to be beneficial, or at least less-harmful, animal products; in this case eggs and low-fat dairy. This is real food, delicious food, mostly easy-to-make food. You can eat this way without guilt and be happy and healthy.


In addition to your workshop, optional activities offered with this program will focus on the cultural, gastronomic, historical and artistic heritage of Tuscany. This area has been an inspiration to countless people for centuries. What Tuscany offers its visitors is truly astounding:

Art – Villa Barberino, itself an old castle, is located near the cities of Medieval Siena and Renaissance Florence packed with some of the most famous masterpieces in the world.

Wine -You are in the heart of the wine growing region, synonomous with the most famous wine that Italy produces – Chianti. But the innovative Tuscan vintners are also producing Super Tuscans, red varietals that are quickly ascending the ranks of world-class wine.

History – this area was settled by the Etruscans centuries before the Romans were a civilized society. Their necropoli dot the fields throughout the area. Nearby towns like Radda, Vagliagli and Castellina date from the early Middle Ages. Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. San Fedele witnessed most of this from its panoramic perch atop the hillside.

Foodcucina povera is the typical Tuscan cuisine that has become popular around the world. The recipes are simple, emphasizing local and seasonal products: porcini mushrooms, salumi, legumes, vegetables, pasta, bread and game meats. Visiting an outdoor food market, you will understand the wisdom of this very healthy cuisine.

Crafts – perhaps the harmony of the landscape has been the inspiration for many local craftsmen. Exquisite hand-painted ceramics are the prime example, closely followed by mosaics, leather, woodworking, and textiles.

Photo by Lester Lefkowitz