Arts Holiday Italy (Painting Retreats in Tuscany)
Here at Villa Pia, we’re delighted to have carved out a reputation as an award-winning, family friendly holiday that’s especially loved by parents with babies and small children.
We’re also happy to host arts and cultural retreats at the villa during the quieter season, appealing to a somewhat more mature crowd.
Today we introduce you to Antonella, who runs the thriving programme Arts Holiday Italy at Villa Pia. Read on!
My name is Antonella Edwards, I originally trained as a Graphic Designer and worked in the design world for about ten years. I then went on to do a post graduate in Art Education and have taught art for the last 18 years. As an artist I like to work in mixed media, acrylics and printmaking. I now run a company called Arts Holiday Italy which is a bespoke painting holiday for beginners and intermediate artists who wish to be creative in a beautiful location on the Tuscany Umbria border. Our unique selling point is that we explore and experiment with different materials and ideas that best suit each individual person who joins us. So creating a great artistic experience for everyone (and we do not take ourselves too seriously).
How long have you been running the art holidays at Villa Pia?
I have been running Art Holidays at Villa Pia for a couple of years as well as a weekly art group. Before this I took groups of students to Italy on Art holidays visiting Florence, Rome, Naples and Sorrento as well as teaching art in the UK.
A really mixed bunch of people come on our holidays, the average age is around 50-55 although recently we had a lady of 90 who really taught us all a thing or two about water colours. Most people who come on the holidays have done some painting in the past, often when they were at school. Others belong to art groups in the UK and are looking for inspiration or to experiment with different materials. The great thing is that we have a studio set up with all of the equipment for our artists, so you literally have everything at your disposal. I think that is what often makes their work so creative as no one is limited to just one type of material.
People have said that they dreamed of painting a Tuscan landscape whilst sipping cold white wine in a beautiful, peaceful location. That is really what we offer in Arts Holiday Italy and being based at Villa Pia really enhances the whole experience.
I met Morag about 10 years ago and worked at Villa Pia with her as one of the managers so I know the Villa and its staff really well.
What do you find special about this place?
I love the laid back atmosphere, it makes the whole experience of staying somewhere so much more relaxing. Also meal times are great as everyone sits together, whether you are a painter or another guest at the Villa, so you get to meet lots of different, interesting people.
The food is fantastic and the cooks take real pride in their work, one of my favourite dishes is their mushroom lasagne and of course the Tagliata.
Spring and Autumn as it is a little quieter and the weather is more temperate which makes it more comfortable to paint outside. Also our painting guests stay at Villa Pia outside of the school holidays so often we have the place virtually to ourselves.
What things do you like doing outside the villa?
There are so many beautiful views to paint of the surrounding countryside, the house and its gardens. Around every corner there is a fantastic view and it is a minute’s walk from a medieval castle which is great. Of course just floating in the swimming pool and taking in the views is fantastic.
Who do you think Villa Pia is best suited for: a) families b) couples c) seniors d) backpackers e) your own choice?
Depending on the season I think Villa Pia has something for everyone. It suits the painters that come to stay as there is so much space to relax and paint and we are very close to the beautiful hill top towns of Anghiari and Monterchi.
What will be your best or most entertaining memories of Villa Pia?
Having a glass of prosecco and looking at all of the fantastic paintings people create at the Villa and working alongside such great staff.
Visit www.artsholidayitaly.com to book a space on an upcoming retreat.