Good Morning, Sunshine!
Early today I was greeted by the morning sun flooding into my Tower bedroom window. What a beautiful morning! When I made my way downstairs, I had the pleasure of chatting with my host, and fellow artist, Louis Degni at work in his dedicated studio space. Luigi is a landscape and botanical painter, and an inventor! For it was Luigi who came up with my plein air collage easel–The St. Hilaire System. Luigi showed me his latest work, some beautiful paintings of vistas, florals, churches, and olive trees–views from right here in the area.
The morning light illuminated pomegranates on the back patio; so beautiful, I had to get out the big camera and take some soft focused background shots. I just love the shallow depth of field of this lens.
Living Like a Local
Today Pamela and I ran some errands, purchased wine from a local cantina, had a nice lunch at home here in the Tower and a dip in the pool. Staying with friends and locals in Italy is like no other experience, I’m so happy to return to the backroads and off the beaten strada in the Italian countryside.
I am also very grateful to have been invited to stay here, with my friends in their 15th Century Tower.
Again, somebody pinch me.
This afternoon Pamela and I visited Cornieto Olive Growers where we met the proprietor, Rita. We toured this lovely grove where they organically grow three different types of olives and have them cold pressed into olive oil. Tasting the oils side-by-side really gives you an appreciation for the diversity of flavor and potential food pairings of each. Who knew there were so many different flavors and intensities of olive oil?
Pamela is considering adding this lovely place as a tour visit next year, for olive oil tasting and lunch, what could be better? The views from the drive up were amazing, a full visual of the rolling hills and hundreds of olive trees.
In addition to olive trees, there were fruit trees at the grove, Rita handed us each a fresh fig to eat. I had never eaten a fig right off the tree, what a sweet treat! the pink fleshy fruit was wonderful, warm, and sweet.
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig
After our trip to the grove, we headed home to check our email, Facebook, and to make sure we didn’t have any frantic emails from students en route who may have lost their way. Pamela and Luigi served our new Olive oil on bread with cashew nuts and fresh berries, all with a nice chilled glass of white wine for aperitivo. This evening we are going out for pizza! Believe it or not, in three years coming here, i’ve not had Italian pizza.
Not sure how we overlooked that.
A Night on the Town
Tonight we ventured out for some pizza in Città di Chiusi. My friends Pamela and Luigi know how to wander down the back alleys of small towns and find the best eateries–yet another advantage to hanging with a local. Since Pamela is the coordinator of our Paper Paintings Italy Retreat, you must know that this entire week is about hanging with a local! We are going to visit some of the best hidden gems, off the beaten strada here in the countryside of Italy.
The thin crust pizza was amazing, I had “Four Seasons” which included a section of mushrooms, a section of artichoke, a section of prosciutto, and a section of olives. Mama Mia! So good. Luigi and I paired our pizza with dark Italian beer, Pamela paired hers with Prosecco. Matches made in heaven.
After pizza we went down to the lower part of town, maneuvered around a Medieval celebratory parade, and found a parking place near my friends’ favorite gelato place.
I’m so full right now I can barely finish this post. But I wanted to let you know that the students arrive tomorrow, Saturday! They will have a chance to move into their rooms and take a break before we start our class with a presentation in the late afternoon.
Pamela and I cannot wait for the students to see Il Colombaio and their new digs for the week. Stay tuned to this blog for photos and stories from our adventures in the Paper Paintings Italy Retreat!
Join us Next June, 2018!
Next June we will be making the Italy Paper Paintings Retreat journey again from the 10th-16th. We have already sold six spots, and have eight spots remaining. Sign-up before October 1st and take advantage of a five-payment plan with Strada Toscana.
for being a part of my