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This is a course aimed at anyone who would like to take a few days to focus on painting, whether an existing project or a new idea. It is a studio based course which includes trips to both Siena and Florence, and the aim is that you leave with studio work which you are proud of. We might pop into one of the local Tuscan or Umbrian hilltop towns for an aperitivo at the end of each day, but the focus will be on getting on with the work. You can come with an idea of what you might like to paint, or bring an ongoing body of work. The focus is on research, reference gathering and drawing on this course.

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This magnificent art retreat will take place in the picturesque Italian countryside, along the border of Tuscany and Umbria. The house, called Siliano Alto, stands solid and square on its own small hill ringed with trees; olives, walnuts, and stately pines. Behind it a verdant wood, and all around golden, rolling fields and distant mountains.

The estate, "Le Coste" (meaning the border) is a hillside paradise for nature and peace. This wonderful setting gives you a rare opportunity to explore a stunning wooded and pastoral landscape, home to a wide variety of birds and animals including deer, porcupine and, more than the occasional, wild boar. White roads and tracks criss-cross this ancient estate giving you the chance to walk or cycle and breath the air of a natural reserve, surrounded by beautiful hundred-year-old pines, cypress trees and extraordinary views across the valleys of Tuscany and Umbria.

If that isn’t tempting enough there are also a swimming pool (open seasonally) and 2 tennis courts to help you relax after a hard day at the easels. Wander through a hillside olive grove, walk between the shadows cast by majestic umbrella pines and cypress trees or simply be inspired by the landscape. Enjoy a glass of cold Prosecco or the sublime Brunello di Montalcino on one of our terraces whilst watching the sun set over the beautiful Tuscan town of Chiusi and the distant Montepulciano. In this environment you will paint and draw under the same mellow light that inspired the great Renaissance artists.

The guest house is now the restored former cantinas and stables on the groundfloor and have been transformed into apartments that are your Italian home for the week. One can immediately see the careful attention that went into restoring, decorating, and preparing these rooms. Two large apartments are divided into different rooms of various size accommodations, each complete with private bathroom and linens.


The food is simple, delicious and Italian, using fresh ingredients from the local market in Chiusi, much of which is organically grown; pumpkin risotto, pasta al forno, slow roasted fennel with red onions, salads with wild rocket, prosciutto and fresh figs… Selection is seasonal, and you can guarantee to love and appreciate each bite.

We enjoy good local wine, from the vineyards between Chiusi and the famous wine region of Montepulciano. This type of wine is called 'vino sfuso' or 'loose wine', and is natural and free of chemicals. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are enjoyed together as a group in the studio. The course fee includes all food and wine with your meals (excluding lunches on trip days). Some lunches may be served outside on one of the terraces or taken on location, and we also enjoy dinner together at a great local Tuscan trattoria during the week.


Guests will not only enjoy the villa and encompassing estate, but also the richness of the Italian cities in nearby regions. Day trips will allow students to add arts, culture, adventure, and natural beauty to their retreat experience. Trips may include visits to small villages, larger towns, and outdoor activities. See smaller villages that few tourists go, and get a true education and taste of Italy with stops at some amazing cafes and "trattorias".


Our courses are carefully designed for complete beginners with no previous experience, intermediate artists who would like to improve their skills and techniques, and practicing artists looking for a new challenge. Julian, the host and instructor, has over 20 years experience teaching students of all ages and abilities, and always strives to create a friendly and relaxed studio. Read more about his story on the ABOUT page. We offer a variety of custom-made art courses in order to build confidence and inspire you across a range of themes and disciplines. These unique courses also reflect the culture and history of the area and are interwoven with art-history excursions, providing inspiration, variety and interest throughout the week. Above all, this is a real opportunity for developing artists to work in small groups alongside an experienced teacher.


This is a course aimed at anyone on a vacation in Italy who would like to take a few days to focus on painting. It is a studio based course and the aim is that you leave with a painting which you are proud of. We might pop into one of the local Tuscan or Umbrian hilltop towns for an aperitivo at the end of each day, but the focus will be on getting on with the work. You can come with an idea of what you might like to paint, or you can come simply wanting to have a go, even for the very first time. As with all our courses, all the basic materials you might need are provided and, although they are 'student quality' they are fine. Feel free to bring any of your own materials, maybe a higher quality paint or brush, but don't worry as all you'll need is here for you in the studio.

* Participation in classes and activities is optional throughout the retreat. All levels welcome!


5 days / 4 nights
Max # Guests = 8
* Final balance due 45 days before retreat start date.
Read full cancellation policy in our Terms & Conditions.


Daily breakfast
Select lunches on day-trips or onsite
Dinners onsite
Wine during onsite meals
Transfers from Chiusi train station to house
Transportation to/from day trips
Daily art classes
Use of estate premises - hiking trails, pool (seasonal), art room, etc.
Day out to local village for day trip
Use of art supplies
Tips & taxes

* airfare not included, selected meals during daytrips not included


Countryside on border of Tuscany and Umbria
Nearest town: Chiusi, Tuscany
Nearest major airports: Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO - Rome), Galileo Galilei Airpot (PSA - Pisa)
Nearest local airports: Sant'Egidio Airport (PEG - Perugia), Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR - Florence)
Nearest train station: Chiusi-Chianciano Terme
Transfers between Villa and train station can be arranged at no charge on first and last day of retreat. Single and group airport transfers are possible and pricing discussed upon request. Train transfer from all airports is quite easy, and we can help guide you on the directions.


Besides the basic packing and travel needs, here are a few things to think about bringing with you.

ART SUPPLIES ARE PROVIDED but feel free to bring any personal supplies you prefer
Comfortable shoes (walking tours)
Bathing suit (seasonal pool, possible thermal spa daytrip)
Plug adaptors / converters (standard EU plug)
PROVIDED AT HOUSE: hair dryers, linens, toiletries (shampoo/soap), paid laundry service, wifi