PALLADIAN ODYSSEY – UMBRIA ITINERARY
Monday – Day1
You will have made your own way to Florence where the adventure begins. We will board our coach at 10:00am to head South through Arezzo to our destination of Montone, our home base for the entirety of the tour. It’s a 2 hour trip with a brief rest stop which leaves us with plenty of time to check in and gather for our inaugural lunch. We’ll dine on the terrace whilst overlooking the beautiful, rolling hills of Umbria – a fine welcome to the region indeed! In the afternoon it’s down to business as Liz introduces us to her first workshop: ’Building Essential Drawing and Painting Skills’.
Before our group regathers in the evening for a light dinner, we have some free time to explore the town of Montone and perhaps enjoy an aperitif in the piazza with the locals.
Tuesday – Day 2
We spend today in the beautiful town of Montone, exploring its narrow alleyways opening into small piazzas or leading us to the medieval wall surrounding the town and dominating the stunning rural landscape beyond. Both morning and afternoon sketching workshops focus on the colours, textures and shapes of this beautifully preserved ancient environment. For lunch we have a choice of returning to the hotel or relaxing under the ‘ombrelloni’, the market umbrellas, in the piazza.
Dinner is a special treat at l’Antica Osteria which at this time of year features many truffle dishes (a local specialty) and a fine selection of wines.
Wednesday – Day 3
After breakfast at the hotel we set off on our coach for Gubbio, an imposing Umbrian medieval town ascending the side of Mount Ingino from where the views of the Apennines are breathtaking and potentially an excellent sketching subject. But there’s also plenty within the town to sketch, most notably the Gothic Consoli Palace where Liz will hold her ‘Grand Buildings and Spaces’ workshop. Our lunch venue again takes advantage of the view in the shade of a vine covered pergola. We begin the afternoon with a guided tour of the key sites followed by a visit to the nearby town of Fabriano to visit the famed watercolour paper manufacturer’s museum.
Back in Montone there’s time to relax in the piazza before dinner and an early night after a day of adventuring on our feet.
Thursday – Day 4
Following our day on the road, we’ll settle in for a more restful time in our home base of Montone. It’s only a small town but there is still plenty to explore with amazing tucked away nooks or expansive views that invite us to sketch. After a structured workshop in the morning, ‘Street Scenes in Watercolour’, Liz will spend a more informal afternoon in a one-on-one session with each guest to ensure specific questions are answered. For the more adventurous there is a 30 minute climb to the neighbouring hill that rewards us with stunning views back onto the town. As we look back across the valley to Montone, the warm hues of its stone walls are brought to life by the late afternoon sun, making the ascent well worth it! The hotel shuttle bus is also available for those who may be challenged by the climb.
Dinner is at Erba Luna, housed in the converted stables of the Medieval Castello Fortebraccio, now the Municipal Library. It’s an amazing location with an equally amazing, fine menu and wine list.
Friday – Day 5
Day trip to Assisi. Assisi is famed as the home of Saint Francis (of Assisi) and a significant destination for christian pilgrims. It is also known for producing some of Italy’s finest hand painted ceramics and tiles. But there is much more to its rich history, including the focus of its main piazza: the facade of the Temple of Minerva dating back to the 1st Century BC, which is now the portico entry to the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Beneath the piazza are the excavations which reveal the form of many architectural and sculptural remnants of the ancient Roman Forum – a must see for anyone with a passion for ancient history. Our local guide is again on hand to describe the important sites. Of course we’ll be capturing the dazzling beauty of this city in our sketch books. Here Liz’s workshops raise the bar! You’ve been sketching morning and afternoon for 4 days so now it’s time to be challenged with two workshops: ‘complex buildings’ and ‘telling a story’.
We’ll retire back to Montone for dinner and a relaxing evening ready for our final big day.
Saturday – Day 6
The morning workshop looks at consolidating the sketches in your book and creating a sketch journal that tells the story of your experience. So bring a glue stick to add those museum tickets, cards, menus, maps or whatever takes your fancy.
Lunch is at the Blasi Winery, established in 1742 where you’ll visit the cellars with their 200-year-old oak casks and, along with their wines, taste our hosts own home cured prosciutto. The casual afternoon sketching session in the vineyards allows you to explore colour with ink and wash and to practice concepts and techniques that have emerged from the week’s workshops. You might also choose to do some quick sketches during the cellar tour or at lunch to add to the variety of your journal.
While we enjoy an aperitif before dinner, there will be an opportunity to share and describe your favourite page from your sketch book with the group.
Our final, farewell dinner is at the Taverna del Verziere, a charming and unpretentious bistro style restaurant. Don’t be fooled by its decor, though, the food is far from ordinary. The dishes are of the highest quality, ingredients are locally sourced and the produce shines on the plate. The views over the mountains to the west with the setting sun are incredible and a little touch of icing on the cake as we bid farewell to Montone!
Sunday – return to Florence.
Our bus departs from the hotel in Montone at 10:00am to return you to Florence. Expect to arrive in Florence around 12:00 at the airport or 12:30 at the station (we will go to both if required) so if you are planning to travel onward from Florence on the day be sure to book your flight/train well into the afternoon to be safe. If you plan to leave Umbria from Perugia, the Hotel can arrange for a shuttle bus to Perugia Station or Perugia airport. Finally, you may wish to remain in beautiful Montone or in the region to capture those iconic scenes that you hadn’t had time for during the workshops. You can book an extended stay directly with our hotel or a farm stay near by – just let us know you intend to stay on after you have booked the tour and we will help you with all the arrangements.
The Palladian Odyssey Tour – Umbria is all inclusive: pick-up and return from Florence, daily sketching workshops (bring your own art materials and sketch books), accommodation, all meals with wine if desired, refreshments during the day, occasional aperitifs, coach to excursions with local accredited guide and vineyard tour with wine degustation. From the moment you board the bus you will only need money if you wish to buy a souvenir, but of course the best souvenir will be your sketch book! We look forward to you joining us.