Painting Holiday in Tuscany

Inspiring small group journeys.
8 days from $3241
  • Holiday type: Painting Tours
  • Countries: Italy
  • Starts (city): Pisa
  • Ends (city): Pisa
  • Group size: 8 maximum
  • Trip style: Superior - 4 star
  • Tour code: 751

Learn to paint from a professional artist

Tuscany is quintessential Italy: a dreamscape of rolling hills topped with willowy cypress trees, shimmering olive groves and rows of tangled vines, peppered with picture-perfect medieval hilltop towns. The ideal landscape to paint. Our Tuscany painting courses are ideal for beginners and experts as we have a relaxed itinerary that allows for a great deal of experimentation and development at all levels. Our venue is situated in wonderful gardens with a swimming pool surrounded by rich, relaxing and evocative natural scenery. Ancient olive groves and green meadows make for an ambient mix of shadows and quiet places: the perfect place to relax and inspire the body and mind, as well as the creative juices! You can also explore the higgledy-piggledy charms of San Gimignano, the low-key walled elegance of Lucca or meander Florence’s winding streets.


  • 5 days painting tuition
  • Stay in a Tuscan villa tucked away in the countryside on its own private estate, set within peaceful grounds surrounded by beautiful views.
  • Day visit to a place of artistic interest (Florence, Siena or San Gimignano) for sightseeing, shopping or sketching, with lunch at a local "trattoria"
  • Afternoon spent in a place of local interest (Lucca, Montalcino or San Gimignano), with an opportunity to sketch.
Tour Leader


Penelope Anstice

April, May, September and October

Penelope Anstice is an established artist and experienced teacher who trained in both Florence and Edinburgh. Having lived in Italy, Penelope’s work really captures the magic of the Italian Landscape.

Our holidays with Penelope will be suitable for anyone wishing to begin painting with watercolour or to develop their basic skills. She will cover all of the important elements of painting with watercolour. You will also try other combined media such as acrylic, pastel, gouache and pencil.

"My aim when teaching is to show people as much technique as possible so that they can take from this and use it in their own painting. With solid knowledge of technique behind them, students can begin to find the confidence to put their own stamp on their work. In watercolour in particular it is essential to know the basic techniques, it is a highly delicate and technical medium if it is to be used effectively and a harder medium than oil. I do quite a lot of demonstrating to show different methods, this is the easiest way for students to understand the process in practise.

"I concentrate on the fundamental and key elements of painting, namely composition, drawing, colour mixing, tonal contrast and different ways to make marks. I do not leave the students just to 'express themselves in paint'; without the necessary basics this can lead to frustration and despondency. Self expression is something an individual develops over time as their confidence and understanding grows and they are able to move away from the purely representative. All artists will develop their own 'language' after the initial groundwork is in place to give it support."

Jenny Smith

June - Drawing class
July - Painting class

Jenny Smith is a professional artist with a first class Degree in Drawing and Painting and a Masters in Print making. Jenny has won many awards for her work including the Royal Scottish Academy Award for Painting. She is an enthusiastic tutor with 20 years experience in teaching art.

Jenny will provide an Introduction to Drawing for the complete beginner or those who would like to refresh their skills. She will start by looking at the basic elements of drawing through fun and informative exercises using avariety of materials and the landscape as inspiration. You will use a variety of mediums including pencil, charcoal, and pen and ink.

Jenny will explore the expressive potential particular to watercolour, looking at ways of creating layers of luminous colour and texture using innovative techniques. Suitable for those with some experience or the complete beginner. Could be taken as a follow-on from the Introduction to Drawing course as a way to progress into painting.

Jane Mitchell

April, May and June - Watercolour painting and drawing techniques

Jane Mitchell lives and works in Edinburgh and is based in a studio in Leith. She has won many awards and has been involved in several exhibitions, with work held in corporate and private collections. Jane is also a part-time tutor with the Open College of the Arts, teaching drawing and painting and organising workshops and exhibition visits for students, who range from beginners to final year degree level.

Jane is an experienced teacher from beginners right up to degree level, so her courses will be suitable for anyone. She will explore the use of different media and develop skills in perspective and composition working with the stunning Tuscan landscapes. There will also be sketch book work to make the most of excursions.

"My aim as a tutor is to provide a quality of teaching suitable for all levels, to help the beginner to gain confidence and to challenge the more experienced. We will start off with group lessons which will then lead on to individual tuition, responding to the needs of all in the group, encouraging and teaching each student on an individual level and helping the group to learn from each other.

"We will cover basic drawing and watercolour techniques, covering all of the necessary elements. I encourage students to develop a feeling for the materials and to enjoy the process. We will use a variety of materials to explore the use of colour, tone and composition and produce drawings and paintings with atmosphere and depth. This beautiful location is ideal for a landscape course and it is important to learn how to select a viewpoint and capture the unique qualities of the countryside. We will also look at how artists gather information in sketchbooks while out and about, in order to use drawings to develop paintings back in the studio."

Catherine Sargeant


Catherine Sargeant trained at Edinburgh College of Art and is an experienced teacher and award winning, internationally exhibiting artist. Catherine is frequently drawn back to Italy, finding the culture, history, beauty and rhythm of the landscape a constant source of inspiration.

Catherine will cover the basic watercolour and acrylic techniques, paint application, tone, colour combinations and landscape composition. She will teach group lessons and individual tuition, with a critique and end of week exhibition. There will be opportunities to sketch at various locations and these sketches can be used for more ambitious works as your ability and confidence progress.

Solo Traveller Comments

Group sizes are usually about eight people and generally half are single travellers. Whether you're used to travelling alone or simply taking some time out for yourself, the relaxed, friendly atmosphere at all our venues is geared towards allowing you to be part of the group when it suits and striking out on your own when you want to.

This holiday is not just a typical touristic experience as it involves travelling with a purpose and the opportunity to see the genuine and local face of Italy. Our local Italian hosts have lived abroad and know exactly what to do to avoid making our guests feel like tourists. They will always be by your side and organise trips to sites of artistic interest.

The ages of our guests vary. We understand that it is important to be with like minded people, so we always do our best to match ages for each group. Our guests are from all over the world - mostly from Australia, UK, USA, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.

And most importantly for solo travellers - there is NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT!


Day One (Saturday)

Depending on your arrival time, there will be a transfer from Pisa Airport to the villa. Enjoy welcome drinks on the terrace followed by dinner prepared by our local chef.

Day Two (Sunday)

After breakfast you will have your first painting session, with an introduction to watercolour looking at basic techniques, different kinds of paper, brushes, etc, followed by lunch. The afternoon is yours to continue painting, relax by the pool or walk through the olive groves. Dinner is prepared for you at the villa.

Day Three (Monday)

Demonstration of landscape painting after breakfast, looking at different ways to apply watercolour and mixing media like pastel and coloured pencil. Following lunch there will be an outing to use the techniques. Then a critique of the work so far, followed by dinner prepared by the chef.

Day Four (Tuesday)

Today after breakfast you will visit a place of artistic interest (Florence, Siena or San Gimignano). Enjoy a day sightseeing or shopping at leisure. There will be an opportunity for sketching on location. Lunch will be at a local "trattoria." Return to the villa late in the afternoon for a discussion of your work and a look at some examples of traditional and contemporary watercolour painting. Dinner is served at the villa.

Day Five (Wednesday)

After breakfast there will be a lesson in the elements of composition and colour and then lunch. The afternoon is yours to continue painting or relax by the pool. Dinner tonight is at the villa.

Day Six (Thursday)

A chance today to try a larger and more ambitious work using the sketches and ideas accumulated so far. Following lunch, there will be an afternoon visit to Arezzo with an opportunity to sketch.  Dinner in an excellent local restaurant.

Day Seven (Friday)

A leisurely morning to spend developing your work at the villa. For the rest of your last day you are free to paint or relax by the pool. Dinner at the villa with a group show of your paintings.

Day Eight (Saturday)

After breakfast, our transfer will collect you and take you back to Pisa Airport for your flight home or onward.

Please note that this itinerary is subject to change, depending on the weather and allowing for the Italian ways!

Currently there are no dates available for this tour. Please email us if you would like to be kept informed about new departures.


  • 7 nights ensuite accommodation at a stunning Tuscan villa with pool
  • All meals and wine
  • Activities and sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Transport by private minibus
  • Airport transfers (at set times only)
  • 5 days painting tuition


  • Tips

You will be staying at one of our five Tuscan villas, tucked away in the countryside on its own private estate, set within peaceful grounds and surrounded by beautiful views. The luxurious bedrooms, all decorated in a modern style, have ensuite bathrooms.

Villa Ricrio

Villa Ricrio is tastefully furnished in the old Tuscan style. The bedrooms are located downstairs and upstairs. It's a distinguished mansion with a private swimming pool. Immersed in the green of the Tuscan lanscape, Villa Ricrio is not far from Volterra, San Gimignano and Catagneto Carducci, and is also near beautiful sea resorts like Marina di Bibbona, Catiglioncello and the Baratti's Gulf.

Villa La Frasca

La Frasca is set on the impressive private estate of Varramista, between Pisa and Florence in the heart of Tuscany. The estate is a 400 hectare park with its own vineyards and olive groves, and is surrounded by woodlands and green undulating hills. La Frasca is a spacious and elegant villa, decorated in soft Tuscan colours combining a mixture of old wooden beams and other traditional features, with every modern comfort. The large gardens overlooking the 16 hectares of vineyards is the perfect place for dining al fresco. La Frasca has a large and beautiful private pool.

Villa Arezzo

Villa Arezzo is a beautifully restored luxury farmhouse set among fifty hectares of olive groces, vineyards and woodlands, located between the Arezzo and Siena provinces. Excellent craftsmanship went into the renovation, taking care to maintain its unique old-world charm. The pool area, furnished with a gazebo, make this villa an ideal place to come and relax in the Tuscan countryside. Relax by the pool and enjoy the view overlooking the rolling Chianti hills.

Villa Lecceta

Villa Lecceta is set on the impressive private estate of Varramista, between Pisa and Florence in the heart of Tuscany. The estate is a 400 hectare park with its own vineyards and olive groves and is surrounded by woodlands and green undulating hills. Bedrooms are elegantly furnished, with modern comforts. Lecceta is situated on a rolling hill overlooking neat rows of vineyards. It has a private pool and is the perfect place for enjoying the sunshine and dining "al fresco."

Villa Monsonaccio

Villa Monsonaccio is set on the impressive private estate of Varramista, between Pisa and Florence in the heart of Tuscany. The estate is a 400 hectare park with its own vineyards and olive groves and is surrounded by woodlands and green undulating hills. Bedrooms are elegantly decorated, with modern comforts. A lovely swimming pool and courtyards are the perfect place to enjoying the sunshine.


“I arrived in trepidation, new to painting holidays, watercolours and Tuscany. I left relaxed, with a well-used palette,a paintbook of memories, a full stomach and a smile on my face. Thank you.”  John Hammond, BBC Weather Presenter

"Initially I thought it was quite expensive, but having travelled on my own after the course, I have a better appreciation of what things cost in Italy, and think it is value for money."  Estelle

"Painting was brilliant, as Hugh was a great tutor and gave me lots of tips to improve my skills. The landscapes were very inspiring. Food and wine was excellent. Sunshine is a fantastic chef. The holiday was great because everything is included."  Yvonne

"Catherine, our painting teacher was marvellous. I learned so much from her. Marco and Claudio were stupendous chefs, I enjoyed the food very much."  Helen

"The villa was amazing and my room was gobsmackingly stunning! As well as that, Hugh gave me confidence in the fact I can actually paint in my own style."  Carrie

"A truly memorable few days with such good company, we all gelled so well, although my painting requires much more practice but dear Hugh was so supportive and molto talented."  John

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 on this tour, or if you have more general questions about tours to this area or this style of tour, send us an email. Of course, you can also call our travel specialists on 02 9449 8598 to book a trip or ask a question.

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