Painting in Tuscany

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Don't be a tourist. Be our guest.

Painting in Tuscany

For centuries artists have drawn their inspiration from the Tuscan landscape. This trip not only conjures paintings of superb Renaissance art and landscapes famous for its rolling hills, olive groves, cypress trees, winding vineyards and grand estates but also tastings of local products like wine and olive oil in the Chianti region. The cherry on the cake will be the visit of the superb Renaissance town of Siena.


Day 1: Welcome Reception

We will pick you up at the Florence airport. Upon your arrival at our hotel located in the sublime Chianti countryside, you will have time to settle in, explore the private park around the villa or take a walk in the hills.

In the evening, you will enjoy a welcome reception followed by a delicious dinner.




Days 2-3: Under the Tuscan Sun

The Chianti area in Tuscany is one of the most beautiful in the whole region. It offers a unique landscape, with green, gentle hills covered with wide fields of vineyards and olive groves, small stone villages, characteristic parishes and counrtyside homes in stone.

What an inspiration for today's painting outdoors. The countryside is all around our homestay.








Wine is one of Italy's delights.

Our agriturismo is a wine and olive oil producer. We will have a chance to visit the cellar and of course taste wine and olive oil.

This domain is an exquisite location, so characteristic of the Chianti region.


Day 4: Medieval and Renaissance Town of Certaldo

Certaldo is one of Tuscany's most evocative hill towns enclosed in its 13th century walls.

The city still retains traces of its majestic past which gradually unfurls as you wander through the narrow streets to discover a palace, a church, a cloister, a convent,

Certaldo's charm lies in its historical patrimony. Numerous painting vignettes await you in this gem of Tuscany.




Day 5: Spectacular City of San Gimignano

San Gimignano is one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany: gorgeous walled medieval architecture with 14 towers tall enough to be visible from miles around.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, San Gimignano will offer you endless opportunities for painting, either in the village or from the surrounded countryside.

It is also a paradise for shoppers: leather, gelato and local products including safran and white wine, the Vernaccia di San Gimignano.


Day 6: Market & Medieval Villages

Tuscany is well known for its hilltop medieval villages. We will spend time in beautiful but less touristy ones, giving you time and space for your painting: windows, doors, flower pots, roof tops, cobblestone streets, medieval stones as well as the market will be your inspiration for the day.

In the morning, we will spend some time on the market. That is where locals shop. Italian food has a worldwide reputation. Tuscans use pure, strong flavors and the freshest ingredients. Just stroll though the food stalls and open your senses to all the wonderful aromas of the Italian fresh products.






Day 7: Spectacular City of Siena

Siena is one of the principal cities of Tuscany, known throughout the world for its famous horse race, Il Palio. Accompanied by a local guide, we will visit the Campo, the Duomo and the center of town.

Following the visit you will have a bit of free time for lunch and exploration. Everyone finds something amazing in Siena: the Palazzo Pubblico contains many works of Sienese art. The Torre di Mangia provides a breath-taking view of the city. The Duomo was built to impress and it does. Inside are an astonishing number of busts, statues, frescoes, and painting. The octagonal marble pulpit by Nicola Pisano is amazing, as are the works by Donatello, Bernini, and Michelangelo.


Day 8: Departure

It is time to say Arrivederci! But don't worry - you'll be back. We just know it! After our last breakfast together, we'll drive you to the Florence airport.





You will be well taken care of from your pick up at Florence airport to your drop off at the end of your stay.

Every day, we will drive you in a comfortable A/C mini van to different painting locations.




Nestled in the marvellous Tuscan countryside, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and lush blooming meadows, the estate is the perfect place for our painting workshop.

The estate boats an excellent location, in the heart of Tuscany, 25 miles from Florence and Siena, allowing us to become acquainted with the artistic, historical, natural and oenogastronomical wonders of this region without having to drive long distances.

The estate houses apartments with timber ceilings with exposed beams, “cotto” floors and fireplaces in the kitchen-living room area; they are also furnished with rural art decor, according to the country style of the tuscan tradition and perfectly respectful of the atmosphere of the place.
Each apartment has a full kitchen, a living room and 2 bedrooms with either shared bathroom or en-suite bathroom.

The estate is an active olive oil and wine producer overlooking the unforgettable landscape of Valdelsa crossed by vineyards, olive-groves and regular rows of cypresses.
It offers many terraces, one swimming pool and a productive wine cellar.




Dates & Rates


Oct 3-10, 2015
Teacher: Sonja Hamilton, swa Journal Sketching Workshop (ink & watercolor)

  Price: $3,390 (double occupancy room)
+ US$300 single room shared bath
+ US$550 single room with en-suite bath

Join Sonja Hamilton, swa, on her 8th tour with French Escapade. Register early to insure your spot! Her trip to Spain in 2014 got sold out early.

"Mother nature is marvelous!
What better places to create memories with paint: quaint stone-textured buildings, rolling hills, olive groves, brilliantly colored sun kissed flower boxes and of course the amazing Italian food!!

Demonstrations will help you with composition, color harmony and the play of light on objects.

Plan on small format sketching plus painting in ink/ or watercolor-a doable size for the traveling artist".


Sept 6-13, 2016
Teacher: Abigail VanCannon
Oil Painting Workshop

“An extremely talented artist and teacher with a formal art background, Abigail is able to provide the guidance needed for her students to advance in each of their styles. She devotes time to each easel, giving helpful critique and suggestions in a supportive, friendly way..." Alison Bligh (Abigail's student)


$200 before Nov 30, 2015 so price is $2,990 (double occupancy room)
$3,190 after Nov 30th
- $400 off for non-painters

+ US$300 single room shared bath
+ US$550 single room with en-suite bath

Abigail VanCannon has taught workshops across the country and is now taking them abroad!

Join her as she paints Italy, Speed Studies style. This fast pace approach to painting will help participants capture the charm of each new Tuscan location, while building speed and confidence as a painter. This approach simplifies the challenge of painting new subjects and teaches participants how to keep their brushstrokes loose and fresh.

Each day Abigail will give an optional painting challenge to focus on, allowing participants to try new techniques and get the most out of the painting trip. After a daily demo, students are free to paint, with one on one instruction, or explore the surrounding areas. Unwinding from the day with a glass of vino and informal group review allows students not only to learn individually, but from each other as well.

Hone your skills and return home with a wealth of inspiration to keep you painting all year round.

Look forward to:
- Easel side critiques
- Instructional Demos
- Increasing Brush Speed
- Group Review
- Time management - capturing the moment
- Learn to paint a study in 30 minutes!

Abigail VanCannon is a nationally recognized artist who has been chosen by SouthWest Art Magazine and Art Business News Magazine as an artist to follow under the age of thirty. Her fresh energy and bubbly personality keep the classroom environment light and conducive for learning, helping students work through their challenges to become a better painter. VanCannon teaches weekly painting classes in Sacramento, CA along with workshops throughout the country.


Sept 29-Oct 6, 2016
Teacher: Keiko Tanabe
Watercolor Painting Workshop


$200 before Nov 30, 2015 so price is $2,990 (double occupancy room)
$3,190 after Nov 30th
- $400 off for non-painters

+ US$300 single room shared bath
+ US$550 single room with en-suite bath

Join me on this wonderful trip to the heart of Tuscany!

Having been there numerous times, I can say my love for this absolutely delightful region of Italy has stood the test of time. This will be my thrid time teaching for French Escapade.

Rolling hills, vineyards, friendly people, charming villages, scrumptious food and wine, and fall colors, everything conjured up in the image of Tuscany awaits when we go there in the Fall of 2016.

Please join us as we explore and paint outdoors while enjoying the dolce vita the region has to offer. If you're looking for a cozy, personalized therefore very special painting holiday organized by a tour operator who is completely bicultural and bilingual, this is it.

Since we will be a small group, I can also closely work with each one of you for a semi-private painting experience.

My teaching style consists of one hour demo once or twice a day followed by one-to-one support.


Price: US $2,990 before Nov 30th and $3,190 after Nov 30th.


  • Florence airport pick up and drop off
  • A welcome reception
  • All nights at the hotel
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and all dinners (incl. drinks and wine)
  • Transportation in a comfortable van with A/C
  • A personal bilingual chauffeur/guide throughout the week
  • Entrance fees to all sites on the tour


  • Flights to and from Florence
  • 5 lunches
  • Personal expenses and tipping