Italy – August 31st – Sept 8th 2013
An exciting nine day trip to explore three cities in Italy, Pisa, Florence and Lucca. Wonderful locations so much to see and explore. The weather was warm in the high twenties and low thirties.
The three cities are very beautiful and there were a lot of painting locations to choose from. We had a group of painters with mixed ability, working in Watercolour, Pen and Wash, Pencil and Acrylic. All the locations were challenging as the most interesting subjects were the buildings and architecture.
We began our trip by flying to Pisa, we arrived in the evening with enough time for everyone to meet and have dinner together. We stayed at a villa on a b&b basis within walking distance of the main square.
The main part of the holiday was spent in Florence, we caught the train from Pisa, It was a very easy journey and good to see a bit of the countryside on the way. A spacious apartment in one of the ancient buildings in the centre of Florence.It was a very convenient location just one street away from the Piazza della Signoria. We organized having breakfast together, a very convenient supermarket provided us with all the provision we needed. We often ate breakfast and lunch in the apartment and went out to supper each evening. It was important to find locations that had shade. We painted every morning, and in the afternoon we chose a second location preferably in the shade, or painted in the apartment in the cool. Occasionally went out painting at 7.00am with part of the group when it was quiet and less busy with tourists to complete work.
We pre booked tickets to go to the Ufizzi Gallery this gave us priority entry and we didn’t queue for long. It was a must and well worth the visit, however it was a lot to see in one morning. The Michael Angelo oil paintings are outstanding, thoroughly enjoyable, but mind blowing, it was like trying to do the whole of the National Gallery in a few hours.
We enjoyed visiting the amazing galleries in the main Square. The Palazzo Vecchio was open most nights until midnight, it was wonderful to visit in the cool evening, incredible detail on the walls before the painting themselves where hung. It was like walking through centuries of Medici family history. Windows into their world. We sat and painted most major sights, the D’Uomo, the Vasari corridor, the Ponte Vecchio, and the stunning sculptures in the main square. After meeting at a recommended wine bar on the opposite bank of the Arno, we walked to a view point above Florence enabling us to see the whole of Florence just as the sun was setting. A gentle walk back we found a lovely Pizzaria in a park and had a delicious supper. After dinner we often at in the main square listening to music enjoying the atmosphere.
Each evening we would reserve a table in a local restaurant. The food was excellent and an enjoyable experience. We were recommended some of the best local restaurants for their specialty dishes. The “best Lasagne in town,” certainly stood up to its recommendation. There was a lot to see and paint in Florence, guests also spent time sightseeing, shopping and having lunch in the specialty cafes in Florence’s famous covered market.
After six nights in Florence we headed back to Pisa by train, after dropping off our bags we caught a local train to Lucca. It was a glorious sunny day in this magical city. After wandering the pretty streets and a enjoying a light lunch we sat and sketched in the famous piazza dell’Anfiteatro, the remains of a Roman amphitheater. We stayed and had supper here then caught the last train back to Pisa. Lucca was really interesting, we would allow more time to paint there next time!
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