Sample Itinerary will vary, depending on the touring interests and prior skill level of participants. Final details will be worked out and distributed on-site.
Depart US. Note that you will need to book your own flight. The cost of airfare is not included in the trip price.
Note: Flights are typically overnight, departing in the evening and arriving in the morning. Most flights to Florence require transfer in Rome or another major airport hub. Alternatives to flying into Florence include taking a train (regular train is approximately 3 1/2 hrs, high speed train is 1 1/2 hours). or renting a car in Rome and driving to Fagiolari. If you want to see Rome, we recommend arriving a few days prior to class and visiting Rome before you head north to Tuscany.
Flights arrive early morning and Panzano is about a 45 minute car ride from the Florence airport. For guests arriving by plane to Florence or Pisa, pre-arrangements can be made for pick up from the airport, for an additional charge. (See our note regarding car rental and car-pooling.) Settle into accommodations at Fagiolari, wander about the beautiful olive trees and vineyards, and unwind!
Dinner is at 7. We'll pick up some fresh mozzarella, bread and produce from the local market, and enjoy an early communal dinner at Fagiolari with plenty of fine Chianti made on the premises, with an early turn in to recover from jet lag with a full night's sleep.
After breakfast, class starts at 9:00 am sharp with an overview of our project, techniques, composition and materials. Then we'll begin prepping the room, taping off woodwork, protecting the floors and ceiling, and tinting and mixing the plaster. Finally, we apply the primer. We'll wrap up around 1:00, enjoy a wonderful home cooked lunch, then off to Panzano and Accademia del Buon Gusto for a late afternoon of wine tasting with Professore Stefano Salvadori, followed by dinner at one of Panzano's fine restaurants.
Following breakfast, we'll apply the first layer of plaster, with a focus on becoming proficient in troweling techniques. Then you're treated to another full course lunch, after which we'll finish up the first layer. We suggest an evening group excursion to the medieval walled cities of San Gimignano or Volterra; we'll carpool together and arrange a meet up time, so that you can either wander about on your own or as part of a group.
Free day. We organize a full day trip to Florence, with suggestions for major attractions, walking routes, and shopping. for those who are interested in a closer view of the arts, we will make pre-arrangements for an art historian tour guide for a small additional charge. While the group will invariably split up at some point to pursue various interests, we'll arrange a meet up spot for dinner for those who want to enjoy Florence by night.
Following breakfast, we'll head into the town of Greve to catch the Saturday morning market. Upon returning to Fagiolari in the early afternoon, we'll we'll teach the technique required for the second layer of plaster, ensuring that you learn to develop your rhythm of application and become equally proficient and able to blend your style or "hand" with that of other participants, to create a unified wall surface. Dinner options include any of a number of local restaurants.
After breakfast, we'll continue with our second layer of plastering. Following lunch, we'll organize a full day trip to Siena. Same travel styles as previous - carpool together, arrange a meet up time, giving you the flexibility of exploring with us or on your own.
Free Day: touring suggestions include exploring the back country roads of Tuscany with stops at little towns like Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, and Gaiole in Chianti.
Wax and seal day. We seal the surface, pull the protective tape, clean up the plaster, and admire our work over another delicious full course lunch. There's afternoon free time to relax or return to any local spots you couldn't get enough of, but we'll all meet back at 7, for our good bye dinner.
Depart Panzano for the Florence airport or wherever your travels take you. Arrivederci!
Enjoyed plastering in Italy. The project was challenging and extremely rewarding. What a thrill to see the reactions of the Italians raving about the quality and artistry of our work!
-Shonna, York PA
Our Venetian plaster class is based in the heart of rural Tuscany, an area best explored by car. Renting a car offers several advantages, including the ability to strike out on your own, as well as extend your trip on either end or choose another airport for arrival and departure.
For this reason, we strongly recommend you make arrangements for your own set of wheels, and would be happy to share our experience using various rental agencies. In addition to the standard American brands, we've also rented from European agencies such as EuropCar and Sixt.
Can't quite fathom the thought of driving in a foreign country? Although Italian drivers get a bad rap in the US, we've found our driving in Tuscany and indeed all of Italy to be pleasurable and easy, with the caveat that a GPS is a must have for navigating your way when you're on your own.
But if you're not up for this particular adventure, just let us know when you discuss booking the trip. We'll do our best to accommodate non-drivers by introducing you to other driving participants prior to departure, as we encourage car-pooling for both the cost-sharing as well as the camaraderie.
Remember, if you have any questions or concerns - just let us know. We've been doing this a while, and want you to feel comfortable with your options!