Panzano in Chianti -- October 2011
Veneshe returned to the small town of Panzano in Chianti for a week of Venetian plaster training and enculturation in the fine art of living and working in Tuscany. A whirlwind week of learning how to apply Venetian plaster, sightseeing in Tuscany, and savoring friendships, food and wine culminated in the completion of a dining room in a soft, buttery gold Marmorino Italian plaster.
We began by applying a layer of lime plaster over the rough and peppled surface of the original finish, smoothing out the walls for the next layer. After the thrid layer, the walls were soft, smooth and cool, displaying subtle variations of shading and tone that is unique to authentic Italian plasters. A light burnish with the trowel brought out the natural shine of the marble dust, a compliment to the otherwise matte finish of the lime plaster. Students left with a feeling of accomplishment for having mastered the art of Venetian plastering "on the wall" to the immense satisfaction of our hostess and the many people who stopped by to watch out progress.
Plaster training took place in the mornings, followed by a full course lunch prepared by our hostess and Tuscan cooking instructor Giulietta. Our afternoons were spent exploring the nearby towns and quaint villages of the Chianti region - catching a local flea market in Radda, touring the home of the Chianti wine at Castel Brolio, enjoying market day in Greve and the hospitality and education in the local viniculture at the Accademia del Buon Gusto in Panzano. Visits to Pisa and Volterra were also on the itinerary. Two trips to Florence ensured we were able to take in Michaelangelo's David and the Pitti Palace on Art Tuesday, visit the stunning Medici Chapel and Duomo, explore the narrow streets, linger on the Ponte Vecchio, go shopping at the San Lorenzo market and meet up with an Italian plaster artisan and fine artist in her studio. We even managed to assist with an afternoon of olive harvesting and watch the olive oil production process at the local community press.
If you've ever dreamed of spending time in Italy, and want to learn Venetian plastering or perfect your plastering techniques; if you prefer the role of traveler over tourist; if you love the prospect of getting to know Tuscany in a more intimate way, through your participation in an actual hands-on project, we invite you to contact us about our next trip!