Photo by: Kathleen Jacobs
Location: Italy

Italy Painting Tour of Florence and Tuscan Hill Towns

  • Plein Air Small Format Landscape Drawing and Painting workshop with Professional Tour Leader Kathleen Jacobs
  • Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, with its rich tapestry of history depicted in its architecture, sculptures, and paintings
  • A stay in the Tuscan countryside, with its grapevines and cypress trees
  • Tuscany’s medieval towns and villages: Monteriggioni, San Gimignano, Volpaia, Radda in Chianti, and others, equally well-preserved
  • Departure limited to 12 participants to optimize your artistic experience





June 10-19, 2024


9 days


per person, double occupancy*

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 8 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 6-7 participants. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested (subject to availability), or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, there is a single room surcharge of $695.

Tour Overview

We are proud to announce a special tour to Italy, led by artistic instructor Kathleen Jacobs.

This departure is limited to a maximum of twelve participants. While the emphasis is an artistic workshop, this is also a cultural journey, which we believe will enhance your ability to capture the essence of Tuscany in your work. Your guides will take you to locations you could not access on your own, including monasteries, churches, and vineyards. In Florence, there will be quiet, morning walks,...

We are proud to announce a special tour to Italy, led by artistic instructor Kathleen Jacobs.

This departure is limited to a maximum of twelve participants. While the emphasis is an artistic workshop, this is also a cultural journey, which we believe will enhance your ability to capture the essence of Tuscany in your work. Your guides will take you to locations you could not access on your own, including monasteries, churches, and vineyards. In Florence, there will be quiet, morning walks, to locations such as the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Corridor, and the Duomo.  You can also immerse yourselves in the extraordinary art in the Uffizi and Academia Museums.

In this workshop students will paint in the open air of the beautiful Tuscan landscape. Each day we will look as Corot did, to interpret the soft color-palette of Italy. The hazy landscape paintings and poetic scenes of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot helped define plein air painting today. Like Corot we will seek to see and express the dreamlike quality of the color and light of Italy while staying true to our “first impressio” to capture the quiet dignity of the natural world.

We always welcome tour companions who are not artists. There are interesting aspects of Italian life waiting to be explored in every location. In Florence, the countless museums, churches, markets, restaurants, and stores within walking distance of the hotel, make the city a desirable destination for any traveler. The quaint Tuscan villages offer wonderful landscapes, local markets, piazzas, and small shops to be enjoyed by all who might like to sketch, write, or simply appreciate the culture of Italy. The trip’s leisurely pace will provide ample opportunity to wander through medieval hill towns, and feast on the renowned regional foods and wines.

The accommodations that have been chosen combine simple elegance with excellent location. In Florence, you will stay at a small, family-run hotel, centrally located in a quiet neighborhood. In the Tuscan countryside, you will stay at a restored country villa, surrounded by a vineyard. It provides an absolutely perfect location for country walks and day trips to Tuscan hill towns and villages. You will have a light breakfast before departing for the day and return to a traditional Tuscan meal in the evening.

Kathleen Jacobs and About this Class

 In this class students will start with intuitive sketches of the natural hills, trees and foliage of the Italian landscape. Students look carefully to make pencil compositional studies to settle into the view of such a special place. Working in any painting medium, students will make small intimate paintings in

one sitting. Like Corot, students will look to investigate composition, using form, shape, line, and color while working in nature. Emphasis will be placed on capturing the feeling of the landscape, without over analysis. We will use the historic color paint palette of Corot to express emotion.

Kathleen Jacobs will provide individualized instruction during plein air excursions, demonstrations, discussions, and presentations that will provide the format for an intensive exciting learning experience. Working small, participants will work to create work with a spirit of place. Her teaching emphasizes looking at the landscape and to understand the formal elements of painting, shape, color, space, form while responding to the grace, order and beauty that is in front of you. There will be ample opportunity to discuss each other’s work and to discuss other international painters throughout history to enrich our experience in Italy.

I took a workshop from Kathleen Jacobs this past summer in Gloucester, MA and am still thanking her for the invaluable painting tools I took away from the week. Kathleen is very knowledgeable about painting and drawing. The days flew by as she made painting a fun adventure at some beautiful, interesting spots in the area. We worked with a view finder every day to produce many thumbnail sketches, keeping in mind the form and structure of the landscape.  We then worked with a selected thumbnail to produce a painting. Working small placed an emphasis on simplicity and finding the structure of the landscape. This process, thumbnails and working small, allowed us to produce several paintings each day.  It really helped me make better decisions about my paintings. People in the workshop came from all skill levels and Kathleen successfully worked with each and every one of them. The group was very giving and if someone needed some paint or forgot something we all pitched in. Landscape painting is a tough endeavor and Kathleen made it a fun and accessible process and brought the group together. I highly recommend her as an instructor and cannot wait to take another workshop with her.


Tour Itinerary

June 10: Home

Depart on your overnight flight to Florence. (Meals on plane)

June 11: Florence

You can arrive at any time today at Florence Airport (FLR), everyone will take a taxi to the hotel. There will be an introductory meeting at 6PM in the hotel lobby, followed by a welcome reception. Overnight Florence (Welcome Reception)

June 12-13: Florence

Start after breakfast today with Kathleen and your local guide with a walking tour around the many highlights of Florence. The Ponte Vecchio stretches across the Arno, with its Tuscan hued jewelry stores, and original wooden, gated store fronts. The Duomo, a magnificent cathedral whose massive dome was designed by Brunelleschi. The cathedral offers endless facets and details to explore. Florence’s town square, the Piazza della Signoria, has been the heart of political life since the fourteenth century. The Piazza is also home to the Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), built in the thirteenth century, and the Uffizi Gallery, where many of the world’s great art treasures are housed. Late afternoon you can enjoy time at the Uffizi Gallery, exploring on your own.

The next morning rise early as you will depart the hotel well before breakfast to draw or paint with Kathleen before the city starts to stir. Return to the hotel for breakfast and a bit of rest, followed by additional time with your local guide exploring the cobblestone streets of Florence. You may visit various markets or artisan shops, learning about the local trades. After a lunch break there will be a group outing to see the Statue of David, housed in the Accademia Gallery, not far from the hotel.

This evening there will be time to prepare for Tuscany tomorrow or enjoy returning to one of your favorite locations to paint at dusk. Perhaps the Ponte Vecchio at sunset or one of the less touristy squares or churches in this famous city. Overnight Florence (B, L; B)

Please note: The art of enjoying an Italian meal can take time, if you prefer to grab a light bite and meet with the group later, feel free to request time and place to meet your leader later in the day.

June 14-18: Tuscany

Venture out early again with Kathleen for another painting session at one of her favorite locations, perhaps the Duomo, or Ponte Vecchio Bridge.

After breakfast depart for the Tuscan countryside. The next five evenings will be spent at a Villa located in the heart of Chianti. The contrast between the city and the Tuscan countryside is striking. Today, more than sixty percent of Chianti remains forested, as there are strict limits on how much land can be cultivated.

As in Florence, Kathleen will venture out early a few mornings as there are grape vineyards on a hill just behind the villa, or perhaps in the evening with low light just before sunset.

With five evenings to explore the region you will take day trips to visit a number of Tuscany’s most picturesque towns, such as Radda in Chianti, Volpaia, Montefioralle, Greve in Chianti, Castellina, Monteriggioni, one of the most perfectly preserved fortified villages in all of Italy.

San Gimignano is one of the most picturesque of the Italian hill towns, known as the “city of the beautiful towers”. Fourteen of the seventy original towers remain, giving the town a striking appearance. Near Pienza, we may visit the Monastery of Sant’ Antimo, a splendid Romanesque abbey and church built around the year 1100, set in quiet, unspoiled surroundings. Overnights Tuscany (Breakfasts and dinners* daily, one lunch is included at a local vineyard)  *One dinner at the villa will be a cooking lesson with your hosts.

June 19: Florence - Onward Destinations

After breakfast you will depart for Florence. Individuals can be dropped at the train station or airport for your departure (flight departure time 11AM or after is best to avoid private transfers). (Breakfast)