The food is incredible — olive oil, truffles, pasta and more. The scenery is incomparable, and the art is legendary. Taking a trip to Italy’s Tuscany is something most people only dream about, but a local tour guide is making the trip feasible.
Glynn Visual Arts will host a free Art Tour of Italy information session from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday where guests will learn how they can visit Tuscany and Le Marche in Italy this year.
The actual art tour will take place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7.
Nancy Krabill is pairing up with the nonprofit organization, Go Eat Give, and international artist Kathy Rennell Forbes to give locals a trip they will never forget.
The itinerary for the eight nights, seven days trip will be packed with adventure for those who crave travel to locations very few tourists get to visit.
“It’s almost like untouched Italy,” Krabill said.
Each day of the trip, Forbes will give a lesson to the tour group about water-color journaling.
She will provide the group with portable paint supplies so they can journal their experiences throughout the day. The goal is to have a record of all of the rolling landscapes by creating the paintings themselves.
Krabill says that you do not need any prior experience with painting to participate in the “paint-journal.”
“She recommends that if a person has no background in painting, then at least some in drawing — so they can sketch while they are there and then move on to painting with some lessons when they return home,” Krabill said.
During the first portion of the trip, the group will be staying at Montestigliano in Tuscany, Italy.
The farm estate is privately owned and is located on more than 2,475 acres of land. Montestigliano was solely a farm until the ‘50s, and now the 11 homes and villas are rented out to guests on a weekly basis.
The tour group will stay above what used to be the stable. Krabill says that people used to live there in the winter before there was good heating, because the warmth from the animals would rise up through the floor and warm the home.
“We love it because it has a full kitchen and central common living area — so we can have breakfast together, fix meals together and then sit down after a full day with a glass of wine and discuss what we’ve seen and what’s next,” Krabill said.
Le Marche, the second portion of the trip, is the idealist’s old-world Italy. Krabill says that many of the young people are moving back into the area to learn the old crafts.
Some of those crafts include cultivating guado, which is a yellow plant used to make blue dye, making paper, cooking meals with flowers in every course and the ancient art of lace making called il tombolo.
“It’s also called bobbin lace — the lace is stretched tightly over a drum-like object and bobbins are thrown over in patterns by hand to create the lace,” Krabill said about the lace making.
The tour will end up in a village called Mercatello sul Metauro, which located a couple of hours east of Florence, at the foot of the Tuscan-Umbrian-Apennine mountains.
The group will stay at Luisa Donati’s family home — Palazzo Donati, which dates back to the 1600s.
The fee participants pay for the trip will include accommodations for seven nights, all meals including wine, watercolor lessons, all ground transportation, an English-speaking guide, cultural activities, volunteer coordination and taxes.
The trip is already planned out, which will alleviate some of the stress usually associated with travel. However, the cost does not include airfare to Italy, tips or insurance for the trip.
A twist in this Italy getaway is that the group will work with Go Eat Give to volunteer while on vacation.
Krabill said that it will be prime olive season when the group visits Italy. They will be able to go out into the field and harvest olives to help the family farmer, Massimo Donati.
“Massimo is wonderful — very warm and engaging (with) sparkly blue eyes. He is passionate about the farm,” Krabill said, “He speaks more English than he gives himself credit for, and easily engages the guests with his energy.”
The group will literally pick olives from the trees and deliver them to a press. At that point, they will watch a demonstration as their olives are pressed into fresh olive oil.
Each person gets bread, rubs garlic on it, toasts it and then gets to dip the bread into the fresh olive oil from the olives they just picked, Krabill said. That happens on day two of the trip, with many more adventures afterward.
“The way you get to know a culture is through the food,” Krabill said.
She said that the group will avoid the typical tourist restaurants and locations. They will dine in the homes of many locals, visit a farmer’s market and go to restaurants frequented by the lowcals.
“We will just kind of become natives,” she said.
She also stated that no one speaks English in the places they will visit, especially in Le Marche. Krabill encourages people to come to the information session to learn about the trip and even reserve a spot for the trip.
“If it’s a great success, we will be doing it yearly,” she said.
If you cannot make it to the information session, or will not be able to pay for the trip this year, there will be an opportunity to come next year.
To learn more click here.