Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Vineyard Tour and a Visit to La Meridiana

I'm back from Europe safe and sound, and I can't wait to tell you all about Cornwall, but first, let me continue with the story of my week teaching at Fattoria Bacio in Tuscany....

After a morning spent painting at the villa on Wednesday, we enjoyed an afternoon tour of the Fattoria Bacio vineyards. Alberto and Patrizia, the owners of the villa, showed us around personally, with Patrizia translating Alberto's extensive commentary. Alberto would talk and gesture and explain, all in Italian, and we would just nod and smile, not understanding a word he was saying. Then his wife would take his five-minute dialogue and condense it down to a sentence or two. Thank goodness for Patrizia!

Alberto and Patrizia, our hosts at Fattoria Bacio

It was a perfect day for a walk through the vineyards. Isn't this almost too pretty to be real?

The harvest had been completed the week before we arrived, but my mom managed to find a bunch of grapes for us to taste. They were so sweet and delicious!

Alberto and Patrizia grow several types of grapes on their 300-acre estate and make Chianti, Chardonnay and a sweet aged wine called Vin Santo.

Alberto told us a little bit about the olive groves, too.

They have over 1700 trees - that translates into a heck of a lot of olive oil!

Back at the villa, Alberto took us to see the bottling room...

and the cellar where the wine is aged in wooden casks.

Then it was time to head off on an excursion to La Meridiana, an international ceramics school, to see potters at work and enjoy a few hours of relaxation in a beautiful setting. The 17th century farmhouse that houses the school is surrounded by gardens and its hilltop location affords beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside in every direction.

There were sketch-worthy scenes everywhere I looked...


Rebecca snapped this photo of me drawing the roses that grow next to the house...

Photo by Rebecca Sax

Walking around the property was a delight. I kept discovering ceramic sculptures hidden in unexpected places. In the barn...

at the pond...

and even hiding in the hedges...

My friend Rebecca dubbed this combination of sculptures "Peeping Tom"

Here's the composite sketch I did of my visit to La Meridiana. Adding some watercolor will really bring it to life.

It was interesting to see ceramic artists at work while we were there. That's Pietro Maddalena, the owner of La Meridiana, helping a student with a project.

Samples of the students' work are everywhere...

The sun was sinking low in the sky as we sat around on the veranda together.

Pietro gave us some insight into the history of the area, and my student, Linda Daniels, sketched him as he talked. She drew directly in pen and did a great job of capturing his likeness.

Then it was time for aperitifs!

And Aperol Spritzes!

Mmmmm, they're so yummy!

Can you think of a nicer way to spend a few hours than being with friends, sketching, and enjoying beautiful scenery, delicious food and a tasty drink? We even had a spectacular sunset to look at as we headed out to a local restaurant for dinner.

Our relaxing day off turned out to be one of the most enjoyable we had. Simple is often best.


  1. Oh, that sky! What interesting places to tour. I really like all the heads on the ledge and the sculpture in the barn window at La Meridiana. I can't wait to see some of your completed pages from your trip!

    1. Now if I can just find the time to paint all the drawings I did!


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