Going To Art Class

Today has been a delightful day. I got up in Pisa this morning and Signora Due Borghi had brought in some fresh green figs from their country house to add to breakfast. I had never had one before so I had to be shown how to eat it. Evidently they are not something you see in the markets because they are hard to store. You can only get them in season and if you have your own tree. They were small and delicious – I ate two!

Then it was back to the Pisa airport to meet Chris Bell, the artist who is giving the workshop this week. He picked up two of us there and then we drove to Lucca to pick up two more. From there we drove quite a ways into the Appenine Mountains. The landscape reminded me of the Appalachian Mountains along the Pennsylvania or West Virginia turnpike except that all the little villages of houses have red tiled roofs.

The roads, of course, are very narrow and you often have to come to a complete stop for someone to pass. Chris said he usually defers since an Italian will not back up for less than a death threat. Finally we got to the house where Chris’ wife Krysha came out to meet us. I had no idea we were going so far or so deep into the mountains.

This place is spectacular now, but it has taken the owners more than 10 years of renovation and they aren’t finished. It was originally a pig farm with chestnut orchards on the property. The chestnuts were a cash crop, but also used to feed the pigs to make them fat and sweet. Very prized!


This building was a barn where animals were kept below and chestnuts were spread out on the top floor to dry. Chris has turned it into a studio on top and 3 private suites for students or guests below. I am in the one by the middle bench. And since the buildings sit right in a small valley, the mountain views all around are spectacular.

ImageThis little building is the pizza oven – which will get fired up for pizza night on Saturday night. I plan to be part of that! The two little buildings in the background on the hill were original pig houses. And earlier today, Marie, the young Italian housekeeper who doesn’t speak English, went up the hill in search of porcini mushrooms. She found some and cooked them with tagliatelli pasta for supper. It was some of the best pasta I ever tasted!

Chris has an amazing week planned for us – I hope I can keep up! There are 7 of us for the week: 2 older ladies from England… 2 glamorous older women from South Aftrica… and a younger woman and her 19-year-old son from Australia. I’m the lone Yank.

So… we had a beautiful dinner around a long table, lit with real candles in the chandelier. And tomorrow…

We Paint!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellyn
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 18:28:14

    All I can say is wow. Just wow.


  2. Billy D
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 06:28:02

    Yeah….outdoor pizza oven, fresh picked figs and mushrooms…..that doesn’t sound storybook at all!


  3. thesketchylife
    Sep 19, 2012 @ 08:00:08

    Nope, not storybook – it’s a fairy tale and I’m in it! You can call me “principessa”…


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