I stayed at the Retreat for a week in late July for one of their plein air painting holidays. The Retreat is nestled in a beautiful countryside landscape of Italy. It is not a very touristy area which adds to its charm. You look around you and think, “Are you kidding me? Am I in a painting?” Breathtaking views and scenery. You’ve got mountains, hills, valleys, vineyards, and endless sunflower fields. It was a treat in itself to have a home base in this serene beauty. You could live there a lifetime and not run out of things to paint. Visiting the nearby hilltop towns in the evenings for some watercolor painting was a really cool experience as well. The towns are nearly abandoned or they have a pretty small population so we’d show up, John would do a demonstration and then we got to go off on our own to pick a spot to sketch and paint. I thought this was really neat and you could feel like a local artist in an Italian village on a hill. No matter which way you went, there were quaint little cobblestone alley ways with arched doorways and historic architecture. John and Jana could not have been better hosts! I had the most amazing week staying with them. Jana is an amazing cook who made us amazing, unique local and organic meals that were unbelievably delicious. As a foodie myself, there were plenty of opportunities to try out local cuisine and wines. John is an outstanding artist and teacher and just all around genuine guy! He will always keep you smiling and laughing. He gives great one on one critiques and help when you need it and took us around to some wonderful painting locations and hilltop towns. Whether you’re more advanced or more of a beginner in the arts, this trip will suit you. You really learn to appreciate what goes into plein air painting. I had a wonderful week and would love to come back!

Ashley H, ,