Being a creative and huge supporter of other artists who are living their passions, one of my primary objectives of starting my own tour operation in Italy was to feature not just tours of art museums and the like, but also collaborating with working artists who offer opportunities to learn in their creative spaces in Italy. After all, it was studying the art and architecture of Italy that created my first love of the country and inspired me to initially study architecture in college.
Although I first moved to Rome where there is so much culture and art to see, it’s also a big city full of chaos that is fun for me in doses. It’s where I got my foot in the door for Italian tourism and after some time I left to start my own operation combining it with my past tourism and traveling experiences. Now I feel fortunate to have selected a beautiful and creative area to call home on the Amalfi Coast.
Classes and workshops are offered throughout the year by various artists and creatives we have met either locally or during our travels. Most are one-day options that can be ordered throughout the year. We also feature links to multi-day workshops offered by artists throughout Italy in their studio or as retreats from visiting artists or those working on location.
Options may include painting, ceramics, fibers, and cooking. More activities will be added as they become available.
If you are planning a trip to Italy and want to participate in doing something creative here you will find opportunities taught by others that we have researched or offer in collaboration with local creative friends.
Amalfi Coast Ceramics class
Here in Vietri sul Mare we are famously known around the world for our particular style of maiolica ceramic tiles and pottery. The vivid colors on the ceramics are due to a 2-part painting process whereby an undercoat of “smalto” is first applied to give a gessoed-like surface to apply the colors for your design. There are some different types of smalto that you can choose as a base to achieve different finishes such as a clean bright white or a more antiqued and crackled look.
In the historic center of the village we have available a small working studio/gallery space where we can arrange a morning or afternoon for painting a small object that can be fired in the days after your visit and could be available to take home with you or shipped depending on your travel schedule. This activity can also be combined with a historic tour of the village so that you can have a more thorough understanding of the ancient ceramics tradition of the village.
Salerno Ceramics class
Stepping away from the maiolica style of ceramics there are many artists who also paint directly on the surface of the terracotta or clay works. Available to us in Salerno is a working artist’s laboratory where we can see a demonstration of how he forms the raw clay on the pottery wheel and examples of his more sculptural works. After the demonstration you can select from a variety of small objects available for you to paint. Later he’ll fire your object in the next burning of the kiln and we’ll arrange with you the shipping to your home if you are no longer traveling in the area. This activity is offered in the morning, but may be flexible depending on the artist’s schedule.
Booking a ceramics class
From the options above, I’ll work with you to arrange a date where you can spend a few hours painting a unique treasure to take home from your Italian vacation. It’s likely that I’ll also attend to paint alongside you and help with translations since the artists at both venues speak only a little English.
Florence Ceramics Course
In Florence we have visited the workshop of the ceramics artist, Enzo, who gives individual classes or courses depending on your interest level and time available in Florence. In his laboratory he will teach and assist you to design something traditional or create your own modern style for you to paint. Pieces are fired in his laboratory so that you can take your work home after the following firing. Plan your schedule to include this class or workshop series at the beginning of your visit so that there is time to collect your work before departing Florence. A minimum of 24 hours is required after completion of your class in order to have your works fired in the kiln and ready for pickup. Enzo is fluent in English and as he offers longer workshops outside of my area I have provided a link where you can contact him directly to book his classes.
Creative level required: Beginner to Advanced. Classes can be taught in English. Contact the artist directly at his site for more information and scheduling. Officina Labortorio Ceramica
A typical cuisine style of the Amalfi Coast is locally known as “mare e monti” (sea and mountains). As the name suggests, this cooking class is held at a beautiful restaurant in the coastal village of Vietri sul Mare, located next to Salerno and the beginning of the famous Amalfi Coast drive of the Monti Lattari. For your class, you will select different seafood dishes combined with local products of the mountainous region and prepare them as a four-course meal. The husband (who speaks English) and wife chef team of the restaurant are a delightful and friendly couple who will teach your their recipes which are served in the restaurant.
The teaching and preparation of your antipasta, first, second, and dessert dishes lesson in the large kitchen will last approximately 1.5-2 hours. Afterwards, you’ll sit down at a linen covered table in the restaurant decorated with local ceramics, enjoy some house wine with your meal, and stay to taste your creations. This class is offered year-round and can be scheduled at lunch or dinnertime. Contact us for more details and to check on the available schedule.
Cooking classes in an Italian home
If your idea of being creative is to spend an afternoon or evening with an Italian family learning how to make the homemade recipes they cook using fresh local produce from the market or cultivated from their garden, then look no further and contact us to find out more details about our cooking and dining experiences available. We have a few to choose from, in Rome on a rooftop terrace overlooking the Pantheon, another is on a fattoria (farm) located in the mountains of the Amalfi Coast with a panoramic view of the mountains and sea, and finally in Salerno we also have a home overlooking the city and sea where we enjoy an evening making wood-fired pizzas.
Booking a cooking class
From the options above, I’ll work with you to arrange a date with the restaurant or family according to what schedule is available. Depending on the venue, you can pay a deposit to reserve your time and then pay the balance at the venue or I can prepare an invoice online for the full amount to pay in advance. At the Pizza Night class, I’ll attend to help with translations and co-host the event.
Textiles and Weaving in Florence
Laura Biagini is a Fibers artist with a working studio and shop space in Florence for her handmade works. In the center of the space she has a beautiful wooden loom from Sardegna where she experiments with different weaving techniques. She teaches a variety of classes where it is possible to make clothing, accessories, items for the home, or fabrics on her loom. As with Enzo teaching ceramics in Florence, I’ve offered below a direct link to her site so that you can schedule a class or even just find her to shop for some unique fashions when you are in Florence.
Creative level required: Beginner to Advanced. Classes can be taught in English. Contact the artist directly at her site for more information and scheduling. Laura Biagini
Plein Air Painting in Tuscany
Irish artist, Tom Byrne, was a long-time resident in Paris before moving to Florence. In Florence he leads regular live drawing events weekly and hosts plein-air painting events. Follow his Facebook profile to see when public events are posted that you can join.
Tom, along with two of his painting colleagues, frequently leads plein-air painting retreats at a villa in the Tuscan countryside just outside of Florence. Tuscany Plein Air
Venetian Carnevale Mask Decoration
When traveling to Venice you’ll see plenty of shops selling the traditional masks used for Carnevale. They can range from very simple to ornate in a variety of styles and shapes and at a range of prices. Some are full face masks and others are half-masks covering the eye area. Venetians following the old tradition may wear their masks much longer throughout the season and not just during the days of the Carnevale celebration. Creating your very own authentic Venetian mask is a great way to bring home a special memento from your visit to this romantic city. Contact us if you are interested to arrange a time to participate in a workshop where you can paint your own mask to take home.
Working Artists Wanted!
If you are an artist residing in a prime tourist destination or offer something unique as a special retreat and are interested in collaborating with us, please send us a message on our contact page.