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Established in 2004

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See what our guests said about our locations

Florence click here

Venice click here

Cortona click here

Saragano click here

Montefalco click here

Lake Garda click here

Sicily click here

Castello di Petroia - click here

Fabriano - click here

Peccioli - click here


“I absolutely loved this holiday.  I have been on many of your painting holidays and each venue has offered something different.  I really enjoyed being in the centre of Cortona with the lovely shops, beautiful churches, museums etc.  I have returned home inspired with many painting ideas learned from Chris who was an excellent tutor.   The group was lovely company and the restaurants we visited each evening were wonderful.  The wine tasting in Montepulciano and the Medieval Festival were an extra bonus.  Thank you to Sheila for her great organisation ensuring that the programme ran smoothly.  I’m now on a diet.   See you next year”.  - Cortona 2019


"Chris was a helpful and knowledgeable instructor and good company. He inspired us to try new things and was very encouraging. Louise was an excellent guide with great knowledge. A lovely idea would be to paint/sketch in her olive grove. The day we went to the lake would have been better if we had more time on the island to paint. We only had time for lunch. I would have been happy to have a quick sandwich and spend time sketching. There were some lovely subjects and we hardly had time to take photos. All the medieval events were super. Overall a lovely holiday. A great crowd who all got on well". - Cortona 2019


"I really enjoyed this holiday. I was lucky to be amongst a lovely group of people and the tuition was great. The hotel was in a good position with amazing views, and it was nice to dine out at a range of different restaurants, each with a different character and offering a good selection of lovely food and wine. Sheila must have given a huge amount of thought to the detail of this holiday, even booking a table on the balcony of one restaurant so that we could watch the festival taking place below. Details like this made the holiday more special and memorable. The only slight issue with the hotel was that it did not offer drinks during the day. It would have been nice if tea and coffee could have been available when we were working in the studio. However, the lovely position of the hotel made up for this, and we didn't have to walk far to find a café". - Cortona 2019



"The whole week was brilliant especially as we were there for the Medieval festival, superb!  Chris was a great tutor to learn from and an amusing and attentive host, we had some lovely evening meals as the group were all very sociable and good company.  The hotel was ideally placed with fabulous views from the rooms.  It would have been nice to have access to tea and coffee.  The staff were helpful and pleasant  but no room service.  The visit to Lake Trasimeno was lovely but definitely more time needed on the island before lunch to explore or do some sketching, as it became obvious that we only just had time to eat and get back to catch the ferry. A lovely holiday with Chris.".  - Cortona 2019

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"Jennifer is the most versatile instructor who takes an interest in the development of the various techniques and skills needed to achieve the next level of experience! So no matter the personal achievement of wa h participate we all learned somet new to add to our art endeavors! Thank you Jennifer for being so accessible to all of us" ! - Peccioli June 2019



"Excellent on all counts - the care and staff of the hotel were excellent and the teacher, Jennifer Johnson was very helpful and encouraging. I can't think of anything I would change .... except for the long distance from home to Italy ..... it was perfect". - Peccioli June 2019


“Pratello Country House was very elegant, the rooms spacious,and the extensive gardens beautiful. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The only criticism was the dinner menu, which remained the same the entire week, although on request the chef did cook chicken for the last evening.  Overall however an extremely enjoyable experience, and Jennifer was by far the best teacher of my now four Painting in Italy holidays”.  – Peccioli June 2019


"The hotel was beautiful - staff friendly and obliging. I liked the mix of tuition and relaxation by the pool. The evening meal was superb". - Peccioli June 2019 


"Absolutely excellent, Fiona a brilliant tutor, who helped and guided so well. Claudia was a superb model for us really professional and coping so well with the challenges of the role.  We had a marvellous time".  - Mike - Lucca May 2019


"I just wanted you to know that the holiday was excellent.  I think this was because it was obviously in a lovely place, but was in a proper studio with Laura as a properly qualified professional tutor.  We all got on well together and had a great time. I feel I have learnt a lot. So thank you for organising it". Carol - Florence April 2019


"I had a fantastic time! The group was great and Frank and Laura are lovely people. I learnt a huge amount and will definitely come again" - Annette - Florence April 2019


"It was a perfectly organised, wonderful holiday with everything taken care of". - Florence April 2019


"Painting in Italy’s Venice week is a perfect painting holiday. The hotel on the Lido made a great base, with a long beach only minutes away. The group enjoyed excellent, lively dinners each evening at different restaurants. Venice is always busy, but each morning Charles took us to places where it was possible to work for hours, without the crowds. Painting in Italy is an obvious choice for solo travellers. With no single supplement, no hidden extras, the holiday includes a Vaporetto pass for the week, and a private water taxi to and from the airport. From start to finish, this high end painting holiday is a winner". - Venice September 2018 


"My first time with this organisation and would thoroughly recommend them. The hotel was lovely, very central and the staff were extremely polite and helpful. The tuition was excellent and I loved the studio atmosphere with Laura and Frank - especially when Frank decided to open the Prosecco at about midday! The dinners out with Frank were all good restaurants - some better than others but overall the whole experience was great and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Other groups members were pleasant and with a good kindred spirit. Well done Sheila - I will be booking again next year! Perhaps Venice next year." - Janie - Florence October 2018 


"It was a lovely holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was structure to it, but there was plenty of free time too. Of course, the painting was central to the pleasure of the holiday, even though it could sometimes get frustrating, but the prosecco every day certainly helped there. It was a relaxing and stimulating atmosphere, Laura and Frank were great, the hotel was excellent, and the studio was just a few minutes away. It was a new experience for me to be in a large and busy professional studio, there was a real buzz to it, and I would love to have stayed another week. I also particularly enjoyed the dinners every evening together. That they were all a la carte was a big plus".  Janet - Florence October 2018


"This was my first experience of this type of holiday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was all very well organised with just the right number of little trips and just enough freedom to "do your own thing". I found Fiona to be an excellent tutor who found time to spend with each of us, giving us plenty of encouragement and inspiration and lots of handy tips. The hotel was beautifully situated with plenty of painting opportunities and I loved our visits to Cortona. I took many photographs and have been inspired to draw or paint quite a few of them since I got home. It was a lovely group of people on the holiday and a couple of them had been on your holidays before - I think that speaks for itself! Thank you so much for a great week". - Cortona September 2018 



"The hotel was excellent in every respect. Courteous and efficient staff, five star food and service. The room was lovely with great views. I have come to expect a high quality holiday from Painting in Italy and this year was indeed very good. Jennifer Johnson is a great tutor, often giving her time in her free period, and always working her way around each artist giving sound advice. I could not have asked for more". September 2018


"Thoroughly enjoyable: excellent tuition, excellent company and excellent hotel in beautiful surroundings".  September 2018


"A perfect week in all respects However, I don't think Todi was worth a visit. I would have preferred a whole day in Assisi instead, and kept the visits to 2 days, the hotel was SO beautiful, and difficult to leave.!" September 2018


“The castle was absolutely beautiful and peaceful. The tuition by Charles Mitchell very good and studio lovely with spectacular views. The food was delicious and the service by the hotel staff absolutely first rate given with great warmth and charm. The visit to Urbino was very enjoyable and a pleasant break in the overall holiday. Loved the pool and the quiet places to relax and read a book in the afternoon. My friends also enjoyed the holiday very much and we want to come again with your company, as the whole experience was very well organised with two lovely people Charles and Sheila.” Castello di Petroia June 2018


"What a beautiful location! Very inspiring and almost spoilt for choice for subjects to paint. I should have opted for a room on the front but I’m being picky. Charles is a lovely man and his time was spent evenly between all the participants. I am rusty on my watercolour painting techniques and would have loved to monopolise his time.....selfish! think? Having been 4 times in 2 years on your holidays, this will not be the last I can assure you. Well done yet again an you can expect for me to pester you again. My expectations are justifiablely high. Oh where to next... any suggestions?" - Frank - Torri del Benaco June 2018


Wonderful week rounded off by a wonderful trip to Verona and the opera. The hotel in Verona was a really excellent choice - very central and accessible, bar very accommodating when we were late back from the opera and still feeling very elated. We loved Torri and the hotel was beautifully situated - lots of interest for the painter. Charles was always very helpful on the painting part of the holiday - as I was there with non painting husband i probably didn't get the best out of it in terms of timing ( I should have spent more time painting!!). My only slightly adverse comment is that there was always too much food, it was mostly very good but quite rich and on several occasions we opted for a mixed salad for the main course and fresh fruit for dessert.this was easily available when we asked but it would have been better if there had been some lighter /plain er food and offered as a choice, rather than special request........... but, then, we were in Italy!!” – Torri del Benaco – June 2018


"This was the first Painting Hoiiday that I have been on and will certainly not be the last. I have been painting for many years, and have always wanted to try these holidays. They are designed to cater for all levels of experience in painting, Following the week in Cortona, I returned home picking up so many great ideas from the excellent tutor Chris Forsey. Sheila De Vries, Director of H&G Italy pays such attention to detail, right from the initial holiday booking and through the weeks holiday, ensuring the smooth running of excursions, and evenings out in town in the town. I would fully recommend anyone with the slightest interest in painting and loving the beauty & ambience that Italy offers, to make this their next holiday. Alan Yates Cortona 10/06/2018


"The location was beautiful in a fairly secluded castle which was a unique place to stay. We enjoyed lunch and supper most days with wine and excellent service from a small team of staff. We had an upgraded room which was fabulous with a small garden and a glass enclosed bathroom housing a large jacuzzi bath and a shower. There is an upstairs covered terrace room which was our art studio but also lots of opportunity for en plain air work led very helpfully by Charles who in addition to the standard agenda arranged a life sitter for us with his dog on one day. My husband did the cooking two x one hour sessions of watching intesting recipes but no hands on. However lots to do for a non painter with lovely walks around and a pool". - Ailsa - Castello di Petroia 2018


"The hotel is wonderful. Set in the most beautiful countryside it has everything one could wish for. The staff were extremely helpful and friendly. The bedrooms were tasteful with comfortable beds and spotless linen. The food was good and plentiful and so was the wine! It was so wonderful eating on the terrace in the evening discussing the days events. The Count and Countessa were gracious hosts and I really enjoyed the evening spent with them wine tasting. The tuition. What can I say except that Fiona is the best tutor I have ever met. She is so talented, friendly, helpful and generous with her ideas. She adjusts and helps all abilities and all painting mediums. I learnt so much. The effort she put into arranging the final evening made it such a success. Where does she get her energy? I had a week's painting that I will never forget. This review could get boring as there was nothing i disliked. Roll on next time".  - Saragano May 2018


"This holiday was a totally wonderful experience. The hotel was fantastic, the owners & staff were excellent. the food and wine was faultless. I can't express my thanks enough to Sheila for her professional organisation of this wonderful holiday, and for her total commitment to making sure that everyone had a fabulous time whether painting or cooking. I thoroughly recommend anyone wanting to enhance their skills at painting or cooking in the Umbrian hills of Italy. I hope to visit Saragano again in the near future. Best wishes". Saragano May 2018



"Loved the holiday and all the guests got on so well.. would also like to say what a great set up the hotel was for painting and relaxing. Would have liked more time for painting. Felt trip to Assisi was unnecessary as I had personallybeen before anyway. But of course I could have stayed behind !,,, Lovely restaurant the alchemists. Would totally recommend holiiday and the BRILLIANT tutor. Thank you for organising it for us". Montefalco June 2018 


"Wonderfully organised programme with so much to see and do that I couldn't find enough time to actually paint!! I learned so much from watching the live painting demonstrations projected onto large screens, and visiting the exhibited artworks in galleries and museums.The hotel was lovely - rooms very spacious, clean and comfortable; staff most attentive and helpful; breakfasts plentiful. Food in the three selected restaurants was excellent and, as always, I do enjoy eating a la carte instead of being offered a bog standard tourist menu - thank you, Sheila! For a future trip may I suggest that on the final day, when the festival has closed, we could then have some painting tuition - there really wasn't much time to fit it in during the festival - and, during the festival, we could visit some of the exhibited artworks with our tutor for a critique and explanation of some of the techniques used. I was amazed at what could be achieved using just water colour. Altogether another most successful and enjoyable week, Sheila - thank you". - Fabriano May 2018



"Absolutely brilliant... loads of things done, but very relaxed". - Fabriano 2018


"This to say thanks to you from us both for a really wonderful holiday.  The email backup and pointers that you gave us before the trip Sheila were amazing.  We found it a joy to meet so many interesting and friendly people from all quarters.  The Hotel was ideal, very friendly staff , and easy walk to all locations which was a joy.  Helen wishes to say that she learnt such a lot from Charles.  We are very tempted to join your Castello di Petroia holiday in 2019 if its still on the menu then?  Our grateful thanks to you". Chris - Fabriano 2018


"I wanted to add how wonderful a time we had.. mixing the holiday with the festival was perfect.  The “Le Muse” hotel was really nice, a hotel to live in, nice people, traditional building but with good facilities.  Charles is perfect.  If we are able, we will be back next year! Oh dear I'm gushing" Steve - Fabriano 2018


"This was my first time on a holiday like this. I was nervous. Then I met Frank and Laura. Walked around the large studio. Saw a rabbit named ‘Leo’ wandering around in the studio. I felt like I’ve come home. There was no pretence, no judgment, just deep affection that I felt from them. The other students were all by themselves too and for some reason, we all developed a great understanding and friendship. When it was the end of the holiday, I knew I was going to miss Laura, Frank and the others. And I do. Especially the 11:30 break for Prosecco... the models were so patient with us and encouraging. All in all, a peaceful, relaxing and learning experience I’m not going to forget. Would have stayed longer if I could. And lovely Sheila who was so caring and thought of everything. Kept in touch to make sure everyone is okay". - Florence 2018


"A delightful holiday. I learned so much! Laura was careful to give individual feedback, and her observations were extremely helpful. The other participants on the course were excellent company, and the cultural activities were terrific. Sheila dealt with unexpected travel complications (cancellation of a flight caused by strike action) with her usual remarkable efficiency and kindness. Quality time indeed". - Florence 2018


"I have had 3 painting holidays with your company now so you must be doing all the right things. This holiday was great and fulfilled all my expectations so I will certainly book further holidays with you. I really appreciate the extra efforts that you make to ensure that everything flows smoothly. I know that I am not alone in my views as the other people on the trip expressed similar comments. Well done and I hope to see you again soon". - Florence 2018 


"Excellent tuition from Fiona who targeted my strengths and weakness to leave me feeling I had moved forward with my watercolour painting during the week. The hotel was the best I had ever stayed in, with beautifully tiered and well kept gardens, faultless rooms and helpful and friendly staff". - Sicily 2018 


"We had s great week at the Belvedere which was superb !  Everyone of the staff was brilliant so welcoming, smiling and helpful" - Sicily 2018


"Lovely group and an inspirational tutor. The service at the hotel was exceptional". - Sicily 2018


"The holiday was up there with the best.  The hotel was lovely and I got so much help from Fiona.  She is a very giving person". - Sicily 2018


“As you can see five stars all round, the only hiccup was the chilly weather but that was just a bit unlucky. It certainly didn't stop the enjoyment of wonderful scenery to paint, and Fiona's tuition was first class. She went out of her way to help my "painter's block" and lead me in a new direction. Thank you so much”. – Sicily March 2018


“I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The balance of tuition to excursion was fine but another time I would choose to perhaps stay behind and paint, a personal choice. Marco as a guide was outstanding in his knowledge and enthusiasm! Taxi drivers charming, friendly. I do not think that you could have done anything to improve the experience, the location was superb and the staff outstanding in their helpfulness. Many thanks”. Patricia – Saragano – September 2017


"Really enjoyed my stay in Umbria last week.  Food and wine and accommodation top notch.  My painting colleagues were all lovely and friendly and we all gelled.  John Booth an excellent tutor by being both supportive, positive and good company.  So very glad I came.  Thank you". - Trish - Saragano - September 2017 


"Both Tom and I much enjoyed our time with Painting in Italy. Our fellow holiday makers were an excellent mix of friendly and interesting people and very easy to get on with.all the holiday was all we had hoped for and more. Louisa is very special and a wonderful guide.  Thank you for a great time. We will be talking about it for a very long time. We loved it. And I hope we can enjoy one of your holidays in the future". Simon - Cortona - September 2017  


"Thank you Sheila. . Really enjoyed my stay in Umbria last week.  Food and wine and accommodation top notch. My painting colleagues were all lovely and friendly and we all gelled.  John Booth an excellent tutor by being both supportive, positive and good company. So very glad I came. Thank you".  Tricia - Saragano - September 2017


"Terrific holiday. The Ghirlanda was a wonderful venue. Service and food were excellent and it was the perfect venue for painting. So much to paint in the hotel and Saragano. Jennifer is an exceptional teacher. I learnt so much. Tempted to go again but I feel I should try other venues. I've already booked for Florence portrait painting in April and would like to book another holiday with Painting in Italy in Autumn, finances permitting"! - Saragano - September 2017


"I really enjoyed Castello di Petroia. Huge, comfortable accommodation. Good food in interesting, historical surroundings. The weather, as you know, was hot, so thank goodness for the roof terrace. Lots of space to spread out, terrific views in shade with a gentle breeze.  Charles' tutoring was, as expected, most useful/helpful". - Robert - Castello di Petroia July 2017



"Torri del Benaco was an excellent location. Loved being ther and found it very beautiful. Charles, our tutor, was so warm and helpful. He gave a lot of individual attention. The hotel was very accommodating and provided lovely dining experiences. Missing Torri". -  Sandy - Lake Garda June 2017


Great hotel, with very welcoming owners. Perfect location. Good food and wine, both at the hotel and locally. Jenny was an informative and dedicated teacher who is also good company. What is not to like?? Thank you. - Montefalco June 2017


"Although this was a last minute booking everything worked like clockwork. I had very enjoyable time and met some great people. This has encouraged me to arrange another similar holiday with you again in Italy. Well done!" Regards Frank - Saragano June 2017


"Great accommodation with hotel staff friendly and happy to help. Very good food . Good environment for painting and relaxing. Enjoyed excursions to othe towns however not so keen on in depth history of paintings etc. Would have appreciated a bit of time to explore the shops. The artist was helpful and must be commended for managing various different types of media. Altogether a great experience". -  Cortona - June 2017


"Laura and Frank were a good team together.... I learned a lot form the class. She was very open with her style of works and very clear on details. I wish I could have stayed longer". Donna - Florence 2017 


"Our week in Florence was excellent. The tuition, the atmosphere, and the help from Laura especially, made learning a difficult technique easier.  Good company, good hotel . All round a special week". Penny - Florence 2017



"I really enjoyed the painting experience. Laura and Frank provided an excellent combination of focussed instruction and conviviality. The meals were great! Thank you for organizing such a wonderful painting holiday". Gordon- Florence 2017 


"As always excellent organization by Sheila and tuition with Fiona. Hotel Villa Beledere beautiful location, Comfortable, clean room and lovely, cheerful, helpful staff. So, what "more can I say, best of the three memorable holidays I have had with painting in Italy, should certainly go to Taorima Best Wishes for yet another successful season". Coral - Sicily 2017


"Excellent sums it up. This was one of my best ever holidays. The painting tuition was fantastic - Fiona, generous as ever with her help and encouragement. I really felt I had achieved something by the end of the week. The hotel was spectacular and all of the staff, from the moment I arrived, were outstanding. Thank you for organising every detail. Ten days of this would be absolutely splendid...!" - Sicily 2017


I thought this was one of the most successful painting holidays I've experienced. The location was excellent, with many places around the hotel and surrounding area to settle down to painting. The private area where we met each morning was very conducive to a serious approach to the day's art. Fiona was brilliant as usual, encouraging and thoughtful, very aware of our individual needs. The hotel was excellent, friendly, helpful staff, great lunches, if somewhat long winded (but that is the culture I suppose) wonderful views, lovely gardens”. – Trixie Walker – Sicily 2017



"The hotel was beautiful and the tuition was more than helpful. Fiona is very patient and set useful tasks for Clem and I in order to get us out of our comfort zone a bit more. The hotel's food was delicious and it was lovely to have lunch with everyone everyday to catch up on what we've been doing. This trip was perfect and organised very well! Thank you Sheila! – Sicily 2017


"What a wonderful week. Brilliant guidance and tuition from Fiona Graham-Mackay, in a beautiful setting". - Sicily 2017 


"I wanted to drop you a line to say how much we enjoyed our week in Florence. I not only loved the art course, but also learnt so much from Laura - she was a fabulous teacher and so encouraging! Between them, she and Frank looked after us very well - all, no doubt, down to your great planning! Rob enjoyed it very much too - he loves being a free agent to do what he chooses, so I think it was the right choice not to join the 'artists'!  I have been thoroughly inspired by it all and will definitely want to do another holiday that you have organised - although perhaps in a rural location next time". Valerie Florence 2016


“I  loved painting there & Phil Hobbs' tuition was excellent, a really nice group of people & great fun. I really think that Sheila organises these holidays very well. This is my third with another booked next year”. October 2016


“I really enjoyed Saragano.  The situation is stunning, and entirely conducive to painting! Jennifer was her usual brilliant self, always on hand to teach, advise and give eminently constructive criticism. The staff were extremely helpful, and the food was really delicious.  I will definitely be booking again”! – Patricia Saragano September 2016


“Phil Hobbs' tuition was excellent, a really nice group of people & great fun. I really think that Sheila organises these holidays very well. This is my third with another booked next year”.  Lynne – Venice September 2016


"I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.  The one-to-one help and tuition from the hotel chef was both fun and informative. The guides on the excursions to Cortona and nearby monastery, to Siena and to the Avignonese Winery were all very knowledgeable, informative and clear in their explanations. The excursions themselves were well-chosen, and the winery visit was particularly spectacular! The hotel facilities and grounds, including swimming pool, were excellent and without exception the staff were friendly, helpful and attentive. The provision of taxis and minibuses was excellent. All in all, the holiday was a great success and I hope to be able to take part in a further Painting in Italy holiday and will in particular look out for activities - cooking in particular - for a non-painting partner". - John, Cortona September 2016


"As you can see by the five stars I've rated the holiday I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The situation of the hotel is perfect with such wonderful views to paint that it was hardly necessary to venture out. If you did the village was only just up the road and the walks through the countryside were beautiful. Because our tutor Fiona was so helpful and enthusiastic I learnt so much about all aspects of art". Jill Van Looy - September 2016


"Absolutely superb. Our tutor,Fiona Graham-Mackay, was brilliant: intelligent, warm, and empathetic. She has the gift of enabling students to give the very best of themselves, and to push their boundaries. The hotel chosen (La Ghirlanda) was outstanding: delicious food, impeccable service. Painting in Italy does seem to attract lovely people, and the dynamic between participants was excellent. A holiday to remember". Susan - Saragano September 2016


"Charles was an excellent instructor. He not only helped me enormously with my understanding of how to use watercolor, but also provided insightful comments on how to develop the composition and approach the piece from a more abstract perspective - just what I was looking for. The town was charming and the group was a lovely bunch of folks which made it a very pleasurable week for a solo traveler".  Lake Garda August 2016


"Benaco and Lake Garda were glorious and it was lovely being down in the harbour with very little traffic. Altogether we had a lovely holiday and I look forward to going with "painting in italy" on another occasion".  Lake Garda 2016


‘It was a very relaxing week with good food and great company. Sarah has inspired me to get painting again after so many years (my husband is delighted!) and I enjoyed the balance of tuition and rest. It was great to be taken out on afternoon trips and dinner in different locations. Overall, it was a most enjoyable week’. - Saragano June 2016


‘This was an excellent holiday, coming at a difficult time for me. Chris Forsey was great fun and good company as well as being a super painter and tutor. Organisation was first class and trips memorable.. I would I've to return to Montefalco especially if Chris was the tutor again’. – Montefalco June 2016 


'Enjoyed the week in Montefalco. Chris Forsey struck just the right balance for me. He is relaxed, with great sense of humour, and his approach to using mixed media inspired me make changes to my own style of painting. The hotel is quirky and I liked the informality and the feeling that we could make it 'our home' for the week. Our hosts couldn't have been more helpful and charming.  The visits were excellent although would have liked more time in Bevagna.  All in all a really fun week with the right size group, and would come again!' -  Montefalco June 2016



'Really enjoyed my week. Sheila provided very good info prior to departure and made sure I was comfortable.  The lunches and dinners were very good. Chris is an inspiring tutor and I will be going to some of his workshops at home. Thank you for a great week.' Montefalco June 2016


'Just wanted to say a big thank you for the wonderful holiday I have just had. 

Sarah Miatt, I have to say was a really inspirational instructor and I can't believe how much I accomplished in just one week. She also looked after all of us exceptionally well'.  Chris - Saragano June 2016


'Good hotel, loved the original features, nicely restored. Great location too. The food at the hotel was very good.  Cortona is a lovely hilltop town & we had an excellent guide who told us interesting things about Cortona & the monastery. Jennifer Johnson our tutor was excellent. She demonstrated techniques & was not only knowledgeable but helped us all in turn. She is a talented artist in her own right and an excellent teacher! Overall the balance of tuition & holiday was good as those who didn't want to work after lunch could opt out & those who wanted to carry on could'.  - Cortona June 2016


'This was an excellent holiday, coming at a difficult time for me. Chris Forsey was great fun and good company as well as being a super painter and tutor. Organisation was first class and trips memorable.. I would I've to return to Montefalco especially if Chris was the tutor again'.   Montefalco June 2016


I've had a truly, wonderful holiday -  a dream come true and  made so many delightful new friends whom I hope to bump into again in the not too distant future.

I do compliment you on the choice of hotel and their delightful staff - enjoyed the food too!  Yes, I've had a lovely, lovely, holiday - as I have already said 'a dream come true' and that doesn't happen very often does it?  'Thank you so very, very much'.  Annie - Cortona June 2016


I thought the whole of the holiday excellent and I know it sounds boring but really did rate every experience with 5 stars. I feel I learnt so much from the studio, the excursions were great, although I didn't go to the Uffizi as I was so exhausted that day. However I thought the Pitti Palace was worthy of a 5 star rating. I t hought the hotel was friendly, clean and welcoming and so central for everything. The whole balance of the holiday was well thought out and I cannot recommend the experience highly enough.



Sheila, just wanted to let you know what an absolutely wonderful time I had last week in Florence.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.  The hotel was wonderful, the dinners arranged were delicious and the art tuition was the best. Laura is extremely talented as a tutor and both her and Frank were so helpful with arranging anything we wanted to do following our lessons as well as providing tasty snacks and wine every day.   They arranged museum visits, trips to hillside villages, paper marbling, opera, piano recitals etc. etc.  Nothing was too much trouble for them.  No wonder I felt thoroughly spoilt. Thank you and I really hope to attend more of your art holidays. - Sheila Wood - Florence May 2016


"I wanted to say how glad I was that I booked this painting workshop with Painting In Italy. Our hosts, Laura & Frank worked so well together to give a novice like myself a renewed confidence in my painting ability.  They  have also given me the practical skills to take my painting and drawing forward, hopefully to another level.  The social side was made all the more enjoyable by the other students that took part in the workshop, and by the efforts of Frank, for whom nothing was too much trouble. Humour was never far from the surface and frequently bubbled over to fits of laughter all round.  Laura was very clear and concise in her tuition, and her encouragement and charm has meant I now miss the 4 hour painting session routine very much. Everything was ready and prepared each morning for us to start painting. Brushes had been washed and paint and medium laid out ready on the palette.

 The hotel was excellent with fresh continental breakfasts, and the car transfer went smoothly as well. All the restaurants served very good food with an excellent menu.  I hope to join you again in the near future and would be happy to recommend this particular workshop to any novice or more experienced painter who wants to learn some classic still life painting techniques".  Ed Harris - Florence November 2015


"Completely wonderful holiday Shiela's organisation was brilliant and Laura and Frank were wonderful hosts. Laura is an excellent artist and we loved the art classes. Frank was an amazing tour guide and host Thanks to you all".  Emily Harris - Florence November 2015


"Holiday was prefect lovely people. Tuition enthusiastic and understanding and so very helpful. Hotel excellent and it's location first class. I will return, you have been warned" . Bob Benton Florence November 2015



"Really enjoyed it, lovely group, your attention to detail second to none.  Tuition very good, such nice people". - Florence October 2015


"Absolutely enjoyable, the group were wonderful the tuition beyond excellent".  - Florence October 2015


"I really enjoyed the experience of working in a studio each morning and I appreciated the professionalism of Laura and Frank and the time and effort they put into the week. The whole experience was very enjoyable with some great memories to think over now I'm back home".  - Florence October 2015


"An amazing week. Laura and Frank are such wonderful people and I learnt a huge amount. Never having painted in oils before, I am now totally converted. The hotel staff couldn't do enough for us and I felt very comfortable there as a woman travelling alone. The hotel is in the heart of Florence, near the Palazzo Vecchio and the studio - an excellent location. The restaurants served beautiful Florentine cuisine, and excellent Chianti! The trips were also very good, and I particularly loved visiting the Vasari Corridor.  Sheila had organised everything down to the tiny set detail, and we didn't need to worry about anything. Another gem of a holiday from "Painting in Italy"! - Florence October 2015


"This being the first holiday without my late husband I couldn't have chosen a better place. Everything was organised to perfection, nothing was missed even the weather was perfect. The group of people were great, it was like meeting old friends. My husband and I travelled all over the world but never went to Italy so this holiday was an extremely good introduction. I shall most definitely be booking another painting holiday next year". - Maureen Turner - Saragano September 2015 


"Venice was fabulous, so nice to visit it again. Really enjoyed Phil's tutoring, so knowledgeable, patient & I learnt a lot. He has such a nice way about him & nothing was too much trouble. His anecdotes were funny too. Can't praise him enough & what a brilliant painter.  As for the opera....fantastic, great seats, the soprano was outstanding & the buffet was really good too.  So seriously thinking of going again next year, just need to check the dates.

Thank you Sheila as you can tell I really enjoyed the whole experience". Lynne Blore - Venice 2015


"Just wanted to say how very much we enjoyed our holiday, it was just great and i wanted it to go on!!  Phil was a really super teacher and i think both Michael and i made progress! to the point that we would very much like to do another workshop with Phil to continue with his approach, so, as he is teaching the same class in Venice next year we would like to do it again!! " - Lynne Roche Venice September 2015 


"Extremely well organised, everything went smoothly and we didn't have to think about anything! The restaurants and excursions were excellent and we would not have found them if we had been independent travellers. The company and tuition was great and although the holiday appeared quite expensive when I first booked, everythin g was included and it was very good value. An excellent holiday for a single person". Cortona  September 2015 


"This Holiday was a well-balanced combination of tuition and time to visit local attractions. Our Tutor was excellent both in the more formal 'classes' and in the tuition whilst painting 'in the field'. She was available at all times, and was ready to spend time with each of us. I greatly admired her own work and found it mos t useful in attempting to improve my own work". - Montefalco September 2015 


"Well organized and a good balance of tuition and wonderful excursions with delicious Italian food and wine". -  Cortona September 2015


"I just wanted to put on record how much I admired your holiday package and enjoyed myself more than I expected.  I will be looking next year for another week, this time in Lake Garda. I shall just have to hope  you don’t sell out in June to quickly.  Thanks again, Sheila". Cortona September 2015 - Phil Harris


"I simply loved it ... Probably would go to another venue next time. Lovely views, lovely people, suburb organisation and generally marvellous. Thanks so much" - Saragano September 2015 - Ann Hutley


"I really enjoyed my painting holiday with you, the day we eat the food the cookies made, was fun, Very good tutor in Liz Cochran. Very good food indeed, Comfortable bedrooms, good service from the waiters to the receptionist and kitchen staff. Altogether a holiday of great remembrance. Thank you for organiz ing such a lovely week" - Saragano September 2015 Clare



"As someone who has knee problems,  I truly appreciated the care you took in providing us with a taxi service. * Oh my gosh, learning about the capital city of Umbria, Assisi, and its history, was marvelous. We fortunately had Marco, an enthusiastic historian to accompany us during our tour of the beautiful Basilica of Saint Francis. Similarly, Visiting Bevagna ( Mevania, the Etruscan-Oscan settleman) was equally interesting and the Medieval Festival, exciting. Dinner, in Ristorante, Oscar, was superb! Most of all, I loved the attention Sarah was able to afford us, as the painting group was smaller and thus she was able to devote more individual time to us. Sarah was ever present, and very devoted to all guests regardless of whether they were " painters " or not.  It was a wonderful trip and you were truly a gracious hostess. Thank you. I look forward to future trips." - Cortona and Montefalco (2 weeks) June 2015


"Sarah is an amazing person and gives 200 percent into everything she does. She went well above the scope of instruction and took great pains to make sure each guest was having their needs met. I liked her approach to tuition, I also like that there are other art materials to try, especially the opportunity to experiment with dry point etching.and printmaking. Sarah is very good at being flexible for the guests that have different artistic directions or have special needs. She really made my vacation a huge success".  - Montefalco June 2015


"I enjoyed all! it was a wonderful experience in all. The people were warm and friendly and we enjoyed all accents. It was great fun. Hope to do it again next year. Sheila was very helpful". - Montefalco June 2015


"Wonderful. Good company, excellent tuition (both cooking and painting) and a lovely hotel. When can we come again?!!" - Saragano June 2015



"It was a superbly organised and highly enjoyable week in which I learned a lot. The location was wonderful, the excursions enjoyable, and Fiona, was a brilliant tutor and a great person. I would say, reflecting the comments of some other guests, that maybe there could be more flexibility in the meals. Not everyone wants to sit down to four or five courses at lunch or dinner - either because they want more painting time, or they don't want to eat that much, or they find the socialising a bit of a strain. But overall thank you and congratulations on having conceived such a wonderful week".- Saragano June 2015


"Overall excellent. There did seem to be a general feeling that perhaps a 3 course meal at lunch wasn't necessary - perhaps a buffet containing different salads might have been better. Otherwise, outstanding". - Saragano June 2015


"The setting and hotel were beautiful and serene. The hotel staff was helpful and caring. The food was way too good...I had to eat it all! Fiona was a wonderful teacher and coach and made me (and all of us) feel like worthy artists. Although I enjoyed our excursions and long multi course lunches and dinners , it left little time to concentrate on painting. It felt as if we needed another week to fit in everything comfortably. I very much enjoyed the company of the other participants and thought it was an extraordinary group. A memorable vacation". - Saragano June 2015


“The overall experience was very good.  I liked the hotel, my room was pleasant and the facilities good. The grounds were in good order and one was able to find a quiet spot if one wanted to. The staff at the hotel were really nice and helpful and I would particularly mention Margarita, who was lovely.  Sarah was lovely, as before, and gave encouragement and assistance without being overbearing, she is a sweet and kind person. I enjoyed the outings, all of them and the day a Villa Laura was very special. I thought Cortona amazing, I loved Montepulciano and the visit to the vineyard was excellent. Sheila you are a special lady and what you do is good, I like the style and standards that you work to, and I have enjoyed my two trips, with possibly more to come. Following my bereavement your holidays have helped me to cope and it Is a good way to meet new and interesting people.  I will always remember with fondness my week in Cortona, thank you". - Cortona June 2015


"Once again a most enjoyable week. The excursions were very good especially the day spent at Villa Laura which was a rare privilege . Looking forward to reading details of next year's Lake Garda venue!" - Cortona June 2015


"Again a great recipe for a relaxing, lovely holiday in a beautiful setting with opportunity to develop our skills. We enjoyed the setting and tours. Fiona was a lovely person who gave tremendous energy into inspiring us in our art. We enjoyed some lovely wines and the day trip to the beautiful villa where they filmed 'Under the Tuscan sun' was a memorable experience. Rome airport was not so good because of the recent fire - pretty chaotic". - Cortona June 2015


"Although it was my first time in italy i found it to be very satisfying in all aspects of the holiday there was a good balance between painting and free time and i believe it was the best holiday i have been on and i will be going back. most enjoyable experience could not be bettered". - Venice May 2015 


"My second painting holiday and I had a wonderful time.  Venice is a dream city and it was like being in a film.  I enjoyed the varied restaurants and locations with the opportunity to visiting some fineart galleries and churches.  The opera was magical.  Fiona, as always, was an inspiration and this holiday has encouraged me to join a regular painting class".  Venice May 2015



"A very BIG thank you for all your hard work in organising such a wonderful painting holiday in Venice.  I did appreciate all the advice and information you sent beforehand which was so useful. Fiona was a superb artist and so helpful both with group and individual input on location and at the hotel.     She has a lovely warm and inspiring personality.  I didn't know Venice so was delighted with the various venues we were taken to and members of the group were lovely in sharing their knowledge alongside Fiona's input. The restaurants were great and very welcoming and the food delicious ( a few pounds have sadly gone on as a result!). There were so many good fish dishes to chose from.  I hope to join you again in the future on another of your holidays and have been recommending you to painting friends" - Christine D. - Venice May 2015



"I found the combination of good organisation, excellent tuition, comfortable hotel, interesting tours, flexibility of plans, good food and lovely fellow holiday makers meant that I had a most enjoyable experience. Fiona was very informative, inspiring and encouraging.....a lovely person. Thank you Sheila, Fiona and Tom!" - Kim T. - Florence April 2015


"Loved every minute, excellent tuition, good company, made new friends.  Ideal for people on their own.  Very well organised". Florence April 2015


"The holiday surpassed all expectations.  I really enjoyed the lecture at the British Institute with Jeremy Boudreau he made it so interesting.  It made me think about going back to school !!  Also the amount of priceless pictures we saw blows your mind away". Angela Hudson - Florence March 2015   



"The whole holiday was magical. The tutors at the Studio were wonderful, generous of their time, energy and expertise, from painting and sculpture to first aid!  Once again a wonderful experience, quite different from the 'countrysde' holidays, but for me a perfect balance and a rich experience to 'kick start' my painting. Thank you Sheila".  Joan Thompson - Florence March 2015


"Overall it was a holiday to be remembered and enjoyed forever". - Florence March 2015


"I just wanted to drop you a note and say what a wonderful time I had last week. Never have I been on such a well organised holiday . You had arranged absolutely everything just perfectly - even the company! Everyone in the group got on so well and we all had such a laugh together.  And Fiona! - well what can I say- she is just the best and most encouraging teacher one could wish for- a real gem. Wonderful."

Moira P - Saragano Sep.2014


"We both thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Umbria.  Everything was top notch. John is  looking forward to receiving the recipes so he can get going.  We will look out for next year's courses. Thank you once again".        Brenda W - Saragano Sep. 2014


"Just want to say I really enjoyed my time in Italy. It was a very special first time painting holiday for me. John enjoyed the experience too and we have both progressed significantly in our creative hobbies. The hotel was lovely and it's the sort of vacation we would have arranged for ourselves in terms of comfort and wonderful location but with the added benefit of a group of interesting people and charm of Jeremy and Rob. Felt privileged to have Jeremy's wisdom and experience.".  Ailsa Dooley - Montefalco June 2014



“Thank you SO much. It must have been one of my favourite holidays. The days went too fast ! The rest of the group were great fun and Sarah was so enthusiastic and encouraging. What a great idea it was to bring her printing press I feel proud to have learnt a new skill from her. I will be back next year”. Barbara Caston – Saragano June 2014



“Many thanks for a super holiday. I must admit the first couple days I was struggling with painting. Sarah's patience got me through and she taught me an awful lot of things I had no idea about. The problem with the place is that everywhere you look there is beauty”. Alison Hayhurst – Saragano 2014



“Just to say how pleased I am to have joined the course in Saragano. It was a good experience in a wonderful location, and a lovely friendly group of people. I thought that Sarah was excellent. She was helpful, encouraging, getting us to try new ideas and supportive. She was also a lovely personality, with a good sense of fun and involved herself completely with the group. I would like to think that I could do another course with her at some time”. Trevor Redman – Saragano June 2014



“The week in Montefalco was great - such a beautiful setting, comfortable hotel, delicious food and wine and lovely company. Jeremy was great fun and clearly a very clever artist”. Anthony Pritchard – Montefalco June 2014



"The organisation of the holiday (with all the work that that must have taken in the background) was first class.  In addition, it was such a lovely group to be part of, that Pat and I felt our experience in Venice was one of the very best holidays we have had. The acid test would be 'would we come back' and the answer is yes" Chris Taylor - Venice 2014 


"Fiona is an outstanding teacher.  She has encouraged and taught me a huge amount and although I was the novice of the group she was so encouraging.  I will keep going.  It was a privilege to be taught by her.  The group was the perfect size.  The hotel was splendid - delightful.  Staff could not be more helpful and the rooms beautifully clean and the food was amazing.  Thank you very much.  I would be delighted to hear about your trips for next year.


"Once again I have returned from Italy with wonderful memories of a very special week.  The holiday at La Ghirlanda was one of the very best I have had, with an excellent tutor and brilliant company.  The food at the hotel was the best yet too, so healthy and delicious I couldn’t leave a thing!  And the staff worked so hard to tend to our every need and to make us all feel welcome!  Thank you so much for enabling me to re-book; it was just the holiday I needed. Thanks again, Sheila".  Carol Leverett - Saragano - September 2013


"It was one of the best holidays I have ever had, combining sympathetic tuition, lovely scenery and good company". Tony Terras - Saragano - September 2013


"Thank you for another lovely holiday.  Villa Pambuffetti is a lovely slice of Italy and Alessandra and Mauro are great.  The food was excellent (my only complaint, I now have to go on a diet).  Great group of people – we all got on so well.  Lots of laughs.  Food, wine, friendship,  sunshine, activities - a wonderful holiday".  Thank you. Maggie Miller - Saragano June 2013.



"Dear Sheila,  Thanks for a wonderful week in Saragano.  The hotel is a gem and the cooking course was A1. The hotel food was excellent, not one dish that we disliked and even the breakfast choice was much more extensive than at other Italian hotels I have stayed in – not the usual limited cheese/ham/fruit.  Good crowd of people and good mix of ages and experience.  The bar in the village and the Friday evening music is something to be highlighted in your Program.  Fiona is also a gem, she must be if she persuaded me to draw for the first time in 50 years since taking ‘O’ level Art when I was 17.  Such a lovely person who instils enthusiasm.  I would be interested in going to La Ghirlanda again.

Regards, Richard - Saragano June 2013