An old friend whose husband is Italian organised a painting trip at their house in Tuscany and I got an invitation which I could not, as one can imagine, refuse. The house is on remote hillside near Pisa, with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. This was still mostly green, with patches of yellow slashed by the dark green spears of cypress trees. The weather was brilliant throughout.
The painting experience was spread over two weeks, in order to accommodate all aspiring artist friends, and sadly on the days I was there, the artist who was to teach us was absent—leaving me in the position of being the most experienced guest.
However, while I did not get the opportunity to learn from someone else as I had hoped to do, it was so much fun to paint—and eat—with others in such beautiful surroundings that I really could not complain.
One day we took the opportunity to drive to Florence, where we went around the Palazzo Pitti. I had visited this museum years ago and I can report that nothing has been done to it since. With the new style of curating now prevalent, I found it extremely old fashioned. Rows and rows of dark paintings of the Virgin Mary against a wallpaper of dark red stripes. More rows of Allegories in the next room. Rows of portraits of unattractive people. Heavy frames with the names of the artists on tiny bronze plaques—I had to lean right in to be able to read them and, every time I did so, I set off the alarm!
However, the views from the windows were stunning.
We went through a multitude of rooms, one after the other, badly lit and even more badly ventilated, which tired me out and made it hard to seek out the treasures—for, of course, the Palazzo Pitti is full of treasures-
-such as frescoes to die for around the ceilings, and, above all, the incomparable Titians.
After lunch in a small tratoria hidden away in a side street, we walked in the Bardini Gardens.
And I cannot finish this post without a mention of the food—Italian food being, to my taste, the pinnacle of deliciousness.