Plein Air Workshop In Tuscany

Annoucing Our 2023 Workshop. May 10 through 18, 2023

Guest Artist Kelly Medford Returns!

The Location

We return to the medieval, walled hilltown of Barga in northwest Tuscany. It offers breathtaking overlooks, small winding streets to explore, wonderful historic architecture and quiet gardens. Barga has an active arts community, an art museum, galleries, a historic Duomo and smaller churches to tour. Many charming local bar-cafes welcome you for a coffee, pastry, gelato or panini. Several trattoria and ristorante feature wonderful local cuisine. Those wishing to visit Lucca or nearby small villages on their own can travel by bus. taxi, or take a train to Florence.

Artists and Non-Artists Welcome

Artists will have lots of free time after classes to work independently or relax. They, and non-artist guests, can enjoy the friendly village, or hike paths on the surrounding hills. Occasionally there is music on one of the piazzas. Often classes in Italian cooking or language can be arranged.

The Guest Artist-Instructor

Kelly Medford, an American living and teaching in Rome, will return in 2023 to once again be our special guest instructor. Last May May Kelly briliantly modified instruction to meet needs of members of our small group, which ranged from watercolor, drawing in dry media, and acrylic painting. Kelly has a lovely way of helping participants at all levels as they focus on developing their own style

The overarching theme of the 2023 workshop will be composition, arguably the most important aspect of making artwork en plein air and applicable to all media. The workshop will be in a relaxed and informal environment and is open to artists and non artists alike. Artists are welcome to work in the media of their choice in painting and/or drawing.

We will meet for 1 session each day to work en plein air around Barga. Each session will include a demonstration or talk on addressing that day’s particular location. Each artist will get 1-on-1 feedback on a daily basis plus several group feedback sessions to facilitate a positive and constructive learning environment.

Note: Barga is literally a hill town and requires some walking up steep hills. Participants should be in good physical shape, able to walk up and down steep hills, and stairs, and carry their gear to and from each location.

Artists will paint or draw with, and learn from, this noted painter whose work includes landscapes, cityscapes, interiors and still life. Kelly specializes in plein air painting and sketching. Her students say, "Kelly is an experienced artist who teaches with a gentle encouraging style. She promotes a relaxed approach to help students explore their potential while quietly developing their skills."

More about Kelly Medford

Born in Washington, D.C., Kelly came to Italy on scholarship to study classical drawing at The Florence Academy of Art in 2004, after having studied painting, drawing and printmaking at Antioch College and The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After finishing her studies she began taking her easel outdoors to explore and learn about Italy through painting in oils and watercolors. The current organizer of the Rome Urban Sketchers and founder of Sketching Rome Tours, she dedicates herself to working and teaching primarily en plein air in Rome and throughout Italy. She has taught the SVA studio program in Rome since 2016. Her work is in private collections throughout the United States and Europe.

Photo of Barga hillside by Don Krohn
Painting by Kelly Medford
Paintings by Kelly Medford (Apologies - some are cropped to show detail or to include on this website.)


We stay in an historic villa, beautifully restored into a charming and comfortable small family-run hotel with beautiful outdoor areas and terraces. Our hosts are gracious and very helpful. Accommodations are in shared rooms, with a few private rooms available. Sumptuous Tuscan breakfasts are provided daily in the spacious dining room. Donna arranges four group dinners at local ristorante. Other nights you can enjoy dinner on your own at your choice of the town's trattoria or ristorante. Lunch on your own daily.

Fee & Payments

Fee of $2995 includes: Classes for artists plus discussions and critiques; shared accommodations for nine nights (some private rooms available for an extra fee); ground transportation to and from the Pisa airport; delicious full Tuscan breakfast daily; and group dinners four nights.

Application form and deposit of $1000 due by January 20; second payment due February 20; full balance due March 20. $100 discount if you pay in full by January 20. $200 discount for friends not attanding the class. (Full refund should unexpected international travel restrictions arise. )

Making Your Own Air Travel Arrangements

Flights to Pisa (not included in the workshop fee) should be made in advance so that you arrive by noon on May 10th when our van will pick everyone up from the Pisa airport. At the end of the workshop, a van will take all to the Pisa airport on the morning of May 19.

Workshops Italia was founded in 2002 by Donna Magnani, an artist and former nonprofit administrator, who has painted and traveled throughout Italy since 1984. Her love of Italy and familiarity with Tuscany and Umbria inspired the launch of Workshops Italia to offer small group stays in quaint, off-the-beaten-path spots, with delicious local cuisine and the inspiration of the Italian countryside. Past trips have included study with noted artists, independent work, a writing workshop and occasionally, Italian cooking or language classes. And always the enjoyment of the lifestyle and beauty of Italy away from the crowds.

Donna's study (a BFA in Painting & Education from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago & an MA in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago), plus her career in cultural and eductional organizations helped prepare her to develop Workshops Italia. Initially a part time venture during her career as administrator and consultant to nonprofit organizations, Donna now devotes her time to organizing workshop opportunities.

From Donna

I enjoy organizing - and being one of the artists in - these workshops. It is a joy to watch others become inspired by the guest artist-instructor and the location and to focus on their artistic goals. Or to just relax and share the experience of being away-from-the crowds in the Italian countryside, removed from their usual daily responsibilities, and with good company.

I look forward to you joining us!


Donna Magnani


For more information, or an application form, please contact me. I am always delighted to share information and answer your questions. USA 815-307-4567.