Plein Air Workshop In Tuscany

May 8-17, 2022

Guest Artist Kelly Medford

The Location

The medieval, walled hill town of Barga in northwest Tuscany 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 9th century Duomo plus smaller churches to visit. Many charming local bar-cafes welcome you for a coffee, pastry or gelato. There are several trattoria and ristorante featuring wonderful local cuisine. Those wishing to visit Lucca or nearby small villages on their own can travel by bus 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-artists who join the group, can enjoy the friendly village, its breathtaking location, arts community, cafes, and art museum. 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. You you can travel on your own to Lucca or nearby smaller towns by bus, or take the train to Florence if you want a full day trip.

The Guest Artist-Instructor

Kelly Medford, an American living and teaching in Rome, will be our special guest instructor. Kelly's topic for this workshop will include her own focus - light and shadow. The quality of the light in Italy (the Tuscan countryside especially) is renowned.

Over this year I have enjoyed Zoom drawing classes with Kelly and have grown to admire - even more - her skill and lovely way of helping participants at all levels.

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. She is skilled in oils and watercolor, but all media are welome. She will customize classes and discussions to accommodate group members' levels and be available for 1-on-1 discussions, demonstrations, and critiques. There will be informal group discussions, and free time to work on your own, or just relax. 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 both 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 daily are provided in their spacious dining room. Donna arranges group dinners at local ristorante (six nights); the other three nights enjoy dinner on your own in one 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 dinner six nights.

Application form and deposit of $1000 due by February 20. Full balance due March 20. $200 discount for friends not taking the class. (Full refund should unexpected Covid 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 8. Be sure to purchase refundable or easily changed airline tickets and consider travel insurance. A van will pick everyone up from the Pisa airport around noon on May 8. Note: Those who prefer to fly into Florence can reach Barga by train or bus.

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, writing workshops and occasionally, Italian lcooking 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 from Columbia College Chicago), plus her career in cultural and eductional organizations helped prepare her to develop Workshops Italia, nitially a part time venture. Now, following a rewarding career as an administrator and consultant to nonprofit organizations, Donna is excited to devote her time to organizing workshop opportunities. She continues to develop new arts and creativity programs for small groups who will share her love of the Italian countryside and lifestyle.

From Donna

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