Mosaics, Sunshine, Wine and Fun!

If you are looking for a holiday with variety and an exclusive location then this is the one for you!!
Karla Duterloo, an award winning Dutch mosaic artist, currently living in Cape Town will be teaching on one of our holidays in Castel Rigone next Spring. (25th May for 7 nights.)
Karla has been making mosaics for almost 15 years on all kind of surfaces and using different materials: bathroom floors, garden sculptures, functional and decorative mosaics, 2D and 3D mosaics ( trophy Heads, sold in more than 8 different countries around the world) and Fine Art mosaic.

There have been exhibitions of her work in various countries in Europe and South Africa. Very recently her work was chosen for the Western Cape Handmade Collection and exhibited at the Design Indaba 2013 in Cape Town.

Karla's classes are not only very creative and inspire-ing but they are also therapeutic, and relaxing. Her aim is to 'bring out the Artist' and above all to have lots of fun and special moments.You will leave the course with new skills, ideas and inspiration , and with lots of newfound or fired up passion for this beautiful Art.

You will work on 20 by 20 cm boards, on which you can experiment with various mosaic-materials, try out new techniques, laying of the tiles and composition, colour coordinations and more. These should fit easily in your suitcase .

Each of your board will be an unique experience. Together it will be your piece of Art.


Karla will show you how to find inspiration for your abstract design, as well as your colour-palette for the mosaic, in the surroundings of our beautiful location in the medieval village of Castel Rigone.


You have the option to incorporate colourful handmade glass-fusions plus the local minerals brought from from Africa, glass beads and other specials at additional costs. You are free to bring your own special beads, old jewellery and other little nic- nacs you wish to use in the mosaics.

In addition to the construction of mosaics you will have the opportunity to visit the amazing mosaic park by Mosaic artist, Niki de St Phalle.


http://www.nikidesaintphalle.com/

 

Relais la Fattoria


Your accommodation is in the charming Relais la Fattoria hotel in Castel Rigone with amazing views over Lake Trasimeno. This period hotel dates back to the 16th Century when it was a Padronale built on the site of the original castle. Castel Rigone is a quiet, medieval hill-top village set in pine-trees and far away from tourists and commercialism. The views are magnificent and there are numerous walks in the beautiful countryside surrounding the village. During the week there will be additional activities like wine-tasting, cookery lessons and fun language and culture after-dinner sessions. All are included. All you need to do is get yourselves over to Italy!

For UK residents our nearest airport served by Ryanair is Perugia. For those of you outside the UK then Rome is an easy train journey of under two hours.



Castel Rigone Village


This is a wonderful opportunity and an experience which will stay with you for ever!

Visit the website below where you will find further details:


http://www.notjustapaintingholiday.co.uk


Do book quickly …. Only a few places left!


 

 

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Mosaics, Sunshine, Wine and Fun!

If you are looking for a holiday with variety and an exclusive location then this is the one for you!!
Karla Duterloo, an award winning Dutch mosaic artist, currently living in Cape Town will be teaching on one of our holidays in Castel Rigone next Spring. (25th May for 7 nights.)
Karla has been making mosaics for almost 15 years on all kind of surfaces and using different materials: bathroom floors, garden sculptures, functional and decorative mosaics, 2D and 3D mosaics ( trophy Heads, sold in more than 8 different countries around the world) and Fine Art mosaic.

There have been exhibitions of her work in various countries in Europe and South Africa. Very recently her work was chosen for the Western Cape Handmade Collection and exhibited at the Design Indaba 2013 in Cape Town.

Karla's classes are not only very creative and inspire-ing but they are also therapeutic, and relaxing. Her aim is to 'bring out the Artist' and above all to have lots of fun and special moments.You will leave the course with new skills, ideas and inspiration , and with lots of newfound or fired up passion for this beautiful Art.

You will work on 20 by 20 cm boards, on which you can experiment with various mosaic-materials, try out new techniques, laying of the tiles and composition, colour coordinations and more. These should fit easily in your suitcase .

Each of your board will be an unique experience. Together it will be your piece of Art.


Karla will show you how to find inspiration for your abstract design, as well as your colour-palette for the mosaic, in the surroundings of our beautiful location in the medieval village of Castel Rigone.


You have the option to incorporate colourful handmade glass-fusions plus the local minerals brought from from Africa, glass beads and other specials at additional costs. You are free to bring your own special beads, old jewellery and other little nic- nacs you wish to use in the mosaics.

In addition to the construction of mosaics you will have the opportunity to visit the amazing mosaic park by Mosaic artist, Niki de St Phalle.


http://www.nikidesaintphalle.com/

 

Relais la Fattoria


Your accommodation is in the charming Relais la Fattoria hotel in Castel Rigone with amazing views over Lake Trasimeno. This period hotel dates back to the 16th Century when it was a Padronale built on the site of the original castle. Castel Rigone is a quiet, medieval hill-top village set in pine-trees and far away from tourists and commercialism. The views are magnificent and there are numerous walks in the beautiful countryside surrounding the village. During the week there will be additional activities like wine-tasting, cookery lessons and fun language and culture after-dinner sessions. All are included. All you need to do is get yourselves over to Italy!

For UK residents our nearest airport served by Ryanair is Perugia. For those of you outside the UK then Rome is an easy train journey of under two hours.



Castel Rigone Village


This is a wonderful opportunity and an experience which will stay with you for ever!

Visit the website below where you will find further details:


http://www.notjustapaintingholiday.co.uk


Do book quickly …. Only a few places left!


 

 

How long does it take ?

Our nearest supermercato and adjacent garage is a mere drive of 7km and, since there is no cars, no traffic lights and only one road junction a round trip allowing 30 minutes shopping (no check-out queues), 15 minutes for a chat and probably a dolce at the garage (lovely bar and cakes!) should at the outside take an hour and a half. So, why did it take me four hours yesterday???

Well, it was one of those misty mornings when it feels like we are in one world on top of our mountain and everyone 'down there' in another, like a film I saw last year in Singapore 'Upside Down'. Some days it is us shrouded in mist. Sometimes like yesterday we have bright sunshine but when we look down everything is white. Obviously some photographs needed to be taken !

 

Then, on arriving at Passignano it would have been such a waste of a gorgeous morning not to take a walk along the front by which time of course, I was desperate for the loo and that meant buying a coffee and another half hour pleasurably spent.

 

 

On the walk back to the car I happened upon the entrance to this lovely street which needed some exploration.

 

 

 

Then a little nearer I saw a fisherman mending and drying his nets so stopped to watch and take a few photos.

 

I got there in the end!

 

A photo tour of Isola Maggiore

We usually catch the ferry from Passignano. Some ferries go directly to Isola Maggiore whilst others stop first at Tuoro. The price is usually the same (around €6 for a return). and it takes about 25 minutes. It is a really lovely trip. So relaxing and probably the only time the sheer enormity and beauty of Lake Trasmeno can be appreciated.


From the back of the boat there is a lovely view of Passignano .
I

The first stop on the island should be a bar for a coffee or beer or gelato ! There is only one main street, Via Guglielmi paved in bricks and lined with buildings dating back to the 12th Century. I always turn right onto this Main Street and visit the first bar on the right where there is a beautiful garden with tables leading right down to the lake. It is also a lovely friendly bar, the coffee and gelato is good and the prices normal, not inflated and no different rates for seating. All prices are displayed clearly at the entrance.

After a pleasant break and refreshment it is a good time to stroll up and down Via Guglielmi, noting the buildings and visiting the lace museum and the Chiesa Buon Gesu, opposite. If you are lucky, and usually late afternoon you may see some of the remaining lace-makers at work. This lace was considered to be of such high quality that it was worn by Queen Margherita of Savoy.

A walk to the right up the Main Street takes you quickly into woodland paths rich in flora and fauna.
There are three churches and a castle (Guglielmi Castle) in the island. Unfortunately the castle is in disrepair and can't be visited. The churches, on the other hand are small and enchanting.
At the highest point of the island is the Chiesa San Michele Arcangelo containing lovely paintings by the school of Giotto and Cimabue.
In the early 13th Century, St.Francis of Assisi spent his Lentern fast period of forty days on Isola Maggiore and visitors can see the stone where he first set foot on the island and a tiny chapel built on the site of the cave in which he slept.
There are many paths around the island . The 2km. Lungo Lago walk around the perimeter is probably the easiest and most popular through pine and oak woods but I love to move away from the set paths and scrabble up the many stepped trails surprising pheasants and rabbits and, in the autumn discovering a interesting collection of fungi.
 
The island is a captivating and tranquil place steeped in history with beautiful artistic relics set in beautiful unspoilt, natural surroundings. In Spring, Summer or Autumn it is perfect for a relaxing day out. Take a picnic lunch or enjoy a meal at one of the lakeside restaurants but, if this is going to be your one and only visit, do make sure you sail back to Passignano at sunset. An unforgettable experience!!

 

 

 

 

Lace Making on Isola Maggiore.

The art of Irish Lace Making also called Irish Crochet, was introduced to Isola Maggiore in the early 19th Century at around the same time as an embroidery school was set up in Passignano.

The island women picked up this intricate craft easily because they were so experienced in the weaving and mending of fishing nets. The open-work designs are made with a fine steel crochet hook and linen thread.

Over the thirty years or so that I have visited the island I have seen the number of lace-makers dwindle and on our last visit a couple of days ago there were only three. Not really surprising when the whole population totals only 35!

Below is a link to a video explaining the process.

 

 

Isola Maggiore

Isola maggiore

Yesterday, a wonderful autumn day, with temperatures a comfortable 21C , was perfect for a visit to Isola Maggiore, a relaxing 20 minute boat trip from Passignano.
We like to include this excursion on our Painting Holidays because it combines amazing painting and photographic possibilities with the opportunity to relax and enjoy amazing views and relaxing walks.
There is something for everyone. Lake views, numerous species of water birds and butterflies , pheasants and rabbits amongst tranquil olive groves where trees hundreds of years old still produce an abundant harvest. A fishing community complete with its myriad of boats and crumbling jetties, picturesque houses and restaurants, and, of course the ancient churches dating back to the 12 Century. If you are lucky, and we were yesterday, you will also see some of the island’s inhabitants sat chatting in the streets whilst creating beautiful pieces of lace.
Isola Maggiore is the largest of the three Lake Trasimeno islands and where St Francis of Assisi lived as a hermit from 1211.
The population of this tranquil island is currently 35 but in the early 1800’s was 700 .
The island’s economy these days is dependent on tourism, agriculture, fishing and its traditional lace-making but it has an interesting history.,
From February 1944 to June of that year the castle was used as an internment camp for Jews and political prisoners sent there for their own safety by the Prefect of Perugia who had been instructed by the German authorities to send them to a concentration camp instead. After the Fascist authorities left Perugia and the British arrived at Sant’Arcangelo on 19 June they were eventually rowed to safety by the island’s fishermen.
Lago Trasimeno is an incredible beautiful lake whose magnificence and enormity is only truly realised on such a boat trip to the island and to sail back at sunset when the waters turn to liquid gold is a magical and unforgettable experience.

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Wine Stoppers, sofa beds and other dangerous objects!

There are never any queues in either of our two local hospital equivalents of A&E due either to the fact that the population of the area is much smaller than in our UK town or maybe because Italians are used to living with articles that nearly chop your fingers off!

In our house we currently have an ironing board, clothes drier, two beautifully made wooden fold-up chairs, and a sun lounger which are positively lethal! Ah yes! I forgot the sofa bed! A year ago Michael actually did end up in A&E with one broken finger and two badly bruised ones, a reward for folding up this bed!

Everything appears to be folding up quite slowly and innocently then, wham! The complete thing collapses into itself and whatever part of your anatomy happens to be nearest!

Now there is a new hazard. Only present if you enjoy a glass of wine. Plastic corks!

Now, granted we usually don't pay more than €2/3 for a discounted bottle which is the equivalent quality of one costing at least double discounted price in the UK but price doesn't seem to be the issue. Today I opened a really delightful bottle that cost me €1.80 which had a 'real' cork whereas some of the more expensive ones in the cupboard had plastic ones. (by now you will have gathered that I'm not a wine snob. I know what I like and won't drink rubbish but if its cheap, then all the better!). I may become a 'cork' connoisseur in future after last night's episode! Oh, I can't even be that can I because the 'corks' are covered with foil so how am I going to identify them?

The previous bottle had been corked in plastic and in order to open the new one this had to be removed from the corkscrew. Unfortunately the cork was stronger than the very expensive bottle opener which came unscrewed in the process and we had a delightful time with two pairs of pliers (unsuccessful). The offending object then had to be hacked off with a knife, bit by bit, removing bits of finger in the process!

So why synthetic bottle stoppers?

Well, the press has had a field day reporting on this issue since the decision in 1998. These corks are to be used only for table wines and not your DOC's which, by law must have a proper cork stopper.

Of course your wine connoisseurs and wine waiters are up in arms! Its taken some of the enjoyment and that air of importance away from them. What's the point of sniffing a bit of plastic?

It will be interesting to see what the outcome will be. After all cork is porous and also shrinks so oxygen seeps in and changes the wine plus sometimes there can be a bad cork resulting in 'corked' and very unpleasant wine. I guess if the plastic stoppers preserve wine well over time we may very well find the DOC adopting them too. Perish the thought!

Nomacorc, the synthetic cork producer is, no doubt delighted and hoping that the DOC will adopt them but what about the people who work in the cork forests and whose livelihoods depend on the use of natural cork?

Then there's the forests themselves which contain endemic plants and endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx and the Barbary Deer. We mustn't forget also that these forests absorb millions of tons of CO2 every year and are vast providers of oxygen to our planet.

Well, after all this writing I really need a class of wine and, since it never stays long enough to get 'corked' in our house I will definitely be choosing the real variety of stopper and hoping, for my safety, and all the very real reasons listed above, that they have the sense to reverse the decision before long.