The Pandemic postponed plans for our May 2020 Art Adventure Abroad to Italy. The La Romita folks posted a video presentation about my Art Trips on you tube. Check it out! https://youtu.be/beDIiK72fCI
DARLA'S ART ADVENTURE ABROAD to ITALY MAY 2023
Each year a group accompanies me for my Art Adventure Abroad to a new destination--past trips include Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and France. Non-artists/spouses are welcome to come along so bring a friend, or just plan to make new ones! It's a small group.
WHAT IS AN ART ADVENTURE ABROAD WITH DARLA?
Ten days are planned for your pleasure in the lovely Umbrian region of Italy. Stay at a renovated centuries old monastery and enjoy the local Umbrian meals prepared on site!
Come live in Italy, if only for ten days! Enjoy the company of other artists as we visit charming villages. You may snag a quick photograph or sketch or wait until we return to the comfort of our studio. Simply stroll the markets and shop a bit all as your gather reference photographs to use later. We are staying in one place to call home, so no need to manage bags daily. May in Italy means landscapes dotted red with poppies and moderate temps! The photo at the top of this page shows La Romita at the top of the hillside.
Simply put, my Art Adventure is just that. We are a small group of artists (and non-artists who desire the encounter) who experience the culture, sites, foods of another country as we gather photographs and sketch/paint our impressions of the place we visit! I will show you how to make a fun art journal. We use our cameras to gather images and our time to see the area. This art travel holiday will provide time for both sightseeing and painting/sketching, etc. The monastery chapel has been converted as our private studio!
Having traveled to 75+ countries, I have experience planning trips. In May 2015 I realized my dream to travel abroad with artists. Since then my annual Art Adventures Abroad have included Spain, Portugal (with added river cruise), Ireland, Denmark, Germany and France. BUT only FUN people can come...if you can't walk a mile during the day, pack light and manage your own bags, this is not for you! The terrain in Europe can be a challenge with stairs and cobblestones where elevators/escalators are rare! If you require walking assistance you should consider not joining us for this experience.
In the evenings we relax with a tasty meal and add to our ongoing art journal, paint, catch up on emails or settle in with a book...even our non-artists in the group can learn to art journal! There are photo challenges and art ideas daily to use in your journal. In fact, I just sent to the printer my first-ever "Journaing with Art..As You Travel" book. It will be given as a gift to those who participate in this workshop/retreat!
You are invited! It's a VERY small group but we must have 12 register to qualify as a “group" (with 19 as the maximum).” Bring a friend, bring a spouse for a memorable experience!
Darla is flying from the DFW airport and will send flight info to those interested in traveling along on the same flights. (NOTE: Darla is arriving in Rome one day early to take in the sights on the double decker hop on-hop off bus and relax a bit before we begin our time at La Romita. You are welcome to join in!)
There are tabs on the upper left corner of this page to view scrapbooks of past Art Abroad Adventures! We are easy to spot---we are the ones with smiles!
The Nitty Gritty:
The rates include your workshop, transport from airport, excursion transport, lodging and home cooked meals. (It does not include your airfare).
Once you arrive in Rome, you’re home. Everything has been arranged, and all you really have to think about is setting your morning alarm--there are sights to see before lunch – and the morning light is worth it!
For the duration of our retreat/workshop we will be staying at a renovated 16th century monastery. On sight are plenty of areas to explore, a beautiful chapel to use as our studio, gardens and a sense of peace. The cloister, with its trimmed hedges and fountain, the Chapel/Studio with its frescos, the gazebo overlooking the valley, the olive orchard – all of this is yours to enjoy during your stay. Each day we will travel in the comfort of our private bus to beautiful local villages. Intimate streets winding up the hillside, secret gardens with figures carved from rock, vistas with fields of poppies and sunflowers stretching off into the distance--all calling you to grab your sketchbook and paints and explore!
WHO CAN COME?
Enjoy the company of other artists as we visit charming villages with time to sketch, paint and photograph or simply stroll the markets and shop a bit. Not an artist yet? Give it a try! New or wanna-be arties are welcome!
We had 14 in our 2023 group:
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
The price does not include your airfare to/from Italy. The timing is planned to secure airfares before the summer rates escalate. Darla is flying from the DFW airport in Texas and will send details if you wish to travel along with her. We will be picked up and later returned to Rome International airport, all meals (with one or two lunches excepted), room, board, full access to the property including the chapel/Studio, art instruction and daily excursions are covered.
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
Plan to arrive at the Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport (FCO) in Rome, no later than 10:30 am 3 May and ensure that your return flight departs no earlier than 10 am 13 May IMPORTANT: When booking your flight, remember since our program begins on 3 May, the flight will leave the US one day earlier (2 May). Be sure of your dates! A passport valid for six months beyond the length of stay is required for entry into Italy. If yours is about to or has expired renew it immediately.
The La Romita bus driver usually arrives at the airport around 10am when we arrive. Your student packet will contain further details on the transport. You may choose to spend extra time in the Rome airport area either before our workshop/retreat begins to just rest and acclimate or stay one night extra after our workshop/retreat to accomodate an early flight leaving the next day.
Darla can send details if you wish to fly with others in the group!
Here are the places we visited.
San Gemini AM excursion PM Studio-- After breakfast (usually 7 - 8:30) the group boards the bus for a quick 20 minute ride to their first real taste of plein air in Umbria. San Gemini features beautiful architecture and great panoramic views, and is full of people who appreciate artists visiting the town. It is a great introduction for the trip: large enough for real exploration with plenty of great subject matter for sketching or painting, but not so big that it overwhelms you with choices. It is very good for plein air and sketchbook work, with few cars and plenty of places that are restricted to foot traffic. At 12:30, the bus takes the group back to La Romita for lunch, followed by personal time (many choose to catch a quick nap). The normal afternoon schedule at La Romita is demo/instruction in the chapel/ studio from 3:30 until 6 or so, with dinner served at 7:30. After a leisurely meal, the group might disperse, or move to the Gazebo for a presentation on the following day’s destination.
Villa Lante AM excursion PM Studio-- Less than an hour away from La Romita is the gorgeous classic mannerist garden of Villa Lante. Attributed to Vignola, the gardens are a fantasy painter’s destination with terraces, sculptures, gargoyles, and cascading waterways. Subject matter abounds from the grand views up or down the terraces, to the individual sculptures and features.
Bozmaro Monster Garden
Todi AM Excursion, PM Studio-- Todi - about 40 minutes from La Romita – has one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy and is recognizable from the exterior shots in “the Agony and the Ecstasy”. A fantastic park on the way into town has a dramatic view of the town itself but also great panoramas of the valley stretching of towards Perugia. Todi is a favorite stop as it has a bit of everything: great external architecture, intimate alleyways, fountains, and scenic views. There are some shopping opportunities and good food options, and though usually Todi is only a half-day trip, the group sometimes stays through lunch to sample restaurant fare.
Studio / Marmore Falls AM & PM Studio Studio day –time for review and sharing what we have done, lessons, and a rest. We’ll take a quick trip over the hill to Cascata Delle Marmore, Europe’s second largest waterfall. The Cascata was originally created by Roman hydro-engineers in the third century BCE and modified over the centuries to give it its current majestic form. We are free to explore the network of paths that wind around (and behind) the falls and capture sights with sketchbook or camera. It is a dramatic sight with many excellent views, white of the violent water against the lush green of the ravine, close enough to feel the spray. A brief trip, but memorable.
Orvieto Full Day Excursion-- Dramatic Orvieto, perched on a butte of volcanic tufa, is known for its white wine and the architectural marvel of its cathedral. The location was a major center of the Etruscan civilization, and the source of a richness of artifacts from the time. The jewel of Orvieto is without question the Cathedral, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio (who is also credited as the architect of the Florence cathedral), with its alternating stripes of travertine and basalt and fronted by a façade of amazing golden mosaics and pilasters covered in relief sculptures. That, and many other beautiful buildings and views make Orvieto a rich destination for artists, and worth a whole day’s exploration.
Beach picnic, aquaduct & Niki de Saint de Phalle's Tarot Garden built by Niki de Saint de Phalle. Built in the second half of the last century. The Garden is the result of Niki's idea of a "small Eden where man and nature meet". She is inspired by the beautiful Park Guell by Gaudì in Barcellona, Spain. She created and personally built the great statues for her Garden. The 22 Major Arcana have a steel soul covered by concrete with mirrors, colored glass and ceramics. She worked at this colossal work for over 17 years. https://www.discovertuscany.com/maremma/capalbio-tarot-garden.html
Narni and Medieval Festival
Spoleto and market
Tarquinia Etruscan Museum
This art trip revolves around the idea of seeing and recording as much as possible. Each morning we venture out to investigate a different village—places the average tourist misses. There will be a daily challenge to meet using your camera as well as in your art journal. We will use mornings to capture colors, architecture, unique landscapes and people’s daily lives using a simple camera or quick sketches on site. Darla will show you how to translate your impressions of a place as a visible record in your journal. Our afternoons in the studio will be used for motivation, demonstrations and sharing. Ink, watercolor, acrylic, collage and more will be used with many other media to insure you take home an art journal that helps you relive the experience many times over!
Darla will bring a lot of materials to share so we don't all have to carry as much. Our 10 days will involve a lot of different materials, but primarily watercolors and ink. You will receive more info on this after registration. Look at my website under "What to Take" on the tab to your left.
WHERE ARE WE STAYING?
La Romita, situated on a mountainside above the city of Terni, Italy, in the region of Umbria, was established in 1548 as a monastery by the Capuchins friars. It remained an active monastery until the early 19th century. After the friars left La Romita, it was purchased by the ancestors of the Quargnalis and was used as a guesthouse and summer home.
For more than half a century, La Romita has been used by art groups interested in painting the picturesque hill towns. It provides a unique experience to live and work in an authentic 16th century monastery in the heart of the beautiful Umbrian hill country, and to visit and paint in an area whose radiant golden light has charmed artists since the days of Perugino and his famous pupil Raphael.
La Romita was considered a poor monastery because the Capuchins were a reformed order of the Franciscans. They took the vow of poverty as understood by Saint Francis. The most important friar to serve at La Romita was Alessandro who was born Marquis Castelli. When he died there on September 30, 1572, he was considered saintly.
The residence building was originally one story with rooms opening directly into the cloister. The present kitchen and refectory, with some modification, are in the same place they used to be. In the floor of the kitchen was the entrance to a tunnel said to have been a secret passage to the front of the hill--possibly an escape route in case of attack. This opening has been closed and only a short length of the passageway still exists.
The church now serves as the art studio and library. Inside the church, on the floor near the holy-water font, there is a stone with a carved "S" on it to indicate where the friars were buried. Previously over the main altar (and now on the north wall) was a 17th century painting of the Trinity with side figures representing St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua. In the summer of 1993 when the painting was taken down for restoration, a fine fresco dated 1563 was discovered behind it. The original wood door to the church has been removed to protect it and can now be seen on the inside.
Outside there is a cloister garden surrounded by boxwood hedges with the traditional well in the center. Down the slope there was a garden where the friars cultivated their fruits and vegetables.
The large quantity of water available on the site made it possible for the friars to operate a wool factory in 1645. During the seven-month plague in 1646, the friars distributed garments to stricken families. In 1802 the monastery was officially closed and the wool factory was transferred to Spoleto. However, records indicate that the friars continued to live there until 1815. Soon after that, La Romita was abandoned. It has since been carefully modernized to preserve the original character of the place.
La Romita lies on the outskirts of the city of Terni, about sixty miles north of Rome and about three hours drive from Florence.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? The 2023 rates are below
The costs include all ground transportation on our private bus, accommodations, meals, and art instruction. La Romita accepts check or visa/mastercard/discover. A minimum deposit of $500 is required with the registration. The balance of payment is due 45 days prior to the selected session.
List price is $3750
An artist traveling alone who shares a room is $3750
An artist traveling alone with a single room is $4100 (single rooms are $350 extra)
2 artists (or an artist and spouse/friend) traveling together would pay $7237
($3750 + $3750 - 7%) between them
There are a few singles but mostly double rooms, with shared bathrooms, about 2.5 rooms/bathroom. There are no en suites (it's a renovated 16th Century monastery - the architecture will only allow so much modification!). Singles are first-come-first-served, and secured with the deposit. Generally, May in the Umbrian region is characterized by steady dry and warm weather with clear skies, perfect for painting/sketching en plein air. La Romita has central air conditioning in the dining room and studio. Fans can be found in each room. Below is typical double room.
Email Tracy Washington: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may call their toll free number (1-855-476-6482) and Tracy can take your reservation over the phone.
Some details are at
La Romita requires 90-days written notice of cancellation prior to the start-date of your workshop, otherwise the following fees will be charged:
$500 will be retained as non-refundable to cover administrative fees
Cancellation at 61-90 Days: 50% of total cost
Cancellation at 31-60 Days 75% of total cost
With less than 30 days notice, La Romita reserves the right to retain the full cost of your workshop as a cancellation fee. For a $50 fee we will reapply the balance to a different workshop if space is available.
Should La Romita cancel the Bostick Art Adventure Abroad full refunds would be extended. This would only occur if the group does not meet the 12-artist minimum
WHAT SHOULD I PACK? Darla will send an itemized list of things to bring to help make your packing light and easy. (And, she brings a lot of art supplies to share)