To return to Tuscany so soon after my trip to Peralta in May was a real treat. This time my port of call was Cotto, the picturesque village in the Tuscan hills, tucked away behind the Carrara marble mountain range and near the medieval market town of Fivizzano. The first two days where not as expected sunny, but we made good use of the time and painted in and outdoors first at Cotto and on day two in the square of Fivvizano. The square has an old fountain in its centre and a big church with tower and no less than 6 bells. Thankfully they do not ring that often, so we were able to enjoy the delicious lunch at the Bar Elvetico in piece and quiet.
By the time we were ready to venture out further, the sun was out in its full glory, presenting us with clear, blue skies. Another excursion to the historic town of Lucca was great fun; some people painted, whilst others just enjoyed the sights and shops. On the way home we did not take the same route by train via the National park, but interrupted our journey at Monzone. There is a wonderful local restaurant which served us the most scrumptious Tuscan cuisine. Paulo, our friendly bus driver for the week picked up a slightly tipsy and happy lot afterwards.
This gave us ample of energy for the next day to tackle the ancient castle of Verrucula. An imposing structure, set on the top of a hill with church, campanile and stone build houses nestling at the foot of it’s towers. Conveniently, there is also a little restaurant by the fountain above the river, where we indulged in another delicious lunch.
The last day we enjoyed painting the mountain views from the balconies of La Vecchia Canonica, the old farm houses and pan tiled roofs of Cotto before getting ready for a little show in the evening. It is always a great pleasure to see the diverse work that has been done during the course. Coming together on the final night we celebrated not only a wonderful week in Tuscany with great art, but also the friendship and good spirit we all shared.
My gaze now wanders to the North, to the Scottish Highlands, where my next course is taking me. Not such a strong contrast as one would imagine. On a clear day the light in the Scottish mountains is as breathtaking as the Apuan Alps in Italy. Seeing is believing!
With best wishes for a British summer,