Saying goodbye to Italy

On the train from Barcelona to Madrid! It has been a whirlwind ten days since I left Lucca and all the wonderful women on our retreat. We had such fun writing and painting and visiting so many wonderful places in Tuscany. We’ll forever be grateful to Karolina Lenart, her husband, Dawid, and all the people who made our ten days at Casa Fiori so magical.

I met Rob in Florence after leaving Lucca, and we have been on a fabulous journey of seeing extraordinary art and experiencing local foods and customs in Italy. After Florence we took the train to Rome, where we had five days, which hardly seemed enough, especially with a side trip to Pompei. (Photos to come.)

Then it was on to Barcelona to visit our friends Janis and Bengt, who are spending two years there. We saw every sight there was to see, it seemed, ate too well (and too much), and capped our three days together with a rousing flamenco concert.  

The last few days in Tuscany also were a blur of activity, with visits to the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano, a biodynamically farmed vineyard and winery, and the coastal town of Portovenere.  The views and monuments in Portovenere are stunning (well, everything is stunning in Tuscany). On our final evening at Casa Fiori, we celebrated by tasting our limoncello and sharing our writing and painting. I actually painted some still lifes and a landscape (see below). 

More soon from Madrid!

San Gimignano, the Town of Fine Towers. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it boasted 84 towers at one time. Eighteen still exist.  

San Gimignano, the Town of Fine Towers. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it boasted 84 towers at one time. Eighteen still exist.  

Kathleen Barry and I found a sweet little restaurant down this narrow street in San Gimignano.

Kathleen Barry and I found a sweet little restaurant down this narrow street in San Gimignano.

Portovenere!

Portovenere!

Church and grotto at Portovenere. Lord Byron is said to have swum in the ocean from the grotto. 

Church and grotto at Portovenere. Lord Byron is said to have swum in the ocean from the grotto. 

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Windy! Portovenere is just south of the villages of Cinque Terra. 

Windy! Portovenere is just south of the villages of Cinque Terra. 

The altar inside the church at Portovenere. 

The altar inside the church at Portovenere. 

My first watercolors, with thanks to the excellent teaching of my colleague-in-crime Helena Hill. (Remember the tree tower in Lucca?).

My first watercolors, with thanks to the excellent teaching of my colleague-in-crime Helena Hill. (Remember the tree tower in Lucca?).

Enjoying the fruits of our labors. 

Enjoying the fruits of our labors. 

Kathleen with the limoncello we made. 

Kathleen with the limoncello we made. 

Helena, right, and Patricia assess our paintings. 

Helena, right, and Patricia assess our paintings.