10 Days at La Romita – A Sample Itinerary

La Romita tailors itineraries to the specific group and the particular opportunities of the season. We know this part of Italy intimately, and we also understand what sorts of experiences will feed the creative process.

Day 1 - Arrival - Pickup and Orientation

The group arrives at Leonardo Da Vinci airport in Rome and is greeted by Antonio, La Romita’s bus driver. A 90 minute drive and you’re at La Romita in time for a delicious hot lunch, followed by an orientation. There’s time to rest and unpack before a 5PM trip down to Terni to pick up art supplies and personal items. The day ends at 7:30 with dinner.


Day 2 - San Gemini

After breakfast (usually 7 – 8:30) the group boards the bus for a quick 20 minute ride to their first real taste of 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 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.

AM Excursion, PM Studio


Day 3 - Villa Lante and Lake Bolsena

Less than an hour away from La Romita is the gorgeous classic mannerist garden of Villa Lante. AIributed to Vignola, the gardens are a fantastic painter’s destination with terraces, sculptures, groIoes, and cascading waterways that tie the various levels together. Subject maIer abounds from the grand views up or down the terraces, to the individual sculptures and features.

From there, it’s 20 minutes to Lago di Bolsena – Lake Bolsena – for a picnic lunch and painting. The lunch typically includes sandwiches, salad, fruit, desert, but always wine! Though Lake Trasimeno to the north frequently gets more atention, Lago di Bolsena is classified by the EU in the top rank of clean water and is locally known as the preferable of the two. Between the open water, the sandy beaches with umbrella-like pine trees, the classic boats, and the mix of medieval and rennaisance architectures, something will capture your artist’s eye – though you could always forgo painting in favor of a dip!

AM Excursion, PM Studio

Day 4 - Todi

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 little 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.

AM Excursion, PM Studio


Day 5 - Assisi & Deruta (FULL DAY)

Assisi, the birthplace of Saint Francis, is the most famous city in Umbria. For painters, there are a wealth of beautiful sights and many places to work in comfort. The majestic double basilica of Saint Francis anchors the bottom of the city while a great fortress, the Rocca Maggiore, commands the view from above. Of particular note in the Basilica are the number and beauty of frescos by the artists who gave birth to Renaissance painting…Giotto, Cimabue, Martini, Lorenzetti, and dozens of others. There are several great site-lines to the Basilica and other noteworthy scenes around the town, as well as great views down the hill and across the plains from the fortress above.

With plenty to paint and to explore, a trip to Assisi is an all-day event and an opportunity for participants to have a lunch at one of the many restaurants or caffes.

On the way back to La Romita, we frequently detour through Deruta to give participants an opportunity to shop for Umbrian Maiollica pottery. The unique, ancient designs make excellent gifts or souvenirs.

Day 6 - Studio Day & Marmore Falls

Studio day – time for review and critique, lessons, and a rest. Sleep in a little, enjoy the morning light in La Romita’s cloister, get some extra time in the studio, and reflect on all that you’ve seen and accomplished – there’s still more!

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. Students 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.


Day 7 - The Roman Ruins at Carsulae

Ancient Rome is in evidence throughout Italy, but Carsulae offers the visitor a more intimate and poignant experience of that civilization. 20 minutes from La Romita lie the remains of a Roman town, abandoned in the 4th century and now an active archeological site. Carsulae offers an unusual space for the plein air painter, secluded yet open, the outlines of the ancient town discernable by the walls and few structures that stand. It’s central axis is the ancient path of the Via Flaminia, one of the great Roman roads that ran from Rome to Rimini on the Adriatic coast. To one side is a forum and amphitheater, to the other are the remains of public buildings, and at the furthest end of the site, an archway marks the edge of the town.

AM Excursion, PM Studio

Day 8 - Montefalco

Montefalco is the classic example of an Umbrian hill town. It sprawls across the top of a hill overlooking Val D’Umbra, a site continuously inhabited since ancient times. Because of the gorgeous panoramas, it is known as the “La ringhiera dell’Umbria” – the Balcony of Umbria. Its unique circular central piazza and quiet streets are a plein-air painter’s dream. This town is the center of the Sagrantino di Montefalco wine district and also known for its intricate linens.

In addition to exteriors of par:cular beauty, Montefalco also hosts one of the most beautiful church/museum in Italy, featuring a famous cycle of the life of St. Francis by Floren:ne renaissance painter Benozzo Gozzoli.

A popular choice for painters is to visit the Arnaldo Caprai vinyard and to paint from their shaded terrace. Depending on the time of the visit, they offer wine-tasting and vineyard tours.

AM Excursion, PM Studio

Day 9 - Orvieto (FULL DAY)

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 alterna%ng 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.

Day 10 - Bevagna

Less than an hour away is the beautifully preserved medieval town of Bevagna, one of Umbria’s few “non-hill Hilltowns”. In addition to picturesque piazzas and streets, Bevagna has a millpond with a waterwheel, and a path along the river that affords many special opportunities to paint.

Bevagna is also known for its mestieri – or ancient artisinal workshops. You can see a demonstration by master paper maker Francesco Proietti in his ancient studio to see his process (and purchase some of his artisanal paper if you like…), or see demonstrations of coin making, rope making, and many other crafts.

Or if you’re in a more gastronomic mood, Bevagna is home to a shop with a Porchetta sandwich that the New York Times declared a “must eat”. We’ve had it. We agree.

AM Excursion, PM Studio


Day 11 - Departure

With clothes, gear, souvenirs, and many new works carefully packed, the group boards the bus back to Leonardo Da Vinci airport in Rome.

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