History: A Capuchin Monastery Turned Art School

La Romita, situated on a hillside above the city of Terni, Italy, in the region of Umbria, was established in 1548 as a monastery by the Capuchin Order of Friars Minor. It remained an active monastery until the early 19th century. La Romita was considered a “poor” monastery because the Capuchins, like the Franciscans from whom they evolved, lived primarily from alms and charitable offerings of the communities they served. Church archives show that the Capuchin friars at La Romita at one time produced the coarse-woven woolen cloth used for the Order’s robes.

The grandparents of signora Amina Quargnali (the mother of school founders Enza and Paola Quargnali) purchased La Romita a few years after the monks left, and it was used for many years as the family’s summer home and farm, primarily for olive tree cultivation and olive oil production.  Some of the olive trees at La Romita are over 300 years old!

La Romita School of Art first opened in 1966, under the guidance of Enza Quargnali, as the summer art program of Rockford College in Illinois. For over 50 years people have stayed at La Romita, painting the landscape, people, and towns in the beautiful Umbrian hill country, whose radiant golden light has charmed artists since the days of Perugino and his famous pupil, Rafael. Although there have been many modifications and revisions over the centuries, much of the original structure remains intact.

The participants sleep in two floors in rooms that open off a gallery aisle. Housing is dormitory style, with two people sharing each (large) room: a few single rooms are also available. Interestingly, when La Romita was an active monastery these rooms were most probably the library and guest rooms for visiting religious dignitaries: the cells where the monks slept no longer exist.


Help Support La Romita

For over 55 years La Romita has been pursuing its mission "to inspire individual creativity and artistic expression through workshops in Italy, cultural exchange, and appreciation of the arts". We feel deeply that what we are doing at La Romita - the ways that it has enriched lives and promoted appreciaition of culture and art - is worth preserving through the toughest times. You can help us to continue to pursue our mission by making a donation this season. A donation to our La Romita Foundation will go to maintaining our staff and property until it's safe to travel once again.

By helping support us through a gift (every little bit counts!) you will be an integral part of our future and the future of all who come through our doors.

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