“Come and do another painting holiday! It’ll be fantastic”
Sitting on the patio of Chrissie and David’s beautiful Umbrian retreat “Casa san Gabriele” looking out over the pool to the valley beyond, it wasn’t hard to imagine how perfect this place was for people craving a sun-drenched escape.
Their cottages are close but incredibly private, each with its own terrace. Their restoration is sympathetic and unpretentious – the off-white décor and soft furnishings enhancing undulating beams and stone walls. Producing their own wine, olive oil and seasonal herbs and vegetables on-site, Chrissie and David’s two children would take great pleasure in showing the guests how to feed a fluffy alpaca. There was plenty to keep people occupied too for when the sun goes down or hunger strikes. Unspoilt countryside brought a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables to cook supper, while the nearby towns of Spello, Perugia and Assisi promised an authentic Italian experience.
Chrissie and David had been running the estate for well over ten years and had overseen the restoration of some of the villas in the valley to exceptionally high standards.
Alan and Susan decided to do it! They booked Villa Capanne, which sleeps 12 for a week and put the feelers out in their local community. It had been five years since their last visit to Umbria, but having visited on so many occasions over the years Alan and Susan knew Umbria and the surrounding hilltop towns like the back of their hand. Alan would devise a painting schedule of must-see places like Cortona, Perugia, Assisi, Spello and Umbertide, stopping points and range of scenes to ensure the painters on the holiday would have every opportunity available to them. Non-painters were more than welcome too, there was the pool, nearby golf course, gardens, library of books and board games on offer in the main house to keep them occupied. The estate’s cooks would prepare all of the guests’ food, the bedrooms were suitable for families, couples and single travellers – all that was left to do was get on a plane and enjoy it.
The trip sold out, with 12 guests joining them from the North East and as far as Cheshire. It was the beginning of a brand new arm of Alan Reed Art, an exciting new business venture working alongside Alan’s art and exhibitions that had grown organically from the couple’s love of Italy and adventures they’d taken over the past decade. During the trip, David mentioned the crumbling old ruins of the Chiesa Del Carmine which Alan had sketched in the past. Did they remember it had undergone a no-expense-spared restoration by the estate owners, and did they want to see it now?
The old church was breath-taking. Sunlight bathed the old stone walls, there was an elegance about the place now, where weeds had once penetrated its old crumbling walls there were now state-of-the-art furnishings, private landscaped gardens and beautifully refurbished original features. Chrissie and David’s two girls found a tune on the grand piano, before Leon, one of the guests sat and played a beautiful piece. It was a magical moment for all, and one that cemented the future of Reedart Painting Holidays.
Whether you’re a keen painter, just at the beginning of your journey or a non-painter craving some peace and quiet, culture and adventure, you are welcome to join us on our next trip to Umbria…