• Jess MacGregor

Why Every Artist Needs to Make a Pilgrimage to Italy

A warm breeze ruffles your hair as you unpack your easel. The Italian sun bathes you in its fuzzy orange glow. You gaze at the spectacular scenery of Cecina and consider what view you want to paint. You’ve recently finished a sumptuous meal of Tagliatelle al Tartufo and you’re feeling inspired and ready to paint. Maybe you give yourself a little shake or pinch to make sure it’s not a dream — but it’s true, you’re finally on an Art Pilgrimage to Italy.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Fei on her first trip to Italy. She's excited to go back and share the experience with other art lovers!

This dream becomes reality in May of 2020. A guided tour of Italy, with art lessons led by Winged Canvas founder Fei Lu in partnership with Odyssean Travel, will take you on a journey of the coast of Tuscany and beyond, starting in Rome, stopping in scenic destinations like Cinque Terre and Genoa, and ending in Milan. You’ll take part in directed art lessons each afternoon, including plein air painting, sketching famous landmarks and more. Together we’ll learn and explore, indulge in culinary delights and enjoy tours led by a knowledgeable local guide.

People painting en plein air
Fei and students enjoying a gorgeous summer afternoon painting en plein air.

A country rich in culture and history, Italy brims with stunning landscapes, old-world architecture and breathtaking art. It’s a place that calls out to artists — where you can come face-to-face with the work created by artistic masters who changed the course of history. Italy is the birthplace of the Renaissance in the 14th century when the world began its transition from the dark middle ages to the birth of modernity. Artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Raphael and Caravaggio all called Italy home and are among the founding fathers of artistic achievement during the Renaissance.

View of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo (painted c. 1508 - 1512) — quite possibly the most well-known work of art ever produced.
A view of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome
One of our first stops on the tour, the stunningly intricate St. Peter’s Basilica featuring St. Peter's Baldachin by Bernini.

If you’re an artist, making a pilgrimage of Italy should definitely be on your bucket list. On this tour, we’ll see places that will fill your heart with inspiration and leave you in awe. At each stop, we’ll slow down and indulge our creative sides, taking time for a guided art lesson. Curious to learn more? Here’s a look at what we’ve got planned:

  • After our arrival at a 4-star hotel in Rome, we’ll tour the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica with our local guide (don’t worry about waiting, we’ve got skip-the-line access). You’ll marvel at the famous Basilica Dome, designed by Michelangelo in 1547. Our first art lesson will focus on the Chiaroscuro technique, made popular by Caravaggio.

  • A must-see stop on any tour of Italy is the Galleria Borghese in Rome. You’ll view some of the most extraordinary masterpieces in the world, including works by Titian, Raphael, Correggio and Bernini.

  • A tour of beautiful Cecina, led by a local guide. The gorgeous Tuscan landscape will serve as our inspiration for an acrylic painting lesson.

  • We’ll explore Cinque Terre along the rugged Italian Riviera. You’ll see the stunning terraces built right into the cliffs that overlook the sea. Don’t forget your sketchbook — we’ll learn sketching techniques and be surrounded by plenty of inspiration!

The tour ends in Milan, a global hub of fashion and design. We’ll enjoy a half-day walking tour, and we might even get the chance to see The Last Supper at the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Our final art lesson will be open, so you can work on your own project with one-on-one guidance from Fei.

The Navigli district of Milan, made with a system of dams invented by Leonardo da Vinci.

This journey is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for art enthusiasts that you won’t want to miss. Bring your partner, your best friend, or make this that mother-daughter trip you’ve always talked about taking. If you’re ready for an experience that will enrich your life and invigorate your creativity, you need to join us on the Art Pilgrimage of Italy in 2020.

Art Pilgrimage to Italy - Map & Itinerary
The Art Pilgrimage Itinerary: Rome to Milan, along the Tuscan coast.

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