Blog

Truffle Hunting at The Retreat

    Hunting the infamous white gold - the Italian White Truffle    From The Retreat, nestled in beautiful rolling hill-side of the southern Piceno, we follow along the paths of our local trifolao Filippo (truffle hunter) and his keen dog. Having hunted for truffles in ourlocal woods surrounding The Retreat since his childhood, he…
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Snow and Panettone delights

Lots of snow in Le Marche now. A good excuse to enjoy all those sweet delights Jana has been making for all the family. I especially love the mini panettones. Yum!Why not try out her recipe yourself. They make special presents or party gifts too, if wrapped up in baking paper. They are so easy…
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La Dolce far niente – the essence of being a cat in Italy

Our beautiful Italian cats Brush, Rocky Racoon and narcoleptic Ginger enjoy the summer season to the full too. From admiring the views, realxing under the parasol, and of course, sleeping for hours on end. They have got the concept of 'La Dolce far niente' ('the sweetness of doing nothing') down to a fine art.
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The summer opera- a seasonal highlight

  This weeks landscape painting group is off to Macerata's splendid open air opera Lo Sferisterio. On the program tonight: 'La Traviata' by Verdi. The composer, a son of this beautiful region of Le Marche, is celebrated through the summer opera festival at Macerata each year. The weather is gorgeous and with the shooting star…
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Palette knife painting

Painting plein-air today with a very talented group followed by a cooling dip for the kids and John and some delicious home-cooked food while watching the stunning sunset.
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Atmospheric Painting

Today's paintings jn progress... Contact The Retreat for details of our painting holidays in the heart of the Italian countryside.
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The Retreat Views

This is the view north from the studio. I gunned the camera down the valley just including the onion crop that is in the foreground. The onions are out of focus- to be honest it's all a bit too hazy. So I manipulated the contrasts to give a bluer background and a warmer foreground. It's…
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The 2018 Painting and Drawing Season is in full swing….

    This week, our painters are enjoying a glorious week painting in the heart of Tuscany. Today,we have been working in watercolour en-plein air in the monasteries garden at the foot of the Conti Guidi's castle in Poppi. The castle provided shelter to the poet Dante Alighieri during his exile from Florence. Here, he…
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Painting in the Studio New Year’s Day!

Happy New Year from the Retreat! Jana has passed responsibility for this blog over to me. I am John Skelcher. I can't promise to keep it as organised as Jana but I shall try to keep it of interest to anyone who enjoys painting and the Italian countryside. Just warming my soul this wintry morning…
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Presepe Vivente-an annual tradition

   The Presepe Vivente at Porchia 2017   The annual presepe vivente held in many Italian towns and villages are a traditional  nativity scene which depicts the birt of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Whilst the term "nativity scene" typically includes two dimensional depictions in film, painting, printmaking, etc in…
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