Our painting holiday in Cinque Terre, Italy.
It is hard to know where to begin, there are so many wonderful things to tell you about from our painting trip to Cinque Terre. I am not sure if I can fit them all into one blog. I am, however, going to try!
Unable to find the right villa close to Cinque Terre itself, I looked further afield into Tuscany and found a villa, Mura de Medici, just on the edge of a village called Fivizzano. Arriving in Fivizzano was no mean accomplishment, the roads were very windy and when we got to the village, we found the only way down to the villa was by way of steep and cobbled tiny paths that acted as roads! Turning into the villa car park wasn’t much fun either. So where is this leading, you may ask? Well to a truly fantastic villa. Owned and meticulously looked after by Guiseppe our fantastic host.
Our ‘home from home’
The Villa and our Pool, which was quite chilly most of the time, the weather was unusually chilly for May, great for painting plein air but not so great for swimming. Just a couple of brave ones dared to dive!
Giuseppe was there to greet us and show us around his lovely home. He left us to get on with our unpacking and the next day gave us several bottles of wine from his cellar and then took us on his magical mystery tour around Fivizzano. We clung on to our seats as he veered and swerved around sharp bends and dangerous lanes. He took us for coffee, he introduced us to everyone. We were in that moment, I felt, his prize possessions.
the Museum of Fivizzano
Giuseppe took us to meet the director of the Museum of Fivizzano. He took us to the ancient library, where emotion tugged at my heart, and tears came to my eyes at the sheer wonder of it all.
In the middle of this ancient library, there is an old oak table, filled with old oak chairs, waiting to be filled, by eager students, who are allowed and even encouraged to use the library as a real library, not a museum, and to leave slips of white paper into the books, so they can back and resume their study’s. The kindness and generosity of the people of Fivizzano seems to be infinite.
Giuseppe introduced us to Francesco the Director of the museum, who invited me and my group to a tour of the Museum and the Library. For the first time since the 15th Century the Vestments that were made for the first Pope from the Medici, Pope Nicoli the 5th, were back in Fivizzano, just for one time and one time only. The vestments were made in Fivizzano for the new Popes Appointment. Hand made, these glorious vestments had to be sold by Fivizzano to the Archdiocese of Florence, for a very small amount. But here they were, it seemed, just for us. Not only were we given two hours of Francesco’s time, Guiseppe’s friend, Francesca, did the translation for us. For both groups.