Archives for May 2020

A room with a view: we’re getting there

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

One of the highlights of our visit to the Watermill last week was to examine the wonderful new space our team has created in the interior of the old frantoio, the olive press.

You may recollect that we have completely reroofed this building and renovated its exterior walls, so that now the whole fabric of the Watermill is completely restored. We haven’t done any work on the interior of the moment, but all is ready for us to create a new exciting relaxing space for our guests at the Watermill. As you can see above we have a large window that looks out over the millstream and the campi beyond and will also be putting in a glass floor so you will be able to look down to the millstream gushing beneath your feet. 

We hope you will also enjoy looking at the machinery the controls the sluice that enables us to divert the millstream water: there’ll be a large window here, too:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic, and governments’ reaction to it, has squeezed our cash flow, so our exciting plans for the interior of the frantoio have been put on hold until next year. But you can come and see the alluring space that has been created and dream with us about what it will look like in the fullness of time.

There will be another window on the opposite side, looking down on the bridges over the Millstream as it returns to the river:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

All in all, it’s going to be a perfect setting for relaxing times. We will return to it next year: as the Medici used to say festina lente, make haste slowly. The frantoio is not an essential part of the mill complex (we run the laundry and store the linen in there at the moment), but our guests will still have the capacious sitting room, the airy dining room, the sunlit studio, the vine verandah, the courtyard tables, the roof terraces and river terraces, the walled garden, the riverside gardens and the millstream walks in which to spend their time!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The millstream will still be here when you return.

Why not come and see for yourself and enjoy our ‘work in progress’? We are still confident of running our creative courses from August onwards.

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 28 May 2020

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing course


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.
Waiting for you…

A Scottish fat man enjoys the Tuscan sun

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Some years ago (we think it must have been around 2005), when we were living in Scotland, we bought the sculpture above from our friend Norman Defoe. We liked the fat man’s (sorry, the rotund gentleman’s) air of fulfilled repose and we brought it with us to the Watermill when we came to live permanently in Italy in 2010.

Since then he’s been relaxing in the Tuscan sun in our walled garden. And he has even grown a mossy moustache.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Come and see him for yourself, be inspired and relax in the Tuscan sun, on one of our renowned watermill creative courses. We reckon that everything will be back to normal in the next few weeks and we are confident of running our courses here from August onward.

We are ready when you are: buildings renovated, walls painted, furniture restored, window boxes filled, courtyard full of plants: we just need your company to make it all perfect.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 22 May 2020

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing course


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.
Another sculpture you may see in the Walled Garden.

Otto’s videos jog happy memories of times past – and of times to come

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A corner of the Watermill garden, by Otto

I love serendipity, the happy accident of finding agreeable things when you weren’t really looking. That’s what happened to me yesterday when I was looking at our YouTube videos of Mike Willdridge’s interactive online sessions. (See yesterday’s blog by clicking here.)

I stumbled across a series of short videos made by Otto Meth-Cohn who, with his wife Jean, was on Fabio Cembranelli‘s painting course here nearly nine years ago. They are really charming; each lasting two minutes or so, and they give a wonderful flavour of a painting week at the Watermill. Of course, there have been lot of change in nine years, but the ambience of the mill and the warmth of Watermill hospitality remains as enticing as ever.

Here’s a clip from one of Otto’s videos, shot in and around the Watermill. You can see the video itself by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

The still below is from Otto’s video on the castle and village of Verrucola, where we go to paint on Mondays. Again you can watch the whole video, this time by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

If it’s Tuesday, it means market day at Fivizzano, the walled mediaeval town up the hill from Posara. Below is a painting of one of the ancient entrance gates, and the short video is here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

On Fridays, we venture to the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, with stunning views of the high Apuan Alps. Below is another still from Otto’s video, which you can by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Thank you Otto for those fond memories of the Watermill 2011 – the Watermill 2020 is looking even more beautiful and we are ready to welcome more guests, to make more marvellous memories, soon as you are able to join us.

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 18 May 2020

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing courses


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Away from it all: the Watermill riverside

These rolling stones have come to rest

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy
Picture: Flavio Terenzoni

Above are the massive stones of the Watermill’s old olive-crushing machine, just placed in honourable and elegant retirement in our sunny courtyard. But it was a struggle and a half to get them there!

You may remember that a week or so ago we showed you a picture (below) of our manager Karsten and builder Nico puzzling on how to move the stones from the frantoio, the olive press.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

This area, which currently houses our laundry, is being renovated and will eventually become a new sitting area, with large windows overlooking the gardens and the orchard beyond. and a glazed floor area, beneath which you will be able to see the millstream rushing back to the river. We have completely reroofed the building and renovated and repointed the exterior stonework. The final task was to clear space by removing the massive olive-crushing machine.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy

It was by no means the easiest job in the world to get them out: Karsten reckons each stone must weigh around two tons. But with the whole Watermill team banding together, and with a borrowed tractor, we managed it, manoeuvring the stones to their beautiful final resting place, which Flavio Terenzoni enhanced with flowers. There are some pictures of the process below and I made one of those fun 30-second Facebook slideshows which you may enjoy. You can see it by clicking here.

View Post

Getting there
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy
Thanks for the tractor loan.
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy
Phew! We made it. Pictures: Flavio Terenzoni

The frantoio interior will remain Work in Progress for the foreseeable future as we consolidate our resources following the devastating effects of the coronavirus epidemic. It is peripheral, however, to the main buildings of the Watermill, which remain as spruce as sprightly as ever and simply waiting for our guests to arrive.

We are ready when you are: buildings renovated, walls painted, furniture restored, window boxes filled, courtyard full of plants: we just need your company to make it all perfect.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 16 May 2020

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing courses


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Away from it all: the Watermill riverside

Mille miglia? No, just cento chilometri!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A sweet-smelling victory.

Hot (-ish) from my lockdown triumphs in the Round-Our-Florence-Apartment marathon and the 50-mile Kennedy March, yesterday I reached another milestone, or rather kilometre post, in my daily gyrations around the specially constructed circuit in Florence apartment: 200 steps round all the rooms and balconies, repeated 20 times each day. That’s two kilometres every day. I know every nook and cranny of the apartment intimately.

I think I’m selling myself short, because I calculated those 200 steps as just 100 metres, whereas I suspect each step is longer than half a metre and I’m striding much further than 100 metres on each circuit. But I’m not in it for the glory, rather the exercise, and it’s good to have some target.

Anyway, today’s milestone is that I have completed 1000 laps, or more than 100 km. Wow! I’m surprised I haven’t worn a groove in the parquet and the ceramic tiles. That’s me above at the finishing line yesterday, waving my chequered flag and clutching a winner’s bouquet. As the florist is closed, we couldn’t run to roses, but Lois thoughtfully wrapped a bag of fresh mint from the market in a red ribbon and presented it to me. It may not have been such a colourful floral display, but it certainly smelled good!

Now the challenge is to think about where to go next. I haven’t quite made up my mind, so watch this space. Meanwhile, enjoy your own lockdown exercise, wherever you are whatever you do: stay safe and keep smiling.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The Roman march in Ben Hur.

* Incidentally, I’m intrigued about the use of the word pace or step. My understanding was that a pace was two steps (i.e. returning to the same foot) and that the Roman mile was 1000 paces, or about 1500 metres. These days steps and paces seem interchangeable. The mille miglia is a thousand miles, but cento chilometri is not bad in the privacy of your own home.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
1955 Mille Milglia: Stirling Moss was the winner.

i lavori del frantoio sono terminati, ieri hanno tolto i ponteggi

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

We’ve just had an email from our gardener, Flavio Terenzoni, with the message: “i lavori del frantoio sono terminati, ieri hanno tolto i ponteggi.” Sounds like the words from an aria in an Italian opera, doesn’t it?

It was certainly music to our ears because being translated it means “the olive press works are finished, yesterday they took down the scaffolding.” Yes, all the external renovation and reroofing of the old olive press are now finished. It looks marvellous.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

We haven’t done any work on the interior of the moment, as this coronavirus madness means our income has been severely curtailed, but all is ready for us to create a new exciting relaxing space for our guests at the Watermill.

As you can see we have a large window that looks out over the millstream and the campi beyond and we will also be putting in a glass floor so you will be able to see the millstream below bubbling back into the river. All in all, it’s going to be a perfect setting for relaxing times. We will return to it next year: as the Medici used to say festina lente, make haste slowly.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Our thanks to builders Nico (left) and Daniele (right) for a tremendous job.

The frantoio is not an integral part of the mill complex for our visitors (we run the laundry and store the linen there at the moment), so our guests will have to make do with the capacious sitting room, the vine verandah, courtyard tables and roof and river terraces in which to spend their spare time!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The Watermill south façade, before the olive press building (on the right) was restored.

Why not come and see the restorations for yourself and enjoy our ‘work in progress’.

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here. Below you will find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 11 May 2020

Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.

Irresistible painting subjects: The Watermill’s demijohns. Come and paint them yourself

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

 You may recollect a couple of days ago I showed you a wonderful multimedia picture by Lou Renner of the demijohns in the Watermill courtyard. No sooner had we published Lou’s painting on Facebook than our painting friend and fan Shirley Coles sent me one of her watercolours of the intriguing demijohns. That’s it above.

Shirley says: “I am always fascinated by the demijohns when I come to the Watermill and always have a go at painting them. My first one although somewhere I have plenty more!”

Thank you for sharing that with us, Shirley. Your painting and Lou’s also prompted me to look back at some of the photographs and pictures that have been made of those demijohns over the years . It also inspired me to make one of those short, fun Facebook slideshows, which you can see by clicking here. Here are a few of the pictures featured in that slideshow, from tutors and from painting guests.

Painting by Charles Sluga, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Wine demijohns by tutor Charles Sluga

The demijohns were used in the old days for fermenting wine, but these days people tend to use stainless steel drums and they throw these beautiful old glass vessels away.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Pen and watercolour sketch by painting course guest Robert Christopher.

Our gardener Flavio Terenzoni has been collecting them and we are happy to store them in the Watermill courtyard where they have provided inspiration for many of our tutors and painting guests.

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Sandra Strohschein’s demijohns.

Why not come and be inspired by them yourself, and by the thousands of other wonderful painting subjects in and around the Watermill and in the beautiful unspoiled Tuscan countryside that surrounds us?

Painting guest Grace McKee captured their spirit

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here. Below you will find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 10 May 2020


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.

Until we learn how it was put together, we’ll never know how to take it apart!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Here are our manager Karsten and builder Nico puzzling on what to do next, as they examine the massive stones of an olive-crushing machine in the Watermill’s old frantoio, the olive press. This area, which currently houses our laundry, is being renovated and will eventually become a new sitting area, with large windows overlooking the gardens and the orchard beyond. and a glazed floor area, beneath which you will be able to see the millstream rushing back to the river.

We have completely reroofed the building, and renovated and repointed the exterior stonework. Now we need to clear space by moving this massive olive-crushing machine. Nico and Karsten have taken away all metallic bits but these two enormous stones remain. They rotated both horizontally and vertically to crush the olives and their pips into a paste, which was then squeezed between raffia mats in the olive press itself.

But how did the original makers put the stones together? And how are we to take them apart so we can clear the space to make another unique area for our guests to enjoy? That’s today’s dilemma, which we hope will soon be resolved.

The frantoio project will remain Work in Progress for the foreseeable future as we consolidate our resources following the devastating effects of the coronavirus epidemic. It is peripheral, however, to the main buildings of the Watermill, which remain as spruce as sprightly as ever and simply waiting for our guests to arrive.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

We are ready when you are: buildings renovated, walls painted, furniture restored, window boxes filled, courtyard full of plants: we just need your company to make it all perfect.

We do hope you will be able to plan ahead for when we are through this difficult time and you are ready for a relaxing and inspiring break away from it all. Please come and join us.

*Please rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course to later in the year or even until 2021. You can find out all about our coronavirus strategy by clicking here.

Below you will first find details of our rearranged inspiring painting courses, followed by information on our creative writing, knitting and Italian language weeks.

** By the way, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. We are also Cool and Green, even in the summer: all the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation. So you will enjoy Tuscan sun and a cool watermill!

Updated 8 May 2020

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Our inspiring 2020 painting courses

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Mark Warner
11 – 18 July 2020 – one or two places left
Colourful Acrylics, Drawing, Pen & Wash
To learn more about Mark and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Carl March
18 – 25 July 2020 – three or four places left
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page


Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – three or four places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – two or three places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Maggie Renner Hellman
19–26 September 2020 – a few places left
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – one place left
Pastels en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course , please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.



The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 –  fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing courses

Jo Parfitt
11– 18 July 2020 – one or two places left
Write the stories of your life
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 – two or three places left
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Our enticing knitting holidays

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Knitting Retreat
4 – 11 July 2020 – one or two places left
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about this retreat, please visit our 2020 Retreat Overview Page.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Renée Callahan
15 – 22 August 2020 – still a few places
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Renée and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Our elevating Italian course

Langues Service and Francesca La Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Italian from the Italians
To learn more about Federica and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


We do hope that you will be able to join us, taking a well earned rest from the troubles of the world and enjoying our inspiring teaching, our beautiful setting, our delicious food and wine, and our warm and welcoming hospitality. And be Cool and Green.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Away from it all: the Watermill riverside



Raise a glass to Puccini and enjoy Caruso singing one of his famous arias.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Well, that was a doddle. Here we are (virtually) in the bar Stella Polare in the centre of Lucca, arriving in no time flat after completing the 50 miles of the Kennedy March last week.

You may recollect that, after rising to JFK’s challenge and completing my 50 miles (80 km) around the specially constructed 100 m circuit in Florence apartment, I decided to walk on to Lucca, so I could raise a (virtual) glass of Negroni to its most famous son, Giacomo Puccini.

I worked out that the distance from our apartment in via scialoia in Florence to Puccini’s favourite bar in Lucca was some 87.4 km. I am clocking up 2 km a day, so I arrived (virtually) less than four days after completing the Kennedy March.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

So here we are in the Pole Star café, the very essence of a sophisticated late 19th century meeting place. Note the dark wooden furnishings and the clean symmetry of the black and white tiles on the floor. Note also the ceiling, gleaming white too. It would not have been like that in Puccini’s day: he was a chain smoker and, I suppose, so were most of his drinking chums, so the ceiling would have been a fine shade of nicotine yellow!

I don’t know whether Puccini and the celebrated tenor Enrico Caruso ever met in the Stella Polare, but they were friends and contemporaries, and if they were here in 1906, they might have discussed Enrico’s recording of Puccini’s Che gelida manina, from La Boheme.  Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, we can still hear that incredible singing clearly today. You can listen to a digitally remastered version by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Incidentally, Caruso was not prepossessing: “short and tubby, with an undistinguished moustache and an undesirable Neapolitan accent,” according to one report. But so remarkable was his voice that Puccini instantly gave him the part of Rodolfo in La Boheme, saying, after the audition: “Who has sent you to me? God?”  Listening to that voice more than a hundred years later, you can see what Puccini meant.

And to wrap up today’s thoughts on the Pole Star café, I would also recommend listening to a marvellous contemporary voice, Kiri Te Kanawa, singing Puccini’s O mio babbino caro. The link also has a built-in romantic ‘Ahh’ factor (perhaps to the point of soppiness, but indulge yourself) as it is accompanied by scenes from A Room with a View, as Lucy Honeychurch falls in love. Just click here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

As for me, after I’ve raised a toast to all these master musicians, I thought I’d take a stroll to the church of San Frediano, so that later in the week I can tell you about the remarkable Santa Zita.