More exciting adventures at the Watermill. Read all about it!

Just click here to read all about it

Stories on our Grand Awakening and planning your Great Escape, but perhaps most exciting of all on how to play your part as a Watermill Patron – and win rewards. Check out the latest Watermill newsletter by clicking here. Then, join in the fun!

#painting, #watercolor, #watercolour, #watercolors, #acrylic, #pastel, #oilpainting, #writing, #writer, #creativewriting, # memoir, #Languages, #Italian, #knit, #knitting, #Italy, #Tuscany, #travel
Picture: Francesco Lastrucci

Come and share Randy’s passion for painting

Painting by Randy Hale, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

We are really looking forward to meeting, at last, our new watercolour painting tutor Randy Hale. We feel we know him already, since we’ve enjoyed a series of online interactive painting sessions with him, which have proved extremely popular. So it will be great to see him at the Watermill itself for his painting course later this year.

Randy is an exciting watercolourist from Colorado in United States. One of his students says: “Randy knows his stuff and he knows how to teach! The best watercolor instructor I have ever had!” Another says: “He’s an excellent artist and instructor, offering clear and positive help.”

As I say, Randy has not yet visited the Watermill, but he has already produced some wonderful watercolours, from photographs! Above is his impression of our walled garden, with the Watermill buildings behind. And here’s another impression of our village, Posara:

Painting by Randy Hale, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Randy will be with us for a week-long course in watercolours from Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021. (You will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity).

More wonderful Italian rooftops and façades from Randy

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows, with some of Randy’s earlier paintings, which you can see by clicking here. And I couldn’t resist showing you these ‘quirky critters’ Randy painted on one of his recent online sessions.

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre).

You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

And remember, you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity.

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

Randy Hale 

Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Randy and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

Come and join us and make 2021 a year to remember.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Painters in the Watermill walled garden. Picture: Francesco Lastrucci

As things begin to open up, look to the future and book your creative week at the Watermill

The future’s bight… Picture from HotSpot Media by Italian photographer Andrea Zampatti,

As, at last, we are beginning to see the vaccinated delighted the end of the long coronavirus tunnel, now is the time to beat the rush and plan your week on a creative course at the Watermill, in painting, writing, knitting or the Italian language. Not only will you enjoy inspiring tuition, a beautiful setting, warm hospitality, delicious food and wine and the convivial company of like-minded people, you will be able to enjoy a glow of anticipation in the months before your trip.
We have revamped all our 2021 courses and we going to start with a great reawakening on 3 July. We would love you to join us and cast off your coronavirus blues. Here is what we are offering for your (and our) creative reawakening:

Warm sunshine, inspiring tuition, lovely food, great company

Our inspiring painting courses:

Here is the complete list of our painting tutors for next year. You can find out more about each of them by clicking on their Profile page link in their entries below


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

Vicki Norman
3 – 10 July 2021 
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.

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

Carl March
10 – 17 July 2021 
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
31 July – 7 August 2021
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.

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

Randy Hale
21 – 28 August 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Mike Willdridge
28 August – 4 September 2021 x places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Mike Willdridge
4 – 11 September 2021
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
11 – 18 September 2021 
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Brienne M Brown
18 – 25 September 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Tim Wilmot
2 – 9 October 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Ali Hargreaves
9 – 16 October 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Ali and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Grahame Booth
23 – 30 October 2021 x places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.



Our enabling writing courses:

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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
24 – 31 July 2021 
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill course at the mill, please visit their 2021 Tutor Profile Page.


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

Jo Parfitt
14 -21 August 2021
Writing your life stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Tutor Profile page.



Our relaxing knitting weeks:

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

Knitting retreat
17-24 July 2021
Knitting and la Bella Vita To learn more about our knitting retreat, please click here



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

Louisa Harding
7 – 14 August 2021
Knitting and la Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her week at the Watermill, please visit her 2021 Profile page.



Our enhancing language week:

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

Francesca La Sala
16-23 October 2021
A novel approach to learning Italian
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please visit our Language Programme Page



The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

100 castles, two natural parks, warm hospitality – waiting for you!


Blog two natural parks 2Another discovery when tidying up my old blogs. This one is as true today as it was when I first wrote it a couple of years ago. Now all this coronavirus kerfuffle is clearing away, we are working on our ‘great reawakening’ and hoping to be able to welcome guests again in a few months’ time. Here’s the 2016 blog:

We are so proud of the ambiance of the Watermill and its surrounding countryside and love sharing it with our creative courses guests.

If you’ve been, you’ll know that The Watermill at Posara is a complex of elegant and historic, carefully restored Tuscan buildings, surrounding a sunny courtyard with an adjoining vine verandah, rose pergola and sun-filled walled garden. More gardens lead to walks along the river and the sun-dappled millstream. Tom riverside photo Jun 13Set in a gentle valley, The Watermill stands beside the River Rosaro in the small village of Posara. Peaceful and secluded, yet part of the village, the mill is just a mile or so from the walled medieval town of Fivizzano with its cafés, restaurants and shops. This is the heart of Lunigiana, in the North-west of Tuscany, stunningly beautiful and truly unspoilt part of Italy.

The comune (administrative district) of Fivizzano which, as well as a hundred ancient castles within its boundaries, contains not one, but two environmentally protected areas: the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines, the backbone of Italy, and the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, home of the marble mountains of Carrara. Because of this protected status the air and the water are pure and unpolluted and the area abounds in wildlife.

And you will be Cool and Green at the Watermill: we have installed a hidden array of photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity, powering an air-conditioning system in all the bedrooms and public rooms.

Come and join us and savour La Bella Vita Italiana on one of our unique painting, Italian language, knitting, yoga and cooking weeks. Find our more about everything by clicking here.

We can’t wait to meet you! Below you will find details of all our 2021 creative courses, ready for that ‘great awakening’. As they say around here: Non vediamo l’ora di incontrarvi. We look forward to meeting you.

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

Below you will find our new programme for the 2021 season. Come and join us and celebrate freedom and creativity, and enjoy warm hospitality and convivial company.

Our inspiring painting courses:

Here is the complete list of our painting tutors for next year. You can find out more about each of them by clicking on their Profile page link in their entries below.


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

Mike Willdridge
12 – 19 June 2021
Watercolours
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page


Paul Talbot-Greaves
19 – 26 June 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
26 June – 3 July 2021
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Vicki Norman
3 – 10 July 2021 
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Carl March
10 – 17 July 2021 
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Randy Hale
21 – 28 August 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Mike Willdridge
28 August – 4 September 2021 x places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Mike Willdridge
4 – 11 September 2021
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
11 – 18 September 2021 
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Brienne M Brown
18 – 25 September 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Tim Wilmot
2 – 9 October 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Ali Hargreaves
9 – 16 October 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Ali and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Grahame Booth
23 – 30 October 2021 x places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.



Our enabling writing courses:

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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
24 – 31 July 2021 
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill course at the mill, please visit their 2021 Tutor Profile Page.


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

Jo Parfitt
14 -21 August 2021
Writing your life stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Tutor Profile page.



Our relaxing knitting weeks:

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

Knitting retreat
17-24 July 2021
Knitting and la Bella Vita To learn more about our knitting retreat, please click here



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

Louisa Harding
7 – 14 August 2021
Knitting and la Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her week at the Watermill, please visit her 2021 Profile page.



Our enhancing language week:

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

Francesca La Sala
16-23 October 2021
A novel approach to learning Italian
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please visit our Language Programme Page



Time to cast off your coronavirus blues: come and join us for creativity, scenery, hospitality and conviviality. You can find more about everything by clicking here.

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

Did perspective affect Uccello’s married life?

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

Continuing our notes on the early Renaissance artists after whom our Watermill bedrooms are names, today it’s the turn of Paolo Uccello. Lovingly restored, the Uccello bedroom is in the 17th Century mill building and looks out over the watermill cascades and the River Rosaro.

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

Uccello was born in 1397 and was a pioneer of the use of linear perspective, invented (or re-discovered) by my hero Filippo Brunelleschi. (Who also has a bedroom named after him, a story for another day). Uccello was so obsessed with perspective that it affected his married life. His wife said that he stayed up all night in his studio making intricate drawings and when she called for him to come to bed, he would cry out: “Oh what a sweet thing this perspective is!” Mrs Uccello’s comment are not recorded! (Uccello is Italian for bird and I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to resist a quasi-Italian pun, by saying “He was a queer old bird, that Uccello.” )

Paolo is probably best known for his three paintings of the Battle of San Romano. Here is the one in the Uffizzi gallery in Florence. For perspective and foreshortening, note particularly the horses on the right :

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

Uccello’s obsessive interest in perspective can also be seen in his fresco of the condottiere Sir John Hawkwood in Florence Cathedral: the painting looks like a three-dimensional equestrian monument seen from below:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Picture: Web Gallery of Art

Our careful restoration of the Uccello bedroom faithfully preserves the spirit of the 17th century watermill, but the facilities are completely modern.

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

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with these and other pictures of the Uccello bedroom, which you can see by clicking here.

Come and brush up your knowledge of perspective in Uccello’s bedroom at the Watermill and add a delightful perspective to your life. We would be delighted to welcome you here. You can find out all about our caring and inspiring creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language – by clicking here.

Come fill the cup…

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

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for photographs with reflections in them. So, I couldn’t resist this picture of a glass of white wine taken by our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge on a recent trip with his painting group to the beautiful village of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. This is one of the venues on our excursions during our creative weeks.

Mike says: “Fantastic outing to a staggeringly beautiful location plus sunshine, ferry rides, train rides, great lunch and a cooling off swim in the clear sea.”

It put me in mind of one of those quatrains from Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a favourite of my mum’s (and me, in my youth):

Come fill the cup, and in the fire of spring

The winter garment of repentance’s fling.

The bird of time has but a little way to fly.

And lo! The bird is already on the wing.

It is time for you to ‘fill the cup’, and throw away your coronavirus blues by booking one of our joyous creative courses at the Watermill next year. We’d love you to join us.

Our inspiring painting weeks

Keiko Tanabe

Saturday 17 April to Saturday 24 April 2021 

Watercolours 

To learn more about Keiko and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Mary Padgett 

Saturday 1 May to Saturday 8 May 2021 

Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air

To learn more about Mary and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Carl March 

Saturday 15 May to Saturday 22 May 2021 

Drawing and watercolours en plein air

To learn more about Carl and his week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Grahame Booth 

Saturday 22 May to Saturday 29 May 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Grahame and his week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Sandra Strohschein (1)  

Saturday 5 June to Saturday 12 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Sandra Strohschein (2) 

Saturday 12 June to Saturday 19 June 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


Paul Talbot-Greaves 

Saturday 19 June to Saturday 26 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Paul and his week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça  

Saturday 26 June to Saturday 3 July 2021 

Pastels and mixed media

To learn more about Rebecca and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Vicki Norman 

Saturday 3 July to Saturday 10 July 2021 

Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)

To learn more about Vicki and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


Sue Ford 

Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021 

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

To learn more about Sue and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


Caroline Deeble 

Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Caroline and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Randy Hale 

Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Randy and his week at the Watermill, please click here.


Jude Scott 

Saturday 28 August to Saturday 4 September 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Jude and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


Mike Willdridge 

Saturday 4 September to Saturday 11 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Milind Mulick 

Saturday 11 September to Saturday 18 September 2021 

‘Colourful Watercolours’

 To learn more about Milind and his week at the Watermill please click here.


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

Brienne Brown 

Saturday 18 September to Saturday 25 September 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Brienne and her week at the Watermill, please click here.


Charles Sluga 

Saturday 25 September to Saturday 2 October 2021 

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Charles and his week at the Watermill, please click here.


Tim Wilmot 

Saturday 2 October to Saturday 9 October 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Tim and his week at the Watermill, please click here.


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

Ali Hargreaves 

Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021 

Watercolours and mixed media

To learn more about Ali and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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.

Bill finishes the world’s slowest marathon. Church bells ring in Florence

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

At 9 o’clock this morning the church bells in Florence rang out loudly under a clear blue Tuscan sky. I’m not sure whether they were celebrating Easter Day or the fact that I had just completed the World’s Slowest Marathon, 422 100-metre laps around a specially designed circuit in our apartment here.

Yes, I’ve been in and out of the bedrooms, round the kitchen, through the hall and sitting room and round a couple of balconies no fewer than 422 times, for a total of 42.2 km, slightly more than the 26 miles 385 yards required. That’s me above at the Finishing Line between Balcony Bend and Sitting Room Straight, waving the chequered flag specially prepared by Lois.

And here’s the victor’s trophy, which looks suspiciously like one of those over-the-top Italian Easter eggs.

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

Mo Farah has called, anxious to see whether his under-two-hour record is threatened, but we were able to assure him that, using the sophisticated timing mechanism below, he has little to fear. I completed the feat in an impressive 14 hours four minutes.

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

Now the problem is where to go next, since our Prime Minister has just announced that we going to be locked down until May 3. Walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats in that time, even for an experienced apartment-walker like me, might prove a little too far. I was also thinking about Ghent to Aix. (I remember the Robert Browning poem from my youth: ‘I sprang to the stirrup and Joris and he. I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three.’) But even that seems a little far, given the lack of horseflesh on the second floor of a Florentine apartment block.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime raise a glass (or two) to the hero of the World’s Slowest Marathon! Salute! Happy Easter, wherever you are.

The genius of Giambologna: bringing bronze and marble to life

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

Yesterday in another of my musings about art, architecture and music in Florence, I talked about Giambologna’s bronze equestrian statue of Grand Duke Ferdinando I, and of the bemusing bees at its base. (See http://www.watermill.uk.net/blog/?p=18449)

The monumental bronze equestrian statue was the last of Giambologna’s works (it was finished by his pupil Pietro Tacca) and the Grand Duke’s horse has its feet firmly on the ground. But in some of Giambologna’s earlier masterpieces he can almost make bronze – and marble too – take flight.

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

Take Mercury, the messenger of the gods, for example. You can see him in the Bargello, my favourite museum in Florence, and that’s him above. Giambologna completed the bronze in 1580 and it started life as a figure in a fountain in the Villa Medici in Rome.

Mercury is delicately balanced on the toes of one foot, on a breath of wind from the mouth of Zephyr. He is performing an elegant arabesque and pointing towards the heavens. Giambologna’s skill in balancing the weight of the sculpture is incredible: you believe that Mercury is hardly touching the ground and at any moment he will take off.

The second outstanding statue by Giambologna (a stab by the Florentines at pronouncing his real name, Jean de Boulogne) is the Rape of the Sabine Women, to be seen a few dozen paces away in the Loggia dei Lanzi, in the piazza signoria.

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

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

It commemorates an incident when the ancient Romans attacked nearby tribes and abducted their women in a non-pc attempt to bolster their birthrate. A better translation of the original Latin would be The Abduction of the Sabine Women, but ‘rape’ seems to have stuck, although Livy claims there was no sexual assault, merely an abduction (!) to gather in potential wives. Be that as it may, Giambologna’s work is a technical and creative masterpiece, classicism and dynamism rolled into one.

Carved from a single block of stone, the statue is exciting from any angle. First you view the three bodies tangled together; from another angle you can see the woman’s face and the anguish on it; from the third, watch the Roman’s hand sink into her flesh. With her arm raised to the heavens, it seems that at any moment she might wriggle free.

The art historians will tell you that the Mannerist sculpture, completed in 1582, perfectly expresses the deep uncertainties of the late 16th century, compared with the calm confidence of the Renaissance, as seen in Michelangelo’s David across the way. All I can say every time I see the statue is “Wow!”

Oh! And here’s another bonus. A marvellous photograph of the ‘Rape’, with the shadow of Celllini’s Perseus in the background.