Another photovoltaic milestone! 14,000 kWh in a year.

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

This week our new photovoltaic electricity-producing system will be one year old. When we commissioned it on 12 June 2019, we set ourselves a target of making 14,000 kilowatt hours of electricity from the sun in our first year.

The picture above, from our handy little monitoring app, shows that we reached our target with a few days to spare! What’s more, we have also saved nearly 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide production.

Our arrays of photovoltaic panels, hidden away on our south-facing roofs overlooking the river make us totally self-sufficient in electricity generation, even powering the new air-conditioning units in all our bedrooms and public rooms. We’ve commissioned the air-conditioning system, and we now have another little app which enables us to control each unit remotely, even from Florence!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Solar power to keep you cool. Some of our panel embedded in the roof of the 19th century Mill 2.

As you know, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. Now, whatever the weather, you will be Cool and Green with us.

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

Trouble is that at the moment we have no guests at the Watermill to enjoy the fruits of our photovoltaic labours. Still, we are putting the bulk of our production back into the electricity grid, giving us plenty of credit for when we are able to keep you cool. Very soon, we hope.

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.

Updated 10 June 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.


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.

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.

Sarah’s video recalls happy painting times at the Watermill

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

Former Watermill tutor Sarah Yeoman has just posted a charming short video on Facebook, in which she paints a scene from the Watermill vine verandah, looking out into the garden.The painting is shown above and you can see the video by clicking here. And below is the photograph on which Sarah’s painting is based:

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

If you’ve been to the Watermill, I hope it will bring back fond memories of your time with us. If you haven’t been, it gives you a lovely idea of the peaceful beautiful surroundings that you will enjoy during your Watermill week.

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

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 1 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 holiday

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.
The rose pergola in full bloom. Picture: Flavio Terenzoni

Gone fishing! A peaceful painting from a Watermill guest

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

We are always heartened when previous guests write to support us in these extraordinary times. So it was lovely to receive an email from Betty and Roland Gravois, from Louisiana in the USA.

Betty says: “We have fond memories and a few paintings from our time with you. We are hopeful that we will be able to travel to Europe again and see lovely places like The Watermill.” Betty and Roland were with us for Mike Willdridge’s course in 2018.

Betty and Roland say they are keeping well and Betty has had plenty of time to paint. She sent us the peaceful picture above, reminding us of happier days, when all we had to worry about was whether the fish were biting!

There are trout in the river Rosaro that runs peacefully by the Watermill, but we seldom go fishing ourselves: we are far too busy ensuring that our guests enjoy our inspiring, week-long creative courses: painting, writing, knitting and Italian language. We are sure that they’ll be up and running again very soon.

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

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 20 April 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.
The Watermill courtyard and gardens: waiting to welcome you.

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.

We’ll be ready when you are: preparing for our 2020 courses

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

Here is Karsten Muller, our friend and Watermill manager (and expert furniture restorer) working away on one of the doors of our ‘Chippendale’ wardrobe from the Botticelli bedroom. It’s not really Chippendale, just a rather nice Italian version, made about a hundred years ago. It’s all part of the ongoing gentle work Karsten is undertaking at the Watermill to make sure it’s all looking wonderful again for our summer and autumn guests. We are ready when you are. Let’s hope you can make it soon.

We hope this report finds you well and in good heart in these difficult times for all of us. In view of the coronavirus situation, which seems to change daily if not hourly, we have postponed our early courses, pushing them back to later in the year when, hopefully, the situation will have been resolved.

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. We will have to cut the grass and the Riverside gardens, mind you, although at the moment, the daisies are looking rather splendid…

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

*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 10 April 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

Louisa Harding
27 June – 4 July 2020 – two or three places
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa 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.

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

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.

Our 2020 creative courses: bookings are flowing in

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Students on one of Maggie Renner Hellman’s painting courses showing off some of their work.

Update at 15 February 2020

Our 2020 creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language — are filling fast: we already have some 240 bookings out of projected total of 250, so now is the time to secure your place You will see below that a fair number of our courses are already booked up, but if you are particularly interested in that specific week, please let us know. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and let you know immediately if a place becomes available.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Cool and Green. Picture: Francesco Lastrucci

We do hope we’ll be able to welcome you here on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring courses. And don’t forget that as well as a warm welcome, we are also Cool and Green! All our bedrooms and public rooms have air-conditioning, all powered by the sun: our hidden array of photovoltaic panels ensures that we are self-sufficient in electricity generation.

Our inspiring painting courses

Carl March

Carl March
18 – 25 April 2020 – one or two places
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Grahame Booth

Grahame Booth
25 April – 2 May 2020 – fully booked, waing list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Brienne M Brown

Brienne M Brown – fully booked, waiting list open
16 – 23 May 2020
Watercolours
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Sandra Strohschein

Sandra Strohschein
30 May – 6 June 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
6 – 13 June 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Randy Hale

Randy Hale
13 – 20 June 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Vicki Norman

Vicki Norman
20 – 27 June 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mark Warner

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


Mike Willdridge

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


Rebecca de Mendonça

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – 2/3 places left
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Maggie Renner Hellmann

Maggie Renner Hellmann
12 – 19 September 2020 – places available places AND 19 – 26 September 2020 – places available
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett

Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – 2/3 places left
Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Milind Mulick

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 – 1/2 places left
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Tim Wilmot

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 – 1/2 places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enticing knitting courses

Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding
23 – 30 May 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding
NEW week 27 June – 4 July – places available
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Knitting retreat

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


Renée Callahan

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


Our enriching 2020 writing courses

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
2 – 9 May 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt
2 – 9 May 2020 – one place left
Write the stories of your life
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Our illuminating Italian language course

Francesca la Sala

Langues Services and Francesca la Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Learning Italian with the Italians
To learn more about Francesca and her
2020 course at the mill, please click here.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Shady and cool along the Millstream. Picture: Alistair Macfie

Keep It Simple and Take It with You Everywhere!

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

What is ‘It’? Why, it’s a sketchbook! And, says Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge, those two simple tips will not only add to your daily enjoyment, but improve your painting too.

Tip one: Keep It Simple. Mike says: “Choose a sketchbook that fits a pocket/handbag/rucksack etc. and as few pens/pencils/paints as possible.” The picture above is of the basic kit he takes with him everywhere: when going for a walk, enjoying a coffee, or lunch or dinner, or simply sitting in the sun. Mike is currently in Australia, visiting his grandchildren, and here’s a simple sketch of a bicycle made from a café in Manly across the Bay from Sydney:

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

Tip two: Take It with You Everywhere. Not just when you are sightseeing or feeding the inner man or woman, but also when your shopping or travelling. Mike says: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t use it at first. You will eventually, but get into the habit of taking your kit with you everywhere you go.”

Mike practises what he preaches, and he will encourage you to do the same when you join his Watermill week this year. Mike will be back with us from Saturday 29 August to Saturday 5 September 2020, and we’d love you to join us for his fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring week. There are more details and links below. Here is Mike’s sketch of a couple of our guests enjoying animated conversation in the sunlit Watermill courtyard.

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

Here are a few more of his sketches, made when out ‘on location’ during one of his Watermill courses. Each was painted rapidly, merely to give an impression of the scene.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s sketch of one of the small wooden bridges across the millstream.

Below is a sketch in the tranquil monastery of the Convento del Carmine, a few miles from the Watermill, where we take you to paint on Thursdays:

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

Mike Willdridge works in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor, often encouraging his students to be bold and to take chances. His classes are always light-hearted and fun, with the ‘teaching’ tailored to individual needs. He will concentrate on watercolours, but is also happy to help with gouache and acrylics too.

Some comments from previous guests: “A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Fivizzano market, where our painting group go Tuesdays.

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), 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!

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

29 August to 5 September 2020 

Mike Willdridge – three or four places left

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Come and paint with Mike for creativity, conviviality – and fun