Drawing in Italy with Diane Cardaci

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Imagine This…

Warm sun on your shoulders, filtered through the branches of an ancient olive tree. A sketch book in your lap, a pencil in your hand and your eyes dancing across the scene before you: a shimmering lake, impossibly red poppies swaying in the breeze and and the green hills of Italy reaching out to infinity – dotted with villages, towers and castles.

Pinch yourself. Here you are with Diane Cardaci, walking – and drawing – in the footsteps of Italy’s master artists, gazing at a landscape that has inspired countless creatives, for century upon century.

Maybe it’s the light, Maybe it’s the fresh air. Or maybe it’s the contagious enthusiasm of your expert teacher, but the inspiration here is practically palpable. You can feel it in the atmosphere and all around you, turning the act of drawing into an unforgettable, even spiritual, event.

Savor this moment. Cherish it.

Draw. Create. Experience.

Aren’t you glad you came?

What is it About Drawing?

It transports you to another place, doesn’t it? A more centered place, where you become more in touch with yourself and with creativity itself. It’s not about perfection, but rather about self expression and the true appreciation of the present moment.

Diane Cardaci calls this “slow art”, the act of creating in a space that’s all your own – a space that brings pure joy and contentment.

Now Add Italy

This ancient land with its characteristic landscapes and incredible light will envelope you, as it has countless creatives before you, including some of the greatest artists the world has ever known, like Leonardo di Vinci and Michelangelo and Raffaello.

But Italy’s master artists didn’t appear out of nowhere. They didn’t come out of a vacuum. They stood on the shoulders of giants, whose names are not as well known.

And these master artists – these giants – have a lot to teach you about your drawing. But they need a voice…

Enter Diane Cardaci

Diane is an expert on the Italian masters, (after all, she has a home in Umbria), and for years she’s studied Italy’s master artists in depth. Her numerous articles and blog posts about the Italian masters reflect her passion and excitement for Italy’s staggering art history.

And now she’s inviting you to draw, to learn and to celebrate the joy of slow art with her in Italy – the most artistically inspirational place in the world. (We’re talking the land of Michelangelo here!)

Let’s get real for a moment. 

Youtube drawing tutorials and online drawing courses just don’t cut it, do they? I mean, sure, you can learn some things, but it’s just not the same as the real thing. To really build your confidence, or to propel your drawing ability to the next level, you need a teacher. Live and in person. A GOOD teacher, who can guide you personally through your own unique, creative journey. Because a good drawing teacher can transform your painful learning curve into a jump-off point that leads straight to unlimited confidence and boundless inspiration. 

Diane Cardaci is that teacher.

Her resume is long! Are you ready?… She was awarded signature status by the American Society of Portrait Artists and was a contributing writer for the organization’s publications, she’s made several TV appearances on ABC (discussing her outlook on creativity), her work hangs in corporate, public and private collections, she’s exhibited nationally and internationally, she directed The Academy of Classical Art in West Palm Beach, FL, for 4 years (and her school was featured numerous times on local television), she’s taught numerous drawing classes and workshops AND has authored six of Walter Foster’s best-selling series of drawing books that have been published in multiple languages and are available all over the world. That’s some creds, right there. Visit Diane’s website at dianecardaci.com

THE WHYS (i.e. What’s So Special About This Workshop?)

You’re going to learn…

  • how to “see” more acutely so that your unique, inner style can effortlessly emerge – the secret to allowing the flow of creativity
  • how to allow yourself to be present – to take in this moment – the real key to experiencing the joy of sketching
  • how to develop complete confidence in your style – your special, artistic fingerprint – and avoid adopting the style of others (Diane is a master at fostering your uniqueness!) 
  • how to sketch better – and quickly. Just wait until you learn Diane’s techniques for this! You’ll be shouting for joy right in the middle of a medieval piazza!
  • confidence-building strategies that will have you sketching with ease, effortlessly expressing your own unique talents and desires.
  • ways that you can instantly gain more control and simplify the seemingly complicated, but exciting, world of color, color, color.
  • ways to make your sketchbook your companion – a sort of friend that’s always there – as you move through your life, and especially when you travel.
  • how to use your sketchbook as a meditation. Yep. Meditation. Virtually anytime and anywhere.
  • lessons straight from the traditions of Italy’s old masters that will improve your drawing and observation skills. You won’t believe how much you’ve been missing!
  • how Italy’s art history will propel your artistic development – in ways you could only dream of!
  • an appreciation for the beauty and significance of the art of central Italy (Tuscany and Umbria, in particular) and why this area is considered the true cradle of the Renaissance. You’ll be saying, “Why didn’t anybody tell me this before?”

If all of that wasn’t enough, just keep in mind that this workshop is limited to a select, small group. So that means you’ll be getting personal guidance and coaching from Diane herself.

HOLD ON TO YOUR SKETCH PAD. Your creativity is about to be catapulted to the next level.

“The science of design, or of line-drawing, if you like to use this term, is the source and very essence of painting, sculpture, architecture… Sometimes… it seems to me that… all the works of the human brain and hand are either design itself or a branch of that art.” ~ Michelangelo Buonarotti

MORE WHYS (Did we mention this is Italy?)


  • 17th century villa
  • morning cappuccino under a rose-covered pergola
  • fresh-baked torta
  • toes dangling in the pool
  • morning walks in a private vineyard
  • winding alleyways in medieval villages
  • dazzling, red poppy fields
  • pizza night
  • priceless works of art in humble churches
  • wine and cheese tastings
  • geraniums spilling from window boxes
  • dinners under the Tuscan stars
  • Click to view villa accommodations

WORDS FROM  DIANE’S Happy Students

“Each class was special. You are a knowledgeable and enthusiastic teacher and your love of art, teaching and beauty came through in every class. Because of these lessons, I am able to “see” better and therefore believe my drawing skills have improved greatly. I found your instruction and style of teaching to be extraordinarily inspirational.”  ~Hilary W.

“Being able to realize that showing form, dimension, perspective, etc on a two dimensional surface is really a tricky skill that took ages to develop was fascinating to me…..You are the only teacher who has helped me to know how to get started on drawing a picture.”  ~ Phoebe K.

“You identified what each of us needed and focused your comments/critique on making it better, taking into consideration each of our levels of progress… Thanks, again, Diane, for sharing your passion and knowledge with us. It is contagious!”  ~ Kat P.


Day 1 – June 2: Arrival

  • Welcome and trip orientation, vineyard walk (optional), aperitivo, welcome dinner
  • Dinner

AFTERNOON: From Rome Fiumicino Airport you’ll journey through the rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria to your elegant villa accommodations, Poggio alla Trese, nestled along the border between the two regions. After a friendly welcome and checkin, take some time to get acquitted with your fellow drawing enthusiasts before a trip orientation with Diane. Then it’s time for a friendly aperitivo hour followed by a delectable welcome dinner. 


Day 2 – June 3: The Ancients ~ the Roots of Western Art

  • Locations: Chiusi and Sarteano
  • Spotlight on the Ancients: Etruscans and Romans
  • Breakfast and dinner

MORNING: Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the villa that includes homemade pastries, organic yogurt, seasonal fruits, eggs, cheeses, cold cuts, as well as teas, juices and Italian coffee, made-to-order. Then it’s off via our private van service to an evocative Etruscan tomb site (dating to 800 BC). This is one of the most beautiful tomb sites in Italy, with sweeping panoramas that will take your breath away! Then it’s on to the medieval hill town of Chiusi, where you’ll be sketching on site with Diane. Today’s lesson begins in the fantastic archeological museum, with a focus on the ancient the Etruscan and Romans, and covers basic shapes, proportions and the emotion of line. You’ll also learn Diane’s techniques for “quick” sketching, as well as her best photo-taking tips. 

LUNCH: On your own in Chiusi

AFTERNOON: This afternoon, it’s back to the villa for an inspiring your drawing assignment with Diane, under the wisteria-covered terrace. You might also take time on your own to sketch a scene of your choice – so many beautiful options in the villa’s gardens.

EVENING: Enjoy a friendly aperitivo hour, where you can reflect back on the day’s events, followed by a delectable chef-prepared dinner


Day 3 – June 4: The Age of Spirituality 

  • Locations: Castiglione del Lago and Isola Maggiore 
  • Spotlight on Medieval Art: Castles and Churches
  • Breakfast and dinner

MORNING: After a delicious breakfast at Villa Poggio alla Trese, you’ll head to beautiful Lago Trasimeno, and the castle village of Castiglione del Lago, nestled along the western edge of the lake. Here Diane will be taking you on a journey into medieval art through plein air sketching, with a lesson that focuses on the use of color, as well as her essential techniques for noticing shapes. 

LUNCH: On your own in Castiglione

AFTERNOON: This afternoon you’ll board the local ferry for a relaxing ride to Isola Maggiore, a tiny fishing village that beckons to artists with its picturesque houses and charming avenues – so may options for your afternoon drawing assignment! Climb to the medieval church at the top of the island, visit the tiny lace museum or situate yourself on a park bench near the little harbor and lose yourself in your sketching.

EVENING: Aperitivo hour followed by a chef-prepared dinner, featuring local specialties


Day 4 – June 5: The Age of Spirituality continued… 

  • Location: Cortona 
  • Spotlight on Medieval Art: Fra Angelico
  • Breakfast and dinner

MORNING: This morning after breakfast, our private drivers will be transporting you to one of the most special and spiritual places in Tuscany, the Hermitage Francescano “Le Celle”, where Diane will lead you through an on-site lesson on “seeing” that will impact your creativity in extraordinary ways. Afterwards, it’s on to the village of Cortona and the Museo Diocesano, where you’ll learn about the art of composition (all the while gazing at remarkable works by Italy’s master artists, including the incredible Fra Angelico.) Afterwards, you’ll have free time to explore, shop and eat lunch on your own in Cortona. 

LUNCH: On your own in Cortona

AFTERNOON: In afternoon, it’s back to the villa with your afternoon treasure-hunt assignment from Diane. Diane’s carefully thought-out drawing challenges are designed to provide you with a structure for taking your drawing skills to the next level, from wherever you are right now. In short, you’re going to love these delightful, inspiring mini-lessons!

EVENING: Aperitivo hour followed by a chef-prepared dinner, featuring regional dishes


Day 5 – June 6: The Pre-Renaissance

  • Location: Assisi 
  • Spotlight on the Pre-Renaissance: Giotto
  • Breakfast and dinner

MORNING: This morning, after a delectable breakfast at the villa, you’re off on an early start to spectacular Assisi where you’ll enjoy a private tour of the awe-inspiring basilica with our friend (and guide straordinaria), Emanuela. An expert on Umbrian history and art, Emanuela will take you back in time, as you learn about the history and the artistic significance of the stunning frescoes inside the church, dedicated to San Francesco – works by Giotto, the Lorenzetti brothers and Pisano (father and son). Amazing!

LUNCH: On your own in Assisi

AFTERNOON: After some time to explore, shop or sketch your way through Assisi on your own, it’s back to the villa for a relaxing evening poolside, or perhaps some sketching under the old oak tree.

EVENING: Aperitivo hour followed by a chef-prepared dinner


Day 6 – June 7: The Early Renaissance

  • Location: Montepulciano 
  • Spotlight on the Early Renaissance: I Medici
  • Breakfast and dinner

MORNING: This morning, after a lovely breakfast at the villa, it’s off to the land of Tuscan vineyards and the beautiful hill town of Montepulciano where you’ll begin today’s lesson with Diane in Piazza Grande. Here you’ll walk in the footsteps of the great Medici family and learn about their staggering influence on Renaissance art and architecture, all while practicing thumbnail sketches using Diane’s easy, approachable techniques. You’ll also learn the value of value studies, as well as how to approach longer sketches, as you immerse yourself in the beauty of this regal hill town. 

LUNCH: On your own in Montepulciano

AFTERNOON: In afternoon, you’ll enjoy a leisurely drive back to the villa, along Tuscany’s classic, cypress-lined lanes, with a stop in the charming village of Monticchiello. Here you can grab a gelato – and your sketchbook – and take in the sweeping views across Tuscany before enjoying Diane’s delightful sketchers’ treasure hunt.

EVENING: Aperitivo hour followed by a chef-prepared dinner, featuring local specialties


Day 7 – June 8: The Early Renaissance  

  • Location: Panicale and Città della Pieve 
  • Spotlight on Early Renaissance: Perugino 
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner

MORNING: This morning you’ll enjoy an abundant breakfast at the villa, followed by a jaunt to the nearby Umbrian hill town of Panicale – consistently voted one of Italy’s most beautiful, unspoiled villages. Here Diane will introduce you to early Renaissance artist, Perugino, who influenced Renaissance art and artists in profound ways – including the work of his famous student, Raffaello. Afterwards is off to lunch at Diane’s friend’s adorable restaurant in Panicale. 

LUNCH: Lunch together at Trattoria Masolino

AFTERNOON: Next it’s off to Città della Pieve for a village walking tour that includes a stop in a the town’s beautiful cathedral, plus a spectacular one-room museum with one of Perugino’s more beautiful masterpieces. Today Diane will also be sharing her best-kept hints and techniques for preparing for your studio work with your sketches and photos. You’ll also learn how to take “color notes” and gather ideas for your drawings.

EVENING: This evening brings a special apertivo hour followed by a chef-prepared farewell dinner.


Day 8 – June 9: Departure  

Alas, it’s time to say arrivederci. This morning our drivers will be transporting you to Rome Fiumicino Airport.


DATES & PRICES: 8 Days/7 Nights

  • Sold Out! June 2-9, 2019 … Contact us to get on the wait list for Diane’s next workshop.
  • Arrival and departure airport: Rome Fiumicino
  • Trip Price
    • $3,370 per person, private room with shared bathroom (max 2 people per bathroom)
    • $3,570 per person, private room with private, ensuite bathroom
  • Accommodations are 17th century Villa Poggio alla Trese, situated along the border between Tuscany and Umbria. Learn more.


Drawing in Italy with Diane Cardaci Includes:

  • 7 nights’ stay at Villa Poggio alla Trese, located near Chiusi, Tuscany, Italy
  • Private group transfer via Mercedes Benz vans to/from Florence Peretola Airport
  • Private Mercedes Benz van service to/from all side trip locations included in the itinerary
  • All abundant breakfasts featuring Italian pastries, fruits, cheeses, cold cuts, cereals, yogurts and eggs, along with caffè, cappuccino, teas and juices
  • One lunch
  • All delectable dinners featuring traditional dishes from the regions of Tuscany and Umbria, locally grown, organic produce and wine and olive oil from the villa’s estate
  • Daily, onsite sketching lessons with Diane Cardaci, featuring techniques and methods straight from Italy’s master artists
  • One-on-one, personalized instruction with Diane
  • Evening aperitivo hour for connecting and reflecting on the day’s events with your new friends
  • Diane Cardaci Sketch Kit, featuring exceptional Fabriano paper and portable watercolors
  • Diane’s daily “treasure hunt” sketch assignments – a delightful way to practice what you’re learning!
  • Private Facebook group
  • Daily, onsite support and accompaniment by Strada Toscana

Have questions? Contact us.