En Plein Air with Virginia Fergus


PLEIN AIR PAINTING the Tuscany Landscape

Immersing yourself in the Tuscan Landscape for Plein air painting is a life changing experience. If you want a jump-start or a fast-track to growth as an artist, give yourself the gift of a week with like minded artists who are ready to immerse themselves in all things stimulating, challenging, and beautiful.

The harvest of growth and expansion is well worth all the effort it takes to be on the ground surrounded by incredible inspiration, beauty, peace, joy, challenge, and new friends.

Traveling to paint over the past 26 years has informed and formed me in so many unexpected ways and has created a life and lifestyle as an artist and person for which I am eternally grateful. Hope you will join me on the journey of Plein air painting in Italy!

~ Virginia Fergus


  • How to select a great painting subject
  • How to create a strong composition to make your painting the best it can be
  • How to start, work, and finish a watercolor painting without overworking
  • Ways to make friends with water, and how to use its wonderful essence to your advantage
  • Watercolor techniques, including, washes, glazing, mark making, wet-in-wet, dry brush
  • Ways to loosen up and paint more expressively
  • Ways to draw quickly and still create an expressive and accurate drawing
  • Color! Palette set-up, basic color theory, mixing, application, layering
  • How to use color expressively
  • Tips for traveling with painting gear and other Plein Air practicalities

ABOUT Virginia

Virginia Sorsby Fergus has been painting, showing, and selling her work as a professional artist since 1995. Participating in up to 28 high-end outdoor juried shows a year, she has interfaced with her collectors and seen their reaction to her paintings first hand. This intimate knowledge of what resonates with her admirers and collectors has given her much food for thought and reflection, and insights into what makes paintings an emotional and memorable experience for both artist and viewer.

Virginia’s first international painting trip was also in 1995. Through American Artist Magazine she traveled to Provence, France and her love of plein air painting was born and nurtured. Interacting with the beauty all around and being inspired by fellow artists, present and past, was integral to her development and focus as an artist and painter. Ever since she has traveled annually to Italy, France, and other locations to paint, explore, expand, and gather images for future paintings.

Teaching painting to all age groups, ability levels, and in many situations has honed Virginia’s ability to bring out the best painting experience for individual students. Her teaching is focused on meeting each person where they are in their artistic journey, helping them identify their particular artistic strengths, and serving to point them in clear directions to grow as painters and artists.

Learn more Virginia at her website at www.vsfergus.com.



Day 1 ~ Sunday, October 15: Arrival Villa Poggio alle Trese

  • Highlights: Arrival from Rome Airport, welcome by Virginia Fergus and team Strada Toscana

Upon your arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport, our private drivers will transport you to the Italian countryside and beautiful Villa Poggio alle Trese. After some time to freshen up and recharge, you’ll enjoy a friendly welcome by your hosting team, followed by an overview of this amazing workshop with Virginia. Afterwards you’ll have some time to explore the villa and grounds, and to get to know your fellow participants, followed by apertivo and a delectable welcome dinner prepared by our own chef Lorenza.

Day 2 ~ Monday, October 16: at Villa

  • Highlights: Painting in Plein air with Virginia, optional countryside walk, pasta-making lesson

This morning, after a delicious breakfast at the villa, you’ll join Virginia on the grounds surrounding the villa, for a full morning of instruction and painting en plein air. A casual lunch will be served up picnic style, followed by time to continue painting – or to perhaps enjoy a walk along the nearby countryside lane. Later in the afternoon, it’s time to don your apron! You’re in for a treat as you join chef Lorenza for an oh-so-fun pasta-making lesson. Aperitivo follows, along with a fabulous, chef-prepared dinner featuring your hand-made pasta.

Day 3 – Monday, October 17: Puscina Flower Farm

  • Highlights: Organic flower farm, painting with Virginia, free sketching, olive grove walk, bruschetta-making lesson with olive oil tasting

This morning, after another abundant breakfast at the villa, it’s off in into the heart of Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia and an amazing, sister-run flower farm. Here you’ll enjoy a tour of the flower gardens, along with time to roam, explore and paint with Virginia. Lunch is served up right here, under the ancient olive tree. In the afternoon, it’s back to the villa for free time to paint or sketch on your own, followed by a stroll through the adjacent olive grove, where you’ll learned about this region’s prized olive oil production. Next, we gather fireside for a bruschetta-making lesson with Paola, along with a tasting of a local olive oil. A delicious dinner cooked “alle brace” follows.

Day 4 ~ Tuesday, October 18: Val d’Orcia, Bagno Vignoni

  • Highlights: Early morning photos in Val d’Orcia, painting with Virginia in Bagno Vignoni

This morning you’ll get an early start as it’s off to Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia to capture the magical morning light, with dramatic rolling hills and winding cypress lanes. Breakfast will be taken along the way, as you continue to picturesque Bagno Vignoni with its stunning views of the valley below. Here you’ll enjoy time painting with Virginia along the town’s main pizza with its historic spring-fed pool taking center stage. Lunch is on your own at one of the village’s inviting cafes, before returning to the villa. In the afternoon you’ll have free time for sketching – or relaxing – before joining your fellow travelers for aperitivo, followed by a Tuscan-inspired dinner.

Day 5 ~ Wednesday, October 19: Orvieto

  • Highlights: Marbled paper-making lesson, visit to 13th century cathedral, shopping, sketching

This morning, after another delicious breakfast, it’s off to the Umbrian town of Orvieto, situated on a dramatic bluff of tufo rock. First stop is the town’s magnificent duomo, before making our way to Lamberto’s workshop. Here you’ll learn about the history of paper in Italy, followed by a hands-on marbled paper lesson. You’ll take your own sheet home with you! Lunch will be taken on your own, along with time for shopping and exploring the fabulous, winding alleyways. In the afternoon you’ll have to time to sketch or paint back at the villa before enjoying a relaxing aperitivo, followed by another delectable dinner of regional dishes.

Day 6 ~ Thursday, October 20: Città della Pieve

  • Highlights: Painting at villa, walking tour Città della Pieve, painting with saffron, pizza night

This morning after breakfast you’ll join Virginia for a full morning of painting and instruction on the beautiful grounds of the villa, followed by lunch, served up by chef Lorenza, and some free time to relax, walk or continue painting. In the afternoon, our drivers will be transporting you to nearby Città delle Pieve, a medieval hill town layered with centuries of history. Here you’ll meet up with our friend, Bianca, a delightful local guide, who will talk you on a fascinating walking tour of the town’s winding alleyways – including a viewing of masterpieces by Renaissance artist, Perugino. Your tour ends at Alessandro’s saffron shop, where you’ll enjoy a tasting of saffron, along with painting with saffron – a local tradition. Afterwards you’ll have the opportunity to capture some sunset photos overlooking the hills of Tuscany, before we continue to Lorenza’s pizzeria for an oh-so-fun pizza night!

Day 7 ~ Friday, October 21: Città della Pieve

  • Highlights: Painting on site, cappuccino break, wrapping up paintings

This morning, after another delicious breakfast, you’re in for a treat as you head back to Città della Pieve with Virginia for a morning of painting on site. Here you can set up your easel along one of the town’s medieval alleyways to capture a scene of flower boxes, arched doorways, windows or shutters – or perhaps an outdoor cafe. A mid-morning break will be taken at our friends’ coffee bar, where you can enjoy a cappuccino and a snack, followed by time to complete your painting. Lunch will be taken at our friend, Cristian’s restaurant, before heading back to the villa for a final session with Virginia. This evening you’ll enjoy a special farewell aperitivo and dinner.

Day 8 ~ Saturday, October 22: Departure

Early morning departure for Rome Fiumicino Airport 


VENUE Villa Poggio alle Trese

Poggio alle Trese has been a part of a family estate for four centuries – an estate that includes stunning olive groves, sweeping vineyards and a precious little lake tucked into the nearby forest. The villa itself sits upon the very border of Tuscany and Umbria, an area that was prone to invasions by the Duke of Tuscany (back when feudal battles were the norm), and was lovingly restored by the family 12 years ago. The renovation included updates and redos to the kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms – all done with classy, traditional touches. The result is a stately structure that reflects its history with grace, while it beckons to modern-day guests who love sumptuous sleeping rooms with characteristic touches.

Photo Gallery

WHAT’S INCLUDED ~  En Plein Air with Virginia Fergus

  •  7 nights stay at elegant Villa Poggio alle Trese (The entire villa is reserved exclusively for your group!)
  • Private transportation to/from Rome Fiumicino Airport on arrival and departure days
  • Private transportation service to/from all towns and sites included in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • All delectable dinners featuring regional specialties and accompanied by regional wines
  • Private visit to organic flower farm
  • Marbled paper lesson
  • Pizza night
  • Saffron tasting and painting
  • Bruschetta lesson and olive oil tasting
  • Daily painting instruction with Virginia Fergus

Not included: Airfare, ground or water transportation outside of that listed in the trip itinerary, alcoholic drinks, wines or meals ordered “on your own”, gratuities for drivers and villa staff

The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: At Strada Toscana we weave amazing, authentic experiences into every trip, but sometimes unexpected things come up – like an unscheduled closing at a site or restaurant. If that happens, which is rarely does, we improvise to include something equally as wonderful and interesting. The quality of your experience is never at risk, as our team is committed to excellence, along with our vast connections of local Italians.

DATES, DETAILS & PRICES:  8 Days/7 Nights

  • Dates: October 15-22, 2022
  • Trip Price:
    • $4,590 USD per person, Single Occupancy w/Ensuite Bath
    • $4,390 USD per person, Single Occupancy w/Shared Bath (max 2 per bathroom of same gender)
    • $4,390 USD per person, Double Occupancy w/Ensuite Bath
  • $500 deposit is required to reserve your space on this trip
  • Please see our Terms, Conditions and Cancellation Policy