Absorb the Tuscan Lifestyle into Your Life & Art

Absorb the Tuscan Lifestyle into your Life & Art!

Paint with Dorothy at a restored 15th Century villa on a spectacular 2500 acre estate between rocky coastline, beaches, thermal spas, Monte Amiata, and archaeological sites …

Dorothy Fagan Colorist Expressionist Painting in Tuscany

Known for her vibrant oil and paste palettes, and expressive calligraphy with drawing, mixed media, and watercolor ~ Dorothy Fagan invites you to energize your signature style in Tuscany.

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Absorb the Tuscan colors into your palette. Fuse la dolce vita with your brush strokes. Paint with Dorothy at a restored 15th Century villa on a spectacular 2500 acre estate between rocky coastline, beaches, thermal spas, Monte Amiata, and archaeological sites …

Absorb the Tuscan Lifestyle into your art & life.

Get Dorothy’s book, Joy’s Garden Embrace the Mountain>

Call 804-366-0990



Heart of Tuscany ~ Maremma Region of Tuscany

The Heart of Tuscany

Connecting Heart and Mind promotes creativity. This important connection is essential if creative energy is to flow smoothly. Experiential learning provides a quick way to reclaim forgotten creativity.

This year’s Tuscany Retreat focuses on the heart of Tuscany. Known as the Maremma region, this heart shaped area connects miles of rocky coastline and beautiful beaches with the mountains.

Heart of Tuscany ~ Maremma Region of Tuscany

The Heart of Tuscany ~ Maremma
The Heart of Tuscany ~ Maremma

Walking in the past ~ Civilizations dating back from the Bronze, Neolithic, and Copper Age, followed by Etruscan and Roman make this region the heart and soul of Tuscany.

Check out the sites on my interactive map to discover more about the heart and soul of Tuscany.

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Thermal Baths at Saturnia

Going with the Flow?

Entice your Creative Spirit. Jump into the CreativSOUP and relax. Let the flow go around you. What a powerful way of looking at the world!

Ancient hot springs still flow from the earth at Saturnia, and are open free of charge. Bring your bathing suit, water shoes, and a towel!

Learn more about the thermal spas>

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Maremma National Park

Connecting with the Landscape

This important connection with earth grounds creative energy, enabling it to flow. Without it, the creative circuit shorts out. Energy is lost, drained out. A walk, bike ride, horseback ride, boating, swimming, touching nature in whatever way that appeals most ~ will automatically reconnect.

Maremma National Park has 14 hiking trails, some for master hikers, some novice. Panoramic views stretch from the park mountains, along the coastline to the Monte Argentario peninsula and out over the sea toward the isles of Giglio, Montecristo and Elba. Hike to Medici look-out towers or the ruins of a medieval monastery. No hiking shoes? Try the cycling path!

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Canoes leave from the “La Barca” near Alberese, a section of the river where—until forty years ago—there was a ferry. The banks are initially covered in thick vegetation though it thins out slowly as you head toward to the San Mamiliano farm. Near Spolverino are the remains of an ancient Roman bridge, called “the devil’s bridge.” Once you arrive at Torre Trappola, about 3km from the sea, the river widens and you can see local trees including willows, poplars and tamarisks.
Horseback riding
Horseback riding excursions are another fun way to get to know the park and spend time in contact with nature. There are a variety of possibilities for everyone from beginners to experts throughout the protected area. During the rides it is easy to run into local wildlife like deer, wild boar, cows and maremmani horses.
The “Romitorio” itinerary, about two hours long, is a relaxed ride through a forest of oaks and it is appropriate for beginners. If you have more time, take the three hour itinerary to the Abbey of San Rabano. Experienced riders can take the full day (six hour) ride which moves through a variety of the park’s environments.
Expert riders can also learn about the local cowboy activities. Information and reservations can be made through the office of the Alberese farm (+39 0564 407 180).
Mountain biking

Leave your car in town, and take a relaxing ride along the road that leads to Marina di Alberese. Along the way you’ll pass the breeding area where you can see cattle and horses grazing in the large fields along the sides of the road.

When you arrive at the intersection about 500m from the seaside you can turn right, following the directions for the A7 itinerary which leads to Ombrone. On the return take the main road to the beach. You can also take a longer itinerary which departs from Alberese, through the countryside to the southern extreme of the park and the town of Talamone. If you don’t have your own bike you can rent one from Il Rialto. More info>


Jim and I visited Capalbio for the first time last year. Watercolor journal in my satchel, we sat in the village and made several sketches.

capalbio watercolor painting
flowers flowing from windows and balconies
capalbio watercolor paintings
flowers flowing prolifically from windows and balconies

I sat just below the wall in this video to make these watercolor sketches in my journal. There was a park bench where Jim and I sat in the small piazza. The village was quiet and we had the piazza to ourselves! From the top of the wall ~ a spectacular view of the sun setting over the sea.

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The Tarot Garden

A hint of Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculpture garden stands at the entrance of the walled city. Jim and I sat beside the towering beauty and ate our gelatos!

Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculpture at Capabilo

There is far more about Niki de Saint Phalle. Learn more>


I’ve always had a fascination with ancient civilizations. The Etruscans in particular ~ since making small red terra cotta replicas of Etruscan black painted vessels in high school! The opportunity to walk among the ruins, to feel the place, the earth, ~ well, I think I’ll take the watercolor journal and see what emerges.

Magic of the Maremma

For more information about this year’s Tuscany Creativity Retreat, Download Tuscany Retreat Brochure>

Creativity Retreat at Archaeological Site

OMG! I just received a confirmation note from Luca!

Castle Ruins, a Medieval Bridge, and an Archaeological Dig are on the Estate where we’ll be painting next fall!

dig 2
This year’s dig at Monteverdi

Creativity Retreat at Archaeological Site

The 2500 acre Monteverdi estate is in the Maremma part of Southern Tuscany. I just booked it for our 2018 retreat!

It has a Medieval bridge, castle ruins, and it’s own chapel Sant’ Antonio!

Family Chapel at Monteverdi
Family chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua from the 18th Century

I am SOOOOOOO excited! I can’t wait to paint this magical place! The rolling hills against the backdrop of Monte Amiata (an extinct volcano), the ruins, and it’s so close to the rocky coastline of the Tyrranian Sea! I so enjoyed painting the rocky coast of Brittany ~ this will be wonderful.

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Montverdi landscape
Montverdi landscape

Monteverdi is dominated by a late 15th Century borgo with an 18th century church dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. Bought in 1904 by Luca’s grandfather as a hunting estate, it presently covers over 1000 hectares (2471 acres), with olive groves, vineyards, woodlands, rivers and arable farming land.

Olive groves at Monteverdi
Olive groves at Monteverdi

Our host is Luca Savelli, an Italian-English archaeologist and owner of the estate. His team is studying  the Castellaccio of Monteverdi. It appears as a deserted medieval village, with a few structures still visible in the vegetation. It faces the river Ombrone and overlooks the ruined Medieval bridge connecting the NW shore to Sasso d’Ombrone.

Luca Savelli
Luca Savelli

The estate appears in early maps: in fact it is the location of several important sites, including at least one Roman site, a still very visible Medieval bridge over the River Ombrone which is overlooked by a ruined castle known as Il Castellaccio; the main Villa with its current origins from the 1490’s, and a family chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua from the 18th Century.

Maremma map
Monteverdi estate in located 2 hours north of Rome near the coast

The Maremma is a large geographical region of southern Tuscany and northern Lazio, half way between Rome and Pisa/Florence. An Etruscan heartland and Roman colony in Ancient times.

And the unspoiled rocky coastline of the Maremma with its beaches and islands are close enough to make day trips!