Why is Florence the perfect destination to get some juice? (and fine wines) your creations flow.

Slide a large piece of paper out of the folder and smooth it over the table in front of him. Roberto Guarnieri is defining basic art rules for amateurs.

“The first rule is to be happy, you must smile,” says retired architect, artist and co-owner of Studio Iguarnieri (iguarnieri.it). Tell a group of four who gather on the grass outside the peach and custard-colored walls of Villa La Massa, a historic hotel perched on the beautiful bend of the Arno River outside Florence.

Other rules? no judgment (Own work or someone else’s) and if you make a mistake It’s better to start all over again than try to fix it.

We started an hour-long art class where we took turns drawing circles on paper with thick markers. First, close your eyes, then open, then use your non-dominant hand. and notice the difference

Quickly draw simple ink sketches on paper. Soon we begin our final work. Using a trowel, spread the white plaster on a hard canvas board. to create a backdrop for our fresco (traditional style that uses colors while The plaster is still wet) inspired by the iris, Florence’s most iconic flower.

After using a paintbrush to paint a bright blue paint over the plaster, I took another trowel and painted what I hoped was a petal shape. By adding a black dot in the center and scraping vertically to create a stalk.

Roberto Guanieri (left) teaches Katie Wright to paint a floral fresco (Katie Wright/PA).

The iris is highly revered in these parts, featured on the coat of arms of Florence. And the city is home to the spectacular Giardino Dell’Iris Gardens (free entry societaitalianairis.com), open for only one month each spring. when the area is covered with rainbow flowers

No matter what time of year you visit You can’t miss the beauty and artistic inspiration to be found in Tuscany.

“In Florence, there is serious artistic power,” Guarnieri said, crediting the Medici family for “proportion, color… beauty remains.”

View of Florence from San Miniato al Monte (Katie Wright/PA)

A wealthy dynasty of bankers and politicians that ruled from the 1400s to the 1700s a lot during my stay.

Down in the crypt of the Cappelle Medicee (admission 9/£7.50; operamedicealaurenziana.org), a bronze statue honors the last of the nobles.

“She is a very important woman to Florence. We thank you,” said tour guide Paola di Felice. She held her hand in prayer and raised her hand to Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici.

Why? Because before her death, Electress Palatine signed a contract that ensured the family’s many treasures. Whether it’s paintings, sculptures, antiques, it’s a must in Florence for the entertainment of the public. And they have been attracting tourists to the city ever since.

Key Points: Magnificent Baroque burial chapel above the crypt. A large octagonal space lined with intricate marble panels in dark green, gray, brown and red. and next door A small, minimalist chapel by Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The burial of four other Medicis.

The octagonal ceiling of the Medici Burial Chapel (Katie Wright/PA)

The famous family was also responsible for Villa La Massa, which dates back to the Medici era and passed through the hands of several aristocratic owners before becoming a luxury hotel in 1953.

consists of various building blocks (including the former flour mill and farmhouse and the tiny chapel where David Bowie married his wife Iman in 1992). ​​Each room is uniquely decorated with luxurious colors.

Double prestige room in Villa La Massa’s Noble Villa (Villa La Massa/PA)

The closures during the epidemic offer opportunities for major improvements. This includes a new heated outdoor swimming pool. And now employees are looking forward to the busy summer.

This hotel is popular amongst guests who love not only the beautiful, shady space and impeccable service. but also near Firenze (to use the city’s Italian name), which is only 15 minutes from the shuttle bus.

Villa La Massa is located on the banks of the Arno River (Villa La Massa/PA).

Recently named Italy’s most visited cultural attraction for the first time, the Uffizi Gallery (uffizi.it) is often Florence’s biggest attraction for art lovers. But now another exhibition is the talk of the city – among tourists and locals .

The joint works of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation and the Bargello Museum, Donatello, The Renaissance (tickets 15€/12.50€) were billed once in a lifetime to examine the greatest sculptor of his time and the impact that He has to his contemporaries .

Open until July 31, the show will follow the artist’s earliest work in terracotta. to the fat cherub and a glittering golden religious idol Up until the last five years his professional life has been devoted to the construction of projects, as you can probably guess.

Donatello, The Renaissance exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi (Katie Wright/PA)

Culinary arts are highly regarded in Tuscany. As I learned, I sat down in the private kitchen of Casa Colonica, an old farmhouse where I was stationed at Villa La Massa, for a cooking demonstration with head chef Stefano Ballarino.

Gently pull and stretch the spongy dough into an undulating oval. Chef tops them with olive oil and rock salt and slides them into the oven.

fifteen minutes later We’re tasting steamed focaccia topped with goat’s milk cream cheese, pecorino, salami and ham mortadella.

Chef Stefano Barrillo (left) leads a cooking demonstration at Villa La Massa (Katie Wright/PA).

My great adventure continued the next afternoon at the vineyard. Vallepicciola (vallepicciola.com) an hour from Florence in the Chianti Classico area.

Hop on the back of a convertible jeep. We zoom out on a tour of the land. in which the vines are still snoozing with small green buds Only a few trees have started to sprout. Agronomists work hard at optimizing growing conditions to ensure a bountiful and appetizing harvest when summer arrives.

when jumping up the hill We enter a decorated chapel lined with casks of Vinsanto dessert wine. Relax in the cool, high ceiling. They are in the five-year aging process.

Most of the winemaking here takes place underground. (The underground temperature saves energy) when looking down from the corridor above. We’ll be seeing glittering stainless steel barrels awaiting the arrival of this year’s freshly squeezed juices.

“It’s quiet now. But from August to November The area is always crowded,” said tour guide Federico Gutierrez. take us to another level where rows and rows of Hungarian oak barrels lie in the dark. There was only one hissing sound of the humidifier.

Gutierrez centrifuged a Migliore Rosso long glass pipette that had not yet reached its full potential.

Back at ground level, we drank the vineyard’s top 7 wines, from the bubbling Spumante to the deep Cabernet Franc, and pondered what to bring home.

Wine tasting in the cellar at the vineyard Vallepicciola (Katie Wright/PA)

Vallepicciola It was established in 1999 on the site of an old convent. and is one of the youngest vineyards in Tuscany.

with a commitment to sustainable viticulture The land uses solar panels to power the basement. and buildings built with local materials which is designed to blend in with the natural environment

Stunning architecture and modern techniques honor the region’s heritage. There is no doubt that Medicis will approve.

Prices at Villa La Massa (villalamassa.com) start at 520 euros (about £470) for a Double Deluxe room per night including breakfast. The price also includes use of Arno SPA’s facilities (including gym, sauna, Turkish bath). Prices include VAT and service. not including city tax

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