Montisi Beginnings

MONTISI, Italy, September 2012

Watercolor Workshop with Barbara Roth

Prerequisites, must be able:
To see;
To hold pencil and paintbrush (but not necessarily at same time, so, that’s a load off);
To want to try, which includes the ability to redefine concepts of perfection; and
To enjoy meeting interesting people, (over)eating delicious food and seeing beautiful places.

. . . and, if last night is any indication, the ability to sleep with unexpected visitors . . . but more on that later!

Arrival in Montisi on Saturday afternoon was relatively painless. We took the long way around in order to pay a return visit to the king of traditional copper smithing, signor Mazzetti, in Montipulciano.

Signor Mazzetti and his three tools

Not too surprisingly, but very pleasant all the same, we ran into Bob and Connie in the shop. We all managed to find a few things that our collections lacked but required. A quick visit to signor M’s workshop led to a longer visit to his museum just a few steps down the street.

Signor M is an amazing man. After learning the art of the copper smith at the knees of his grandfather and father, signor M gave it up after WWII because there was no copper with which to pursue the trade; it had all been turned into munitions. Instead, he became a plumber. It was only after retiring from plumbing that he went back to copper. His work is exquisite and he has had commissions all over, including unbelievable pots for renowned chefs and redoing the big pieces at the top of the cathedral in Siena and elsewhere. He is extremely proud of the work he does but I think he is even prouder of the fact that when he had a private visit with the Pope, his visit was ten minutes long; apparently. that is much longer than is the norm.

Happily, the lunch hour put a stop to our copper ogling, otherwise, we might still be there. Instead, we put Natalie the navigatrix on the scent of Montisi and followed her instructions to this, new to me, Tuscan hill town. We arrived quite a bit before the group coming down from Florence and got to explore Villa Maddelena at our leisure. Hit the link to get a taste for this delectable slice of Tuscan life. Finally, the painters arrived, our boys got sent on their way to Narni, Barbara assigned our bedrooms and it was time for wining, dining and getting to know you.

Gathering on the terrace

First impressions: It’s going to be a LOT of fun.

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