Join Us for the Next Retreat:
Sunday, June 23, to Sunday, June 30, 2024
Painting the Landscape & Writing in Italy

About the Renaissance Retreat at Castello di Postignano

Join us for an enchanting seven-day getaway at the Castello di Postignano, a medieval borgo (hamlet) in Umbria!

The Workshops

Painting the Landscape

Join the American painter Timothy Joseph Allen for an examination of the conventions used in landscape painting—from the early Renaissance to the late 19th century—and apply that knowledge in your own paintings of the wondrous Umbrian landscape.

Writing in Italy

Join the American writer Rebecca Harrington for a discussion of short stories and a workshop to improve your own writing with a focus on description, dialogue and structure.

Other Activities

Time not painting or writing is dedicated to special activities enjoyed by all painters and accompanying family and/or companions:

  • Cooking lesson with Chef Vincenzo Guarino
  • Wine Tasting
  • Swimming in the glorious outdoor pool

Possible Excursions

  • Visiting the sacred wood of Monteluco
  • Hunting for truffles
  • Touring the beautiful city of Spoleto
  • Riding Horses on the great plain of Casteluccio del Norcia
  • Visiting the enchanting city and church of Assisi
  • Visiting the medieval town of Gubbio
  • Touring the vineyards near town of Bavagna

We recommend limiting your excursions to three of the above.

Our Partners

All traveling and excursions operated by Tasting Travel di D. Cittadoni
Via III settembre snc
06049 Spoleto (PG)
p.i 02874870542

Tour operator e Guida Turistica Autorizzata regolarmente iscritta CCIAA PG-248310

About Castello di Postignano

Castello di Postignano is an historic medieval fortified hamlet, located in Valnerina in the heart of Umbria, that had languished abandoned for decades.

A passionate and dedicated team has given it a new lease of life, as multi-building hotel, implementing this remarkable restoration project paying meticulous attention to every single detail.

The Food & Wine

La Casa Rosa is the real heart of the Postignano castle. Its cuisine is simple, and its philosophy is based on great care, respect for local traditions and excellent quality of the fresh ingredients. The welcoming staff will make you feel at home even if you just drop in for a coffee.

The Tavola Rossa finds its place in a universe defined by Art, Culture and Beauty. It’s a place where pleasure and taste are masterfully guided by award-winning Chef Vincenzo Guarino, who will be the one leading the guests through an ever changing and surprising  journey between inspiration, knowledge and source ingredients of the highest quality. An all-round sensory experience, more than a simply culinary one.

Video Highlights from Past Retreats

2023 – May 30 to June 5

2019 – October

2018 – October

Location of Castello di Postignano

What to See and Do While Staying at the Castello?

The Castello di Postignano website has a great feature that presents all of the sites and cultural experience in and around its location, and makes it even possible to filter the location according to means of transport: by foot, by bike, by car, etc.

The 8-Day Renaissance Retreat Schedule: Meals, Excursions, Painting Program & Writing Program

We strongly recommend that you arrive in Rome at least the day before the scheduled pick-up and transfer from Rome to Castello di Postignano… and schedule your return flight for at least the day after the transfer from Castello di Postignano to Rome.

Day 1


9:00 am: Meet in Rome.  Exact location TBA.

  • Transfer to Castello di Postignano. Estimated time of arrival: 13:00


13:00 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 17:00 : Free time

  • Rest / Swim / Spa* / Massage* / Yoga*  Other*

17:00 – 18:00:

  • Tour of Castello di Postignano


18:00 – 20:00: Aperitivo

  • Introduction to the Workshops
  • Slide Show in the Chiesa

20:00 – 21:30: Dinner at Castello di Postignano

Day 2


7:30 – 8:30: Breakfast

8:45 – 9:45: Workshops

  • Painting the Landscape: scouting our first location

10:00 – 12:00: Cooking Lesson at the Tavola Rossa with the Chef…


12:00 – 14:00: … the lesson continues, then you eat what you cooked!

14:00 – 15:15: Free Time

  • Rest / Swim / Spa* / Massage* / Yoga*  Other*

15:30 – 18:30: Workshops

  • Painting the landscape: 5 masses / 5 values
  • Writing in Italy: Discussion of “The Tower”; Writing exercise– 250 words set at the castello, particularly  paying attention to physical and sensory description– what it looks, feels like and what it inspires.


19:00 – 20:00: Aperitivo

  • Slide Show in the Chiesa

20:00 to 21:30: Dinner

  • Dinner at Castello di Postignano

Day 3


7:00 – 8:00: Breakfast

8:15 – 9:00: Transfer to Monteluco

9:15 – 15:30: Visit the sacred woods of Monteluco, then travel to Piatrico to hunt for truffles and enjoy a robust lunch.


15:30 – 16:15: Transfer to Spoleto

16:15 – 18:30: Tour of Spoleto, including the museum of archaeology, the ancient Roman theatre, museo del tessuto e del costume


19:30 – 21:00: Light Dinner in Spoleto

21:15: Return to Postignano

Day 4


8:00 – 9:00: Breakfast

9:30 – 12:30: Workshops

  • Painting the Landscape: developing composition: pictorial space and illusional space.
  • Writing in Italy: Discussion of “My Husband”; 500-750 word short story scene set in either Monteluco or Spoleto paying particular attention to dialog and perspective.


13:00 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 15:15: Free Time

  • Rest / Swim / Spa* / Massage* / Yoga*  Other*

15:30 – 18:00: Workshops

  • Painting the landscape: developing composition: atmospheric perspective.
  • Writing in Italy: Read aloud and discussion.


19:00 – 20:00: Wine Tasting

20:00 – 21:30: Dinner at Castello di Postignano

Day 5


7:00 – 8:00: Breakfast

8:30 – 9:45: Travel to Assisi

10:15 – 11:15: Guided visit of the Hermitage (1 hour)

11:30 – 12:30: Visit the city, free time (1 hour)


13:00 – 14:00: Lunch in Assisi

14:30 – 16:00: Guided visit of the Basilica (1.5 hours)

16:15 – 17:30: Return to the Castello

19:00 – 20:00: Wine Tasting


20:00 – 21:30: Dinner at Castello di Postignano

Day 6


8:00 – 9:00: Breakfast

9:30 – 12:30:



13:00 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 18:00:


19:00 – 20:00: Aperitivo

  • Drinks on the Terrace!


20:00 – 21:30: Dinner at Castello di Postignano

Day 7


8:00 – 9:00: Breakfast

9:30 – 12:30: Workshops

  • Painting the Landscape: putting things together
  • Writing in Italy: Discussion of “The Wedding Trip”; 500-750 continuation of the scene you started earlier, completing your short story.


13:00 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 15:15: Free Time

  • Rest / Swim / Spa* / Massage* / Yoga*  Other*

15:30 – 18:00: Workshops

  • Painting the Landscape: last round of plein air… then pack up paintings!
  • Writing in Italy: discussion and critiques

19:00 – 20:00: Aperitivo

  • Drinks on the Terrace!


18:30 – 21:30: Farewell party and dinner

Day 8


7:00 – 9:00: Breakfast

9:30: Departure – Transfer to Rome. Estimated time of arrival in Rome: 13:00

Note: activities indicated with an asterisk (*) are extracurricular activities and are not included in the package price of the Retreat and must be booked in advance.  If you are interested in these activities, please let us know in the Registration Form below.

What Does it Cost?

The Renaissance Retreat at the Castello di Postignano is….  The total cost varies according to room choice and the number of people in the room.

The total cost for a single Participant with his or her own room: TBD.

The total cost for two Participants sharing a room: TBD.

The final price is calculated once we know:

  • How many in the group.
  • How many want single apartments vs. how many want to share an apartment

The cost does NOT include all the extra-curricular activities (marked with an asterisk *) like yoga or massage.  These are booked once you are at the Castello.  Airfare and/or travel to Rome is also not included.

We strongly recommend that you arrive in Rome at least the day before the scheduled pick-up and transfer from Rome to Castello di Postignano… and schedule your return flight for at least the day after the transfer from Castello di Postignano.

We also strongly recommend you buy travel insurance in the event you have to cancel.  Please read carefully our Terms and Conditions prior to booking.

Transfer to and from custom locations is possible at an additional charge.

How Do I Register?

Registration is a 3-step process.  Using the Registration form below, you can:

  1. Indicate the total number of people and the room category.
  2. Provide your Contact Information
  3. Confirm your Registration Information

Very important:

  • Payment is NOT due at the time of Registration.
  • After we have received and reviewed your information, we will send you a Request for Payment for a Deposit of 30% of the total cost per Painting Participant and Non-Painting Companion.
  • Once we have received the Deposit, your reservation and participation is secure.
  • The Deposit is non-refundable.
  • The remaining amount is due 60 days prior to the start of the Retreat.
  • Please read carefully our Terms and Conditions.

Ready to Register?

Register below

Should the above dates not work for you and your group, Custom Retreats are possible.  Please contact me using the Questions form for details.

For any and all questions that you don’t find an answer to on this web page, please use the Questions form to contact me or send a message via WhatsApp: +39 347 263 1033.

—Timothy Joseph Allen
Your Painting Teacher and Renaissance Retreat Organizer

Questions Before You Register?

Please send us any questions you may have using the Questions form below and we’ll be happy to reply as soon as possible.

Meet the Painter and Organizer, Timothy Joseph Allen

Greetings! My name is Tim.  I’ve been a figurative painter since 1992, I’ve lived in Italy since 1998, I’ve taught at The American University of Rome since 2006, and I have managed and directed my own painting school in Rome–The Painting and Drawing Art Studio of Rome–since 2010.

I’ve been doing the Renaissance Retreats now for over two years.  There is nothing quite like it: the locations, the landscapes, the people, the food, the wine and the painting all combine for an extraordinary experience.

I hope you’ll join me in Umbria at the Castello di Postignano!


For more about Tim and his paintings, please visit his website.

Meet the Tour Operator and Your Guide through Umbria, Daniela Cittadoni

Daniela Cittadoni, a native of Spoleto, Italy and an experienced and licenced travel director and tour guide, is the vital force behind Mother Umbria. For over fifteen years, Daniela has been involved in all aspects of the Italian tourism business with a focus on her home region of Umbria. Daniela has helped individuals, couples, families, and specialty groups achieve their goal to experience the life-affirming vacation of their dreams. Her extensive knowledge of Umbrian history, art, and Italian cuisine is second to none.

Mother Umbria also collaborates with many experts in various fields, including chefs at selected restaurants, sommeliers at well-known wineries, and authentic olive oil producers.

Specializing in custom-tailored tours and the above-mentioned services, Daniela is today one of the best and most knowledgeable tour leaders in the tourism industry today, the perfect choice for your unique traveling experience throughout Umbria.

For more about Daniela and her travel company, please visit her website.

Painting the Landscape – What Can You Expect to Learn?

Painting en plein air, our primary considerations will be:

  • Composition – consideration of scale and the arrangement of the subject(s) within the frame.
  • Light and Contrast-  management of light in connection to the specific subjects vs. management of light of the whole (the light pattern).
  • Color and Atmospheric Perspective – discussions on color strategies: to what extent should the palette serve the local color versus the use of the subject in the service of the palette?  How should color function in the service of atmospheric perspective?

Meet the Writer, Rebecca Harrington

Rebecca Harrington has published three books with Random House— the novels “Penelope” and “Sociable” and the essay collection “I’ll Have What Shes Having.” She has written for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Elle Magazine and other publications.

What can you expect to learn during her Writing Workshop?

  • Description
    How to describe the physical world
    What do our surroundings look like? Or smell like? Or feel like? You will be able to put sentences together that accurately describe a physical setting
  • Dialog
    How do you write accurate dialog? How do you interpret what people say? How do you hear the rhythms of peoples speech? You will learn to represent communication in your own particular way.
  • Structure
    How do you structure a short story? How long should it be? How many scenes are there? How much should you put in? How much should you leave out? You will learn how to craft something you will be very proud of and a great memory of your time in Italy!

Testimonials from Previous Retreats at Other Locations

… the Retreat and the renaissance portrait painting course, well… it totally exceeded expectations. The ‘devils in the detail’ they say. Tim went to outstanding lengths to ensure the ‘studio’ was equipped with everything we would need and with every comfort. Each morning two gorgeous life models, Sara and Erika greeted us in the most impressive authentic renaissance costumes and Tim would begin the session with a demonstration and continue with help to each and all.

Regarding Castello di Potentino (and its wonderful and awe-inspiring host Charlotte Horton) it was inspirational… as were the wine tastings, stories, histories, lodgings, meals, lovely-young-volunteers and surrounding vistas. Tim chose exceedingly well with this beautiful place on earth. All the extras were such a treat and yes we all fell in love with the Michelin Chef Roberto Rossi and his 5 star restaurant in Seggiano.
Honestly I could go on and on, I’m afraid I have already, but I cannot thank Tim enough for this life-changing experience

An experience I will never forget and a trip of a lifetime. It was wonderful to be able to take a week out of my busy life to reconnect with nature and my creativity. I learnt so much from Tim in a short time improving my painting skills dramatically. As I never had the opportunity to study art at a university level I feel that after what Tim has taught me I have confidence to produce more professional paintings. I couldn’t think of a more perfect atmosphere to paint in. From painting in a studio room of a medieval Tuscan castle with live models to landscape painting on a warm autumn afternoon in an olive grove looking over vineyards, forests and ancient villages. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity.

Timothy Allen knows Renaissance art. With intelligence and humour he inspires his students to paint from life, fortified by the fabulous food and wine of the Castello. Under Tim’s guidance I actually produced a portrait, while living in a castle in Tuscany. It’s hard to convince myself that this really happened! But it did and I’ll never forget it.

The Renaissance Retreat was an experience of a lifetime. The castle setting was perfectly conducive to learning the techniques of the Masters under Tim’s excellent instruction and inimitable flair. It was immensely satisfying to see the quality of work achieved in such a short time. Tim put together a programme of intense study more than balanced with unique and memorable extra-curricular activities. I recommend the Renaissance Retreat highly.

Painting in Tuscany, in a Castle, with a live model, what more can be said! I’m still in awe that I had this experience of a life time. If you have the opportunity to take advantage and make it a reality, I can highly recommend it.

The Renaissance Retreat didn’t just meet my expectations, but exceeded them.  Tim went above and beyond to be accommodating, friendly, helpful and a great chauffeur as well.

Tim offers a week of learning to paint from a model and en plein air in a Renaissance style. That is the focus of the week, and it is an intense learning experience. I went to sleep at night thinking about what I would do next with my painting, and woke to thumb through photos of paintings by the Italian masters. Tim is a great instructor, and led us through the process of slowly building a painting. We had an excellent, lovely model and a beautiful setting for the backdrop to our developing portraits. Staying at the castle was like finding a little piece of heaven, and the food, wine and conversation were of the highest quality. Our restaurant outings were top notch. It was a week I will never forget.

The Renaissance Retreat was one of the highlights of my life, especially for two of my passions: painting and food. The castle and the landscape were beautiful. The food and wine plentiful and delicious. Tim provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and apply renaissance oil painting techniques with inspiring subjects (live, costumed model and beautiful Tuscan landscapes). The opportunity to learn from a Michelin chef and from artisan local cheese-makers added so much to the experience. Thank you Tim!

I highly recommend this amazing trip to Potentino, with delicious food, divine wine and inspirational art classes!
Tim is an excellent and passionate art teacher who gently encourages his students to push forward! We received all the art supplies we needed, worked with a beautiful and professional model and painted plein air too! The time I spent at the castle with him and the amazing group of friends I made there, inspired me grew as an artist and also got me motivated to carry on with all of what I’ve learned.
I will never forget this magical experience. Thank you!

This painting retreat exceeded my expectations. There was an intense focus on painting and Tim was patient and instructive and always willing to answer questions and demonstrate techniques. The castle was the perfect setting … beautiful and inspirational…enhanced by its hostess, Charlotte, who created unbelievable meals with an emphasis on fresh, local products. All meals were shared at large community tables that provided an opportunity for us to meet other guests and a charming group of young volunteers.