Tuscany is a paradise for photographers and Tuscan photographs are worldwide famous

Tuscany is a paradise for photographers, Tuscan photographs are worldwide famous and this is why our charm hotel in Tuscany’s countryside organizes each year a photograph competition, the results of which for 2013 have just been unveiled.

Tuscany is known to offer great photography possibilities with its stunning landscapes and its typical medieval and renaissance villages, appealing to photographers after appealing to painters.  Our historic hotel located in the Chianti countryside, but close to the main Renaissance art cities and in the midst of typical hamlets, is a paradise for photographers. To recognize their talent, our countryside hotel Villa le Barone organizes each year a photograph competition, the first prize of which being a 2 nights stay at hotel Villa le Barone, the second prize a 1 night stay and the next 10 others a bottle of Chianti Classico.

We received many entries, as usual, and the jury members had a very difficult task to select the winners!
This year the jury members were:

And the winners are:

2 nights at Villa le Barone in 2014:
David and Jackie Sherwood, for the overall quality of their submission, showing the poetry of Villa le Barone

Pine trees at Villa le Barone by D and J Sherwood

1 night at Villa le Barone in 2014: ex equo:
Chris Fulton, in particular for his pictures: “Unusual weather on the Piazza del Campo, Siena “ and  “A winery in the Chianti Classico”, Anthony Prisco, in particular for his pictures of “Stone walls and roses in Villa le Barone” and “Looking through the gate of Villa le Barone”

Stone wall and roses "coktail " at Villa le Barone by Anthony Prisco
Unusual weather on the Piazza del Campo in Siena by Chris Fulton
Unusual weather on the Piazza del Campo in Siena by Chris Fulton

1 Dinner in Villa le Barone in 2014 o 2015 :
Gerald Beck, a special mention for his picture « the doors of Villa le Barone »

Doors at Villa le Barone by Gerald Beck
Doors at Villa le Barone by Gerald Beck

1 Bottle of Chianti Classico to drink in Villa le Barone in 2014 o 2015
– Dustin Pizzo, for his picture of Villa le Barone’s bar
– John Mills, for his picture of the bird on the pole “Divieto di Caccia” (Hunting forbidden).
– Danielle Vandeuren for her entire diverse submission
– Lois Durrant, in particular for his pictures of Siena and Florence
– Janet Bowne, in particular for her picture of San Leolino
– Solène Trahand, for her picture of Villa le Barone’s bench
– Diana Wasson, for her picture of the San Leolino Church
– Christina Minniti, for her picture of the cellar
– Jacob Grainger, for his picture of Villa le Barone’s lounge
– Dina Johannemann, for her picture of the Chianti Black Rooster on a loggia at Villa le Barone
– Christina and John De Metro

Congratulations to all our photographers who have illustrated so well the Tuscan landscape and our hotel. The Photo competition in our paradise for photographers is also taking place in 2014

Cycling in Tuscany and Chianti

Cycling in Chianti
Photo by Ryan-O (Flickr)

Tuscany will be the center of the cycling world in 2013 with two international events, the World Cycling Race Championship in Florence in September and the Eroica (The Heroic) in October.

Those are totally different types of cycling competitions taking place close to Hotel Villa le Barone, an hotel where you can enjoy cycling yourself, even if you are not a champion!
2013 will be in fact the first time that Tuscany, even though it has produced world famous cycling champions such as Gino Bartali or Fiorenzo Magni, will host the road World Championships. This famous yearly cycling event will take place from 21st to 29th September. The cycling road, 267 kms in total, will start in Lucca, go through Montecatine Terme and Pistoia and will end in Florence, with a testing and twisting 16.6 km finishing circuit. A wonderful tour through the beautiful Tuscany!
The “Eroica”, to be held on October 6 in Chianti, is of a totally different nature: it is an annual contest for cycling fanatics, collectors of old cycles and for those who want to restore the spirit of camaraderie and  the authentic tradition of cycling: all bicycles should have been produced before 1989 and there are many other strict rules on the equipment. Participants in the Eroica don’t want to compete only for speed but are also looking at the landscape!  The “Eroica” starts in Gaiole in Chianti, 20 kms from Villa le Barone, and goes on  Chianti and Tuscan hilly dirt roads ( “strade bianche”) for either 134 or 204 kms  for the most addict of participants. The cycling ride is rough and the punctures are numerous along the roads,  punctures that participants have to repair themselves!  In fact, it might take more than 10 hours for some of them to end the circuit!
You can watch both races staying in the charm hotel Villa le Barone as the “Eroica”  passes  very close by and as the cities where the World Cycling Road Championship goes through are a few kilometers away only. Florence will be crowded and it will be nice to come back to the quiet countryside hotel Villa le Barone after having watched the championships!
And, in any case, you can practice cycling yourself on a lot of wonderful circuits around Villa le Barone: we can lend you our 2 mountain bikes, or you can hire in Greve beautiful racing, road or touring bicycles.  We will provide you the cycling itineraries we have prepared! And if you want to enjoy the Chianti landscape without too much effort, you can use an electric bike as some of our guests do!
We have prepared a special a offer (Cycling in Tuscany and Chianti) for  you to enjoy  cycling in Tuscany at Villa le Barone.

Watercolor, painting and sketching workshops in Tuscany

Painting in Tuscany

Many guests of the boutique hotel Villa le Barone in Tuscany love coming there for plein-air painting in oil, watercolor, gouache, pastel…

Each year, therefore, Villa le Barone gets new artworks. In 2012, three different interpretations of the church of San Leolino entered Villa le Barone’s collection: an oil painting of Ilaria Guicciardini, Italy, another one by Bill Brown from South Africa, and a watercolor by Peter Spitzweck from Federal Republic of Germany.

Painting in Tuscany

For many years, artists also organized at the Villa painting courses and workshops.  Watercolor painting is one of the most exciting artistic techniques in use since antiquity. It particularly developed in the Renaissance, mainly used for painting still lifes, flowers,  plants and animals. But when many travelers and artists came to Tuscany in the 18th and 19th centuries, they were seduced by its exquisite light, its amazing scenery, the wonderful hills of Chianti and the architecture of medieval hamlets. Many artists then, began practicing outdoor painting, and depicting the famous Tuscan landscape.
Practicing watercolor has many advantages: it is a discipline that allows even beginners to quickly obtain spectacular results. It only requires modest and easily transportable supplies. Indeed, a box of paints, some brushes, paper and a little water are enough to start. Painting ‘en plein air’ helps an artist to not only hone their skills, but also to observe the landscape with more sensitivity. One becomes quite aware of seeing colors and values. It allows sensing the lights at different times of the day unveiling a whole new world, and at the same time in our very busy world, it allows relaxation and renewing oneself.

Painting in Tuscany

Watercolor courses and workshops are regularly organized at the historic hotel Villa le Barone in Tuscany. The astonishing landscape, the changing lights and shadows, the many subtle colors are all sources of inspiration,

Jann Pollard, a U.S. watercolorist known for his works for the Karen Brown Guides, will also organize another watercolor, painting and sketching workshop at Villa le Barone , from 8th  to 14th October, 2013. As part of this workshop, an excursion will be organized in two Medicis historic gardens. Jann is currently preparing an art exhibition: ‘Inspiring destinations’ – A Collection of Paintings by Jann Pollard for Karen Brown Guides”, where many paintings she did for their book covers will be shown.  Villa le Barone was proud to be featured on the cover of the 2008 Karen Brown Guide for Tuscany and Umbria. The exhibit will take place in Filoli, near San Francisco, from February 5th to April 14th.

A french artist, Jean François Grillard will also organize, in May 2013, its 7th workshop.
The details of these painting workshops can be found on Villa le Barone’s main site  special offers page.