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A note for search engine users: another term for gilding is gold leafing. Guilding is a misspelled version of the same word, it is common but incorrect.



Tuscan Castle Gilding and Painting Workshop

Enjoy and be inspired by working with an artistic group in a beautiful Tuscan castle setting surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills. Learn traditional water gilding and explore egg tempera painting at a relaxed pace on site in the studio on site.

Level: this course is suitable for all levels

Course projects: make a gilded frame, work on small gilded and painted wooden panels (panel sizes vary from 10x15 CM to 30X40 CM, the number of project panels completed depends on individual choice) Contact us if you have a special size in mind.

The skills taught are useful for people who would like to decorate or gild frames and furniture, to restore or refurbish old gilded frames, or create contemporary works of art using these high quality materials and techniques. The courses are suitable for both beginners and professionals. Small class size assures participants plenty of individual attention from instructors.

About the Course:

Welcome to the castle of Volognano, an ancient hamlet including a castle, a cluster of farm buildings, a tiny church and a boutique winery in the hills not far from Florence. This breathtaking Tuscan castle is the perfect setting for a week of immersive art practice and inspiration at a relaxed pace. We will have exclusive use of the castle and will offer gilding and painting techniques workshops on site, catered meals and beautiful accommodations. This trip is ideal for learning the antique craft of water gilding, but also for painters who want to enjoy the views and landscapes around the castle and work with some traditional paint mediums. We also include a touring day to see a Medici villa and the nearby ancient Etruscan town of Fiesole with its Roman amphitheater.

This special retreat course is offered to provide an intensive course of study for those who want to get in as much learning as possible during their stay and are perhaps unable to get away for long periods of time. The location has been carefully chosen to offer you one of the most picturesque settings imaginable together with very comfortable accommodation. As you'll see, it is an ideal place for creative exchanges and inspiration. In the hills north of Florence, among the olive trees and vineyards of this small wine producing estate, we dedicate time and attention to the development of your craft.

The Accommodations:

-There are 3 ample sized twin rooms with bathrooms for shared accommodations. (plenty of space not to be disturbed by your neighbor)

-There are two luxury doubles with ensuite bathrooms. (These are suitable for couples or for single use)

-There is one double with bathroom beside the room. (Suitable for a couple or can be used as a single)

There are many common areas in the castle, including a tower with a billiard room, outdoor terraces, kitchen and living rooms.

See the accommodations at the castle

How to register: contact us

The cost for the week per person: *Early Bird special 100 euro discount available until March 31, 2020

-1800 euros per person double occupancy in spacious rooms with bathrooms

-Single supplement: from 600 euros to 900 euros for the week, depending on the room or suite chosen.

Included in the Price:
accommodation in double rooms in holiday apartments (single supplement available)
4 lunches
5 dinners
Group Transfers to and from the train station in Pontassieve on the first and last day
Travel to a Medici villa and Fiesole
use of the studio space on site in the historical castle
studio equipment
course projects
course instruction
All class supplies excluding books of real gold

Not included
Air and train travel to meeting point
Extra transfers for those who do not meet the group at Pontassieve
Breakfasts are self service, we will stop at a supermarket for you to buy supplies

Extra charges:
25 euros per book of gold (one book should be sufficient for the course) If you wish to order more than 3 books of gold, please notify the studio in advance.


Gilding course lessons include:
preparation of grounds including the making of rabbit skin glue gesso and bole
techniques of water gilding with 22 karat gold leaf, and silver leaf
toning, antiquing techniques, oxidation and patinas for metal leaf surfaces
techniques for frames and panels
graffito, punch work (bulinatura)

Traditional water gilding: We will cover the techniques for preparing wooden surfaces for water gilding, including the preparation of rabbit skin glue, gelatin and bole. Students can choose to work on a frame or on a gilded panel, or both. We will cover the application of the gold leaf, burnishing and finishing.

Decorative Painting course lessons include:
making the egg tempera binder
making of colours with egg tempera and pigments
imitation of marble and tortoiseshell, gilded accents.
decorative brushwork
layering oil paint and egg tempera
patinas and distressed colour

Traditional paint mediums: In the studio we will make egg tempera medium and use them in combination with natural pigments. Egg tempera paints are used traditionally to paint on the gilded surface, as well as on gesso surfaces. We will also explore the use of egg tempera in combination with oil paint. Painters attending are welcome to bring their sketchbooks, watercolors or oil paints for any personal field studies they may wish to do. The studio area will be available on site from morning to late evening for those who wish to work on their projects.

Projects are prepared step by step by the students. Product recipes, procedures, are given in the class notes. Example projects will be displayed in the classroom.


Day One Monday September 27, 2021:

-Arrival afternoon: pick up in Pontassieve, stop at grocery store to purchase personal items and individual breakfast supplies.

-Welcome dinner at the castle

Day Two
Tuesday September 28, 2021:

-Workshop class on gilding, start on projects, preparing gesso and bole

-Catered lunch

-Afternoon class: Making egg tempera paints, making preparatory drawings

-Catered dinner

Day Three
Wednesday September 29, 2021:

-Class session on gilding projects, sanding, applying bole, applying leaf

-Catered lunch

-Afternoon studio session: painting on gesso ground, various techniques for egg tempera painting

-catered dinner

Day Four
Thursday September 30 , 2021:

Excursion: departure late morning to visit to a Medici villa then to Fiesole.

Independent lunch and dinner

Day Five
Friday October 1, 2021:

-Morning class on gilding techniques: burnishing, decorative work on the gilded surface workshop -Catered lunch

-Afternoon painting: continue egg tempera and mixed media panels

-Catered dinner

Day Six
Saturday October 2, 2021:

-Morning class: finishing gilding projects, antiquing techniques

-Catered lunch

-Afternoon painting workshop: finishing panels, discussion of varnishes

Final dinner

Day Seven
Sunday October 3, 2021:

-10 am Departure for Pontassieve train station

Instruction is in English and in Italian


For more information and booking please write to

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