Monthly Archives: November 2018

Castle and Countryside: Painting in and around Bardi in the Parma Apennines

November 23, 2018

Rocks and rivers, mysterious deserted villages, a bustling market, old boys gossiping or putting the world to rights, the smell of porcini mushrooms, full bodied red wine, dairy herds and parmesan cheese, early mists unveiling patterns of hills and valleys, sun and mist together weaving their magic!

I’m already looking forward to returning to Casa Bezzia in the hamlet of Pietracervara just outside Bardi in the Parma Apennines.  This is where I shall be tutoring a painting holiday next May.  Except for one, the photos were taken last week when I was able to visit many of the locations where we plan to draw and paint.  Dates for the holiday are from Wednesday 8th May to Thursday 16th May 2019.  Details about accommodation, the studio and booking information can be found at or contact

Sylvia Bell at

Tel.  +39 052571370

Bardi is a small town high above Parma in delightful hill country.  The town is dominated by a medieval fortress on a rocky prominence overlooking the valley of the River Ceno.  Almost every hamlet has a church and many have derelict buildings alongside those being sympathetically restored, and even in November the fruits of persimmon trees hang on the branches like little orange lanterns.  This area has a feeling of mystery and of closely bound community perhaps born of its more recent and ancient history.

The studio at Casa Bezzia is well equipped with sketching easels and stools and drawing boards etc.  The medium will be watercolour, and drawing media, perhaps introducing texture with collage.  Other media can be accommodated and an information sheet for any materials and equipment you will need to bring will be circulated well before the holiday.  The plan is to meet at Bologna airport as early in the afternoon as possible on the 8th May so that we can all be transferred together to Casa Bezzia.

Having been to see for myself I wholeheartedly recommend the scenery and Sylvia’s hospitality.  So now I’m just counting the days!

If you have any questions about the teaching content or materials do contact me at E-mail:


Oaks at Raffi





The Ceno below Bardi


The Ceno at Ponte Lecca