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“One of the best vacations you will ever choose”
Review of The Retreat

The Retreat
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Force
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Retreat is an open artist studio offering relaxing and creative residential painting holidays in Italy's finest region of Le Marche. Courses include workshops and visits to scenic location with tuition on water-colour, oil, pastel and acrylic techniques, etc. The program is designed to suit all levels from beginner to advanced. Accommodation and full board, travel to locations is included in the price.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed June 11, 2016

I visited the retreat on May 2016 and it was one of my great choices for vacation. I admit that at first I was a bit concern about the age population, but its turn out to be perfect. This kind of vacation is fit for all ages.
The views are amazing and the whole place is peaceful. Better than the pictures. Although the other reviews, if you ask in the terminal about the bus station It is easy to get the place. Jena cooks an amazing food and john is a great guide, painter and person. We were a small group of 2 and we had a lot of fun. For me it was a good brake, and rich and full of expiration journey. I took the yoga and painting course and it was amazing. This is the time to mention that I had no experience at all in yoga and still the classes were fitted to us and the yoga teacher was one of the best I had ever known.
We traveled a lot and had some free time in every location. I learned many new paining techniques and got some new air and inspiration.
Everyone who need vacation, love painting, meeting new people and visiting peaceful places- I recommend with all my heart to visit on the retreat!
Have a great vacation!

3  Thank adiyanko200
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"painting holiday"
in 13 reviews
"le marche"
in 7 reviews
"plein air"
in 6 reviews
"an excellent teacher"
in 3 reviews
"painting class"
in 2 reviews
"evening activities"
in 2 reviews
"great guide"
in 2 reviews
"nice person"
in 2 reviews
"local restaurants"
in 2 reviews
"loved every moment"
in 2 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 2 reviews
in 53 reviews
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15 - 19 of 57 reviews

Reviewed May 19, 2016

I stayed at the Retreat for a week for a painting holiday in April 2016.

Its almost an hour (drive) from San Benedetto del Tronto. John came and collected us from the train station.

The Retreat is located in forche area amidst beautiful hills, lush greens and scenic beauty, there is so much peace around that one feels at home yet away from home! The villa where we stayed was extremely spacious and well made- separate rooms / dining area for us and lots of space to walk around. Mornings if weather was bad we were painting in the studio or outdoors with John. The hospitality we received from John and Jana was beyond any words- in other words we were blessed to be there for a week under such wonderful care and guidance. Their two wonderful kids were a joy to have around. They have 4 dogs, 2 cats, goose, a rabbit and many more. The swimming pool was not operational as it was raining and was cold.

The food served during the trip was beyond amazing and complete masterchef quality. Hats off to Jana for such amazing cooking for us– each day we had very well thought veg dish (i am a vegetrian and allergic to bell peppers) and evenings we used to relax having house wine / rose wine and dinner was followed with great food and awesome dessert (and do keep in mind that it was healthy and not calorie loaded. So calorie conscious people don't worry at all!). Overall food scene was extremely exciting! I cant stop raving about the food which I had for that 1 week there. The breakfast consisted of boiled egg/ bread/ juice/ yoghurt/ cereals / fruits and coffee. Fresh coffee can be brewed each day.

We were only two of us (the other lady Mona from Zurich was the other student). Even with only two of us, John was extremely patient, enthusiastic about giving lessons, taking us to new towns everyday and helping us in improvise our skill set. We painted landscapes both outdoors and indoors (in oil and watercolours). The one week just went by so quickly and I had immense satisfaction of learning the skills involved around painting. We completed 2 paintings in oil and several water colour paintings (mostly landscape). We learned the technique, colour mixing, cleaning the brushes, the shades to be made by John and he was always so optimistic despite us being lacking behind or slow or not able to follow. John overall was a great teacher, mentor and overall a great host who is extremely warm and friendly. Mona and me were beyond happy during our stay and were glad that we took out time from our respective hectic schedules and visited the Retreat.

We visited many interesting / cute/ quaint towns including Forche, rotella, Montedinove, amandola, Quinzano, ascoli piceno. The day before we had to leave, we went to this amazing town called Ascoli Piceno- we had coffee, shopped a bit and had delicious lunch with John and his family. We just roamed around and relaxed in this beautiful town.

I would recommend this to art / painting lovers and also to people who enjoy nature / calmness and some super Italian food! A must visit place. I will definitely love to come back here to get more guidance, travel mode and enhance my taste buds!

Things to remember:
1) Easiest way to reach the Retreat - I took a train from Bologna to San Benedetto del Tronto and it took me 3.15 hrs- much easier compared to travelling from Rome in a bus!
2) Don't bother carrying any eatables as the house has already a lot of food to offer. water and sparkling water also provided.
3) Carry cash (Euro) with you as small towns (like amandola) don't take cards and accept only cash
4) Even if booking the bus ticket on the last day (we travelled back to Rome to catch flight back)- do not be scared as seats are readily available
5) Local people don't speak English at all but are warm and friendly
6) Carry sunblock and hat while painting outdoors as it tends to be extremely warm

2  Thank Divs_Kataria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2015

My friend and I have recently returned from a very enjoyable week at The Retreat. Our tutor, John, really made sure everyone had a good time and was constantly helpful and amusing. He was a very good teacher and we both felt we learnt new skills in a really beautiful environment.

I had a comfortable ensuite bedroom in their charming house which had a large studio on the side for tutorials. Most of the time we painted outside, however, which was made easy because John supplied everything and gathered it all together beforehand. This was a marvellous arrangement we hadn't come across before and it meant that we didn't have to bring any materials with us. This was especially good because it meant we only took hand luggage, a great advantage because it was a long journey to reach The Retreat. The home cooked food was very good and we ate out on three evenings at local restaurants.

John was excellent company and a great teacher and it was a really beautiful place with stunning views. We go on a painting holiday abroad every year, and this rates as one of the best.

4  Thank 499jean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2015

The Retreat, amidst fantastic scenery and along twisting roads, is a world away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. We had a wonderful week painting en plein air in this beautiful landscape. After a morning painting we returned for a fresh, home-cooked lunch and siesta before being taken to a nearby hilltop town to sketch the narrow streets and local architecture. A café or bar was usually on hand for those of us in need of an expresso or aperitif. John's tactful tuition catered for all abilities. Our group was very mixed, in both age and experience, but we all came away having learned something new and having had a very enjoyable holiday.

1  Thank Alison M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 14, 2015 via mobile

The Retreat offers first class painting holidays in Umbria, Italy, near the hilltop town of Force. We were a group of nine painters and partners from the UK and stayed at The Retreat for a week, flying in and out of Ancona from Stansted.

John and Jana were our hosts and John provided the painting tuition while Jana ran the house and produced the most delightful locally sourced food. The included house wine was of high quality and was consumed with great communal enjoyment.

The week consisted of John driving us short distances into the stunning countryside and pleinair painting the vineyards, mountains and street scenes of the locality. There was adequate time for resting and making tourist visits to towns and restaurants.

It was a week full of fun and charm with the well behaved domestic animals, and John and Jana's children, providing balance and great enjoyment. Highly recommended.

1  Thank Andyoptic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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