My art retreat in central Italy

Spend a week this summer pursuing your art skills in the spectacular Sabina countryside, “a better Tuscany,” only an hour from Rome! Nestled in the hills of lower Sabina, the former convent of Sant’Andrea in Collevecchio (Rieti Province), originally dates to the XVI c

For more information look at the Q&A site or write to or

Your retreat in one glance

in the middle of the most beautiful countryside

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” Edward Hopper 1882-1967

The place

The former convent of Sant’Andrea in Collevecchio (Rieti Province), originally dates to the XVI c and presently accommodates guests in single, double, or triple rooms, with a common dining room, a charming, shady courtyard, an outside terrace, and a large chapel, now studio. The convent grounds and surroundings have breathtaking views.

Your teachers

Marina Buening and Anita Guerra, professors of Fine Arts at Temple University Rome, conduct morning and afternoon sessions.  They both have been teaching painting, drawing and sculpture at university level  for many years. Anita's Website, Marina's website

What you will do

They include plein-air landscape painting overlooking the stunning Tiber Valley and Monte Soratte, sketching the locals while sipping aperitifs in town, watercolor studies while relaxing in the neighborhood pool, and more substantial, exploratory, mixed media and collage projects done in the studio.

who can Participate

This seven-day intense and fun art workshop is open to adult participants of all levels, whether beginners eager to discover their talents, or intermediate and mature artists who want to develop specific mediums, improve their skills, or learn new ones in a beautiful and authentic setting.

 additional features

Start your day relaxed and peaceful enjoying a locally sourced home-made breakfast under the pergola. The convent property is surrounded by oak, fruit, and olive trees and its own vineyard, providing inspiration for observational painting and drawing. In the afternoons, we cool off while making color sketches by the town swimming pool, for a combination of work and play. You can choose to  learn new techniques  according to our accurate instructions, or paint freely, developing a particular vision and style.
A local chef provides delicious, wholesome Mediterranean meals, organic and mostly vegetarian. Tasty options are available for participants with  dietary restrictions. 
On a creative vacation with Marina Buening and Anita Guerra, you will engage in immersive but fun drawing and painting projects, discover innovative creative processes, and learn to listen to your inner muse. Give yourselves this unique gift to learn and improve your art skills with interesting, like-minded people from all over the world. As a matter of fact, at the same time as our art retreat, Marina´s husband Maurizio Cagnoli, a certified instructor of the Bates Method, is running another workshop at the convent with a group of international participants. Evenings will give everyone a chance to mingle and make new friends.

The time

from the 30th of June to the 7th of July 

The workshop takes place at the  beginning of the Italian summer, an ideal time to enjoy art-making on site!  It is still pleasant enough to work outside and the thick stone walls of the former convent provide a cool respite from the afternoon sun for some indoor time in the studio.

The place

  • Collevecchio
    This is a small, very lively village of around 900 inhabitants in the Sabine mountains in Lazio. The village is 70 km from Rome and can be reached by train and bus.
    At an altitude of about 250 meters, the village has a beautiful view of the Tiber Valley. The landscape is characterized by olive groves, fields, flocks of sheep, vineyards and forests. It is a gentle, hilly area reminiscent of Tuscany forty years ago. Collevecchio has Roman roots and was of particular importance in the Middle Ages due to its judicial function. The village is very well preserved and intact, with a special charm that is best enjoyed on the piazza over an aperitif.
  • The convent of Sant'Andrea
    The early construction of the convent and adjoining church dates back to the late 1500s by Capuchin Franciscan friars.The Convent was built according to the Capuchin vow of poverty, with 17 cells, and houses the remains of the venerated Father Benedetto da Aspra Sabina.
    The Capuchin friars were able to live a simple life of work and prayer in this place of peace and tranquility. The convent, eventually abandoned, was rebuilt thanks to the voluntary labor of the inhabitants of Collevecchio, and it was modified several times over the centuries, until it reached its present structure in the early 1900s.  The friars left in 1964.
  • The Sabina The historic region, only a heartbeat away from Rome, has conserved the historic villages, which are still inhabited. The breathtaking panoramic views, artisanal traditions, gastronomic delights and a variety of creative and culinary activities are all within easy reach. The rolling hills with olive groves and vineyards bring you into another world.

YOUR Teachers

  • Anita Guerra was born in Cuba, studied Fine Arts in Seville and at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and Rome, and has lived in Italy since 1977. She has her M.F.A. in painting and explores mixed media on varied surfaces-from oil on marble to linen and embroidery. She has been a professor of painting and drawing at Temple University in Rome since 1998 and has extensive experience teaching sculpture. Look at her website or Instagram
  • Marina Buening is from Germany and has lived in Italy in the Sabina since 2000. She is a trained sculptor but has been working as a  painter, drawer, and printmaker for several years. She has taught in different American Universities and presently teaches at Temple University Rome. Look at her website, or Instagram
  • Their approach to art: They both love to experiment in their art and also in their teaching. For them, art should be approached with joy and playfulness. Creativity can only emerge in a relaxed and secure environment. Of course, technique plays a fundamental role in their teaching, but as a means to an end. A strong foundation based on observation from nature opens many windows for the students so they can experiment and explore individual styles with confidence and fluency.
zusammen zeichnen macht es Spass
"As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward." Vincent van Gogh 1853 - 1890..

For more information look at the Q&A site or write to or

the FOOD AND lodging

  • The food
    A local chef provides fresh, savory, locally-sourced Mediterranean dishes. The juicy fruits and vegetables are grown organically by regional farmers for crisp, scrumptious, and abundant pastas, salads and side dishes. Ruby red Sangiovese and elegant and fruity Trebbiano wines, native to the area, complete the all inclusive menu.    
  • Lodging in the convent
    The renovated convent has single, double and triple rooms for single or double occupancy. They are in the style and atmosphere of the original "cells", so simple, but with all the essentials. Most rooms have a private bathroom. A common dining room, a charming, shady courtyard, an outside terrace, and a large chapel, now studio, complete the spaces we use. The recent renovations are in keeping with the the spirit of the Capuchin monks who sold the place to the new owners. The transformed spaces are clean and functional, and the perfect place to concentrate on your artwork without distractions.
  • The Sabina The historic region, only a heartbeat away from Rome, has conserved its historic villages, which are still inhabited. The breathtaking panoramic views, artisanal traditions, gastronomic delights and a variety of creative and culinary activities are all within easy reach.

The course

  • Art workshops: The course  runs in the morning and afternoon for a total of five to six hours with a break for lunch and a rest in between. We will do watercolor studies, and mixed media inside and outside the convent. Sometimes we will also go to the nearby pool to paint, swim and sunbathe. We will visit other picturesque villages and towns.  The Sabina region is full of them.
  • Other activities: Occasionally, in the early evening, we will take a short walk to Collevecchio for an "Aperitivo". There, we can draw the people of the village or also do perspective sketches of  the narrow streets. We will also have a wine-tasting event and go to some nearby villages to acquaint ourselves with the treasures Sabina has to offer. In the evening, we might dance, sing, play Italian table games, or just chat under the moonlight.
  • What else you can do: Probably, you´ll be very busy with your art and what you have learned in the course, but we can also arrange visits to Farfa, a fascinating and still active Benedictine Abbey. Extra excursions to the Roman Ruins at Santa Maria in Vescovio, or other noteworthy regional sites, can be arranged upon request for a supplementary fee.
zeichnen in gross

Inside  and the rooms

How Do you reach the place?

You can fly to Rome, Fiumicino, and at the airport, you take the train which goes directly to the Sabina. But we recommend that you arrive at least one day before in Rome to get over your jet lag. You could also stay a couple of days in the capital to see the Eternal City. We can assist you with your sightseeing program. We will pick you up at the closest train station near Collevecchio, in the countryside. We´ll provide details once you book. Look at our Q&A page!

Join the art retreAt 

Don't miss this unique oportunity to paint and draw in one of the most beautiful but still undiscovered areas of Italy, together with two very experienced artists and teachers!

His mind contained several millions of facts, packed too closely together for the light breeze of the imagination to draw through the mass.” Henry James, Pandora

What is included

The price is inclusive of all food and lodging in single, double, or triple occupancy for seven nights,  five-six hours per day of instruction, with demonstrations of techniques and methods, group and individual reviews, basic art supplies (aqueous-based paints, brushes, India ink, pastels, pencils, paper, collage materials), equipment for the studio and plein-air painting, three home-cooked meals a day provided by a local chef, wine and non-alcoholic beverages included, as well as afternoon happy hour (aperitivi) a wine or oil tasting event, and entrance to the local pool when scheduled.


A lot of beautiful art work,

memories for your life,  instruction, and ideas you can go on to work at home, new friends. 

A state of deep satisfaction...

For more information look at the Q&A site or write to or


What they say

“ The introduction was great, we immediately felt well looked after with aprons and sketchbooks. The first lesson was also simple enough for everyone to join in but had enough depth for advanced students.
There was a huge range of possibilities with watercolor, acrylic, pencils and ink. There was always a lot of basic knowledge that you got along the way, and a different topic every day. For example, working with these wonderful trees. We got intensively involved with them, which could then be seen in the vibrancy of the results.
So it could have gone on for another week. But it was wonderful, I always knew I could ask questions and was sure to receive support and guidance. The exchange of ideas was also very inspiring.

Sybille Rieling

- Participant in the Summer course 2023-

"It was relaxing that the atmosphere from the beginning was welcoming and without any pressure or expectation to perform. Also, the pedagogical concept I really liked: to start with easy things and then do more complicated work helped me not get stressed but develop my skills quickly. The group was great and a lot of fun, which also helped me feel relaxed and open to everything offered. The lovely environment, beautiful landscape, and the aperitivo on the piazza in the middle of the village made the course exceptional."

Irene Hoffman

- Participant in the Summer course 2023 -

The cost and the dates 

The course runs from June 30th  to  July 7th, 2024. The first and last  day are for arrivals and departures.

Cost:  2.500 €, Early bird (by April 15th)2.250€

 After paying a  non-refundable deposit of 250 €  by April 30, 2024, your place is secured.

  Many of your questions will be answered here. Please look also the Terms and Conditions.

 The flight, the train to Collevecchio and overstay in Rome are not included

For more information look at the Q&A site or write to or

2024 Marina BueningVia Torquato Benedetti 6, Montebuono (RI), 02040, ItalyTerms and Conditions