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"Autumn's Abundance in Tuscany"

A cornucopia of cuisine, culture and comaraderie

Enjoy images to whet your appetite and indulge your senses for the journey to Tuscany in October 2015.

Have I got a journey for you!  Embrace and engage all  your senses as we hike through the Tuscan countryside, enjoy culture, creating culinary delights together and getting an up close and personal experience with the wine makers during the beautiful abundance of Tuscany during the wine harvest.


Save the Date
October 2, through October 9, 2015

Artist Ellen Kamerling, Photographer Janise Witt   along with guest Historian Bill Hottell invite you to share in this  journey of discovery, into a unique place in time and culture where people have chosen to live close to the land and cultivate their daily lives with loved ones, friends and community in a way that brings balance and awe inspiring experiences to every day of life.

We'll be engaging all our senses as we meander through vineyards and farms, exploring the countryside at autumn's harvest. A cornucopia of produce, herbs and aromas wafting from organic gardens will delight your senses.  Savour the bounty of your own culinary creations guided by local chefs.  Toast the joy of life at festive gatherings with new found friends.  

Take home a recipe for living with renewed zest and zeal!!


2015 Tentative Itinerary
(Subject to Change)

Day 1, Fri., Oct. 2 - Departures

Day 2, Sat., Oct. 3- Arrivals Independent arrivals in Florence (overnight). Ellen, Janise and will be on hand to extend a warm welcome. Get a panoramic view of the city on a walking tour to the hilltop Piazzale Michelangelo with sweeping vistas. Arrive in time to hear Gregorian chants at vesper services at San Miniato a Monte church on the hilltop. Stroll along the Arno River on the way to our Welcome Dinner at a typical Florentine restaurant.

Day 3, Sun., Oct. 4  - Tuscany and the Chianti Sculpture Garden


Depart Florence for a morning visit to the fabulous Chianti Sculpture Garden. The imagination of visionary Pietro Giadrossi is responsible for
transforming this tiny village into a world class center for contemporary art known as B.A.C (Borgo d’Arte Contemporanea). He invited internationally acclaimed artists from countries around the world to choose a space in the woods on his property and create a site specific sculpture that interacts with the natural settings they chose. Wander in wonder - the result is truly awesome. Arrive at our Tuscan villa in time to relax and enjoy a group dinner.

Day 4 - Mon., Oct. 5: Quintessential Tuscany

Walk to the medieval hamlet of Panzano. The magnificent views of surrounding valleys and rivers make Panzano one of the prettiest spots in Chianti. The town is known for its embroidery and famed butcher Dario Cecchini. A visit with him to taste his products, includes classical music and a recitation of Dante's Inferno. Nearby we visit Castello di Volpaia, "a first rate wine estate with a medieval stone heart". Tour the winery and sample the award-winning olive oils and the only farm-produced vinegars in Chianti. Linger at lunch before walking back to our villa for an afternoon of leisure.

Day 5- Tues., Oct. 6: Tuscan Culinary Art:

Sleep in or take on an early morning walk in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Today we are invited to spend the morning at a unique agriturismo run by a family of four. Their lifestyle will have us wishing we could stay forever. Lunch from their garden is served al fresco. Now it's our turn to discover coveted recipes from a prized local chef at our afternoon cooking class. But, first we accompany the chef to the local market to gather the necessary food and spices for the memorable meal we make together tonight.
Optional tour of Volterra or San Gimignano with Bill.


Day 6 - Wed., Oct. 7: Vineyards & Villages -


Stroll from our villa through Greve and then onto the ancient castle-village of Montefioralle. This quintessential Tuscan hamlet was the birthplace of Amerigo Vespucci. Continue on to Badia Di Passignano, a neighboring community in a magnificent setting of vineyards and olive groves. Great photo ops abound at an abbey founded by Benedictine monks in in 1049. The abbey is a massive, towered castle encircled by cypress trees. After lunch, made from local ingredients, we are introduced to local growers and vintners who are committed to the "Slow Food Movement" that emplifies Autumn's abundance in Tuscany. You will come to know the mantras “vine to wine” and “farm to fork” firsthand as we savor wines and sample the produce and herbs harvested from the surrounding organic gardens.

Day 7 - Thurs., Oct. 8: Sienna

Mystical Sienna, one of Italy’s most magnificent cities, is our destination today. It’s unique setting on steep red hills and encircled by walls has drawn visitors from far and wide. Learn why on Bill’s tour of Sienese art and architecture. Relax and linger at the Piazza del Campo – a world famous “drawing room square in which life and history are lived to the full”. Along the way, Janise shares ways to achieve a day-in-the-life photographic story. Tonight at our family-style “Farewell to Tuscany Dinner” we toast our new found appreciation for Autumn's abundance that we've experienced - and each other!

Day 8 - Fri.,Oct. 9: Departures or Florence

We bid our villa good-bye and transfer to the Florence airport for connecting flights. Or choose to stay for a day of leisure and optional activities in Florence. Don’t miss Bill’s walking tour of his favorite haunts or the lively local markets.

Day 9 - Sat., Oct.10:

Umbria post-trip Extension Oct. 10-16, 2015
Continue on your own or extend your trip with historian Bill Hottell. He offers a 6 night/7 day
excursion to little known destinations in Umbria. Call for a detailed itinerary and price.


Extend your trip with Art Encounter co-founders, artists Joanna Pinsky and Ellen Kamerling as they guide you through the amazing wealth of contemporary art at the Venice Biennial - the world's premier international art exhibition since 1895.  This not- to- be missed grand dame of art showcases bold new work by the greatest figures in contemporary art.  Countries from all over the world host artists in exhibitions that use the city of Venice as their canvas. Delve into art glass in exclusive visits to innovative artists' studios on the legendary Island of Murano, a glass center since 1290.  And don't miss the abundance of old masterpieces that make Venice a living museum! Bill's historic guided walks reveal the marriage of Venetian art and architecture. His expertise unveils a magical city seldom seen. The excursion ends on the outlying lagoons where Venice was born.

Call for price and detailed itinerary after Dec.1.

Trip Cost: $2850.

Land Package Price based on double occupancy
for a minimum of 15 people. Fewer people or an exchange rate above 1.40 will necessitate a price increase of $150.
Single Supplement: $350. (accommodations are double rooms for single use)

**Accommodations for 6 nights:  arrival night in Florence, 5 nights in Tuscany
Daily breakfast, 4 dinners, 2 lunches,  2 cooking classes, 2 wine tastings
Daily guided photography walking tours as per the itinerary led by Janise
Private visits to meet local owners at their agriturismos as per the itinerary
Private tour of the Chianti Sculpture Park & La Fornance Gallery
Private motor coach transfers as per the itinerary
Daily escort  services of your hosts, artist Ellen Kamerling, photographer
Janise Witt, and historian Bill Hottell.

Not included:
Round trip airfare to Italy. **optional overnight on Oct. 9 in Florence for departures or post trip extension Oct. 10, items of a personal nature, tipping, taxis for optional tours or meals that deviate from the itinerary, alcoholic beverages other than wine tasting and one glass of wine with dinner.

Important Information:
* Villa space is limited. Accommodations all have private bathrooms and twin or double beds.Please indicate your preference when you register. A hotel list will be provided at that time.  

* Reservations are taken immediately on a first come basis. A $600. non-refundable deposit guarantees your place. Deposits are due by
February 10, 2015.

Non-refundable balance of payment is due by March 10, 2015.

*We strongly recommend trip cancellation/interruption insurance. Access America
1-800 -284-8300 or Travelex 1-800-228-9792

*Checks should be made payable to Art World Excursions, 2750 Jacks Canyon Road, Sedona, AZ 86351.

*For more information, and a registration form, please email Ellen Kamerling at or call Janise Witt at 928-204-5534 or email

About Janise

Janise creates with people who are excited about their lives. They want to capture that joy and beauty so they may live it again and again.

Janise loves sharing her gift of  photography with others - it is her lifetime passion.  And what a great place to capture memories for others, for she loves nature and people.  She embraces the magic of Earth's family and bounty and enjoys reflecting that love and joy back to others so they may see and feel their own beauty.  

She is always open to listening to what's important to you and will gladly personalize her photography to your needs.

And please visit her websites at: and

About Ellen:

Artist Ellen Kamerling is the President of Art World Excursions - "travel with AWE!"
For more than 35 years, she has been organizing art and cultural tours in the USA and internationally for educational groups and organizations. One of those organizations is Art Encounter ( which she co-founded in 1978. After moving to Sedona in 1994, she assumed the role of Travel Director planning several trips a year for Art Encounter patrons.  Her unique custom tailored travel adventures for small groups are known for intimate "art encounters" that engage people in lively conversations about the creative process inherent in all aspects of life.  They bring travelers and locals together so you return home knowing both the people and the place from the inside out.

About Bill:

Historian Bill Hottell has traveled the world on his own and as a guide for Smithsonian tours. He joins us from Twisp, WA where his history classes, honky-tonk band, and piano playing are famous. Bring a glass of wine to occassional evening soirees and recap Tuscany's fascinating past and changing present with Bill. His wealth of knowledge and slide presentations will enrich your unforgettable journey to Tuscany.  

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