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Western Sicily Workshops

Hosted by Sicily Artist Retreats with Instructor Costa Vavagiakis
Rosetta Sciacca

Professor Vavagiakis and I are thrilled to announce that our Sicily Artist Retreats™ have returned! We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude for so much interest in last year's workshop.


In 2022, we are offering two workshops so that we can provide you with a more intimate group experience including one-on-one instruction. We welcome you to Workshop One, Two or both. The first workshop is scheduled for May 22 – June 1, 2022 and the second workshop is scheduled for June 5 – June 15, 2022.


You will paint en plein air along ancient salt flats, picturesque seascapes, and historic sites such as the medieval citadel of Mt. Erice and the Byzantine cathedral at Monreale, all under the expert guidance and instruction of Professor Vavagiakis.


All skill levels and media including oil, watercolor, pastels and sketching are welcome. While in Sicily, explore the cuisine and culture of one of the most fascinating islands of the Mediterranean.


Professor Vavagiakis and I are excited to welcome you on this special art retreat. We can't wait to relax, paint and explore beautiful Sicily.


We hope to see you there!


Trip Overview

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May Workshop - May 22 through June 1st, 2022
Itinerary

Itinerary subject to adjustments according to circumstances and opportunities.

May 22 Arrive in the ancient harbor town of Marsala. Welcome reception and trip overview at Baglio Custera (“Hotel Custera”) resort. Sample Marsala’s regional wines and enjoy a special welcome meal prepared by the resort’s award-winning chef, alongside secular olive groves.
May 23 Visit and painting at the Greek temple of Segesta and the small town of Calatafimi. Visit followed by picnic lunch and painting in the Calatafimi countryside and foothills Afternoon optional studio painting.
May 24 Explore Marsala’s historic center, with a visit to the Regional Archeological Museum in Marsala, home of the famous Ancient Punic ship and painting along the scenic waterfront. Afternoon optional studio painting.
May 25 Visit to Favignana Island and the famous Florio Cannery Museum. Painting at the town’s picturesque fishing port.
May 26 Experience the enchantment of the Stagnone Nature Reserve, including the famous Lagoon and the Salt Windmill museum and visitor center. Painting at the ancient Phoenician settlement of Mozia Island. Afternoon optional studio painting.
May 27 Painting at the Castle of Venus in the Medieval citadel of Mount Erice. Taste typical pastries of Erice and explore local ceramic and rug weaving artisan shops. Afternoon optional studio painting.
May 28 Visit to the beautiful town of Monreale in the hillside of Palermo, including the Byzantine Cathedral of Monreale. Painting in Cathedral square and picturesque local architecture. Visit to the Regional Gallery of Palazzo Abatellis to view works by Antonello da Messina and the masterwork, The Triumph of Death.
May 29 In-studio portrait painting with local models.
May 30 Visit to 9th century Phoenician town of Mazara del Vallo. Paint in the old Arab quarter of the Casbah and visit the Museum of the Dancing Satyr. Afternoon optional studio painting.
May 31 Free day to paint, explore, and enjoy the Marsala region. Reception and viewing of artworks and Sicilian Festival and farewell dinner at Baglio Custera. Optional studio painting.
June 01 Departure.
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June Workshop - June 5th through June 15th, 2022
Itinerary

Itinerary subject to adjustments according to circumstances and opportunities.

June 05 Arrive in the ancient harbor town of Marsala. Welcome reception and trip overview at Baglio Custera (“Hotel Custera”) resort. Sample Marsala’s regional wines and enjoy a special welcome meal prepared by the resort’s award-winning chef, alongside secular olive groves.
June 06 Visit and painting at the Selinunte Archeological Park, the location of the historic Greek colony on Sicily. Picnic lunch on the Park grounds. Afternoon optional studio painting.
June 07 Explore Marsala’s historic center, with a visit to the Regional Archeological Museum in Marsala, home of the famous Ancient Punic ship and painting along the scenic waterfront. Afternoon optional studio painting.
June 08 Visit to Favignana Island and the famous Florio Cannery Museum. Painting at the town’s picturesque fishing port.
June 09 Experience the enchantment of the Stagnone Nature Reserve, including the famous Lagoon and the Salt Windmill museum and visitor center. Painting at the ancient Phoenician settlement of Mozia Island. Afternoon optional studio painting.
June 10 Painting at the Castle of Venus in the Medieval citadel of Mount Erice. Taste typical pastries of Erice and explore local ceramic and rug weaving artisan shops. Afternoon optional studio painting.
June 11 Visit to the stunning Agrigento Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi), including art, history, myths and anthropology . Painting in enchanting ruins of Greek colonial architecture from the 6th century BCE. Picnic lunch on the park grounds.
June 12 In-studio portrait painting with local models.
June 13 Visit to 9th century Phoenician town of Mazara del Vallo. Paint in the old Arab quarter of the Casbah and visit the Museum of the Dancing Satyr. Afternoon optional studio painting.
June 14 Free day to paint, explore, and enjoy the Marsala region. Reception and viewing of artworks and Sicilian Festival and farewell dinner at Baglio Custera. Optional studio painting.
June 15 Departure.

Travel Advisory

For travel to Italy you will need the following:

  • Fill out a Passenger Locator Form (digital or paper) before entering Italy.

  • Present a document certifying that you have performed a swab test with negative results within 72 hours prior to arrival in Italy.

  • COVID-19 Green Certification on arrival certifying complete vaccination at least 14 days beforehand by a vaccine recognized by the European Medicines Agency.

  • A mask is required in Sicily for all indoor and outdoor activities as it is currently listed as a yellow zone. To stay updated with information on COVID-19 travel and access to cultural and recreational events, click here.

  • Check the Italian Ministry of Health for further information.

Accommodations and Meals

We will be staying at the Baglio Custera, a boutique resort hotel in the heart of Marsala’s countryside. Famous for its lush gardens and abundant waters dating back to the ancient Phoenicians, the modern hotel is surrounded by large olive and orange groves on the Rakalia hill (ancient “eraclia”).

Baglio Custera is a new hotel that recalls the ancient Sicilian “Baglio,” or fortified farm structures of Ancient Sicily. You will feel welcome at this beautiful locations where guests can enjoy an aperitif with an enchanting sunset, and exquisite genuine cuisine in the Sicilian tradition.

Car rental is recommended at Palermo's Falcone Borsellino Airport at Punta Raisi (PMO) and is not included in cost. Pick-up service from the airport can be arranged at an additional cost.

Sicily boasts an extraordinary cuisine influenced by the unique flavors of the Mediterranean region. Its mainstays are garden-fresh vegetables, ancient grains and seafood. Included in your package are all lunches, a celebratory welcome dinner and a farewell Sicilian festival.

About the Instructor

Costa Vavagiakis has exhibited extensively throughout the United States at galleries and museums such as The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Hirschl & Adler Galleries, NY; The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; ACA Galleries, NY; Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, NY; and Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

His work is held in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States including the Museum of the City of New York, the New-York Historical Society, and the Arkansas Art Center. He has been the recipient of many distinguished awards, including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and the Gregory Millard Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Costa is featured in publications such as Portrait Painting Atelier, Curve: The Female Nude Now space, and in articles in Drawing Magazine, American Artist, American Artist Drawing and The Artist’s Magazine, among others.

He currently teaches at the Art Students League of New York, NY; 92nd Street Y, NY; Gage Academy of Art, Seattle, WA; and Yale School of Drama, New Haven, CT. To learn more, visit costavavagiakis.com.


Materials List

Meet the Team

Rosetta Sciacca

Rosetta Sciacca

Tour Organizer

The opportunity to share my home, the beautiful island of Sicily, with friends and fellow artists is the fulfillment of a dream. The beauty of its landscape, along with its rich history, incredible food and warm people will find its way into your heart. Capturing all this on canvas will be the experience of a lifetime.

MariaElena D’Amico

MariaElena D’Amico

Director of Italian Operations

I live with my husband and our two daughters in Marsala, a mid-size town famous for its wine production. History, art and literature have always been my passion. After earning a degree in law, I went on to work in the Hospitality industry and managed a hotel on the resort island of Lampedusa. There I honed my skills in all aspects of hotel management including marketing and guest relations. In 1999, I returned to Marsala to help launch the city’s first tourist resort.
Among my responsibilities were individual and group bookings, contracts, guest relations, concierge services, and corporate meetings and events. My later experiences at 5-star hotels continued to expand my skills in a higher level customer care environment. Im delighted to welcome you to our beautiful city of Marsala.

Esther Mukuhi

Esther Mukuhi

Assoc. Director of Italian Operations

My love of being around people and my passion for everything Hospitality led me to study hotel and tourism management. In school, my front office professor promised that my smile and curiosity would open many doors in the future. True to his word I got to participate in the Miss World Kenya 2011. Later, when my travels brought me to Italy, I ran a beautiful bed and breakfast in Sicily. Hosting has become a part of me. It feels like traveling to different destinations without having to pay for an air ticket! I am fluent in English, Italian and Swahili. I love good food, good music and well decorated minimal spaces. I believe there is beauty in diversity and smiling is essential.

Bernard Garcia

Bernard Garcia

Studio and Teaching Assistant

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Bernard started drawing and painting at a young age. He attended the California State Summer School for the Arts program while still in High School, and later attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Art and Design. Bernard attended The New York Academy of Art, graduating in 2015 with a Master in Painting degree. Bernard has assisted faculty at The New York Academy of Art in the classroom and their studios. Currently Bernard plein air paints in Central Park and cityscapes in New York City. Bernard has his studio in Brooklyn New York.

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