Gianludovico and Camilla de Martino di Montegiordano
He is a retired diplomat and she’s a portrait sculptor.
They bought Palazzo Caratelli in 1995 and have been restoring it ever since.
Now it provides a delightful home for its owners and has inspired them to host painting holidays with invited tutors.
The Palazzo, situated in the old centre of Amantea, below the ruins of a castle, is on 3 levels with a huge artist’ studio and gallery overlooking the new town of Amantea and the sea. Antonello da Messina is supposed to have stayed in the house in 1460.
The vulcano Stromboli is seen in the distance and sometimes Etna.
Today Amantea is a bustling commercial centre and hosts every Sunday a famous market.
The local people take pride in their produce and culinary specialities, and there are many restaurants and bars which become particularly lively in July and August, when the sea-side is the main attraction.
However, if in need of cool places to go, there are fascinating ancient villages situated high up in the hills only 20 minutes drive from the coast.
Amantea is an ancient town on the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, near the site of the Greek city of Temesa. In 839 the Arabs captured Amantea where they established the capital of an emirate. The Arabs were ousted by the Byzantines in 889. Later it was under Norman domination. In 1269 the Amanteans rebelled against the Angevines in the name of Conradin of Hohenstaufen, but were besieged by the French and defeated.
In the Middle Ages it was an important harbor. It is located at a strategic cross-road controlling communications along the coast and towards the city of Cosenza and the Ionian Sea. The old town is built on ramparts where the sea came up until the XIX century and is dominated by the ruins of an imposing fortress which was blown up after the long resistance of Amantea against the French who in 1806–1807 laid siege to it.
Many artists and writers have visited Calabria including Edward Lear, Maurits Escher, Norman Douglas, George Gissing and Henry Swinburn.
We organise painting holidays in October. They usually last one week. € 1100 pp (including accommodation, breakfast and lunch or dinner, transport to painting sites). Easels, canvas and acrylic paints provided. Please bring own brushes, oil paints and watercolours. For participants sharing rooms € 800 pp. For non painting partners sharing room € 750.
We can accommodate up to eigth people in four double rooms, each with their bathroom.
In the mornings we drive to the surrounding hills and villages to sketch and paint.
The afternoons are taken up painting in the studio, gallery and garden or doing whatever takes your fancy: swimming in the sea, wandering around the old town, visiting nearby places.
Depending on the weather, we eat on the terrace with a view over Amantea, the old town and the sea or sit in our own shady garden with a picnic, or in the dining room.
We can also lunch or dine at local restaurants at the painting site or in the town.
Our cook is local and all the ingredients are locally sourced. Our wines are also Calabrian.
Additional options. People wishing to stay longer than eight days, to visit places of interest in Calabria, may do so at the same rates but would need to rent a car. Tuition by a local artist can be arranged, if wanted, for a small contribution.
Non-painting partners are offered the possibility to have cookery lessons for a small added contribution, and also longer stays and tours of Calabria can be arranged.
The nearest airport is Lamezia Terme, 30’ minutes’ drive away.
There are direct flights from Stansted and from London City Airport with one stop over.
Alternatively: fly to Rome or Naples and then proceed by train to Amantea.
View of the old town of Amantea
Via Indipendenza 26, 87032 Amantea Cosenza, Italy