Textile Tours April 24 – May 3, 2017


P1020602Our textile tours are for textile enthusiasts who love to explore the hidden rural Italy and the arts of Italy. We will discover how these textile arts is still alive and well today in small villages of Umbria and Tuscany, in many forms, such as weaving, natural dyeing, lace making, embroidery.  We will also experience the culture, food, wine, olive oil, and crafts typical to the region.  We will stay at a glorious alpaca farm, yes, a working farm, in beautifully restored farm houses nestled on the side of mountain, located just miles from the Umbrian/Tuscan border.  As you can see in the picture above, the views are spectacularly inspirational.   You may choose to participate in the planned activities and tours or opt to stay home, savor the view, hike, or better yet enjoy a glass of wine, spin, knit or weave, or just put your feet up and watch the sun track across our valley.

This tour will enjoy a 2 day natural dye works shop.    Each  day will begin with a leisure breakfast at home, then off to explore a local textile treasure in our neighboring villages.  We will take time to explore villages, visit local museums where works of art have been preserved, eat in off the beaten track restaurants, sampling the local fare and of course tasting the locals wines!

Our groups are small (usually 6-10 people) and this allows us to often decide to alter our course somedays to explore some of the unexpected surprises Italy can offer.  You never know when you will stumble on a local festival or some new hidden treasure.

2017  Tour Schedule  –  This is a typical agenda, it may change depending upon the interest of everyone who signs up and the daily availability of our hosts.  We have so many options of places to visit, it is hard to limit it to 10 days!

April 24 – May 3, 2017       Textiles in Italy

Day 1   Monday  –  Winding our Way Home

Meet in Florence and travel together by van to the Alpaca Farm in Umbertide.  We will make stops along the way to visit Arezzo and Montechi, visiting the famous frescos painted by Piero della Francesca.  Upon arriving at our hillside home, we will settle in, rest and then enjoy a welcome reception and introduction to the alpaca farm.

Day 2   Tuesday  Dye Workshop Day 1oliveoilmill

Spend the morning working with our guest instructor exploring natural dyes of Italy.  We will w
ander the farm fields, picking seasonal plants, leaves, flowers, etc.  to make a variety of natural colors.  We will make a vast array of colors resulting in making book to take home displaying our work.  We will do each color Each season and year produces unique colors depending upon the weather conditions.  I have done this workshop for years and every year the results are thrilling.  It’s amazing how many colors we can produce with our local plants.

Visit Anghiari – Lunch or a dinner at an ancient olive oil mill, founded in 1492 and learn how olive oil is made and then taste oils.  The past few years we have been invited of a home cooked meal in the home of this oil producing family.  A very special treat!


Day 3  Wednesday -Dye Workshop Day 2

Fresh Mercato

Fresh Mercato

Visit a local weekly farmers market in Umbertide, porcetta sandwiches  lunch at the market.   Return home and ½ day continuation of our natural dye workshop and make our Book of Colors.  Dinner at a local restaurant and an early night after a full day of work!




Day 4   Thursday –  Visiting the Hill Cities

Visit the a local hill city.  We can choose the city of our choice to visit, Gubbio, Montone, Citerna, St. Marie Tiberon, Montefalco, Deruta.  Most of the cities have museums of their local arts to visit as well as great views and piazzas to sit in cafes and enjoy coffees and sweets.

Day 5   Friday – Lace and Saffron

Visit the tiny hill city of Pinnacle and their lovely mP1020530useum of lace.  We can continue on the agrotorismo of Fabio Berna,  a fabulous chef who can introduce us to some ancient grains he produces and introduce us to how he uses his home grown saffron.  By the way, the local ladies use it for dyeing!


Day 6   Saturday – Linen Weaving and Truffle Tasting
Visit Citta di Castello  where there is an amazing contemporary Buri Art museum on a converted tabacco factory.  He often used textiles and materials in his creations.  We will visit the weaving studios and museum, Tella Umbra.  The weaving studio is still in operation today doing traditional linen wedding and table wear. In the evening we will visit a local truffle distributor and enjoy a specially prepared truffle tasting.  If you haven’t tasted truffles you are in for a  A highlight of the trip!

Day 7   Sunday – Lago Trasemeno and needlework

weavinglinen4Visit Lago Trasemeno, take a ferry out to Isola Maggiore, where we will visit a Museum of Lace, actually Irish lace.  To this day there are women on the street making lace which you can buy very sweet tiny pieces.  If they are not out, I know where they live and we can actually know on the door or call their names!  We will have several options for the rest of the day.  It is always a treat to eat a one of the restaurants on the lake side or we can go back to the mainland to visit an other museum of the local needle work.

Day 8  Monday – Local crafts day

Spend the afternoon with our local crafts people, (glass blowers, pottery makers, honey producer) and then some olive oil and wine tasting at Fattoria Girasoli, our neighbors at Maridiana. (great dinning there too).  Our town of Umbertide has two very impressive museums we can visit it we have time, ones rotating art exhibits and the second is an archeological museum.

Day 9   Tuesday – Perugia and ancient weavings




Tour the ancient and wonderful city of Perugia, a chocolate center of the world.  Perugia is the largest city in Umbria and has much to see and explore.   Lunch will be in the medieval city center.  We will visit the amazing weaving museum in a ancient abbey, built in 1212.  This is an active weaving workshop housing a collection of early Jacquard looms from her grandmothers weaving center.  They replicate textiles as seen in museum portrait paintings.

Dinner at one of the fabulous local restaurants, then home to pack up for an early morning departure.




Day 10  Wednesday – Working our way back to Florence through Tuscany

On to Tuscany and visit the wonderful Etruscan city of Cortona.  Tour the Etruscan museum & tombs; enjoy a special farewell lunch at a Tuscan restaurant.  Visit Le Celle, a monastery founded by St. Francis.  And then on to Florence!


Typical Itinerary, subject to minor changes

Maridiana is the first farm in Italy to have bred a large number of alpaca and angora goats for fiber production. The Maridiana herds roam the green hills of our 100+ acres Umbrian farm, located in the Nicone Valley in the High Tiber Valley, near the border of Tuscany.

Maridiana has more than 15 years experience managing alpacas.  The pilot program of fiber production, has been co-financed by the European Economic Community, which 1997 designated Maridiana as demonstration breeding farm with the goal of extending the concept of rural areas that can benefit from raising alpaca.

Gianni Berna, Partner and Administrator, is an economist and has successfully organized and managed innovative agricultural projects in Umbria and in numerous third-world countries.

Costs   – $3,000*

Included:  Lodging, meals, ground transportation, and workshop & supplies.  Natural fiber for spinning included!

Not Included: Air Fare, travel insurance


*Estimate, may vary with number of participant and significant exchange rate fluctuations

For More details and to Reserve Space contact:

Linda Kirsch



Note:  Custom tours for textiles, or food, wine, history and art are also available for groups of 6 or more.