A Residency for Artists

Shona and Michael are excited to make available their apartment and studios as a residency for artists and art lovers in the beautiful thermal spring town of Ponte a Serraglio, ‘Ponte’, in the commune of Bagni di Lucca, Tuscany between Pisa and Firenze, and just 20 minutes into the hills behind the magnificent walled city of Lucca.

Both the ‘Ponte’ Atelier and apartment are constructed of four beautiful ancient vaulted ceilings with a central column. The apartment is on street level, and the Atelier beneath, at garden level, overlooking the river Lima and a gritty 18th century (and some new bits recently added) paper factory. The Atelier and apartment are meters from the heart of Ponte: the Piazza, bar, restaurant, thermal springs and baths, shops, and buses to take you to Lucca, Firenze, Pisa and beyond.

Participating artists will spend a minimum of two weeks at the Atelier. The Atelier is appropriate for painting and quiet sculpting. Basic equipment is supplied. Art materials can be found in Lucca on via Fillungo or in the town of Pietrasanta.

Atelier

The Atelier is directly under the apartment and opens onto the garden. The studio is spacious and has a bathroom area. The ceiling (3meters high) is the original vaulted ceiling in ancient handmade bricks supported by a central pillar and was originally the stables.

The floor is new, concrete with lino for ease of cleaning. The lighting is fluorescent and LED flood lighting. There is a good work sink with benches, tables, turntables and workbenches for sculpture. There is direct access to the garden if you like working outdoors. The Atelier is not appropriate for metal work or similar activities. There is an easel and tilting drawing table. A second access to the Atelier is via an ancient walkway from the street. This is good to bring in bags of plaster, clay etc.

It is not expected for participating artists to produce any art work and artwork is not expected in exchange. Time at the Atelier is to be used as the artist needs.

It must be remembered that the Atelier and apartment are part of a larger Palazzo, so we expect all artists and their partners to be considerate of neighbours and respect the apartment and Atelier leaving everything in a good state for the next artist.

Apartment

The apartment is above the Atelier and shares the same dimensions approximately 8 x 8 meters. Access to the apartment is via the front door which steps directly into the lounge dining area about 8 x 4 meters. There is a sofa, lounge chairs, dining table with 4 chairs. Heaters are in all rooms and the Atelier. WIFI can be accessed in the Atelier and the Apartment.

The kitchen has a gas hotplate, electric oven, refrigerator, toaster, dishwasher, pots ‘n pans etc, and a table with a marble top to make your pasta and gnocchi!

The bedroom has a queen size bed and ensuite with shower.

From the kitchen you step out onto the terrace with a huge Magnolia offering shade (must be over 100 years old). A laundry with washing machine attached to the terrace. Down the stairs and into the garden, a communal garden, however it is rarely or never used by the people of the palazzo. It is from the garden you will enter the Atelier.

The apartment is not suitable for a family.

La Rondine Gallery

The gallery (4.5 x 3 meters), is also available to exhibit your work in while you are in residence. The artist is responsible for the running and manning of the space while their work is there. The space is available to rent, there is no commission taken. You may have an opening if you wish which can be advertised on local FB pages. The artist pays all costs of exhibiting. There is a small bathroom and sink with a fridge. Art works cannot be stored at the gallery or the residence after your departure.

Artist in Residency

minimum 2 week stay

Prices

May, June, September, October

€550 two week period

€1,000 one month period

July, August

€750 two week period

€1,400 one month period

Please contact us directly if you are interested in the cooler months or for longer periods than 1 month.

Extra costs

Gallery rental is € 100 for 2 weeks.

cleaning of apartment €70

€250 non refundable deposit if you cancel for any reason. We will change the dates for you if you inform us at least two months prior original arrival date.

€250 bond will be returned to you at the end of your stay if all is in order.

Your rental will need to paid in full 2 months before you arrive.

+ Rubbish from studio practice will need to be taken away, it will cost €50 – €80 depending on the amount, unless you are able to take it away yourself.

Some other things to consider

Artists must bring their own art materials and have their own travellers insurance, visa if needed, etc. Only accommodation and studio space is supplied which includes sheets, towels, fair usage of utility bills (during winter) and a cleaner at the end of the stay. Extra cleaning and a chef can also be arranged.

There are shops to buy food and most of the things you need can be found locally in the Piazza of ‘Ponte’ or about a 20 minute walk away to Bagni di Lucca Villa.

Art materials can be purchased in Lucca. Do NOT send materials to the Atelier beforehand as the Italian post is notorious for losing items of any value!

There are good doctors locally and a Red Cross very close which offers free, or nearly free, medication at most hours of every day.

The Lucca region is renowned for its good food and this area is not short of options. A Pranzo di Lavoro (workers lunch for anyone) is about €12 which usually includes a Primo – a pasta, rice or soup; Secondo – some meat or fish; Contorno – a vegetable; a bottle of water, 250 ml of wine for each person, bread and a coffee. You can find these lunches in town or up in the mountains ranging from the best meal you have ever had to pretty ordinary. Ask the locals for the best ones in the area for when you are here because the quality can change.

The mountains surrounding the Atelier is filled with walks, walks from 20 minutes to days in length during the summer. Most villages are accessible on the local bus which are timetabled to suit the schools.

The history of Ponte a Serraglio and Bagni di Lucca is an amazing one, from Hannibal passing through with his elephants 2200 years ago to Lord Byron, the Shelleys, the Brownings, the first Casino in Europe and Napoleans’ sister Empress of Tuscany putting Ponte back on the map at the turn of the 1800’s. Everyone was attracted to these ‘Tuscan Swiss Alpes’ with its amazing healing thermal springs.

Looking over the town of Ponte a Serraglio and towards the studio beyond the bridge.

Getting there

You need to get to the beautiful walled city of Lucca. There are buses and trains from both Pisa and Florence to Lucca. Ponte a Serraglio, is about 25 minutes north into the hills in the locality of Bagni di Lucca which can be accessed by the bus from Piazza Verde in Lucca and stops 50 meters from the Atelier.

The closest airports are Pisa, 1 hour in the car; Florence 1.5 hours in the car. Rome is about a 4 hour drive. And while we are at it; Venice is 3.5 hours and Nice in France is 4.5 hours.

Reserve your place

If you would like to book the residency or have any other queries, please fill out the form below and include your preferred dates and we would love a link to your art too if you have a website.

Artist in Residence experiences

from: An Amazing Four Weeks at Cill Rialaig, Ireland

It has been amazing here.  I think you need the full month to get the full benefit from this experience.  We could have left many times earlier.  We got ‘over’ it, thought we had already ‘got’ it, but here we were, everyday clambering the same hills, thinking we had already ‘done’ this, and yet another revelation would come, another strange connectness to nature and the ancient past and an opening of the creative spirit to discover new doorways for our art.  It is at first hard to appreciate the lack of distractions as at first you actually miss them.  Long nights reading or writing or playing a game or talking when normally you might watch a movie or work on the internet or socialize.  The change of habits has been great for our art as we only seem to talk about our art or this strange land we are immersed in. Hours are spent investigating, imagining ancient peoples, reinventing how they saw the world and in those imaginings, days have disappeared without once thinking about our normal living.

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