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About Studio Borgo

Watch a short video about Studio Borgo.

Our Story

I have been educating students in the arts for many years. In 2002, I embarked on the first of many journeys throughout Italy, experiencing firsthand the art, culture and cuisine of the country from which my grandparents and great-grandparents called home. Having felt as if I had come home myself, I vowed that one day I would find a way to share my love of art with others in a setting that offered peace, inspiration and creativity...and the idea of Studio Borgo was born. I hope that you will join us in this celebration of art and learning and perhaps you will even experience your own personal renaissance with us here in Tuscany.

Cordiali Saluti,

Tom Ruggio Signature

Tom Ruggio


Tom Ruggio

An award winning artist and educator, Tom Ruggio's artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Italy, Germany and Mexico. His work has also been added to public and private collections in America and Europe. Tom received an MFA and BA at Queens College, New York and also studied at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture in New York City.

Tom Ruggio painting at the Devil's Bridge

Instructor and Founder of Studio Borgo, Tom Ruggio.

Detail of figure in painting by Tom Ruggio

Thomas Ruggio. Organ Music (detail). 2009.
Oil on canvas

Simonetta Cassai - 2015
The artwork of Tuscan born Simonetta Cassai has been exhibited extensively through out the region for years and she is represented in collections in both Italy and the United States. Simonetta completed her Fine Art studies at L’Istituto d'Arte Augusto Passaglia in Lucca and apprenticed under the renowned master of gold and silver leafing, Alfio Cioni. As an instructor, Simonetta not only brings expertise in all levels and mediums of drawing, painting and the centuries old techniques of Italian decorative arts, but she is also well versed in the fascinating art history of Lucca and Borgo a Mozzano.

La Sacerdotessa by Simonetta Cassai Simonetta Cassai Visiting Instructor

Simonetta Cassai. The Priestess, 2012. Egg tempera and silver leaf on wood.

An Extraordinary Art Studio
In Tuscany

After many trips to Italy, finding the perfect studio was not easy. We wanted a location that avoided some of the problems other art workshops in Europe experience: being too isolated or in the middle of an overcrowded tourist location. What we finally discovered was a property set atop a serene hilltop village just 15 minutes outside the city of Lucca in a town called Borgo a Mozzano. Here we found that we could combine the authenticity of the Tuscan experience and also offer our students some of the finest accomodations available in the heart of Lucca.

This medieval Tuscan village offers a town center within walking distance and a property that lends an inspiring panoramic vista of the valley below. The studio enjoys a privileged location overlooking the Serchio River and the surrounding hills. It resides on a road paved with the original stones from the middle ages and is named after its famed religious icon, Saint Gemma Galgani, who once lived in the village. Her home, just steps from the studio, is a historic landmark.

Renovating the property to house an art studio was quite an undertaking. Contractors worked for months restoring the stone walls of the studio to reveal the original 15th to 17th century construction. By defining the space with white stucco in typical Tuscan style, this beautifully converted old cantina provides students with an inspiring, historical and unique studio space.

Map of Italy with arrow pointing to LuccaInstructor Tom Ruggio in the studio with 2 students
Tom Ruggio Teaching Inside the Studio.

Outside, the scenic grounds and panoramic views contribute to a stunning atmosphere and a relaxing environment for a lunch break.The art studio is also situated next to a small piazza and every hour the bell tower chimes forever reminding us that we are in an old, medieval village.

View of mountains from outside the art studio

A view of the Serchio Valley from the grounds outside the art studio.

Medieval church next door to art studio

Next door to the art studio is the old church of San Giovanni Battista with its majestic stone bell tower from the mid-1400's.

The Studio Borgo Permanent Collection

The Permanent Collection of Drawings and Objets (Objects) d’art at Studio Borgo all began with one 19th century tattered, but beautiful sketch. However, it has now grown into a modest, but interesting collection available to you for study and inspiration.

Below are some highlights of the collection. Click images to enlarge.

Neoclassical Cast Iron Plaques Verrocchio David

Italian, “Pair of Neoclassical Iron Plaques”,
cast iron, late 19th Century.
Italian (Florentine School), "Study of Andrea del Verrocchio’s David", charcoal on paper, 1860.


Studio Borgo • 44 Via San Gemma Galgani, Cerreto, Borgo a Mozzano, LU Italy 55023

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