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Reviews & Testimonials

"The Ultimate Atmosphere For Creating Art."
– The Tuscan Magazine

Filmstrip image of students creating artwork at the studio, a view of Lucca and a closeup of a sculpture

Francine Rennert, (Workshop, 2014)

Dear Tom,

Thank you for the wonderful, creative week in Lucca and  Borgo a Mozzano.  The setting in Lucca was beautiful and the studio in Borgo a Mozzano is stunning!  I appreciated your impressive knowledge of Italian art history, and your very practical tips and guidance for improving my oil painting skills. I really liked the small class structure and your one-on-one instruction was invaluable.

Painting in the town of Lucca and at the Convent of San Francesco were amazing experiences.  And the meals in Monica’s garden were simply one-of-a-kind, quintessential Tuscan experiences I won’t forget.  I also really liked the accommodation at the Hotel Universo in Lucca. 

My art workshop was memorable, inspiring, uniquely educational, and a whole lot of FUN! Graze Mille!

May Hoeland (Workshop, 2014)

My week-long workshop this summer at Studio Borgo left me a much inspired artist and person.

Aside from constructive studio and plein-air instruction, Tom's insight and knowledge about the masters and the history of the local area added greatly to making my trip an unparalleled experience. The warmth of Tom and his family, the beautiful scenery, the amazing meals he arranged for the students (and they ARE awesome, believe me), and the friendliness of the people around town all conspired to capture my heart, which I left in Borgo a Mozzano!

Lauren Monte (Workshop, 2013)

I can't say enough about the two weeks I spent at Studio Borgo. Studying with Professor Tom Ruggio was unbeatable.  I was introduced to oil painting for the first time at the studio and now I am in love with a new medium.  Spending time exploring Lucca and being able to paint from the top of the wall surrounding the city was unparalleled. Hotel Universo was very accommodating and quite charming.  I went in July 2013 and was able to experience the Lucca summer concert series being performed right outside my window.  I also have to mention the meals, which were all fabulously prepared by Denise Ruggio.  This trip was my college graduation present to myself and it was an experience I will never forget.

Kevin Morrow (Resident Artist, 2013)
My time as the Artist-in-Residence at Studio Borgo was more inspiring than I ever imagined it would be. To be engaged in creating work amongst such beautiful landscapes lined with ancient and meaningful architecture made me feel truly connected to a history of art I had only ever seen in university classes. The opportunity that Studio Borgo offers is like none other that I have experienced. The students and instructor were always willing to engage in respectful and constructive conversation and critique of my work; enabling me to create in a beautiful and completely stress free environment.

Jane Hennessy (Workshop, 2012)

I spent a week at Studio Borgo in July of 2012.  It was one of the highlights of my continuing artistic investigation and education.  The depth of Tom's historical knowledge about the lives and works of the Italian masters brought the experience of being in Tuscany alive. Our plein air excursions always included a look into a cathedral, building or nook  that had particularly fine pieces by artists I have long held in awe.  

Tom himself is an experienced teacher and an excellent artist in his own right. His thoughtful critiques were honest but encouraging.

The studio itself has excellent light. space and air for creating.  Gourmet "al fresco" lunches on the terrace were an unexpected bonus.....I am still dreaming about the pizza. 

For me it was a total sensory experience and has added much to my work.  I can't wait to go back.

Nicole Vicente (Workshop, 2012) *Nicole is one of the art students who appears on the Studio Borgo website.

My time at the Studio Borgo Artist Workshop was one of the most inspiring and unique experiences that I have ever had. From the instruction to the scenery, everything surpassed my greatest expectations and I would recommend the workshop to anyone with even the slightest interest in art.

Tom Ruggio was so much more than a painting instructor; he was also a tour guide, historian and Italian translator, offering bits of art history and facts about everything Italian as we walked through town. His knowledge and dedication to his craft is evident in the enthusiasm he brings to the lessons and the passion he has for the local people and area (and that enthusiasm was contagious!). The Studio Borgo Workshop was a total immersion in the Italian culture and it really allows you to feel as though you were living like the great masters, walking in the same footsteps as Michelangelo and DaVinci.  I am convinced that had I attended another artist workshop my trip would have been completely different. I could not have hoped for a better experience. My time spent at Studio Borgo has definitely been the best trip of my life. I have recommended the workshop to everyone I know because I know how beneficial it has been to me as not only an artist, but as a more well-rounded and cultured person. I have such a great appreciation for all that I learned while there and I hope to be able to do it again soon.

Edie Marshall (Workshop, 2012)

I studied with Tom at Studio Borgo in August of 2012 and would highly recommend it to artists. Tom has thoughtfully considered the traveler when designing this program. The advice, travel tips, directions and instructions to get to the art studio were very clear. Tom took time to answer all of my questions before and after booking. He also never forgot that I was a traveler in a foreign country and so didn’t take anything for granted as far as information I needed to know.

As an instructor, Tom was very proficient and professional, yet personable and approachable which made the experience enjoyable. I find Tom to be extremely knowledgeable about art and art history. I came to the studio with a degree and several years of experience and found that he could tailor his instruction to suit my needs. Tom's method of step by step instructions and demonstrations are also very helpful to beginning artists. If given the opportunity, I would go back.

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

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