Renaissance types and epicureans who like the sound of an improving stay in the Tuscan countryside will delight in a new programme of masterclasses and courses to be held this year at Castello di Potentino, a ravishing and medieval castle in the unspoilt valley of Monte Amiata.
The Study of the Senses series of residential workshops includes a feast of foodie activities ranging from breadmaking, cheese workshops with Juliet Harbutt and a Rococo chocolate weekend with Rococo’s Chantal Coady (October 8-9), to monthly cheese and wine weekends (from July to December), including some hosted by the River Café’s charismatic sommelier Emily O’Hare. Those wishing to take their vinous education a step further can also study for their Wine & Spirit Education Trust diploma on one of the special diploma courses, also lead by O’Hare.
Other highlights from the programme of three- and four-day courses include a yoga retreat with celebrated yoga teacher Gunn Haglund (April 20-24) and masterclasses in scent-making with Celia Lyttleton (April 8-11) and dyeing (November 9-14), where guests will have the opportunity to forage for natural pigments in the local countryside. A series of concerts in the grounds are also planned, as well as a number of London pop-ups on a number of the same themes for those who can’t get away.
The brains behind the series are former Vogue-journalist turned-winemaker Charlotte Horton and Alexander Greene, publisher and co-founder of the Frontline Club in London. Having bought and restored Potentino in 2000, the sister and brother now regularly host cultural retreats of every hue at this stylishly eccentric castello, as well as making their own wine, olive oil and grappa.
The series will be launched on March 16, with a special event at Chelsea’s London Sketch Club comprising a performance of The Potentino Wine Concerto by Mark Springer and a screening of Potentino Chronotope by John Maybury – two artworks inspired by stays at the Tuscan castle.