10 Things To Do During Your Artists’ Residency

During your stay at Palazzo Rinaldi you will have as much or as little to do as you wish: working on your artistic projects, exploring the local area, meeting and socializing with your fellow artists-in-residence…or just plain old relaxing and catching up on uninterrupted sleep!  However you decide to spend your time, here are 10 things we recommend you try and fit in during your stay, that will make your Residency even more memorable and special.


Matera sunset

1. Lights, Camera, Action || Visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Matera.  With daily bus connections to and from Noepoli, there is no excuse not to visit one of Italy’s most unique locations.  One of the peninsula’s first human settlements, its vast historical centre is carved almost entirely out of white rock, giving it an otherworldy appearance.  Matera today is a regular location for film makers– Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew were filmed here, among many others. Guided tours are widely available.

Farneta forest Pollino   Pollino hiking

2. Take a hike! || With Palazzo Rinaldi’s enviable location in the heart of Italy’s largest national park, you should definitely make the most of the wide-open spaces and stunning scenery on our doorstep. Many walking and hiking trails are available for you to discover and explore, offering unspoilt vistas and uninterrupted silence and the opportunity to work off those extra, delicious pizza pounds!  If you are a runner bring your shoes, as you will also find many pathways to and from the Residency to challenge you and keep you in shape during your stay.

Telescope terrace Palazzo Rinaldi  Palazzo Rinaldi sunset

3. Watch the stars… || Meeting for a glass of wine on the panoramic terrace at sunset is a regular habit for our Artists-in-residence. A socializing ritual accompanied by the ever-changing display of colors, which you can enjoy from your very own west-facing seat in the clouds.  Later, as the air cools down and the sky darkens to reveal its treasures without the glare of electric lights, star gazing will be an exceptional experience. Pina is a keen amateur astronomer and she will gladly talk you through the constellations on view during your stay, and even has a telescope for you to peek through.  In August it is extremely common to view falling stars, so have a couple of wishes at the ready!

antique books

4. Judge a book by its cover || Explore our library collection: Palazzo Rinaldi is home to a collection of antique Italian books and magazines viewable upon request.  Dating back from as far as the mid-nineteenth century and including specific publications on fashion and cinema as well as war and politics, they will no doubt inspire and intrigue you.

Painting Palazzo Rinaldi Italy       painting Palazzo Rinaldi

5. Work outdoors || Grab one of our portable easels and step outside of the studio, and let your creativity loose in the maze of cobbled streets. Noepoli, perched on top of a hill and winding itself around it in a spiral shape, is a village of extraordinary beauty as well as a protected location.  With Palazzo Rinaldi located right at the very top, don’t miss the opportunity to explore on foot its many tiny side streets and cobbled lanes, intersecting with each other before opening up to reveal secret piazze and surprising vistas on the valley below.  Bring your work with you and enjoy the weather, and the freedom of being able to work outdoors.

banda Noepoli  Noepoli procession

6. Bless me, Father… || Go to Sunday mass.  Whether you are religious or not, mass in the south of Italy is a fascinating and spiritually enriching experience.  You will witness the whole of the small village coming together and also enjoy the folklore, the people watching, the litany and the singing.  If your Residency happens to coincide with one of the summer’s many festas, such as Saint Anthony or the Madonna of Constantinople, you will also experience outdoor processions, marching bands, food stands, dancing – and even fireworks!

Simone Cumpa'  Vaydehi Noepoli

7. Meet the locals.  || Noepoli is home to a small and friendly community who – despite the language barrier – will go out of its way to make you feel at home.  The village is small and everyone knows each other, making it a safe destination particularly if travelling on your own. Even if your Italian begins and ends with ‘buongiorno’ and ‘buonasera’, a friendly attitude and a smile is really all you need to make long term friends!


Policoro beach

8. Go to the beach || Yes- despite the fact that we are in a hilltop location, the bustling beachside resort of Policoro is not far away.  So if you fancy a ‘holiday day’ to break from your creative work, pack your swimsuit and towel!

Palazzo Rinaldi art Amaro Lucano  Palazzo RInaldi

9. Sample the local food & wine. ||  The south of Italy is well known as the gourmet epicentre of the country, and Basilicata is no exception.  In Noepoli you will be able to taste some exceptional dishes and ingredients – among them the DOP Red Peppers of Senise, unique in the country – and the famous black grape Aglianico wines.  Upon request we can even arrange a visit to the local winery, inclusive of tasting session of course!

Chiesa   Jacuvill

10. See the sights || There are many sights to explore locally, but one you definitely shouldn’t miss is the church of the Madonna del Pantano on the outskirts of the village, impressively carved into the mountain side and featuring the hermit’s grotto- setting to a fascinating local legend.  If your passion is history and archaeology, a little further afield you will find the Greek temples at Metaponto, original site of Pythagoras’ philosophy school, or the Archaeological museum at Matera.

These are just some basic suggestions to get you started- the rest is all for you to discover!  At Palazzo Rinaldi you will find all the maps, bus timetables and information you need to plan your visits and we will be happy to answer any question you might have.  Enjoy!


Interview: I lived and worked in Artists’ Residencies around the world for 2 years

Part of the pleasure of running Palazzo Rinaldi artists’ residency is the opportunity to encounter some extraordinary people along the way, completely committed to their practice and art as a way of life.  One of these has to be Colorado-based visual artist Amy Clay, who back in 2009 made Palazzo Rinaldi her Italian stop on a planned 2-year creative and personal journey living and working in Artists’ Residencies around the world.  Along the way she collected thoughts, impressions and images and eventually published them in a book, now available online. 

We are catching up with Amy to ask her a few questions about her extraordinary experience and how this impacted her creative process.


     Amy at Palazzo Rinaldi in 2009


  •  Hi Amy!  Can you tell our blog readers a little bit about what inspired you to undertake your voyage in Residencies around the world in the first place?
I have always been a gypsy – insatiably curious about the world in all its diverse and interesting variety. Nothing is more thrilling to me than launching off into the unknown on some kind of adventure.  As an artist, I had been drooling over the extensive network of artist residencies for years, making a mental list of places that inspired me the most. So, when after many years of being grounded with my domestic commitments, I was free to wander again, I knew I wanted to combine my twin loves of travel and art. Artist residencies were the ticket.
  • With so much choice out there, how did you choose what Residencies to attend?

It was a combination of countries I was interested in visiting, and the residencies themselves. Each residency is unique, and they offer such different things, so I spent hours researching the accommodations/studios/costs etc before applying to them. My two favorite resources are: www.resartist.org, and www.transartists.org. Be warned, it is a rabbit hole!

  • We were of course delighted to be included in your wish list.  What are your memories of your stay at Palazzo Rinaldi?

What I loved about Palazzo Rinaldi, which was very different from the other places I’ve stayed, was being invited into such a warm and welcoming family home. I was the only artist at the time, so I was blessed with some quality time with the Caprara family as well as the quiet of the home and studio.

The village of Noepoli is truly an experience of life, Italy, unchanged by time. Because it is not a tourist destination, you really feel deeply the culture you are living in, as opposed to a Disney-fied version of it. And then there’s the location of the residency itself – at the top of an ancient hilltop hamlet with 360 degree views of the surrounding Basilicata region. Stunning!
I also was given a chance to have a small exhibition and slide show for the locals, who despite the language barrier, filled the room and seemed to enjoy my take on their wonderful village.

AMY_GNOCCHI2                AMY_SHOW               PREP1
           Above from L Amy at Palazzo Rinaldi: learning to make gnocchi, and getting ready for the end-of-Residency exhibition
  • From a creative point of view, how did you feel your practice developed during your 2-year time away? 

I loved being on the road so much, that it actually became more of a 4 year journey!  I was very curious how much our culture, language, environment impacts the creative process, and by stepping outside of that familiar world, into the unknown, what changes would happen to me and my work. In a nutshell, what I discovered was the solid core of my authentic voice. That there is always an unchanging “signature”, the essential you. And then there is the exterior world which is open to change and interpretation and play. I thoroughly enjoyed that visual feast of the senses as I traveled the world, and just observed how it interacted with new materials and new forms to make the resulting work. Of course, the interaction with my fellow artist travelers had a profound impact too.   

  • You visited India, Mexico, New Zealand and Iceland among other exotic locations.  What were the challenges involved in traveling so far away from home for such a long period of time? 

People often would say how “brave” I was to take off as I did, from the comforts of my home. But I don’t feel particularly brave, it’s very much my nature to want to explore. I’m less attached to my “things” than to the excitement of a new adventure. Although it’s wonderful to have a base, from which to launch,  financially, I couldn’t have both. So I chose freedom!

  • What would you say was the best thing about undertaking this long term project?

It’s so hard to qualify that, but I suppose it’s the confidence in myself – knowing that wherever I land I will find beauty, amazing people and creative purpose. And that this world is a magnificent place, not scary or broken. The infinite manifestations of form on this planet are truly astounding, and I don’t want to miss any of it. So as we speak, I’m asking myself – what’s next!

  • And finally…what advice would you give to fellow artists planning to attend a residency abroad for the first time?

Do your research, choose as best you can (try to find some reviews if possible), and then the minute you are on your way, relax and surrender to whatever shows up. Most likely it will be a rich and rewarding and sometimes crazy ride!

Amy Guion Clay is a visual artist and traveler who exhibits her work internationally. She continues to enjoy the life of the artist in residence around the world.  Her book The Far Shores of Being is now available online.

2014 Painting Workshops at Palazzo Rinaldi

Happy new year!  Time to welcome in 2014.

If you haven’t thought of a resolution yet, how about this one: finding your inner artist in the heart of Italy’s sunny south, under the guidance of a professional tutor?  Thought you might like it.

We are delighted to launch not one but two painting courses, developed specifically by professional visual artist and art teacher Cora Murphy, herself a former Palazzo Rinaldi AIR.  Cora says about her courses:

Palazzo Rinaldi is a unique and very special location.  My time there has been enormously inspirational to my painting practice.  In many ways, it has sustained and underpinned my painting since.  I genuinely expect all workshop participants to feel likewise!

Cora Murphy painter

Cora at Palazzo Rinaldi in 2010

Cora’s artistic skills and wonderful, outgoing personality coupled with her experience of Palazzo Rinaldi – and the small matter of having created some outstanding work while in Residency – made her the perfect choice of tutor.  Since first discussing this idea, she has gone on to  developing the two wonderful week-long painting workshops we are delighted to launch today, which make the most of our unique geographical location at the heart of Italy’s largest national park.

Italy painting workshop Palazzo Rinaldi

The courses – Abstracting the Landscape and Adventures in Abstract Art – will both run during the month of August 2014 and will take place at Palazzo Rinaldi Artists’ Residency. Featuring daily professional tuition and one-to-one critiques as well as sightseeing trips and social time, they promise to be the perfect way to improve your technical skills while having fun and exploring a foreign country.  And not forgetting having an exhibition in Italy to your name – as all participants’ works will be showcased in end-of-course exhibitions.

Noepoli PZ

Above: the village of Noepoli, idyllic setting of the painting workshops.  Below: the UNESCO heritage site of Matera, destination of the workshops’ art trips.

Matera UNESCO Palazzo Rinaldi

Workshop dates:

11th-18th August: Abstracting the Landscape

19th to 26th August: Adventures in Abstract Art

Download the full workshops’ brochure here

Both workshops are booking now but regrettably places are limited and filling fast.  To book please contact tutor Cora Murphy directly at cora[at]coramurphy.com

About Cora Murphy:

Cora Murphy

Originally from County Carlow, Cora travelled extensively for 15 years before returning to live in Ireland in 2007, when she abandoned conceptual art to focus on painting full time. Although abstract in form, Cora’s work is most usually described as landscape – as the work capture the essence and emotional significance she attaches to a place or time. While her influences are broad, the work is largely concerned with the natural world and our place in it. Cora takes her inspiration on the land – literally – walking the land, interacting with the community and generally immersing herself in the scene – a process she describes as ‘dropping down’ into the landscape – before documenting her response to the surroundings.

Since moving back to Ireland, Cora has made bodies of work in response to the Irish landscape – in the Kerry Gaeltacht (‘Ballads to the Bog‘), the Mayo Lakes (May 2011) and throughout the country – most recently in ‘Land of Plenty‘ (Origin, March 2011) – a celebration of the abundance of our land in spite of recesssion. Cora has also created bodies of work overseas – in Southern Italy (Sept. 2010) and Mexico (Oct – Nov. 2009).

Cora’s ‘Mexican Odyssey‘ – a body of work made while camping in the Baja Desert toured Ireland last year – initially premiering at The Mexican Embassy of Ireland (September 2011) with an opening by Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD – Minister for Arts, Heritage & The Gaeltacht – before touring to Origin Gallery in Dublin (October 2011) and University College Cork (November 2011).

The scale of Cora’s work tends to range from very small works on paper to large loquacious pieces created en plein air. Her methodology, while not entirely rigid, will usually involve creating the bones of larger piece on the flat outdoors with inks and heavy body acrylics before stretchering the piece back at the studio and introducing extensive layers of voluminous oils.

Colour and cogency are key concerns in Cora’s work – which tend towards the volumous in composition. Joash Woodrow, Turner, Kurt Jackson, Hughie O’Donoghue & Barrie Cooke are amongst Cora’s influences. Poets and their work are also a key influence.


Discovering the places of ‘Christ Stopped at Eboli’

Carlo Levi, Basilicata

The Basilicata region of Italy, with its secluded sunny locations shrouded in mystery and folk tradition, has provided through the years inspiration and ideas to countless writers, poets, visual artists and film makers.  One of the most famous and best loved of such writers is Carlo Levi, author of the Italian literature classic Christ Stopped at Eboli (Cristo si è fermato a Eboli).

Levi was a politically engaged doctor, writer and talented painter originally from Turin in northern Italy. In 1935, Levi’s anti-fascist beliefs and political activism led to him being exiled by Mussolini’s fascist government to Basilicata, at the time considered the remotest area in southern Italy.  What the government didn’t expect however, was that this ‘punishment’ would in fact become a positively life changing experience for Levi, who was welcomed with open arms by the people of the area.

Aliano Basilicata

The village of Aliano

Levi Aliano Palazzo Rinaldi

Levi’s exile home (now museum) in Aliano

Palazzo Rinaldi, Carlo Levi

Residents Catherine Finn and Laura MacNaughton (Palazzo Rinaldi AIRs 2010) at the Levi museum in Aliano

Published in 1945 in memoir form, the book provides an intimate and affecting account of Levi’s time spent in the remote small villages of Grassano and Aliano (Levi changed the name of Aliano to ‘Gagliano’ in the book)- the latter can be seen in the distance from the Palazzo Rinaldi terrace.  Our village Noepoli is also mentioned in the book, as is the nearby city of Matera.

The title of the book is an expression describing the local rural area as ‘ bypassed by Christianity, by morality, by history itself—(…) somehow excluded from the full human experience’ as Levi later explained.  Eboli was the location in nearby Campania region where the road and railway  branched away from the main north-south routes and headed further south into no-man’s-land.

The unique ‘calanchi’ rock formations in Aliano

AIR Italy Basilicata

Photographers Vaydehi Khandelwal and Mina Momeni (Palazzo Rinaldi AIRs 2009) visiting the main square in Aliano

The book is a great work of literature as well as a unique historical document, as it represents a snapshot of a region going through a particularly difficult time: isolated by the political classes, economically poor and riddled with malaria.  While thankfully Basilicata is in a very different place today, at the same time many reflections Levi shares on aspects of the local culture are still very much alive today, such as its folk traditions, mysticism, dialect, superstitions and so on.  Levi’s writing style effortlessly combines serious reflections with light hearted, personal and often funny anecdotes, making it an absorbing read.

Many visitors to the region, including our Resident artists, find the this book an invaluable introduction to this mysterious and still undiscovered region, and can easily relate to Levi’s point of view of ‘outsider looking in’.

Folk traditions are still alive in Aliano just as they were in Levi's day

Marching band in Aliano.  Folk traditions are still alive in Basilicata, as they would have been in Levi’s day.

If you needed further encouragement to pick up a copy of the book (in case you forget to pack it – we have a few at the Palazzo!) is that once here at Palazzo Rinaldi you will be able to visit Aliano and all the places where Levi lived and worked on his book, as well as his final resting place.  Levi loved the village so much that, years after he had returned to live in the north, his last wish was to be buried back in Basilicata.  His tomb is visited by writers from around the world, who traditionally leave small pebbles on its as a testimony of their visit.

Levi Basilicata Palazzo Rinaldi

Carlo Levi’s final resting place in Aliano

In addition to retracing the steps of Carlo Levi and seeing through your own eyes the very street corners and locations he describes, you will also be able to view some of his painting, sketch works, photos and memorabilia, currently hosted in Aliano’s Carlo Levi Museum.  Levi used painting as another form of ‘memoir’, capturing the friends and local characters he got to know with while in exile, once again providing us with an invaluable testimony of a historical time.

Levi Basilicata

Paintings by Carlo Levi Levi Italy

More info:
Carlo Levi on Penguin Classics website
Museo Storico Carlo Levi

Of kindness and clay

One of the joys of writing this blog is to commit to ‘virtual’ paper some of the most unforgettable Residents and their works, some of which have  become part of the tradition of the Residency- and (as in this case) of the fabric of the Palazzo itself.

When US sculptor Teresa Lind first joined us in Residency back in 2008, it was originally to continue her research on the figure as subject, and how costume and clothes inform identity.  She set out to work on female figures inspired by traditional Italian apparel, which she brought to life from slabs of malleable red wax, which she saw as an ideal material to transport and to work while in Residency:  “Wax is quiet, easily obtained and contained (…), the ideal material so that the pieces can later be cast in bronze and iron and finished with a variety of surface patinas to reflect the colors and vibrance of the garments.”

resident artist Palazzo Rinaldi     artist residency sculpture

Above: Teresa at work on her wax figures, below: images of the finished works, cast back in the US

artworks Palazzo Rinaldi    artwork

But Teresa was to distinguish herself and leave her mark at Palazzo Rinaldi for far more than just her creativity, hardworking attitude and warm personality.

Moved by the history of the Palazzo Rinaldi terrace busts, two of which had been damaged by burglars in the 1990s, Teresa decided to dedicate the rest of her stay to sculpt a brand new statue.  With only three days or less until the end of the stay, there was no convincing her otherwise as she set off to collect clay from the hill at the foot of the village, and started work on the terrace under the August sun.

Palazzo Rinaldi Italy residency   Palazzo Rinaldi terrace

                                                           Teresa at work, and below the cast of her interpretation of the missing statue.

                                                                                 terrace artists Palazzo Rinaldi

Unfortunately it was soon time to say goodbye as Teresa’s residency drew to a close, but we were delighted to hear that she was planning to come back the following year, to bring along her musician husband and complete her work.

Fast forward to the following August, and it was wonderful to have Teresa back and meet her lovely husband Kristopher.


This being Teresa however, this was never going to be just a romantic getaway.  Having decided that she was unhappy with the bust she had cast the previous season, she immediately set out to create a brand new one, this time based on the original design depicting the greek poet Sappho.

statue Palazzo Rinaldi    clay Italy Palazzo Rinaldi

Teresa Lind

The timing was perfect as Teresa managed to finish her bust just as her Residency wrapped up.  Located as we are in a very remote area, unfortunately we had no kiln available for firing the work, but we promised Teresa that during the autumn we would do our best to find a place that would see her project to completion.

And so we did- in Summer 2010, the once empty pedestal was finally reunited with its original occupier – the only female in the series.

art Palazzo Rinaldi   sculptors Italy

As the seasons change and the weather adds its finishing touches to the surface, the statue blends in more and more with the existing original works. But for us at Palazzo Rinaldi this one will always stand out: as a reminder of Teresa, keeping us company through the seasons, and for Residents as an inspiring object to admire and interact with.

The images below shows our Sappho modelling jewellery created in Residency by S&M Jewelry (aka Milda Bublys and Sarah Schrift) in 2011.

Palazzo Rinaldi exhibition   Palazzo Rinaldi mostre

Teresa’s was an unforgettable gesture.  Her statue, bearing her striking likeness, stands on the terrace forever admiring the view and greeting every new resident with its story of kindness and true artistic sensibility.

Teresa Lind (Palazzo Rinaldi AIR 2008 and 2009) is a sculptor and founder from Wisconsin working in bronze, iron, and aluminum metals.  Her work is a pursuit of the figure, its presentation as subject and object and the contemporary issues that accompany it.  She regularly attends conferences on cast metals and recently constructed her own iron melting cupola. Teresa received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh in 2000 and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 2005.  She was also educated as a sculptor in Italy at the Florence Academy of Art in 2002.  Currently, Teresa teaches sculpture at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Summer 2014 & new facilities

It’s that time of year again!!  We are delighted to announce that Palazzo Rinaldi is currently accepting applications for Summer 2014.  Between the end of June and early September, artists can choose to attend for a minimum of 5 nights, to a maximum of 2 weeks (Residencies) or one month (Retreats).  Artists also have the option to attend in a private apartment as part of the main Palazzo Rinaldi building, particularly useful if traveling with families or looking for a little more privacy.

Despite being committed to remaining a small, family-run location, Palazzo Rinaldi has organically grown and developed quite a bit since it first opened its doors back in 2008. With the help of the positive support and feedback from our Residents the three of us have worked as hard as possible to try and make it better every year.

In this blog post we wanted to quickly guide you through some new additions we were pleased to bring to the Residency last year, including a brand new self-catering kitchen for the exclusive use of our Residents.


Despite being a remote, tiny little village Noepoli does have its own restaurant/ pizzeria, many bars, two bakeries and so on- all great places to socialise and get to meet local people.  However we felt it was very important for Residents to feel as independent as possible and truly ‘at home’ by cooking their own meals whenever they wished to, particularly when staying for a long period of time.  The feedback has been great over the last season and it was wonderful to see the kitchen become a new centre for aggregation and socialising among artists, cooking and sharing together.

self catering Rinaldi
Above: Palazzo Rinaldi AIRs Marijke Loosjes and Anne Lillis.  Below (L-R): Palazzo Rinaldi AIRs Jyoti Dugal, Mellisa Dempsey, Andy Nicholson, Dana Sederowsky, Marijke Loosjes, Simone Couto and Meghan Blosser.

eat Palazzo RinaldiAIRs kitchen Palazzo Rinaldi

This of course doesn’t mean that Pina’s wonderful home cooked breakfasts are going away– quite the opposite!  They are staying,by popular demand! :)

Palazzo Rinaldi breakfast

Palazzo Rinaldi food

Palazzo Rinaldi food
Above: Palazzo Rinaldi breakfast details, AIRs Tuula Voutilainen, Geranise Hurtis and Leonor Agan.

In addition to our existing two studios, this summer we were also pleased to open a third studio space filled with natural light and with direct access to our terrace.

Palazzo Rinaldi studio   studio Palazzo Rinaldi
AIR Palazzo Rinaldi  artists studio Palazzo Rinaldi
Palazzo Rinaldi AIRs Mellisa Dempsey (L) and Charlsie Kelly (R) at work in the studio

terrace Palazzo Rinaldi
view from the studio

We are so pleased we could bring these improvements to the Residency and look forward to unveiling more over the next few seasons.