Assisi Travel Advice
Flights are best booked AFTER receiving FINAL CONFIRMATION that the Retreat is going ahead. This is usually given at the latest two months before the start date. This is a precaution in the event of insufficient numbers.
The greatest choice of flights is to ROME FIUMICINO AIRPORT (FCO)
Arrival: The best inbound flight to book would be a flight arriving mid afternoon and before 16:00/16:30
Departure: The best outbound flights times to book would be flights departing after 13:00
N.B. Early morning and some pre-lunch flights flights will necessitate independent travel by train instead. Very early flights may mean a night in Rome.
The Minibus transfer
‘Icon Adventures in Assisi… so difficult to find the right words that could describe the experience, the adventure and the exposure to divinity and arts all at the same time. It is a retreat, an exploration of medieval history and art in the heart of Italy with peace, fun, music and most importantly, a group of likeminded, happy people every day for 12 days… a rare experience all in one.’
L.M. London (Assisi 2012)
A two-way, complimentary minibus transfer is only available to and from Rome Fiumicino Airport.
This involves a pre-arranged, group rendezvous in Rome Fiumicino Airport Arrivals Hall, followed by a 2½ hour drive to Assisi. The minibus usually departs late afternoon – precise transfer time will be advised about 2 months before travel.
The return transfer to Rome Fiumicino usually leaves Assisi around mid-morning – in time to arrive about 13:00 for check-in for afternoon flights from Rome.
What if I can’t make the minibus transfer?
There are no public coach services to Assisi from the airport so train travel is necessary.
Train tickets for the entire journey can be bought from the multi-lingual machines in the Arrivals Hall (approx 40 euros single)
1. Take the airport shuttle train (30 mins) to Rome Termini Station
2. Take a mainline train to Assisi (1 hour 40 to 2½ hours). Some services involve a change.
3. On arrival at Assisi Station, take a taxi to St Anthony’s Guesthouse, Via Galeazzo, Centro Isotorico, Assisi (4km, 15-20 euros). Ask for the ‘Suore Americane’!
Rail tickets can also be bought from machines in most station ticket halls/platforms as well as at the ticket office (or the station café). In Assisi, there is an English speaking travel agent who will book and sell you a train ticket the day before travel. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding the train in the small yellow stamping machines on the platforms – or risk a fine.
Visit the Trenitalia website for timetables, prices and connections to Assisi.
What about flying to another Airport?
The nearest airport to Assisi is at PERUGIA (15km) – but there is a very limited service from the UK (STANSTED)
Other airports at FLORENCE and PISA have shuttle connections to mainline rail stations for onward trains to Assisi.
E.g., Journey time by train from S. Maria Novella Station (Florence) to Assisi is approx 3+ hours and may involve at least one change.
Do I need painting experience or expertise?
No, you do not need any painting or drawing experience, just a willingness to learn, energy and enthusiasm.
The course is open to Beginners as well as Improvers and those with other painting experience.
Individual tuition and support is provided at every stage.
What’s the Accommodation like?
Most people don’t want to leave! We stay at a Franciscan Convent Guesthouse (St Anthony’s) in the historic centre of Assisi. It’s a tucked away and very charming place, parts of the building date from the 13th century. Our studio is in the garden. You can expect a homely welcome, and most likely, stay in a room with a fabulous view over the Basilica Santa Chiara and the Umbrian plain beyond. The rooms are clean, comfortable and have small en suite shower rooms.
Who would this Retreat suit best?
‘I had a fantastic time! The trip was impressively well-organised from start to finish. Helen’s expert and patient tuition elicited amazing work from all of us, even those with no previous painting experience. A small group meant good individual attention and also gave the opportunity for the group to gel together as a whole. The art historical content was brilliant and helped put everything in context. St Anthony’s Guesthouse was comfortable and ideally situated – just three minutes’ walk from the Piazza, but far enough away from the hubbub. I intend to do another course soon!’
P.M. Harpenden (Assisi 2013)
This unique trip is ideal for those who are interested in:
Late Medieval Italian art and the fusion of Eastern Byzantine iconography with Italian Gothic and Romanesque in the 13th and 14th centuries
The early iconography of St Francis and St Clare
Franciscan spirituality (the retreat is ecumenical and open to all)
The wider reach of icon painting in the Western Church
Medieval tempera painting techniques
Pilgrimage to Assisi
12 days of artistic and spiritual escape
Small group travel
What other factors are there to consider?
It helps if you have reasonably good eyesight, a steady hand and visual concentration.
Mobility – there is quite a bit of walking involved around the historic centre of Assisi, which has many narrow streets (steep in places) and flights of steps. The ability to walk for periods of about 20 minutes at a normal pace and manage steps will be needed.
There is little or no disabled access around the sites we visit.
The painting course can be intensive and may involve catch-up sessions.