New Courses for 2022

In 2019 artist Fiona and arts documentary director Steve (Spike) Geilinger decided to open their Italian home for a handful of residential arts workshops each year, inviting artists who they admire to teach. Enjoy delicious cuisine, work in your own personal studio space, be inspired by the scenic countryside of Emilia-Romagna and make full use of the Villa, garden and swimming pool.


  • I had such high expectations of the course/holiday and they were all met or exceeded. It really was everything I hoped for.  A complete break from my normal routine, an opportunity to spend a few consecutive days thinking, talking about and making art in beautiful surroundings with like-minded people.

    Peg Morris
  • What I loved most about Villa Lugara was the location, the views were stunning, but most of all, Fiona and Steve were wonderful hosts, welcoming, warm and generous. Also fabulous food and great wine!

    Mina Bancheva
  • I can not say enough about Villa Lugara as a retreat for creatives! Not only is the setting simply stunning but Fiona and Steve are the perfect hosts. The Villa itself is beautifully restored and decorated, the individual workspaces are unique and stay cool in the summer, the pool provides a constant sense of relaxation whether you are in it, or chatting about writing and art while sitting on the edges. I was fortunate to lead a yoga practice every morning while attending a recent writer’s retreat and so looked forward to it each day…out in the fresh air, overlooking the pool, and taking in the gorgeous countryside. Fiona had everything we needed to hand and has created a space where one can not only work diligently and with great concentration, but enjoy every minute of it as well! Would not hesitate to go back.

    The food was so fresh.. and as a vegetarian…just loved the use of the garden and the presentation.

    Toni Chappell
  • Seven days that changed my life.

    I went to Villa Lugara with an intention to challenge myself and to get out of the comfort zone of well-known. As a beginner in creative writing I was so lucky to join a group of such brilliant, so advanced in writing professionals who were so kind, honest and eager to help, that I returned home with the complete plan, the detailed feedback and priceless advices on my future work development.
    In a Da Vinci like surroundings of the Villa, Fiona has managed to re-create a truly Renaissance environment, making it a paradise home for all of us. The workshops and conversations in between, great dinners and aperitif o’clock at a beautiful David Hockney pool… all these moments will stay in my heart forever. I was inspired, I learnt a lot, I made friends – I did not even dream about such a great start of an exciting journey I am embarking.
    I am so thankful to everyone who made it happen.

    Yaroslava Savelyeva
  • Working with Fiona to prepare and run the course at Villa Lugara was a seamless, efficient and enjoyable process. The house and grounds are beautifully suited to creative courses, with space and set-up for everything from contemplative individual practice to lectures to full-group workshops, with as much gorgeous landscape and cuisine as you can take in too. Fiona and Steve were incredibly helpful and quick to respond to all queries and needs. I wouldn’t hesitate to run another course at Villa Lugara, or to recommend it to other creative instructors looking for a beautiful, well-run, inspiring setting and venue.

    Emma Hooper, creative writing tutor

The Villa and Lugara

Sitting on a hillside 200 metres above the valley of the River Secchia, Villa Lugara was a casa canonica, a church farm house, and dates from at least the 16th century. Many of our good friends who live in Lugara are offspring of the housekeeper of the last priest, Don Andrea, and they are delighted to see their old home brought back from dereliction by us in 2015.

The hamlet of Lugara, is in the foothills of the Apennine mountains of the Emilia Romagna. Surrounded by fields and oak woods and close to a network of ancient pilgrim pathways running along the Crinale, the mountain ridges.

The house has a productive kitchen garden and it is possible to eat exceptionally well from very locally produced food.

Villa Lugara has eight bedrooms and four bathrooms. The pool has a great view across the valley and is six by twelve meters in length. There is a sympathetically restored, eight bay studio in the stable building, for creative courses and retreats.