Join me, Annette Joseph, cookbook author and food stylist, at La Fortezza Workshop in my little piece of Tuscan heaven in September. Not only is September my favorite time of year in Italy, but is it my birthday month, and the month we harvest the grapes in our vineyard. Needless to say, there is a lot to celebrate.

La Fortezza is located in the northwest corner of Italy known as the Lunigiana, a region lush with olive groves, and chestnut groves, dotted with undiscovered villages, and filled with delicious food experiences, food purveyors and organic farms that we eat from everyday.

During this food-forward workshop, you will visit our regional vineyards, including our own at La Fortezza. You will join in the grape harvest in the La Fortezza’s vineyard. You will tour a mother/daughter team of cheese makers at their remote micro factory, visit an Amaro liqueur laboratory, see how organic flour is milled, tour the dairy down the road and speak with a local baker that only bakes with chestnut flour, the preferred flour of the region.

Share this unique bounty with a gathering of like-minded foodies and be a part of this delectable experience. You will learn about the origin of our local foods as well as taste all the local products like chestnut honey, China Clementi Amaro and chestnut bread.

As we gather together each day, we will preserve from our kitchen garden and make homemade Limoncello. You will learn to make focaccia bread, chestnut fritters and chestnut and traditional pasta with locally milled chestnut flour all taught by locals, whose traditions have been handed down for generations.

You will truffle hunt and enjoy the fruits of the hunt with a 3 course truffle infused luncheon at a bucolic farm near the truffle forest. You will drink wine from our own vineyard, jar tomato sauce from our kitchen garden and make grape jam from our grapes. Make pizza in our outdoor forno, our pizza oven. See local slow-food certified Testaroli master craft this crepe like delicacy on the open fire in a special iron vessel made for the task only made in this part of Italy.

Join Annette and her local friends and purveyors to learn about the traditions and slow food movement of the region all while cooking, eating and enjoying aperitivo every evening on La Fortezza’s many spectacular terraces overlooking the vista of the Apennines mountain range. Eat Paniggaci (an Italian taco) by the fire while watching the Panigacci master make them on the open flames.

Hidden in the mountains, this amazing retreat location is not only filled with delicious food but irresistible secrets and stories about traditional fare. You’ll be amazed. If you’ve traveled Italy before, I promise you a very different Italian experience. Join us and see the real Italy in a part unknown. See Annette’s private Italy.

Grab this hands-on food experience and join us as we show you our unique and special undiscovered region of Italy.

This workshop is limited to 8 students, 2 shared rooms , 4 private rooms all rooms have their own bathrooms.

$3,200.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,600 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

This Workshop includes:

  • 5 nights*

  • 5 breakfasts

  • 3 lunches

  • 4 dinners

  • Snacks, water, soft drinks, espressos, cocktails and wine from our vineyard

  • Hands-on cooking classes with Annette, Workshop Chef Philip and local chefs\

Have you ever dreamed of perusing local flea markets, regional antiques fairs and special vintage vendors in Italy? If so, this is the adventure for you. Join Annette Joseph, owner of La Fortezza and styling and prop shopping expert, along with antiques expert, Lisa Burnett owner of Inner Pieces, Inc. as we tour the Italian countryside to shop the flea markets and dealers of the region. Annette and Lisa will lead you to their secret haunts, chic shops and brimming collections.

You will stay at La Fortezza, a chic minimalist bohemian compound in the Northwestern region of the Lunigiana in Northern Tuscany. Along with shopping excursions, you will enjoy yoga on the terrace and cooking lessons in the perfectly appointed commercial kitchen with workshop chef Philip Meeker, classically trained and a pasta master.

Throughout this workshop, we will dine on the various La Fortezza terraces with views of the mountains or the vineyard as our backdrop. This workshop takes place during harvest which allows those interested in wine to help with the harvest in our private, on site vineyard. Spend your free time meandering the 27 acres of the property to forage, read or simply relax.

This is the perfect girlfriend retreat, mother/daughter getaway or sister adventure. We will pamper you and lead you through the most amazing shopping experiences.

If you’ve traveled Italy before I promise you a very different Italian experience. Join us for your September shopping fix and see the best time of year in Tuscany, too!

This workshop is limited to 7 students. 2 shared rooms and 3 private rooms all rooms have their own bathrooms.

$3,200.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,600 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

This Workshop includes:

  • 5 nights*

  • 5 breakfasts

  • 3 lunches

  • 4 dinners

  • Snacks, water, soft drinks, espressos, cocktails and wine from our vineyard

  • Hands-on shopping excursions

  • 1 hands-on Italian cooking class

  • Yoga on the terrace (if desired)

  • All transportation during tours

  • All admissions to sites during the tours

  • All props, foods stuffs and surfaces for styling

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals or individual excursions. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.ht

From the time we wake up until we drop back into our beds at the end of a day, seeing every moment as a possible image is what this workshop is all about. Participants will be encouraged to work at a pace that reflects where and who we are. To paraphrase John Fowles, learning to see in ways so that the most trivial moment is illuminated, so that moment can never be seen as trivial again is central to our process. We will aspire to allow personal expression to drive us to communicate universal qualities that connects all of us.  

William Abranowicz, world renowned lifestyle and interiors photographer, with beautiful coffee table books to his credit like his latest book America Originals works with students as a group each morning with one on one instruction throughout each day.  Participants will be taught to simplify the technical aspects of photography, understand light and composition to create well executed, emotionally impactful images, and to edit to form a concise visual articulation of what we see and hope to say.  

Topics and the schedule of activities include making images throughout each day of everything from interiors, still life and food to landscapes and people. The goal is to create a beautiful, complete, unique, and universally understood narrative.  

The photographer Arnold Newman taught that knowing about the history of photography keeps you from having to reinvent the wheel. With that, we will lightly touch on the history of art and photography as a vital component and reference to how we work. These references to images made throughout the history of art and Abranowicz’s experience and problem solving should help to provide foundations that lead each photographer to establishing individual voices.   Basic rules are discussed only so we can successfully break them.  

Abranowicz, just released his fourth monograph American Originals (Vendome) and has lectured and given workshops in the United States and Europe throughout his 40 year career.  He formerly taught photography at Parsons School of Design.

This workshop is designed for students at every level of photography with the most basic understanding of the camera as the only prerequisite.  We are coming to learn in a relaxed setting and simply leave as better photographers and storytellers.

This workshop is limited to 7 students. 2 shared rooms, and 3 private rooms all rooms have their own bathrooms.

$3,600.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,800 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

This Workshop includes:

  • 5 nights*

  • 5 breakfasts

  • 3 lunches

  • 4 dinners

  • Snacks, water, soft drinks, espressos, cocktails and wine from our vineyard

  • Hands-on instruction

  • Yoga (if desired)

  • All transportation during tours

  • All admissions to sites during the tours

  • All props, foods stuffs and surfaces for styling

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals or individual excursions. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.h7Will

Against the beautiful backdrop of the Tuscan hillside, Ros Atkinkson, the photographer behind @her_dark_materials and a still life and food photographer who has achieved international recognition for her Old Masters style set ups and lighting will take students through the process of creating an Old Masters scene. Learn as she teaches you how to choose the right camera setting, capture the light in the best possible way and style using props and local produce. You’ll be guided in how to capture the scene, from tiniest details to the whole frame while using camera settings to maximize the use of light and shadow.

This is a perfect opportunity to practice new techniques, master your camera settings and learn how to control light and make it work in the most beautiful of landscapes. If you want to learn how to take a photograph in manual, or maximize your smart phone photography while learning techniques for lighting and styling, this workshop would offer a sound basis for you to grow. 

With Ros as your guide, participants will tour the property to practice finding light and playing with shadows. You will also be taken to local shops and markets to source produce to style with to ultimately create a table setting. You’ll receive one on one as well as group instruction and time with Ros. Join us for this unique take on a timeless style of photography.

*This Workshop is suitable for all skill levels, we do ask that you know how to put your camera on the manual setting.

This workshop is limited to 7 students. 2 shared rooms and 3 private rooms all room have their own bathrooms.

$3,200.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,600 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

This Workshop includes:

  • 5 nights*

  • 5 breakfasts

  • 3 lunches

  • 4 dinners

  • Snacks, water, soft drinks, espressos, cocktails and wine from our vineyard

  • Hands-on instruction

  • Yoga (if desired)

  • All transportation during tours

  • All admissions to sites during the tours

  • All props, foods stuffs and surfaces for styling

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals or individual excursions. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.h

Learn how to make your life more beautiful with the help of former goop editor and London-based florist Eliza Honey, successful photographer and lifestyle blogger Joanna Hawley, and former Food & Wine editor-turned-food stylist Maren Ellingboe. We invite you to join them on a very special workshop to learn the basics of floral, interior, tabletop and food styling, as well as photography, social media and blogging tips, in the beautiful Lunigiana region of Tuscany.

Eliza Honey started out in interiors and lifestyle editorial working for titles such as House & Garden, goop and Elle Decoration, and has since turned her hand to floral styling. Based in London, and inspired by the brits’ particular penchant for gardening, her floral creations have a wild, natural feel that’s inspired by the seasons.     

Joanna Hawley, aka Jojotastic, has always had an eye for beautiful things with experience as a product designer and trend scout for companies like Nordstrom and Anthropologie. Along with regular styling gigs, Joanna runs jojotastic.com to show off her appreciation for all things DIY, entertaining, interior design, style, and food — in a modern yet casual type of way.

Maren Ellingboe worked in editorial at Food & Wine in New York City for five years before moving to Oakland, California, where she has since worked as a food stylist and recipe developer for clients like Sunset, Imperfect Produce and Equinox. Her approach to food and styling is simple: it doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should always be delicious. She’s currently working on her first cookbook.

Setting a beautiful table, creating a floral arrangement or making a pretty dish doesn’t have to be about increasing your online presence, but in today’s social media-crazy world, it doesn’t hurt either. Learn from Joanna’s experience of creating a successful lifestyle blog with more than 4 million Pinterest followers. You’ll learn what separates a good photograph from a mediocre one, how to hone your personal brand, and how to make your social media accounts reflect your personal aesthetic. You’ll also learn what it takes to become a florist, interior stylist or food stylist, and the tools you need for each vocation. We’ll show you how to shop for props, forage for blooms and how to show off your culinary creations to their best advantage.  

Whether you are working to enhance your career, boost your existing business or social media presence, or just want to have fun styling, cooking, eating, exploring and taking pictures with other creative people, Eliza, Joanna and Maren will engage with you to make sure you enjoy yourself and learn as much as you can about the kinds of work they do in their daily lives. During that time we will basque in each others’ company and the Tuscan paradise that Annette has created at La Fortezza and the surrounding area.

$3,900.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,800 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

Fee includes accommodations 3 private and 2 shared rooms, all breakfasts, and all instruction and class-related excursions. Lunch and some dinners may be included but not guaranteed.

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.htm 2

This Workshop is the classic workshop we have offered over the years.  Annette will be teaching styling lessons while showing you how to style for the camera and then photograph your images with your camera or iPhone.

There will be excursions to the farmers markets, along with a free day which includes your choice of excursions. You will receive lessons in work flow, the business of styling and how to give your brand a presence on social media. There will be an opportunity to delve into your own business and plenty of one on one with Annette. All lessons will be conducted on the grounds and in the gorgeous photo studio situated in the stone barn. You will spend time using the vast prop collection in the studio, as well as shop for your own collection at Annette's favorite haunts and flea markets. This is an opportunity to work with a stylist and producer with 25 + years of experience in the highly competitive world of editorial styling. Annette will be collaborating on the weekend with one of Italy’s top stylists and editors, Barbara Pederzini. See how styling is done “Italian Style” as Barbara shares her techniques and styling philosophy. This is a rare opportunity to meet and work with an Italian professional in the field.

This workshop is great for aspiring stylists and photographers, professional bloggers, and artisan makers and manufacturers, cookbook authors. Improve your style and your brand amid the gorgeous landscape of Italy. Join us. This workshop is limited to 5 students, all rooms are private.

$3,200.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,600 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

This Workshop includes:

  • 5 nights*

  • 5 breakfasts

  • 3 lunches

  • 4 dinners

  • Snacks, water, soft drinks, espressos, cocktails and wine from our vineyard

  • Hands-on styling classes with Annette

  • Instagram lesson

  • The business of styling

  • 1 hands-on Italian cooking class

  • Prop shopping excursion

  • Shopping at the market in Forte dei Marmi with lunch included

  • Yoga on the terrace (if desired)

  • All transportation during tours

  • All admissions to sites during the tours

  • All props, foods stuffs and surfaces for styling

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals or individual excursions. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.ht

Lead by Steve McKenzie, a nationally known abstract painter, this month-long immersive experience will be one unlike any other. Apprentice beside Steve as he teaches you techniques to intuitively paint abstraction, discover your inner creative voice and transfer that energy to the canvas. 

Boost your creativity and create some art with Steve McKenzie, our Artist in Residence for July 2019. Steve will be at The Fortress for the month of July working on a body of work inspired by the Italian region of Lunigiana. Inspired by his last two trips, he will do a deep dive into the culture, art, lifestyle and food of this charming northern Tuscan valley. His response to our sense of place will be reflected in his art. He will create a body of work specifically related to the inspirations of the region. Steve has dreamed of working in Italy for many years, following in the steps of one of his big influences, artist Cy Twombly, who called Italy home for much of his working career.

Work alongside Steve, paint brush in hand, and further your art making or assist him as he paints just to boost your creativity. Your stay will include trips with Steve to seek out inspiration and materials, artmaking whether painting plein air, in the studio or making paints and materials to use in the creation. If you have a specific desire to learn a technique of Steve’s or work with a specific material, Steve will do his best to accommodate your needs.

Of course, your stay will include all breakfasts, some lunches and dinners, aperitivo with Annette (your hostess and author of Cocktail Italiano), lessons and excursions with Steve, and all art supplies. Much like the great salons of Paris, evenings will be filled with conversations about art and the creative life. The wonderful part of this opportunity is that you can stay for as long as you want and tie it to your summer trip to Italy.

Steve, an artist for over 25 years, has shown his art in Santa Fe, New York, Atlanta and Indianapolis. His work is in collections throughout North America and Europe. He has taught many classes and workshops including a workshop at The Fortress September 2018. He not only teaches techniques, but also shares his philosophy and techniques to jump start your creativity and how to follow your intuitions to create work.

Your stay can be as flexible as you wish.  Reserve your spot for as long as you would like. There will be a show of Steve’s body of work created this month during the last weekend of July 2019.  Hope you can join us for that celebration!


$500 per person per day.

Your stay at La Fortezza will include:

  • Accommodations

  • All Breakfasts

  • Some Lunches

  • Some Dinners

  • Aperitivo (Italian Cocktail hour) with me, author of Cocktail Italiano

  • Excursions with Steve

  • Lessons with Steve

  • All Art Supplies

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.htm

This workshop has been requested by many of you. Annette will be offering 2 one-on-one sessions in summer of 2019. Both workshops will be 3 days of intensive styling lessons with Annette. She will be teaching the basics of styling and composition for those of you interested in pursuing a career as a stylist or those of you interested in bettering your brand imagery.

These one on one lessons can be customized for you and can cover lifestyle, interiors, still life, and food styling, or you can choose an area of concentration.

For 3 days, you will discuss the business aspect of styling with tips on billing, fees, production and work flow. There will be a lesson on “how to produce a photo shoot” from start to finish along with valuable lessons applicable to your everyday styling/production business. Plus, you'll have experience with hands-on styling all while capturing your images. This is strictly styling, so styling, propping and production will be the focus of this workshop. 

There will be excursions to markets and local antiques markets where you will prop shop with Annette. All lessons will be conducted on the grounds and in the gorgeous photo studio situated in the stone barn. You will stay on the compound in a private room. All excursions will be covered, and fees include day trips and all meals.

This one on one experience will leave you with valuable lessons and insight into a career in styling as well as the skills to feel confident on a photoshoot. Whether you’re a professional blogger,  a stylist looking for new inspiration, a food-stylist ready to hone your skills, a chef seeking to move into styling, a prop stylist looking to improve work flow, or are someone simply interested in the business of styling, this workshop is for you. Tour Italy with Annette and make the best business decision of your life.

$3,300.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,650 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

Your stay at La Fortezza will include:

This One on One Workshop includes:

  • 3 nights*

  • 3 dinners

  • 3 lunches

  • 3 breakfasts

  • 1 hands-on Italian cooking class

  • Prop shopping tour with Annette

  • Day trip to Florence or Parma

  • All transportation during tours

  • All admission to sites during the tours

  • One-on-one styling instruction from Annette

  • Instagram lesson

  • Lessons on the “business of styling”

  • 1 painting lesson with our Artist in Residence

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.htm

  s

This workshop has been requested by many of you. Annette will be offering 2 one-on-one sessions in summer of 2019. Both workshops will be 3 days of intensive styling lessons with Annette. She will be teaching the basics of styling and composition for those of you interested in pursuing a career as a stylist or those of you interested in bettering your brand imagery.

These one on one lessons can be customized for you and can cover lifestyle, interiors, still life, and food styling, or you can choose an area of concentration.

For 3 days, you will discuss the business aspect of styling with tips on billing, fees, production and work flow. There will be a lesson on “how to produce a photo shoot” from start to finish along with valuable lessons applicable to your everyday styling/production business. Plus, you'll have experience with hands-on styling all while capturing your images. This is strictly styling, so styling, propping and production will be the focus of this workshop. 

There will be excursions to markets and local antiques markets where you will prop shop with Annette. All lessons will be conducted on the grounds and in the gorgeous photo studio situated in the stone barn. You will stay on the compound in a private room. All excursions will be covered, and fees include day trips and all meals.

This one on one experience will leave you with valuable lessons and insight into a career in styling as well as the skills to feel confident on a photoshoot. Whether you’re a professional blogger,  a stylist looking for new inspiration, a food-stylist ready to hone your skills, a chef seeking to move into styling, a prop stylist looking to improve work flow, or are someone simply interested in the business of styling, this workshop is for you. Tour Italy with Annette and make the best business decision of your life.

$3,300 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,650 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

Your stay at La Fortezza will include:

This One on One Workshop includes:

  • 3 nights*

  • 3 dinners

  • 3 lunches

  • 3 breakfasts

  • 1 hands-on Italian cooking class

  • Prop shopping tour with Annette

  • Day trip to Florence or Parma

  • All transportation during tours

  • All admission to sites during the tours

  • One-on-one styling instruction from Annette

  • Instagram lesson

  • Lessons on the “business of styling”

  • 1 painting lesson with our Artist in Residence

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.htm