Italy / THANGKA PAINTING RETREAT near Florence / April 12-19, 2024 / FULL

HomeCourses > 8-day Thangka Drawing & Painting Retreat near Florence, Italy 

At a wonderful location near Florence
Thangka Drawing & Painting Retreat Italy
April 12-19, 2024 FULL

SAVE THE DATE! Next year’s retreat is May 10-17, 2025

About the Location

I am so happy to announce my next Italy Thangka Retreat in the gorgeous new location in Tuscany, near Florence!
The course venue lies next to the green forests of Casentino, 25 minutes away from south Florence. It’s roughly 700 meters above sea level.
April is one of the best months to visit Tuscany as the weather won’t be too hot yet, but the surrounding fields and nature will be blooming wild flowers and lush spring greens.
The hills surrounding the retreat place are entirely covered in woods and vineyards, ideal for long immersive walks across an extremely wild natural landscape, despite being a stone’s throw from Florence.
You can fly to Florence, Pisa or Bologna, and reach this location easily by public transport. There are beautiful single, double and triple rooms, each with their own bathroom.

We’ll be drawing and painting in a great work space, eat yummy vegetarian organic meals, and will be enjoying the wonderful company of students from all over the world. In the middle of the week we’ll have time off so you can explore the incredible beauty of Florence (or other parts of Tuscany), the city where the Renaissance was born. And of course this retreat is perfect to combine with vacation.

About the Retreat
In this wonderful 8-day thangka drawing & painting retreat in Italy you will learn to draw (and color or paint) a Buddha according to the Tibetan Buddhist thangka tradition. The course is suitable for everyone, from beginners (even without any drawing experience!) to advanced:

New and Intermediate Students
First time thangka students learn the basics on the first day and learn to draw the Face of the Buddha.*
From the second day on they will work on a new subject of their choice: The Buddha (Buddha Shakyamuni), the Historical Buddha of our time, the Medicine Buddha, the Buddha of Healing, the
Mandala of the Five Elements (balancing your body and mind), or the Eight Auspicious Symbols , that you either can create in the form of a Lotus-shaped Mandala or all Eight Symbols separately

Students who have already joined one or more courses with Carmen can also choose one of the above mentioned subjects if they haven’t drawn them yet.
Before the retreat, Carmen will be in touch with all participants about their chosen subject in order to prepare them. You will also receive a list with art materials to bring.

*To save time and immediately start with the bigger subject you can also take the Online Buddha Face Course beforehand

Intermediate to Advanced Students
More advanced thangka students are welcome to start painting one of their existing drawings or continue to work on their artworks.

During the retreat, Carmen offers a lot of individual guidance, each student at their own level – and she will bring you to a higher one!

The teachings will be offered in clear English. If you need translation, the used texts (meditation/lectures etc.) can be translated for you in Italian or any other language free of charge. If you request this please make this clear on your registration form.

This retreat offers you a complete experience: besides the art sessions you will start each morning with a (guided) meditation and will learn all about the subjects and their iconography/symbolism through lectures. There will also be a movie night, and sufficient time to go for hikes, explore the surroundings, and visit Florence or other places.
This retreat offers you much more than just a beautiful drawing or painting. The art of Thangka is a meditation in itself and creates joy and inner peace – something you will definitely experience this week.


More Info & Registration


Friday 12 April, 2024:
You can arrive at your own pace during the day and get settled in your room. You are even welcome to join the lunch on this day if you arrive early.
The Retreat starts with the welcome dinner (around 19.00hr / 7pm) for all participants, where you will get to know each other,
After dinner, Carmen will offer the first lecture/presentation.

Friday 19 April, 2024:
The course ends after lunch (around 14.00hr / 2pm).
If you need to get to the airport or elsewhere, you can often get a ride from a participant with a car, or travel with others by public transport or shared taxi.

  • This 8-day thangka retreat offers you an in-depth experience
  • Including lodging and delicious (vegetarian) Italian meals, freshly prepared every day with love
  • Meet students from different countries and make new friends
  • The course is set in a beautiful centre in Italy, near Florence and the Casentino Forests
  • You will also have time to fully enjoy the beautiful surroundings and make walks
  • Halfway during the retreat there will be an afternoon off that you could use to Florence (or another nearby place)
  • You can fly to Florence, Pisa or Bologna and take easy public transport from there
  • Great possibility to combine this retreat with vacation in Italy 
  • To get an idea of the check out some pictures of a previous Thangka Painting Retreat in Italy

Retreat €425 (to be paid directly after your registration as deposit)*
Stay 8 days/7 nights Full Board (to be paid at the location):
Full board includes the stay + all vegetarian buffet meals + 2 daily breaks with herbal teas and sweet snacks or sautés.
All rooms have their own attached bathroom. For a cheaper option you can stay in the yurt. Price per person:

  • Bed in the yurt (max. 6 people) €427
  • Bed in a triple room €511
  • Bed in a twin room (or double bed for couples) €581
  • Bed in a single room €721**
  • If you sleep outside, the price for meals only is €371
    Currently it’s not possible to stay at this location in your camper or tent, but camping sites can be found nearby.
  • If you want to bring a partner who stays in your room but does not participate in the course, their deposit will be €150 instead of €425. Please write this in the message section on the registration form.

All Prices include VAT and Tourist Tax.

*After filling in the registration form you will receive an email back (allow us max 1-2 days) letting you know if you’re with the first ten registrants, and will be asked to make the deposit (via Bank Account, Credit Card or Paypal) within a week.
Note that you are only registered for this retreat after your deposit is made.

**Note that there is a limited amount of rooms that can be turned into a single rooms, depending on the amount of participants. The sooner you register, the more chance to a single room. When full, you will be assigned a room with another participant (with single beds and attached bathroom).


Cancellation Policy
Registered and paid your deposit but unable to come? You will get your deposit 100% back when canceling before Feb 12, 2024. After that you’ll get 50% back when canceling before March 29, 2024.
When canceling within two weeks before the course starts we are unable to make a refund. You are however welcome to find somebody who can take your place.
In case the retreat is full and there are people on the waiting list who can take your space you will get your full deposit back.


You can choose if you want to draw & color (advised for beginner students) or paint (advised for advanced students):

To draw (advised for beginner students):

  • a minimum of 2 sheets of good quality drawing paper 50x65cm (min. 200 grams)
  • a long ruler (for ex. 50cm)
  • a pencil HB (or mechanical pencil if you like)
  • an eraser
  • colored pencils of a good brand (such as Prismacolor Premier, Caran d’Ache Luminance or Faber Castell Polychromos)

To paint (for more advanced students):

  • the drawing materials above
  • in addition to this please bring all you need for painting. Carmen will send you the List of Materials beforehand. There is no art shop nearby, but in ‘Carmen’s little shop’ you can buy additional art materials if needed. Please bring cash for this.

Note that it may be easier to stick to coloured pencil techniques for a while before moving on to painting as the thangka painting techniques take a long time to master, and painting a thangka can easily take a year or more. During the retreat you may want to draw your Buddhas and paint a few small symbols to see if the painting is something for you.

Note: If you prefer, it may be possible to travel to the venue together with other participants. Carmen can get you in touch with each other before the course starts.


Official registration has stopped for this retreat, but if you want to join last minute please contact me via:

and I’ll check if there’s still space and will get back to you asap.









mandala-workshops“When I knew about the five elements mandala course I thought it would be an interesting and beautiful way of develop my knowledge about this subject.

My personal intention was to achieve more clearness in my mind.
I saw the mandala as a mirror of my own energy.
I feel this work as a very complete and clear meditation where we can observe the mind, the sight (seeing) and our hand (as expression). And the connection between them.

My experience show me that although the constantly waves of my mind (by them I couldn’t believe I could do just a complex and beautiful work), the mandala was growing surprising beautiful. And, in between,  I knew a lot of more things about me. I should be very proud!

Also I feel grateful to spend these days in such a peaceful place. With a great company of the group and with the guidance and wisdom of Carmen.
It was a very good experience, that I recommend very much.”

Maria José Moura, Porto, Portugal
Annual Thangka Painting Retreat in Italy

To read more testimonials and see artwork of thangka students, go to the Testimonial & Artwork page