FLORAL ABUNDANCE and ANCIENT ARTS in the Mediterranean

Another Wildflower School Workshop in Italy …this time on the stunning island of Sicily

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flowers, fragrance, food and ancient arts…

14th to 20th June 2020 in Sicily

Come and join us in a sun drenched white stone villa in the Sicilian countryside for a week of indulgence and sensual pleasures…

Pick from a local herb farm. Create a bouquet fit for an offering to the ancient gods and inspired by the fragrances and essences typical of Sicily. With your bouquet as inspiration, learn the alchemy of perfume making- and design a scent to fill the tiny handmade amphorae created for us by Waiheke Island potter Jane Burn. Adorn our model with flowers- an opulent crown and an abundance of blooms to dress her as she rises from the Mediterranean Sea…we will re-create the birth of Venus! Visit an archaeological site to see the most amazing ancient Roman mosaics- then learn how to create your own flora inspired mosaic with tiny natural stone tessarae. Capture the beauty of a single flower in a detailed botanical illustration inspired by the engravings of monks such as Filippo Arena who lived in Sicily in the 18th century in a town we will visit. Arrange an abundance of blooms spilling out of a handmade compote- and these vessels and your mosaics will adorn the table for our final feast

Each day linger over a long Italian lunch. Relax by the pool. Explore the surrounding baroque towns and villages


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in this lovely rustic 19th century stone villa in the Val di Noto region of Sicily…. not far from the coast and near to the famous Baroque towns of the south east. It is set in the beautiful Sicilian countryside surrounded by olive groves, and with aromatic plants, lemon trees and pomegranates growing within its stone walled garden.

And if you think it is stunning from the outside, feast your eyes on these beautiful interiors…

The villa is close to the towns of Noto, Ragusa, Modica and Scicli- which are 4 of the 7 beautiful UNESCO World Heritage listed Baroque towns near the South east coast of Sicily, You are definitely going to want to explore these towns and the nearby beaches after the workshops and lunch each day. Or you may just want to while away the afternoon by the pool sipping an aperol spritz..


the Flora and Amphora Workshops

On each one of four of the days of our stay we will have a floral or artisan inspired workshop…

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FLORA and AMPHORA Workshop:

Floral offerings & the alchemy of Perfume-making

Since the times of Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations flowers have played an important role in our culture. Flowers were worn by dignitaries, victorious athletes and poets; feasts and public events were adorned with blooms- and temples and sculptures of deities were festooned with floral bouquets and arrangements. As an” offering to the gods”we will create a beautiful hand tied bouquet with flora evocative of the scents and romance of the antiquities- the essence of Sicily in flowers.


We will look at the fragrances of local Sicilian perfumers and learn a little about the alchemy of perfume making and the magic of head, heart and base notes. From a selection of essential oils we will attempt to create a scent that evokes the spirit of our bouquet offerings made earlier- whether that be fresh citrus notes and sunshine reminiscent of the surrounding lemon groves; or earthy oregano and and herbal notes; or rich exotic notes redolent of the spice trade and the influence of nearby northern Africa.

We will store our perfumes in small ceramic vessels- amphorae designed by Jane Burn.

handcrafted clay amphorae by Waiheke island potter Jane Burn

handcrafted clay amphorae by Waiheke island potter Jane Burn

BIRTH of VENUS Workshop:

Floral Adornment: an installation of flowers on the body

Floral installations are always fun- and this time our challenge will be to create a totally gorgeous hair and body adornment for our model Zoe… like the goddess Flora in Botticelli’s stunning Birth of Venus we will dress the naked Venus- but with real blooms instead of a flower printed cloak …no pressure!

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Botanical illustration and the art of ancient Mosaics


Be inspired by the beautiful botanical prints of artists like Filippo Arena and learn how to draw a single chosen bloom in detail- and then to colour it with gouache.

After our visit to the Roman villa at Piazza Armerina you will learn how to create your own small mosaic piece- based on a simplified design you create from your botanical illustration (or a template we provide) and using tiny natural stone tesserae. Your finished mosaics will be placed along the the centre of the table for our final long lunch or dinner. Here are some of the practice mosaics we have been making in preparation…


Floral abundance spilling out of handmade compotes

You will create an opulent arrangement of blooms and foliage for our final feast….in a beautiful pottery compote designed for us by Jane Burn. Compotes, footed bowls and dishes are some of the trickiest vessels to arrange in- but we will give you some tips to help you with your arrangement- and the results will be stunning: it will be as if the flowers are tumbling voluptuously and haphazardly from their vessel- in a manner befitting a feast for the gods!

These workshops are suitable for all skill levels- from those who have merely dabbled at arranging flowers at home to professional botanical stylists….. you just need to love flowers and artisan crafts!


On the afternoon after the Floral Adornment workshop we will journey to the coast to the nature reserve of Vendicari…. we will wander along boardwalks beside the azure sea- exploring rocky coves, lagoons and sandy beaches- and the ruins of a tuna factory, fishing cottages and a 15th century tower. We will hopefully see some local flora and fauna…maybe even flamingoes as they migrate here each year from Africa. The sea and the ruins will be a perfect location for a photo shoot of our model adorned with flowers and emerging from the depths like Venus. And later we will cool off in the sea and enjoy antipasti al fresco

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On another day we will journey to the town of Piazza Armerina to visit an ancient Roman villa- in particular to see incredible mosaics including the famous “Bikini Girls”. This is also the town where Filippo Arena was born. Filippo was an 18th century monk who became renowned for his discoveries as a botanist and his incredible botanical illustrations…

And on this day (or another) we will visit the local herb farm Gli Aromi for lunch- and hopefully to forage for herbs to use in our vessel arrangements…


After the morning workshop each day we will serve a lovely relaxed long lunch in the gardens- or in the villa dining room. Our chef (my partner Mark- and trust me- he is a great cook!) will use local produce and vegetables and herbs from the local Gli Aromi herb farm. He will create classic Italian dishes….pizza, pasta, risotto, tiramisu etc as well as dishes that are typical of Sicily such as Arancini, Caponata, Pasta alla Norma and Cannoli

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Then in the evening you may decide to try out some of the restaurants in the local villages and towns….



5500 NZD per person

(approximately 3100 Euros, 2800 GBP, 3500 USD as at 15/09/19)

A deposit of $2000 is due now to secure your place. A second payment of $2000 is due 1st February 2020 . The final balance of $1500 is due 1st May 2020.



EARLY BOOKINGS: the total cost will be reduced by 500 NZD for those who choose to pay the amount in full before 1 December 2019

SHARING a ROOM: If you are accompanied by a friend or partner and are sharing a room then the per person cost will be reduced to 5000 NZD each (or 4500.00 NZD each if you make an EARLY BOOKING). If the person sharing your room is not participating in the floral workshops then their cost would be 3000 NZD

Please note: places are NOT refundable after the end of 1 December 2019. If you are unfortunately unable to attend, you can arrange for your place to be transferred to another person- and please let Wildflower know.
NOTE: There is a minimum of 5 students needed for the class to be held.  In the unfortunate event that we do not meet this minimum, all students will be informed by 1 December 2019 and receive a full refund. Please keep this in mind when booking flights- and we highly recommend you take out travel insurance.


  • accommodation at the villa for 6 nights arriving after 4pm on 14 June 2020 and departing before 11am 20 June 2020

  • a welcome dinner on the first evening- so we can all get to know each other!

  • 6 simple breakfasts, 5 long lunches

  • a linen apron

  • a handcrafted pottery amphora for your perfume- and essential oils etc for perfume making

  • charcoal pencils, paints, brushes and paper

  • all flowers, foliage and equipment needed

  • hand-dyed silk ribbon

  • excursion to Piazza Armerina and Gli Aromi Herb Farm

  • a beautiful photo book which will be sent to you after our return- as a record of your magical week!


  • travel to Italy

  • travel insurance

  • transfers to the villa- though once you have booked we will send information on the closest airports/ train stations etc- and we will try and pick you up if at all possible

  • dinners (except for the welcome dinner)

  • car hire- you may wish to consider this if you want to take off and explore in the afternoons