Art Escape Italy | About us

About Art Escape Italy

We offer painting and drawing workshops and retreats in portrait, figure, still life and landscape. Our all-inclusive art retreats take place at beautiful venues in the Tuscan countryside, whilst our art workshops take place in a stunning light-filled studio located in the historic city-centre of Florence. All of our retreats and workshops are taught by exceptional contemporary artists who we ourselves admire.

Our main goal is to offer high quality art instruction in a beautiful and inspiring environment. We believe that you should come away from our retreats and workshops feeling refreshed, inspired and with many new friends from around the world!


Tana Maxted

Co-founder & Co-Owner

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I grew up in England, near London and started painting when I left school. For a few years I worked in bars, whist painting during my spare time. In 2015 I travelled to Italy to attend a workshop in Florence. After that I didn't want to leave! It was during this workshop that I met two women; Sarah and Monika and the idea of Art Escape Italy came about. We set up the company together and I subsequently relocated to Florence and put all of my energy in to making Art Escape Italy a success. During my time in Florence I met Dorian, who became my business partner after Sarah and Monika left the company.


My main aim in designing these workshops is to create something that I would want to attend myself, taught by artists who genuinely inspire me. 

Dorian Plaka


I was born in Albania and moved to Italy with my family when I was 6. Growing up in Italy, whilst returning often to my home country gave me a love of different languages and cultures. One of the best bits about this company is getting the opportunity to meet and get to know people from all over the world.

I met Tana whilst she was preparing for Art Escape Italy's first workshop and we've been together ever since. I'm not an artist but having spent time working in the hotel industry I use this experience to make sure that everyone is very well taken care of. On our retreats my parents do all of the catering (they are amazing cooks!), we are a very close family-run business which I think adds to the warmth and atmosphere of our workshops and retreats. 


Sarah White


During the first two years of Art Escape Italy, Sarah was a huge asset to the team and responsible for Art Escape Italy's marketing, design and other aspects. Whilst running art workshops, Sarah developed a passion for photography along with a desire to pursue her love of painting and drawing. Sarah’s professional background is in medical research, and she currently works as a lecturer at the University of Sydney. However, art has been Sarah’s non-professional passion since high-school and she continues to develop these skills from her studio in Sydney. 


Keep up to date with Sarah's artwork:


Monika Christensen 


Monika left Art Escape Italy at the end of 2017, she now focuses her attention on her USA-based business, Housekeeping Maid Easy, which she founded in Indianapolis, Indiana. Monika's first career was as a theater director and actor. The Mt. Zion Theatre company was the first company she founded while living in Michigan and completing her theatre BA. Her love of art and Italy was the personal inspiration and motivation for co-founding Art Escape Italy, and she has other ventures in mind for the future. 


Keep up with Monika’s travels and artwork here: @monichris