Italian hotels offer behind-the-scenes look into artists’ studios

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Looking up at the sky from a window of the 16th-century refectory in the Sicilian Baroque town of Noto, artist Sergio Fiorentino muses that cerulean blue thats exactly the blue that goes into my paintings.

The convent of Santa Maria dellArco, where Fiorentino lives and works, possesses, he says, a special magic and energy. The old stones, the plaster, the quicklime they somehow get reincarnated in my works, consciously or otherwise.

Anyone staying at Belmonds Grand Hotel Timeo or beachside at Villa SantAndrea in Taormina can get an inside-track tour of Noto that finishes up at Fiorentinos studio, pictured, for a face-to-face with the fascinating artist. This kind of experience takes Frieze, Art Basel or Venice Biennale old hands to the next level for intimate audiences with not just contemporary artists but private collections too.

Pop into the St Regis on the Grand Canal in Venice, for example, which has its own curator, and be whisked off to the workshop of Murano glass moderniser Adriano Berengo for a one-on-one tour. And at Positanos glorious Le Sirenuse, a growing in-house art gallery displaying works by international names such as Martin Creed and Rita Ackermann riffs cheekily on the propertys traditional Amalfi Coast style, and is for the eyes of the guests only.

The behind-the-scenes art tour is no new trick, but it certainly seems to be growing more connected and more personal each year.

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