People often ask -

"Why do I have to go to Italy to paint, or design flowers, do yoga...?"

You don't. But if you attend one of our classes, you will actually enter a world of retreat: you will not have to cook dinner for anyone; you will not have to pick up someone else's dirty socks; you will not have to remember to pick up Harry from the soccer game and then go to the dentist and then go home and clean. No, on the other hand, you will be creating the art you love; you will have time to relax; you will be in the company of like-minded individuals; you will have wonderful food and wine served to you every day; and you will see one of the most beautiful parts of the world and have a taste of the wonderful Tuscan culture. You will stay in a lovely restored Italian farmhouse. Spas, thermal baths, very old, very photogenic towns, incredible landscapes, sculpture parks and historical places will be at your disposal.

The Pleasures of Emilia Romagna

  • Tour and Activities were truly amazing. All of the scheduled activities were worth the time, cost, and were high quality experiences. Even the Expo. It may have taken some time to get in but it was worth the time to see it even if the lines were long. There aren’t that many opportunities to see something like that. It was unique.
  • The value was close to amazing. I don’t know how you did it Joan. You really delivered an awful lot for little money considering all we did.

          —Maryann C.

Painting by Ellen Joyce Trayer

Buona Bologna

  • All meals were excellent. Apparent that much thought and selection were put into the planning. Especially liked the convenience of having meals included in the trip package. This negated the need to pay individually and to try and figure out individual meal/drinks cost and gratuities.
  • Schedule was well planned with tours and activities. Also with adequate downtime for rest and recuperation. Points of interest were well covered and having local resident (Paula Bianco) as our guide  was a BIG PLUS. She is a gem! We immediately felt a kinship with her and look forward to revisiting with her or better still, hosting Paula and Alberto on their trip to the United States.
  • Excellent value! The trip was completely enjoyable. The 8 member group was the right size to get to know our fellow travelers and it was fun and a memorable experience. Came away feeling that it was a great experience and would do it again happily. Joan Hill was a valuable resource. She was on top of our daily activities and timetable with humor and compatibility. Never lost her cool! I think the best evaluator of a trip like this is the reassurance that we were in good hands at all times. Our flight was delayed 2 hours in Chicago and 6 hours in Heathrow. Joan arranged for a driver to meet us at Bologna Airport and he delivered us to Palazzo Trevi. I don't think this could be said of a large packaged tour operator. Thank you, Joan.
  • Magnificent in all aspects... views, food, death defying climb, where else could we have experienced that evening? That was indeed special! I can't think of what I liked least on this trip other than the careening cab ride one evening! That was scarier that the Prendiparte Tower Climb.

         —Sharon I.


  • Paula is a terrific guide, very knowledgeable and relaxed, lots of fun. The tours around Bologna were fun, and Ravenna and Modena were excellent side trips. Having enough time one afternoon to stop for tea was a highlight in the busy week. The wine tasting was unique and very enjoyable.
  • Best was the variety of places we saw and visiting the local manufacturers/artisans.

         —Peggy B


  • Tour and activities - first-rate. I loved the Parmesan and balsamic vinegar tours, and thought the gelato tour was fun. Cooking classes: there can always be more of these for me, but I realize that once again, I’m probably an outlier in this category. Trip to Modena: surprisingly enjoyable. I would be happy to return to Modena, now that I’ve learned how to pronounce it. Mosaics: I’ve never known much about mosaics, and now appreciate much better what they are. You showed us truly stunning mosaics.
  • Value - I think the value for the price paid is excellent.

         —Nancy B.

Reviews from our recent 2015 Journeys -

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