Creative Passport: Tuscany, Italy Art Workshop & Tour

Michelangelo's David statue in Florence, Italy

We’ll be visiting Florence, Italy during the Tuscany art workshop, home of Michelangelo’s famous David statue. I snapped this on my first visit to Florence.

At the Creative Passport: Tuscany, Italy art workshop & tour we’ll be staying in our own private luxury villa just outside the ancient walled city of Lucca. Our chef will prepare meals for us at the villa where we’ll also have studio space, and a pool for relaxing in the Tuscan sun.

From our home base at the villa, we’ll take day trips to Lucca, Florence and the coastal Cinque Terre.

We’ll explore local, in-the-know spots for food, art and culture, have a cooking class at the villa, taste Tuscan wine and olive oil, and lots of other fun stuff — and document our adventures in a unique travel journal.

Cinque Terre, Italy

We’ll explore the seaside villages of Italy’s Cinque Terre – great photo opps!

It’s happening May 5-12, 2018. All you need now is a small deposit to hold your space, and you can pay the balance closer to the workshop time. Complete registration details are at the end of this post.

Here’s what we’re doing in the workshop, and where we’re going in Italy!

Creative Passport to Tuscany Workshop with Lisa Sonora

May 5-12, 2018

Near Lucca, Italy (in the Tuscany region)

Limited to 10 travelers! You’ll get plenty of individual attention and creative coaching on your process.

In the Creative Passport to Tuscany workshop we’ll stay in a luxury villa just outside the ancient Italian walled town of Lucca. From here, we’ll take day trips to the coastal Cinque Terre and the city of Florence. During studio time you’ll create a beautiful, richly textured and layered visual travel journal that documents your journey.

Outdoor cafes abound in Lucca, Italy

Outdoor cafes abound in Lucca, Italy

Lucca, Italy is one of my favorite small towns in Italy. We’ll go on artistic treasure hunts through the ancient walled village of old Lucca in search of the images, collage elements, stories and inspiration that we’ll use to embellish our travel journals.

We’ll dine at in-the-know places guided by local Italians, visit a winery and enjoy some of Tuscany’s best wine and olive oil, and  of course, do a little shopping, gelato eating and espresso drinking along the way.

Our villa is the private residence of an art collector, who rents the space to artists and their groups for unique classes. Each room is unique, with it’s own private bathroom.

We have a large studio space indoors, and a terrace and cafe space for dining, and where our own private chef prepares our meals. You are welcome to take a cooking class at the villa if you desire.

Set in the hills of Tuscany right outside of Lucca, Italy, our villa has a private pool and deck area for lounging, swimming, enjoying an aperitivi, and doing some writing or sketching in your visual travel journals.

Did you know that Italy is the birthplace of the Slow Food movement? We’re going to be savoring all the tastes of Italy the way the locals do. Our chef will prepare our meals on site, with plenty of local find from the fresh market.

During our travels, I’ll help you experience Italy as an artist, with tips on getting great travel photos, sketching in public (even if you can’t draw!), collecting stories to remember, and finding symbols and signs that support your creative journey.

drinking and drawing in an Italian cafe

We’ll Drink & Draw together in an Italian cafe – espresso or aperitivo?

During studio time, I’ll show you how to create your own, one-of-a-kind, portable and expandable travel journal out of beautiful papers, maps, ribbons, envelopes, and other ephemera we find in Italy.

You’ll get plenty of instruction in mixed-media techniques, plus guidance on how to use the experience of travel to increase your own creativity, including how to break through creative blocks.

Travel is the perfect way to awaken and enliven your creative spirit. Being in a foreign land awakens our curiosity, brings our senses alive, and requires us to navigate the unfamiliar. These are just a few of the qualities that play a part in artistic expression, and you’ll learn how to harness these qualities as you craft your travel journal.

tales of adventure - creative passport workshop

Everything you learn in the workshop can be applied to any journey you are on in life – whether it’s a travel journey, or a life journey.

All you need to participate is a willingness to explore – and curiosity. Everyone can travel artfully, and anyone can make a beautiful travel journal that captures their experience.

Creative adventures await you! Get your passport and start packing!

Creative adventures await you! Get your passport and start packing!

No prior experience in art, writing — or even travel — is required! Absolute beginners are welcome and encouraged to attend. Fact: Many people who come to my international workshops are getting their very first passport and passport stamp on the way!

If you are a creative soul who yearns to combine meaningful art-making with foreign travel, then you’ll love this experience.

In this workshop you’ll learn how to:

  • Create your own portable, expandable travel journal out of beautiful papers, maps, ribbons, envelopes, and other ephemera that we find in Italy.
  • See with the eyes of an artist, and find ephemera and stories for your journal.
  • Make fantastic use of the stuff we find on our treasure hunts through Orvieto’s magical streets, shops, cafes, artistic haunts, and historic monuments.
  • Use paint, drawing, and collage to create richly textured pageseven if you have no experience in painting, drawing or collage.
  • Learn mixed-media techniques that make your travel journal uniquely yours.
  • Take better photos with your smart phone or portable digital camera, the apps you can use to create compelling travel photos, and how to weave them into your travel journal.
  • Capture your own meaningful travel stories to add to your journal, even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer or are afraid to write.
  • Find and work with unlikely materials. No matter where you go, even without traditional art supplies, you can create a wonderful artifacts of your journey.

No matter what level of experience, you’ll absolutely fall in love with your own creative work. Even if you are an absolute beginner or have old hangups about not being creative.

P.S. Everyone pretty much has some kind of creative hangup at some time – so don’t let that stop you.

handmade marbled papers made in Florence, Italy

I’ll show you where to find handmade marbled papers in Florence

You’ll take away:

  • A magnificent, one-of-a-kind handmade travel journal, brimming with color, texture, images and stories of your time in Orvieto, Italy.
  • Your own Creative Passport Kit, with Lisa’s favorite travel journal supplies, packed inside a unique, lightweight, colorful tote. Your supplies will always be at the ready for any spontaneous adventure!

Outside of our studio at the villa, our group will:

  • Tour Italy’s coastal villages of Cinque Terre
  • Enjoy tasting Tuscany’s wines and olive oils. This is the land of slow food!
  • Learn to cook Italian food with our private chef then enjoying the exquisite meal we have prepared. How do you say YUM! in Italian?!
  • Tour the artisan area of Florence, Italy
  • Visit the Galleria dell Accademia museum in Florence
  • Tour the walled city of Lucca, Italy
  • Attend a Puccini concert in Lucca
  • Have time to wander, shop, sip espresso, have a gelato, and create during our tour visits

This is an experiential travel workshop in the company of kindreds who also love art and travel.


Dates: May 5-12, 2018

Early Registration: $3,995  (before November 15, after $4,295)

$500 deposit to hold your space. The balance is due by February 1, 2018.

Registration includes:

  • We’ll pick you up and bring you back to the Pisa, Italy airport!
  • Seven nights double occupancy lodging – Saturday to Saturday
  • Six full breakfasts
  • Lunch and dinner at the villa prepared by our chef
  • Workshop instruction and studio time throughout the week
  • Transportation for the Cinque Terre, Florence and Lucca tours
  • Local Florence Guide and admission to the museum Galleria dell Accademia
  • Local Guide for Lucca city tour and Puccini concert tickets
  • Cooking class at the villa with our chef
  • Wine and olive oil tasting
  • A small group of up to 10 participants only — gets us places you won’t go on a big tour bus!
  • Advice on travel plans before or after the trip, if desired

Not included: Your travel costs to Italy, any meals or snacks you have on tour days.

To Reserve Your Space:

Creative Passport Italy: Up At The Villa Under the Tuscan Sun

Dates: Saturday, May 5, 2018 (arrival day) – Saturday, May 12, 2018 (departure day)

Early Registration: $3,995  (before November 15, after $4,295)

$500 deposit to hold your space. The balance is due by February 1, 2018.

Click Register Now button, above, to reserve your space now with a $500 Deposit. 

Please make sure you’re OK with the policies, below, before you register.

Lunch in Cinque Terre, and dinners in Florence and Lucca are not prearranged allowing you the freedom to choose where and what to eat. We will give suggestions and you won’t be dining alone unless that is your preference! Your travel to Italy is not included.

Ponte Vecchio bridge at sunset

Florence, Italy – view from the Ponte Vecchio bridge at sunset


By registering, you agree to these terms.

Confirmation: You’ll receive an email after you make your deposit. This is your registration confirmation, and contains helpful info to get you started planning your trip to Italy. Please keep this email in a safe place. It’s recommended that you print it out.

Important: All retreat information will be emailed to the email addresses you used when registering. If you require the materials be sent to an alternate email address,  please email Lisa’s assistant, Jen (jen @ lisa sonora (dot) com) and let her know right away.

Cancellation, Refunds, Payment Schedule…

A deposit of $500 USD will hold your space.

Deposit is fully refundable until October 1, 2017. On or after  October 1, 2017, your deposit and any balance paid is non-refundable.

The balance is due by February 1, 2018.

You’ll receive an invoice from us for the balance. If you’d like to pay the balance in smaller payments over time, no problem. We’ll set up a payment plan that works for you at no additional charge.

For Double Occupancy rooms, you’ll be assigned a roommate, or you can let us know who you’ll be rooming with if you are attending with a friend.

Cancellation Before October 1, 2018: full refunds will be issued to those that cancel their registration by emailing Jennifer at Jen(at)LisaSonora(dot)com. Please include Cancellation Request in the subject line, and in the message, include the name and PayPal email address you used to purchase your registration.  A full refund will be made to you within 72 hours of receiving your cancellation email.

On and after February 1, 2018 ALL SALES FINAL.

Cancellations on and after February 1, 2018: Registration is non-refundable, but transferable to another woman if you find someone to take your place.

Lisa with paintbrushesAbout Your Guide (Guidess!) Lisa Sonora

My lifelong twin passions are meaningful art-making and global travel off the beaten path. What’s even better is getting to share the journey with a small group of kindreds.

As an artist and writer, it is a dream to explore the nooks and crannies of Tuscany.

I think of this as filling my creative well, which is so essential to anyone who longs to create, in any medium.

My intention for this creative adventure is that you, too:

  • discover how travel can awaken and nurture your inner artist
  • come away with new ideas and creative inspiration to fuel and feed your creative soul
  • experience travel with creative companions who get how essential it is to wander, wonder and create!

If you love to travel, and if your idea of fun is creating and traveling together, then we are very much alike.

Fabriano Paper shop in Florence - is a whole boutique of stationary and art goodness

Will you make a pilgrimage to the Fabriano paper shop in Florence?

Tuscany, Italy Travel Tips:

The Tuscany region of Italy is a dream destination for a creative adventure. We’ll visit the picturesque coast of Cinque Terra, the artistic city of Florence where Michelangelo worked, while making a one-of-a-kind visual travel journal.

You’ll fly into the Pisa International Airport (Italian: Aeroporto Internazionale di Pisa) also named Galileo Galilei Airport (named after Galileo Galilei, the famous scientist and native of Pisa). Pisa is the main airport in Tuscany.

Airport code for Pisa, Italy is: PSA

We’ll meet your at the Pisa airport and whisk you to the villa!

Airport and arrival times will be in your registration confirmation.

I like to search for airfares on

You can see recommended travel routes by train, plane, ferry and car to and from any destination on the Rome2Rio website.

Happy travel planning! You’ll get more details upon registration.


Photo credits:

All photos by Lisa Sonora (snapped with my iPhone – Creative Passport style) except:

Cinque Terre photo, by katiedee47

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