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Italy Creative Retreat ~ Ischia di Castro

Capturing A Sense of Place

September 7-15, 2024

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Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts and Liz Kettle are returning to Ischia di Castro with Italian Cultural Tours in 2024 for a fabulous week of art and culture immersion.

Explore the incredible beauty of a region that that many tourists never see from our base in the Medieval town of Ischia di Castro, strategically located close to so many fascinating cities and historic sites. 


We have organized a tour and creative experience that is unique with a balance of creativity, exploration and immersion into the beautiful culture and rich history of the Lazio region of Italy.

  • It is not a religious tour although we will visit multiple churches and sacred places.
  • It is not a history tour although we will experience history each day, exploring and living in a medieval village and learning the history of the places we visit.
  • It is not an art history tour although we will see some amazing art and learn some art history.
  • This is not a shopping tour although we will have shopping opportunities along the way.
  • It is not a ‘check off the list’ of most popular places tour although we will visit very special places.

This is a tour based on a sense of place. The experiences we have curated brings us closer to understanding the culture, rhythm and beauty of this incredible region. The art we will create is influenced by our direct experience of this historic and magical place in this moment of time.

 Villa lante fountain

We spend part of each day immsersed in making art, capturing the essence and beauty of the area. We will create a beautiful fabric travelogue book or wall hanging as you prefer.

Create your own unique fabrics on our first day together with printing, rusting and thermofax screen printing. We will be using these fabrics along with a luscious selection of hand dyed fabrics to create our art. We will also explore image transfer, hand stitch, weaving, collage, fabric mosaic and my unique technique, Impavida Sketch, Paint and Stitch on fabric. All of these techniques will allow us to capture the sights and textures from our daily adventures. 

With Ischia di Castro as our base, we explore incredible art and cultural attractions of the area that aren't on the traditional tour circuit to discover a deeper sense of place.

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 We will visit the glorious Gardino di Tarocchi (Tarot Garden), the magnificiant Sacro Bosco (sacred wood) and Villa Lante, the elegant Mannerist garden of surprise featuring beautiful fountains that tell a story and feature the stunning Stone Pines that we call broccoli trees.  A day in Orvieto includes a tour of the 14th century cathedral Opera Del Duomo di Orvieto , one of the most beautiful curches in all of Italy and great opportunities to purchase beautiful leather goods, local pottery and more. 

Is this trip right for you?

We are staying in the historic district of Ischia di Castro, a true Medieval city. The area has 2 main streets, the Bar Del Giglio where you get your morning coffee and pastry as well as afternoon gelato, a small grocery store, a flower shop and a restaurant. You can walk the entire village in 15 minutes if you aren't taking photos. 

Medieval towns were built on the highest ground for defensive reasons. That means everything is uphill. Some areas are very steep and there will be stairs. Many stairs. This also means you can easily justify your daily gelato. 

There will be stairs 

When there isn't a hill, there will be stairs. A lot of stairs.The door at the top of those stairs in the photo above was my apartment this last year. 

Accomodations:  Your ‘hotel room’ will likely be an apartment in the historic center of Ischia di Castro in buildings that were constructed 700 years ago. Fortunately, they have all been updated with modern plumbing and have a small kitchen. They do have 24" thick walls so it is very likely that you will not have a good cell phone signal. We love this aspect because it is an opportunity to disconnect from our phones and focus on our experience. 

The art studio is located in the main plaza of the historic center where the entire community gathers and they often come in to see what we are up to. The studio has wifi so you won't be totally disconnected from the world. The studio only has 2 stairs for entry. 

Excersions: Our tours and excersions are generally close to or in other Medieval towns. Yes, that means more hills and stairs. We generally walk 3-4 miles each day (no problem getting those 10,000+ steps). However, we aren't walking quickly on tours. We take time to explore, take photos and soak up the experience. Gelato breaks are common. 


Our 2024 Artistic Artifacts Italian Cultural Tour price is $3,699 (airfare not included). Your fee includes the following:

  • Breakfast pastry and coffee at the Bar del Giglio, lunch in the studio and select dinners through the week. 
  • Accommodations in apartments in the Medieval historic center
  • Daily textile and mixed media classes and 2 full days in the studio— all supplies provided!
  • Guided tours and sightseeing


Lewis Gautieri of Italian Cultural Tours brings all the details of this one of a kind trip together. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve your space.  Note: once you email, you will receive an automated reply that you’re on the list of interested people. You will be contacted with additional information as soon as it is available. Lewis will be happy to assist you with flight recommendations, customized tours, spouse activities, extended stay options and more.