Multimedia Art Journal Workshop in Italy

with Stencil Girl's Mary Beth Shaw. Discover Padua, Venice, Parma, Lake Como. Optional extension to the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre.
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art journal workshop in Italy with Mary Beth Shaw Art Walk artist teacher walking tour art vacation

Beautiful Locations, Copious Creativity, and Lots of Laughter

Dates: Sept 20-30, 2021 2 SPACES AVAILABLE
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Padua, Parma, and Lake Como, Italy
Cost: from $4295 based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: from $695
3 night Extension  September 30-October 3
Location: Rapallo, Italy
Cost: from $1495 based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: from $295

On this 10-day multimedia art jounal workshop in Italy you will be immersed in equal parts travel and art program. Mary Beth Shaw, with her casual style and great humor, will introduce a variety of techniques. Watercolor, collage, and more will be used to create your unique travel journal. Each art class will be inspired by and include content from the beautiful locations we visit. 

You can learn more about Mary Beth Shaw and view her work on Meet the Artist page.

Art Journal Workshop in Italy Overview

Travel with us. Find an authentic Italy of today steeped in rich beauty and a colorful past. We have created a custom 10-night itinerary specifically for this very special art vacation. You will enjoy a blend of bucket-list destinations and off-the-beaten-path discoveries. In addition amazing food, deep traditions, and great company are part of every day. Essentially, it is the perfect Italian tour for those who have already seen the major sights of Italy or who are seeking something very special and unique.


We will begin our tour in the region of Veneto. There you’ll spend 3 nights in the ancient city of Padua. From there, we will visit iconic Venice just a short train ride away.


Then Italy’s culinary epicenter awaits in beautiful Parma. In this verdant region we will dive deeply into Italy’s culinary traditions.


Finally, we spend 4 relaxing nights on serene Lake Como. Based in our lakefront hotel in Bellagio, we will explore the region by foot and ferry.

Rapallo / Italian Riviera Extension

Is that just not enough? We have you covered. You may extend your art journal workshop in Italy for three additional nights. Based in the charming sea-side town of Rapallo, join Mary Beth as we travel through the Cinque Terre and visit Portofino.

  • Art Program 75% 75%
  • Sight Seeing 85% 85%
  • Walking 65% 65%
  • Fun! 100% 100%

What’s Included on Our Art Journal Workshop in Italy with Mary Beth Shaw

  • Assistance of your host / guide throughout the art journal workshop in Italy
  • Mary Beth Shaw’s Art Classes
  • All hotel taxes and service fees
  • Daily full buffet breakfast


  • 3 Nights at 4-star hotel in the heart of Padua’s centro historico
  • Orientation walk in Padua
  • Welcome dinner
  • Aperitivo 
  • Train Padua to Venice RT
  • Tour of Venice with local guide


  • Private group transfer from Padua to Parma
  • 3 nights at our centrally located 4-star hotel
  • Private culinary tour into the countryside to meet artisan producers of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico di Modena
  • Ceramic painting at artist’s studio
  • Lunch  
  • Hands-on cooking class and dinner

Lake Como

  • Transfer Parma to Lake Como
  • 3 nights at our historic lakefront hotel on stunning Lake Como
  • Orientation walk of Bellagio
  • Wine tasting
  • An all day mid-lake ferry pass
  • Visit to Lenno, with a guided lakeside walk
  • Farewell dinner
  • Transfer to Milan
  • Optional cooking class
  • Optional visit to Villa del Balbianello
  • Optional guilded lake-side walk to Argengo and it’s funivia with a panorama view of Lake Como

Rapallo Extension

  • Assistance of your host / guide throughout the program
  • Mary Beth Shaw’s Art Classes
  • Three nights at our 4-star waterfront hotel in Rapallo
  • Transfer from Lake Como to Rapallo
  • Orientation walk along Rapallo’s promenade and Centro Storico
  • Stunning coastal walk from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino
  • Visit Portofino’s Brown Castle
  • Return from Portofino to Rapallo by bus or coastal ferry
  • Round-trip train from Rapallo to Cinque Terre to visit the towns
  • Cinque Terre National Park pass for access to train and bus between the villages
  • Optional self-guided hikes between Cinque Terre seaside towns
  • Visit our favorite salumeria to taste local wine, pesto, and more
  • Farewell dinner
  • Train transportation from Rapallo to Milano Centrale Station
  • All hotel taxes and service fees
  • Daily full buffet breakfast
Italy walking vacation cinque terre tour art journal workshop in Italy

Highlights of the Art Journal Workshop in Italy

1. Small group classes

With a maximum class size of 16, you can expect quality time with Mary Beth as well as your friendly, like-minded classmates.

2. Authentic Italy

Our small group size and unique itinerary allow us to visit places and people tourists never hear of. You will meet artisans practicing centuries-old tradtion and craft.

3. Movable studio

Learn to pack light and create as you travel. Each day will offer a designated workshop space. Additionally, Mary Beth will introduce techniques to create a mixed media travel journal while on the go.

venice canal art journal workshop in italy

Example Itinerary for Art Journal Workshop in Italy

Actual daily schedules may differ.

Art journal workshop in Italy with Mary Beth Shaw

Day 1

To begin, we will gather at our charming hotel in Padua’s historic center. There we’ll have a meet-and-greet and program overview. Afterward a short orientation walk help you get to know the neighborhood. A lively Italian city and not overrun by tourists, Parma has much to offer. For example, you will discover Padua’s many famous piazze, artisan shops, and local restaurants. Also, Padua has many open markets and high end shopping.


Padova piazza art journal workshop in Italy

Day 2

After a morning walk through the local farmer’s market, Mary Beth will begin the day by outlining the program. Subsequently, there will be time to begin work on your travel journal. Later there will be optional visits to some of Padua’s most well known sites. For example, the expansive Palazzo della Ragione and Giotto’s Cappella degli Scrovegni should not be missed.

In the evening we will convene for a festive welcome dinner.


Canal in Venice Italy walking vacation

Day 3

The next day after class we travel a 1/2 hour train ride brings us to magical Venice. On a walking tour of the city, a local guide will reveal the rich culture and history of Venice. She will lead us off the beaten path and away from the crowds. You will truly see how Venetians live.

The remainder of the day you may spend as you wish, visiting the main sites of Venice, shopping artisan makers for handmade paper, glass, pens, and more. Or simply enjoy a lazy afternoon wandering its many alleyways and canals.

Parma, Italy, ArtWalk, travel journal, art workshop, vacation, small group, paint, ceramic, art studio

Day 4

After breakfast, our private transfer will bring us to the city of Parma, the culinary capital of Italy. Here, a master ceramist has invited us into her private studio. In a converted farm building on land that has been in her family for centuries, she will explain about maiolica. A traditional ceramic painting technique developed in nearby Faenza, Italy. Afterward try your hand at painting your own tile. Finally, we will enjoy aperitivo on her beautiful terrace surrounded by an abundant garden. 

Parma, Italy, ArtWalk, travel journal, art workshop, vacation, small group, Parmesan, culinary tour

Day 5

In Parma, Mary Beth’s art journal workshop in Italy will take a culinary focus. (Although we will be eating well everywhere we go!) We will venture into the countryside to visit artisan producers and learn about their rich culinary traditions. First we will visit a family-owned and run Parmigiano-Reggiano cheesemaker. Then we will meet one of the few makers of true Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. Of course you will have to taste a little of everything along the way.

Sue Coggins making pasta in Parma, Italy on ArtWalk Private tour

Day 6

Following a morning class with Mary Beth we will take a fun, hands-on cooking class. Our friend Antonia teaches at her family villa. There you’ll learn how to make tortelli and other regional specialties. Following the class we will all sit down to an abundant table to enjoy the days effort with lots of laughter and local wine. This is always a very special evening and a highlight of the trip.

Students working on terrace lake como art journal workshop in italy art vacation square

Day 7

 The next day, we transfer north to tranquil Lake Como near the border of Switzerland. Surrounded by Alpine foothills, your travel journal workshop with Mary Beth Shaw becomes a peaceful art retreat on the water. With Mary Beth’s guidance and encouragement, outdoor cafes and pretty piazzas draped with wisteria become the perfect settings to watch the world go by as you fill your art journal.


Villa Balbianello on Lake Como, Italy

Day 8

The day’s excursion takes us across the lake to nearby Lenno where a wooded walk brings us to the iconic Villa Balbianello. Some may opt to tour the property. Others may want to join the optional cooking class led by a master chef in his commercial kitchen.

Gather again in the afternoon as Mary Beth teaches another travel journal workshop class on the hotel rooftop terrace overlooking the lake.


Varenna Italy walk of lovers art journal workshop in italy art vacation

Day 9

Following a morning class, spend the day exploring the mid-lake area. With your included ferry pass visiting the nearby villages of Varenna and Menaggio is easy. Spend an afternoon strolling the easy promenades and taking in views from the water and lakeside paths.

Italy walking vacation lake como smiling group picture

Day 10

Following the ancient roman path from Lenno to Colonno the Lake Como Greenway winds through quaint villages, romantic villas and gardens, and stunning Lake Como landscapes. The nearby funivia of Argengo offers breathtaking views of Lake Como.

At the end of the day gather for a convivial aperitivo and time to share your travel journals. The evening will come to a close with a farewell dinner.

Couple by a lake Lenno Lake Como Italy walking tour vacation

Day 11

After a delicous breakfast shared together, our transfer will take the group to Milan. For those not continuing on for the extension we will say our goodbyes until next time.

Experience a very special tour of Italy

Plus an Optional Extension to the Italian Riviera

sketchbook watercolor journal class vacation italy A sunny cafe and colorful buildings Santa Margherita Ligure Italy

Day 11 (Extension)

From Milan our transfer brings us to Rapallo on the Italian Riviera. First we will check in to our beachfront hotel and enjoy a class with Mary Beth. Next an orientation walk of the historic center ends at the funivia to Montallegro. Guests may join us for a ride high above the coast with views of the Peninsula, or remain in Rapallo to explore it’s charming waterfront. 


travel journal art workshop Riomaggiore Cinque Terre Italy colorful buildings and sea

Day 12 (Extension)

After breakfast and an art journal class we will set off for Cinque Terre. We will spend the day exploring the coastal villages by foot and by rail. Some may choose to do steep hike between the villlages. We recommend taking in sunset and dinner in Vernazza, enjoying the quiet beauty of Cinque Terre after the crowds have dispersed.


Sketchbook watercolor classes in Santa Margherita Ligure

Day 13 (Extension)

On this day we walk the spectacular coastline between colorful Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. Once in Portofino there is free time to enjoy lunch by the sea and visit Brown Castle. You can grab a gelato before returning to Rapallo by a scenic ferry ride.

In the evening we will gather on last time for our farewell dinner. There, students will have the opportunity to share travel journals and stories.

Milan Duomo

Day 14 (Extension)

After breakfast we will board the fast train for a return to Milan. There, we will say our goodbyes until the next arting adventure.

Experience Your Art Journal Workshop in Italy with the Riviera Extension

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