Mixed Media Art Retreat in Italy

Julie Snidle teaches a travel journal art retreat on the shores of beautiful Lake Como
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Awaken your senses. Cultivate your creativity.

Dates: April 8-14, 2024 (SOLD OUT) Waiting list available
Duration: 7 days / 6 nights
Start: Milan, Italy
End: Lake Como, Italy
Sites: Milan, Bellagio, Varenna, Lenno, and more
Cost: from $3395 USD based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: $695
Max Class Size: 14
All prices are in US dollars. Land only. Program subject to change.

Mixed Media Art Retreat in Italy

Visiting Italy is one of life’s greatest pleasures. A week at Lake Como in the springtime will be exquisite! Here is an opportunity to awaken your senses and welcome surprises. Then capture the memories of this beautiful place in your handmade, personalized travel journal. Discover a perfect blend of small group travel and inspired art classes on Julie Snidle’s mixed media art retreat in Italy.

 I took a five-day workshop with Julie earlier this year, in oil and cold wax. I learned a LOT, and it was a delightful experience. Julie was super well organized and delivered the content in a way that was easily digestible but adequately challenging. Everybody in the class made visible progress in their skills with the materials, and we all learned from each other as well as Julie. Julie is a five star teacher!

Jane Davies

Julie has a unique way of teaching that makes you feel comfortable and confident in your own abilities. One of my favorite things about Julie is her passion for art. She truly loves what she does, and it shows in the way she teaches. She has a way of inspiring her students to be creative. Julie is an amazing teacher who cares about her students and their success.

Kerry Davis Carrillo

Art Program

Join us for a perfect blend of inspiring travel and mixed media art classes. Discover the serene beauty of Lake Como. Be a part of the adventure on Julie Snidle’s art retreat in Italy. Working both in the field and at an informal “studio” space at our hotel, each art class will be inspired by and include content from the locations we visit.

Before the trip:

• Choose a front and back cover for your journal.
• Cut and fold watercolor pages to size.
• Julie will send you easy to follow instructions beforehand.
• Bring all with you to Italy.


• Together, learn to stitch your pages into your cover.
• It’s easy. Julie will show you how.
This is Julie’s favorite type of handmade journal; it’s easy to assemble, it travels well, and it holds up over time.

Lake Como:

There will be a new adventure every day. Our walks will inspire you to take photos, pick up dropped flower petals, collect postcards, maps, brochures. Patterns, colors, textures (and flavors!) abound. Collect your favorites.

Julie will guide you with prompts, suggestions, ideas. She will answer questions about color, composition, and teach you how to use materials in new ways. You will spend time working in your journal each day, locations will vary.

In this workshop you will:

  • Develop your observation skills
  • Improve your watercolor painting skills
  • Become familiar with new materials
  • Explore creative ways to use found materials
  • Learn to trust your instincts
  • Create a unique art and travel journal filled with memories


The program begins with an arrival night in Milan. After class the next day, we will transfer by train to stunning Lake Como at the base of the Italian Alps. Our daily excursions will discover the mid-lake area in and around the village of Bellagio. Travel the lake by ferry, walk ancient roman paths, and visit stunning lakeshore villas. Throughout, you can savor traditional Italian cooking with the finest regional ingredients. Experience an authentic Italy. Meet new friends. Capture it all in your very own travel journal. This truly will be an art-filled travel adventure.


What You’ll Love

Mixed Media Art Retreat in Italy

1. Planning with Care

We take care of the details. You enjoy your vacation.

2. Small group classes

With a maximum class size of 14, expect quality time during art classes. Additionally, we travel places large tour groups can’t.

3. Movable studio

Develop skills and techniques to use whenever you travel. Specifically, learn to pack light, work efficiently, and create as you go.

4. Capture Your Experience

Your sketchbook will evolve into a personal travel journal filled with memories to last a lifetime.

woman walking between buildings in Varenna Lake Como Italy


Art Retreat in Italy

Program subject to change

Mixed media art retreat in Italy detail Duomo Milan Italy

Day 1

Arrive at our hotel in Milan near Centrale Station. Prior to setting out, a welcome meeting gives an overview of the week. Then, we take the metro to visit the famous Piazza Duomo.


Mixed Media Art Retreat in Italy, Varenna Lake Como Italy

Day 2

Begin the day in art class with Julie. Then, we travel to Varenna by train. Next, an orientation walk introduces the neighborhood. Lastly, a welcome dinner celebrates our week ahead.

Bellagio street scene art retreat in Italy

Day 3

Begin with a ferry across the lake to beautiful Bellagio, known as The Pearl of the Lake. After an orientation walk, enjoy free time to relax and explore. Return for art class in the afternoon.

Villa Balbianello Lake Como art retreat in Italy

Day 4

After a morning mixed media class with Julie our art retreat in Italy will ferry to Lenno and the stately Villa Balbianello. There, spend a quiet hour sketching in the peaceful, wisteria-filled gardens.

Wisteria in Villa Monastero Varenna Lake Como Italy art retreat

Day 5

On this day some may opt to take an always popular Italian cooking class. Others may choose to explore nearby  Villa Monastero. Later Julie will lead mixed media journal class in the afternoon.


Our tour walking vacation art journal workshop in Italy guided small group

Day 6

Start the day with a final art class. Then we’ll have a beautiful walk along Lake Como’s ancient Roman road. In a small village by the lake we’ll gather for a our farewell meal at an intimate lakeside trattoria. 

Small group walking vacation in Italy

Day 7

Finally it is time to say goodbye to our art retreat in Italy friends. There are no group activities planned on this day. You may depart at any time. The hotel will hold your bags if your depature is after checkout.

Mixed Media Art Retreat in Italy

Create memories that last a lifetime.


Mixed Media Art Retreat in Italy

  • Assistance of your host / guide throughout the program
  • Julie Snidle’s  Daily Art Program
  • 1 night at 4-star hotel near Milano Centrale
  • 5 nights at select boutique hotel on Lake Como
  • All hotel taxes and service fees
  • Daily full buffet breakfast
  • All transport per the itinerary (start Milan Hotel and end at Lake Como Hotel)
  • Metro trip to Piazza Duomo and gelato 
  • Transfer from Milan to Lake Como
  • Orientation walk to get to know your neighborhood
  • Informal wine and cheese tasting
  • Mid-lake ferry passes on Lake Como to visit neighboring villages per itinerary
  • Guided walk along the Lake Como Greenway
  • Guide walk and admission to Villa Balbianello
  • Optional cooking class
  • Programs are subject to change. 
wisteria tower art retreat in Italy

Where in the World?

Italy has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine while remaining utterly true to its traditions. Our art retreat in Italy will tour Italy’s northern regions. First, our small group meets in Milan, the center of global fashion and design. Then, we move to the serene foothills of the Alps and stunning Lake Como for the remainder of the week.

Airport Information

Three international airports serve Milan: Malpensa, Linate, and Bergamo. Malpensa Airport (MXP) is the largest. It usually has the best connections for North American cities. Also, MXP is well connected to Milano Centrale Station by both train and airport busses. You may find information on how to get to Milan from the airport on our blog.

Linate Airport (LIN) is the closest airport to the city. It is located just 7km away from Milano Centrale. From LIN an airport bus can bring you directly to the station.

Bergamo Airport (BGY) is a great choice for anyone traveling on low cost, regional airlines. Specifically, Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air offer regular flights to and from Bergamo. Bergamo is also served by shuttles and public transport to Milan’s center.

For departure, Malpensa is located closer to Lake Como than Linate. From Como, Malpensa enjoys more frequent and better connections than Bergamo.

Generally speaking, you will find it most convenient and cost effective to fly in and out of Malpensa Airport.

Art Retreat in Italy Where in the World Lake Como Map

Important Notes

Travel Sketchbook Workshop in Italy


Your place on a tour is secured once we have received and confirmed your deposit payment. Before the final payment date, a non-refundable deposit of $500 for walking vacations and $750 for art vacation workshops is required. After the final payment date, the entire tour amount must be received to hold a space on a program. 

You may cancel for any reason up to 90 days prior to departure and your non-refundable deposit may be forwarded to a future tour. Any balance on your account will be returned. For complete details please see our Terms and Conditions.

Solo travelers and single supplements

For our guests who are traveling solo... We offer a single supplement for an additional fee if you wish to guarantee a private room.

If you do not request a private room, you will share a twin room with another trip participant of the same sex (Roomshare). When you sign up, if no Roomshare is available, a 50% single supplement will be included on your invoice and is due at final payment. However, if a roommate is found before your trip departs, you will be matched and the single supplement will be removed or refunded.

A single supplement guarantees a private room. Whenever possible singles will be placed in the same room type as our double or twin rooms.

Twin / Double Rooms

Please be aware twin beds in Europe may have very little or no space between beds. Also, for double beds, instead of a king or queen mattress, double beds are often two adjoining twin mattresses secured together and made with double bedding.


Walking is a part of this program. It is both a means of visiting locations and a way to immerse yourself in a place. Our scheduled walks are usually 1-2 hours long at a casual pace. We provide a general description of our walks here. It is your responsibility to know your own physical and medical condition with respect to the advisability of participating in a chosen trip. We suggest you prepare by doing at least 1 hour of walking several times per week, and a longer walk at least once per week. Ideally, include walks with elevation change and stairs. (There are always stairs.)

As with any exercise program, we recommend you consult with your physician prior to your arrival regarding the suitability of a walking tour.

Some of our guests find trekking poles helpful on steep or uneven terrain. In Europe they are quite common. Before using them on a vacation, please practice at home. We strongly advise you get comfortable using trekking  poles on familiar paths first.


For additional information on these topics and more, please see our FAQ page.

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