Imagine a week of guided visits to picturesque local towns with our own private car to whisk us through the countryside.
Visit historic churches and museums, and even the quieter ones that get passed by.
Follow us down quiet alleys to find the hidden gems that are often overlooked by tourists.
Capture the beauty of the scenery without your camera to really take in the view with one-on-one watercolor and sketching lessons on site.
Learn where to find the delicious treats and culinary delights that keep us coming back year after year after year.
Enjoy lengthy meals in the company of new friends, paired with delicious wine that will leave you satisfied and loving life.
And at the end of every day, we'll return to our quiet villa overlooking the valley to sip some prosecco by the pool and reflect on another wanderful day.
We believe travel should be wanderful and filled with exploration, creating and indulging in the local culinary treasures.
With Wanderful Retreats, we take the guess work out of travel by creating intimate retreats in beautiful locations to nurture your creative and adventurous side.
Our week long retreats are filled with day trips, cooking classes, on-location sketching and painting lessons and with the flexibility to do what YOU want to do. After all, this week is for YOU!
Our groups are small and intimate so you don't get lost in a sea of strangers. Think of it as traveling with your new best friends, and creative companions!
And our retreat locations are in idyllic places that we have been lucky to call home over the years. We know you'll love them as much as we do!
With over a decade of experience traveling through Italy, we have curated a week long adventure that will leave you relaxed, inspired and simply wanderful. And by partnering with some of our beloved locals and gathering our favorite spots, you'll leave our retreats feeling like a local and longing for a return flight back to Italia!
Ciao, I'm Chelsea! I'm an avid sketcher, Italy addict and the host of Wanderful Retreats!
My love for Italy started back in college when I studied abroad the summer of 3rd year at the University of Texas at Austin. For 6 weeks we called a converted convent in the hilltop town of Castiglion Fiorentino home. It only took 6 weeks for me to fall in love with watercoloring and become addicted to this incredibly, beautiful country. psst! Click here to read the full story on the Wanderful Journal!
I flew back to Italy on my graduation day to begin an internship at the very same study abroad center. I spent the next 2 years washing dishes, stacking boxes of pasta, corralling college students, nannying for an Italian family, learning Italian, sketching and loving every hectic minute of it.
Since returning to California, I started my own business Sketchy Notions to turn my newfound love of watercolors into prints, cards and unique paper goods. I now travel back to Italy every summer to visit my Italian friends and family and share this unique and beautiful country with all of you!
Wanderful Retreats grew out of my absolute LOVE for Italy and my love for showing folks all my favorite sketching, eating and sight-seeing spots. I not only speak Italian but I've been hosting retreats in Italy since 2016. Every summer is a new adventure and I'd love for you to join us on the next one under the Tuscan sun!
"Wanderful Retreats is the best way to visit Italy! You get to spend a week with someone who knows the cities and a lot of history that goes with them. You also get the chance to learn how to sketch and paint the beautiful Italian scenery around you. You can't go wrong booking a week with Wanderful Retreats. My only regret is not participating in both weeks!"
- Haylee, 2019 Villa
"The Lucca tour was like a dream come true. The hostess was very organized but still offered spontaneous time to explore. I especially loved the Chianti region with our private tour guide arranged through our hostess. "
- C, 2019 Lucca
"Both of my retreats in Italy have been fabulous. Chelsea does an amazing job leading her groups through Tuscany and making you feel at home. She organizes everything so you get a taste of Tuscany but still have the freedom to explore solo if you want. Our weeks were filled with exploring gorgeous towns, eating delicious food and learning how to paint under Chelsea's guidance. Chelsea also speaks Italian so it's great to have someone by your side to help translate and navigate this beautiful country.
Can't wait to join Chelsea again on another retreat in Tuscany!"
- Holly, 2018 Lucca & 2017 Villa
"Looking through my pictures from the Tuscany retreat and wishing I were back in Italy right now! It was an amazing week with amazing people. We had time for ourselves and time to be social. There was a perfect balance of painting, relaxing, and sight-seeing. We shopped, cooked, ate, traveled, and laid by the pool. The activities were well planned out and so enjoyable.
Chelsea’s sweet demeanor and attentiveness really made the trip perfect. Since she speaks Italian we were able to speak with everyone and feel at home in Italy!"
- Lauren, 2017 Villa
"My Italy art retreat was some of the best money I've ever spent. Chelsea organized it perfectly. It was stress-free in that everything was planned and ready to go - the amazing apartment, food in the fridge, an awesome itinerary - and yet, throughout the week, I still had the freedom to branch off and do other things I wanted.
The best part is Chelsea is practically an Italian herself so you get much more than a surface tour. After a week, I knew the good spots to get coffee and where to find a killer sandwich, which restaurants would give me free Limoncello if I stayed late enough, and how to do a decent watercolor to boot.
I made new friends, made memories with old friends, and came home with a handmade sketchbook full of art. Overall, it was a perfect adventure! "
- Kendal, 2016 Florence
"You may have the universe if I may have Italy."