Nourish Your Creative Spirit in Tuscany

DATES: 06/15/2019 - 06/22/2019
LOCATION: Tuscany, San Fedele
PRICE: $3,495.00

Julie Baldwin is the author of The Creative Heroine’s Path. She left her career in the corporate world to live a creative life and honor her unique path.

Julie is a certified Co-Active Coach. She has a special place in her heart for closeted creatives and late bloomers, because she spent years hiding her creativity. She finally began to blossom when she took ownership of her creative life.

Her retreats, workshops, and talks are inspired by her deep desire to help other quirky, soulful creatives discover and follow their own true paths.

Julie’s passions include writing, painting, photography, and travel. As a creative mentor, she loves to lead people through transformative experiences.


Julie Baldwin is the author of The Creative Heroine’s Path. She left her career in the corporate world to live a creative life and honor her unique path.

Julie is a certified Co-Active Coach. She has a special place in her heart for closeted creatives and late bloomers, because she spent years hiding her creativity. She finally began to blossom when she took ownership of her creative life.

Her retreats, workshops, and talks are inspired by her deep desire to help other quirky, soulful creatives discover and follow their own true paths.

Julie’s passions include writing, painting, photography, and travel. As a creative mentor, she loves to lead people through transformative experiences.


Come breathe life back into your creative dreams with a group of supportive women in the natural beauty and cultural richness of Tuscany! Experience your own creative renaissance as you begin the path to expressing your authentic, creative self.

Do you long to live a creative life, but afraid it’s too late? Have you put your unfinished novel (and yourself) in a box, fear you will never break free to finish it? Have you hidden your photographs (and yourself) away, along with your dream of exhibiting them?

Your longing to create is not just about the outcome: a memoir, a series of paintings, a garden. It’s about feeling more alive and connected in your life. It’s about becoming who you are meant to be. But everyday life has strong currents that threaten to push you off your creative path: job and family demands, busyness. And underneath it all is that negative inner voice whispering that you can’t do what you love.

Whatever your challenges, the cost of being pulled away from your soul’s path is the regret of an unlived life. I know this, because I lived with that regret for 26 years. Then, I began the path to reclaim myself—and you can too.

Tuscany landscape with winding country road at sunset.

You have the innate power to create your life. But with all life’s distractions and responsibilities, it can be hard to hear your own inner wisdom. Don’t let the importance of what you do for others drown out your responsibility to yourself.

Come slow down in Tuscany.

Life is inherently creative; you are creating all the time. In fact, life brings you the material to co-create your art and the life you want. Don’t stay stuck in circumstances that don’t nourish your spirit. Instead, come co-create with your life.

Your creative dream matters. Only you can make it real. I first had this dream—to create a retreat in Tuscany—20 years ago. Up it would swim to the surface of my mind, only for me to push it back down, as I pursued a “reasonable” life.

But the dream wouldn’t let go. That’s how I knew it was a calling: I had to make it real.

You have something calling to you, too. Listen! Take action. The creative heroine inside you is giving you permission to go for it!

Come to Tuscany with your creative dream, and return home with the inspiration, insight, and passion to make it real.  Our time together will unfold to the rhythm of an Italian summer day. Early mornings are your own, to nestle under the covers and dream, or to rise and create—and of course, enjoy a savory breakfast!

During our morning workshops, you will participate in creative, interactive exercises designed to inspire and replenish you. As your creative path emerges, you will capture insights to keep your creative momentum going, through making your very own Creative Heroine’s Path™ Guidebook to take home with you. When “regular life” threatens to pull you off your path, you will have the wisdom and clarity to realign with your creative purpose, at your fingertips.

At lunchtime, our days turn to adventure, where you will spend the afternoons sight-seeing in nearby towns with other creative heroines, or exploring and creating on your own. Stroll along sun-dappled, cobbled streets; write, sketch, or people-watch at a café; discover your favorite gelato under the warm Tuscan sun.

As the sun lowers in the sky and the light softens, we will gather for an authentic Italian dinner, and conversation by candlelight. Afterward, you can convene for more wine and connection, or retire to a quiet space alone to journal and create.

This time is yours. Cherish it.


What will you love most about our time together in Tuscany? It could be:

  • Quiet early mornings, when the sun ripples like golden waves along the rolling hills.
  • The creative energy flowing through our morning workshops.
  • Finding yourself in small moments when you least expect it.
  • Feeling more alive in your daily creative practice.
  • The fun and adventure of seeing someplace new—or discovering Tuscany through new eyes.
  • The joy of creative expression: writing, sketching, taking photographs, or whatever you plan to nourish during our unstructured time.
  • Luscious local wine and delicious Italian dinners lovingly prepared by our personal, local chef.
  • Conversations and new friendships with other creative heroines.
  • Discovering the charm and beauty of nearby towns, such as Siena’s stunning, fan-shaped Piazza del Campo.Come to Tuscany. Your creative life is calling you.

Tuscan Road at Sunset

Additional Activities: Our daily creative exercises will be combined with other adventures such as:

  • Day trip to Medieval Siena to explore, sketch, take photos, write, and shop
  • Excursions to nearby hilltowns like Radda, Castellina, Monteriggioni, etc.
  • Visit to Chianti winery for a tour and tasting
  • Variety of inspirational locations to experience
  • Discussions of Tuscan cuisine with our chef

After our daily excursions, we’ll return each evening to relax in our 1,000 year old monastery to enjoy the surroundings, have a glass of wine and an informal discussion of the day. Then we will move to the dining room (the authentic refectory where the monks used to assemble) to enjoy our local chef’s authentic, home-made Tuscan meal, recapping the day’s adventures with good company.

Price: $3,495 p/p based on double occupancy

Optional Supplements:

  • $550 for single room
  • $250 p/p for a suite (min. 2 persons)


  • Shared double room in restored monastery
  • Daily traditional breakfast and dinner, including wine
  • Daily creative energy exploration workshops
  • All creative exercise supplies
  • Excursion to Siena
  • ½ day excursions to nearby hilltowns (Monteriggioni, Radda, Volpaia…)
  • Pick up from Florence train station at 3:30pm on arrival Saturday
  • Transfer to bus/train station in Siena (not Florence) on final day

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch (lite lunch will be available for purchase at San Fedele on days we are not out on excursion)
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing
  • Gratuities

To Register:  just click on the Sign Up Now button.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop.  Payment can be made on line with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail.  Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program.  You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, suggested writing or sketching supplies list, and an electronic invoice for the balance.  Final Balance is due by April 15th.  Any time prior to your arrival, if you have questions about anything regarding the trip or the program, you can contact us by email or phone and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Contact us for more information: or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Borgo San Fedele

— San Fedele is a restored 12th century monastery floating in the Chianti hills —

©Lester Lefkowitz 7003-001Il Chiostro at San Fedele is the combined skills of Linda and Michael of Il Chiostro joining together with Nicolo and Renata of San Fedele to produce a unique and inspiring environment rooted in the traditional Tuscan values of beauty, great food, an appreciation for nature and the value of community.  The monastery, dating back to the 12th century, was meticulously restored using traditional building methods and all original materials. Today, the monastery remains true to its original spirit, rich architectural detail. The 16 rooms and suites where participants are housed have lovely modern bathrooms, screened windows, air conditioning, period furniture, wi-fi internet service, satellite television and minibar, all designed to perfectly compliment the medieval surroundings.

The original soaring chapel is now used as a large art studio or workshop space. The monks’ refectory, where a lost 16th century fresco was uncovered during renovation, is now the dining room connected to a state-of-the-art kitchen and the old stone cantinas where they stored their wine have been transformed into studio and classroom space.

For information about the history of this monastery, Click here to go to San Fedele’s web site…


Rather than  hotel, San Fedele is classified as a historic residence in Italy.  That means that it is an intimate setting, preserved along strict historical guidelines to preserve the spirit of the setting.  The owners are on site to oversee this unique combination of historic landmark and modern day comfort.

Accommodations are spacious shared double rooms or junior suites. Each room, because it was converted from the original structure of the monastery without altering the building, is unique in shape. Furnishings and decor were selected to coordinate with the historic, subdued feeling of the monastery, but in a comfortable, modern style. All rooms have two beds that can be separated into twins or combined into one large matrimonial. There is a sitting area, refrigerator, DSL wi-fi, television, air-conditioning, heating, modern private bathroom with shower and hair dryers.

lester-lefkowitz-room3 lester-lefkowitz-room2

There are a limited number of single rooms available at a supplement of $550.

2 Jr. Suites for a minimum of 2 people are available for a supplement of $250 per person.

Night shot piazza©Lester Lefkowitz 7003-010© Lester Lefkowitz 7184-022Archway from rose garden and breakfast buffet in the refectory (photos by Lester Lefkowitz)

Terrace-MJossThe back of San Fedele is surrounded by a large al fresco dining terrace with the original terra cotta tile designs reproduced down to the smallest details. The terrace overlooks the same organic vegetable and flower garden tended by the monks for centuries. Beyond are the rolling Chianti vineyards that make this part of Tuscany so breathtaking.

Other common spaces include a large classroom carved into the rock of the ancient wine cellar, an expansive private piazza, a 16 x 7 meter swimming pool and sprawling landscaped grounds on a rolling hillside.

To San Fedele-LMFlorence will be our meeting point on the first day of the workshop. A van will pick up the group at the train station at about 3:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.

We recommend that you fly into either Florence, Pisa or Rome (Milan is a bit too far away). Florence is closer but it doesn`t have an intercontinental airport, so there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change planes in a larger European city. From the Florence airport you must take a shuttle bus (Volainbus) into the center (20 minutes).

There are more scheduled flights from the US to Rome, many of them direct. From Rome, you will need to take a train to Florence (about 2 1/2 hours).
Important! In making your return flight arrangements, if you are flying home on Saturday after the workshop, try not to book a flight too early. From our location allow 1 ½ hours to get to the Florence airport or 3 ½ hours to get to the Rome airport.

For suggestions about getting to Rome or Florence, accommodations or other logistics, please consult ourTraveling to Italy link. Renting a car from all the major rental agencies is possible if you prefer to be more independent during the week.

Fall vineyards

Fall vineyards


Borgo San Fedele sits conveniently on a country road connecting the charming medieval walled town of Radda and the village of Vagliagli. Other nearby hilltowns include Castellina-in-Chianti, Monteriggioni and Volpaia. It is about 45 minutes from San Gimignano and Volterra. Many of these towns have roots in the earlier Etruscan civilization that permeated this area prior to the Romans.

San Fedele is located about 12 km northeast of Siena and 45 km south of Florence.

The Food

For us at Il Chiostro, helping our guests to experience the traditional food in one of the earth`s richest, most sensual areas is our pleasure. The Chianti region of Tuscany is Italy’s famous wine and olive oil producing region. Here we want to expose you to the wonders of simple Italian cooking known in the area as cucina povera. Our chef is a Tuscan native who uses recipes from her mother and grandmother to bring the tradition of not only Tuscany, but specifically the Chianti region, to the table each evening.  We use seasonal, organic products, locally produced by small farms and family shops. Our chef searches for the best of Tuscany to serve you. Tuscan cuisine is a simple art that has been refined over the centuries to surprise our palates while the red chianti wine comforts our souls. Come explore what food can really be all about.

© Lester Lefkowitz 7184-057Candle Light Dinner2-CharlesAnderson
About Your Il Chiostro Hosts
Linda and Michael, and their program managers will host your program in Tuscany. They have been organizing workshops in Italy since 1995 and each person brings a special talent to the program. You can read more about them by following the About Il Chiostro link. At the Tuscan Renaissance Center, the owners of San Fedele, Nicolo and Renata, live on site. They will be available throughout the program to talk about the history of the monastery, the renovation and this area of Tuscany they call home.

In addition to your workshop
Optional activities offered with this program will focus on the cultural, gastronomic, historical and artistic heritage of Tuscany. This area has been an inspiration to countless people for centuries. What Tuscany offers its visitors is truly astounding:

Bell tower-smallArt – San Fedele is located conveniently between the cities of Medieval Siena and Renaissance Florence packed with some of the most famous masterpieces in the world.

Wine -You are in the heart of the Chianti region, synonomous with the most famous wine that Italy produces. But the innovative Tuscan vintners are also producing Super Tuscans, red varietals that are quickly ascending the ranks of world-class wine.

History – this area was settled by the Etruscans centuries before the Romans were a civilized society. Their necropoli dot the fields throughout the area. Nearby towns like Radda, Vagliagli and Castellina date from the early Middle Ages. Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. San Fedele witnessed most of this from its panoramic perch atop the hillside.

Foodcucina povera is the typical Tuscan cuisine that has become popular around the world. The recipes are simple, emphasizing local and seasonal products: porcini mushrooms, salumi, legumes, vegetables, pasta, bread and game meats. Visiting an outdoor food market, you will understand the wisdom of this very healthy cuisine.

Crafts – perhaps the harmony of the landscape has been the inspiration for many local craftsmen. Exquisite hand-painted ceramics are the prime example, closely followed by mosaics, leather, woodworking, and textiles.