Dream A New Dream: A Venetian Retreat For Writers, Artists, Poets and Dreamers

DATES: 10/01/2022 - 10/08/2022
PRICE: $2,850.00

Amber is a global visionary – a gifted storyteller, author, artist, life coach and entrepreneur. 

As an Indian woman born in Africa and educated in Europe, Amber brings a unique global perspective to her work.  Her Dream a New Dream retreats are designed to encourage people to live from a place of enlivened authenticity, fearless imagination and courageous love, especially as we face the potent challenges in our world today.   Her international retreats held in places like the foothills of the Himalayas, cloud forests of Nicaragua and deserts of Rajasthan, India have been described as inspirational, transformative, magical and wise.

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Amber is the author of the wisdom book, “Dear Beloved: Sacred Messages to the World”, a book of teachings woven in with mandala drawings that has been described as a candle in the dark to help you find your way. The book is available on Amazon.

Today, Amber lives in the bucolic Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts.

Amber’s website:  amberchand.com

Imagine waking up to the excitement of a Venetian morning, stepping out onto the bustling square near the canal, as you stand there, enchanted by this luminescent world, beckoned by the spirit of adventure.


I fell in love with Venice when I first met her, mesmerized by her luminous beauty as she stood poised on the edge of a lagoon, facing the Adriatic Sea.  She is described as “La Serenissima”, with her meandering canals, marble bridges, her terraced buildings and ornate palazzos gleaming in the autumn light, her bustling marketplaces and intimate cafes.   Elizabeth Barrett Browning once remarked, “I have been between heaven and earth since our arrival in Venice….never have I touched the skirts of so celestial a place”.

It is here, in this celestial place that has captivated the imagination of artists, writers, poets and dreamers that we gather on this very special Venetian retreat, one designed to support you in exploring your deepest longings and dreams as you envision the future you are seeking to live into.

Our home will be in the heart of the city, at the water’s edge of the Grand Canal, in a charming convent known for its simplicity and spaciousness – the perfect backdrop to the rich opulence of the city.  Each morning you will be introduced to a transformational teaching on the visionary journey, one that will show you how to live into your enlivened new story.

You will then receive a potent visionary question for that day.  The answers to the question reside in the lap of the city, she will be your guide.   See it as an adventure, a treasure hunt, one in which the city will whisper her secrets to you, offering you the clues to that day’s inquiry.

Since we will each bring our unique creative gifts and passions to this experience, you are invited to explore the day’s inquiry through your writings, sketches, photography, poetry, or personal contemplation.  We will gather at day’s end, ready to share what we have each learned about our question and what secrets Venice has come to reveal to us about our inquiry. This interplay between the inner and outer landscape will give us a rich perspective on our visionary journey.

If you are someone who is ready to open your eyes to a new story and seeking clarity as to the path to take into your future, then this unique visionary retreat offers you a perfect doorway.  Be open to the surprises you will find along the way.

Join me and your fellow travelers as we bask in the light of self-reflection and adventure, connect with each other through sparkling conversation, discover new visionary tools and insights, and experience the alchemy that happens when we fully embrace our dreams and longings – held here in the enchanting presence of Venice, the Serene One.

The Grand Canal at Dusk, photo by Lester Lefkowitz

The facade of our convent along the Zatere

Accommodations: The week will be spent in the a brightly renovated ex-convent on the Zattere in the Dorsoduro sector. When you register you can choose either a single or double room with ensuite bathroom in the complex where our studio is.  Rooms are clean and comfortable, but simply furnished.  We’ll enjoy traditional cuisine at local restaurants or prepared by our personal chef. It will be an ideal place to reflect on your visionary new story.

General Activities: Our first activity will be an orientation at 6pm on the first day followed by dinner with the group.  As part of the daily program, participants will gather late afternoon  to harvest that day’s inquiry.  Dinner will then be served at one of the city’s restaurants or by having a meal prepared by our personal chef.  The itinerary is set so that there will be some time for museum visits and other independent sight-seeing possibilities.

Dinners: During the week we will have 5 dinners together. To experience a good cross-section of typical Venetian cuisine we will sample diverse neighborhood trattorie and Michael and Linda will host our group for two home-cooked meals with ingredients we find at the outdoor market. Two nights of the week you will be on your own to explore restaurants and other fine offerings in the city, like operas, concerts, etc.  There is plenty of time for independent exploration.

Price: $2,850 p/p

San Marco, photo by Harvey Stein

Options: single room supplement – $475 (limited number available).


  • 7 nights at refurbished convent – double or single (with supplement) room with ensuite bathroom and shower (Note: departure is after breakfast on the final Saturday.  The last class activity will be Friday evening.)
  • Daily buffet breakfast and 5 dinners at local restaurants, including wine
  • Workshop tuition, daily classes
  • Guided art history tour of Venice with local art historian
  • Selected excursions with class


    Circular Venice, photo by Andy Holtzman

Price does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing
  • Local transportation: vaporettos, water taxis

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, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance. Final Balance is due by August 15th, 2021. 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.

Please note:  In the event that the retreat needs to be cancelled, your deposit will be fully refunded.

COVID Restrictions:   We are following COVID protocol carefully and will alert you to important travel updates regarding your stay in Venice, eg.: vaccinations, masks, etc.

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

For our week in Venice we will be staying at the renovated monastery of Don Orione Artigianelli directly on the Giudecca Canal.  The complex is built around a series of quiet cloisters where the only sound is of the bells ringing on the hour.

Rooms are single or double, simply furnished, but each with its own private, modern bathroom.

Breakfast is served each morning in the dining room on the main floor.  We will use one of their conference rooms as our studio.

To arrive either you can fly directly into Venice or into Milan and then take the train to Venice. Specific arrival instructions will follow, but from the train station you can take the vaporetto and get off at the Zattere.  From the airport you can take the Alilaguna ferry (Blue Line) and get off at the Zattere.  In either case, Artigianelli will be right in front of you.  We’ll send you easy walking directions so you won’t get lost.  Remember that Venice is a walking city, so pack light because you will have to pull your luggage down the alleys and over the bridges – there’s just no getting around that.

Our first activity will be an orientation at 6pm on the first day, followed by dinner with the group.

Departure is after breakfast on the final day.  If you are flying out that day you might try to arrange your flights for 11am or later to avoid getting up at the crack of dawn.

If you have time you might want to explore the Lakes district or enchanting towns like Bergamo or Verona, the site of Romeo and Juliet, before you arrive in Venice. This will give you plenty of time to recover from jet-lag before you settle in at the convent and start your workshop. Besides, Italy is not something that should be experienced in a hurry. Its charms need to seep into your skin while you linger at a café or amble through a piazza.

Venice, city, empire, wonder of the world, is one of the most visually stimulating places on Earth. Stripes of canals, Byzantine mosaics glittering in the sun, window cases of blown glass, leather-bound books, plumed masks, woodcut puppets. Each step through the crooked passages is a delight. Spend a week (or two) probing unknown corners. Stay long enough to lounge at a café. Get to know the old woman at the vegetable stall. Return to that tiny mask shop again and again. Photograph it. Artists and writers have been interpreting Venice since it was born in the lagoon centuries ago, from the Grand Canal to the tiny sculptures above the doorframes. Get lost in the sensuality.

Because Venice is such a visual feast that is a collection of its past, our program offers weeklong workshops in painting or photography. Participants coming from the different disciplines will capture and be stimulated by the passion of Venice.  Throughout the week the groups inspire one another to see in new ways and to experiment with their work in a city that has awed writers, painters, colonels and kings.

Bartosek-rialto sunset

Rialto Sunset by Cindy Bartosek