Italy with Monica Vinci & Maggie Meister

September 21 – October 7, 2021
Rome ~ Orvieto ~ Florence ~ Siena ~ Arezzo Antique Market ~ Venice


All of our Beadventures to Italy are special—but this one is very, very special!  Not only will you experience the beauty of Tuscany during your 16-day adventure, you’ll also have a workshop with one of Italy’s rising star artists—Monica Vinci!

You’ll arrive in Florence followed by a short drive to Tuscany where the group will stay at a lovely country inn nestled on top of a rolling hill amidst olive trees and grape vines. Il Borghetto will be our base as we tour Florence, Siena, and the Tuscany valley. Our workshop with Monica will take place on Il Borghetto’s lovely patio.  Following our workshop with Monica, we’ll travel to Arezzo and be there for its incredible, world-famous Antique Market. After several days exploring Arezzo, we'll then drive to Venice where we will stay at a lovely hotel on the island of Murano.


Day 1.  Tuesday, September 21. Arrive in Florence.
Arrive at the Florence Airport (airport code FLR) and check in at our hotel for our one night stay.  Since everyone will be arriving at different times throughout the day, you'll be on your own (should you want to tour into the city, Maggie will be glad to assist you with options).  Because everyone will be tired from travels,  dinner will be on your own tonight.

Day 2.  Wednesday, September 22. Tuscany.
In late morning we will depart for Il Borghetto Country Inn in Montefiridolfi, which looks out over the rolling hills of Chianti where some of Italy's finest wines are made. You'll have a chance to get settled in your rooms and are welcome to explore the vineyard and rolling hills in the area.  We will enjoy dinner on the patio (weather permitting) overlooking the valley.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Day 3.  Thursday, September 23.  Tour Florence.
Following breakfast we will travel to Florence via private bus for our first of two days in this beautiful city.  Maggie is arranging a tour of Arte della Seta Lisio Foundation, which was founded to keep alive the art of hand-weaving in silk. After the tour, we will have lunch at a local restaurant (included). We’ll then visit the Palazzo Pitti to view its Costume Gallery where we will see the history of Italian fashion throughout history up until the 20th century.

We will return to villa late afternoon and greet our guest instructor, Monica Vinci, who will join us for dinner.  Monica hails from Pisa area and will be teaching a workshop over the next two days. Her work is very rich, lush, unique and her insight into the area is priceless.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Day 4.  Friday, September 24.  Workshop with Monica.
After breakfast our workshop with Monica will get underway!!!  Weather permitting, we’ll bead on the patio.  We break for lunch and then resume the workshop until late afternoon. Before dinner, we will have a tour of the vineyards and winery of Il Borghetto. Their wines are exported to many top restaurants throughout the US.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5.  Saturday, September 25.  Workshop Continues.
After breakfast our workshop with Monica will continue. We will break for lunch and then resume until late afternoon.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6.  Sunday, September 26.  Return to Florence.
One day in Florence is not enough! After breakfast we will be off to Florence via private bus to meet Leo, our incredible guide, for a morning tour of this gorgeous city. After the tour we will visit some of Florence’s markets and further explore this fascinating city.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7.  Monday, September 27:  Special Visit to Siena.
This tour is one of Maggie’s favorites! We leave by private bus after breakfast to drive to the hilltop town of Siena where we will meet author Dario Castagno for a unique and insightful presentation about the Palio and his Contrada. You’ll learn that the Palio is not just a horse race, but a cultural phenomenon. After lunch at a lovely local restaurant, there is free time to explore the city.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8.  Tuesday, September 28.  Tour Chianti Wine Region.
Not only is Dario Castagno an author and ambassador for his Contrada, he also guides tours of the Chianti region!  During his off-the-beaten path itinerary, he will share not only the history but also the soul of this ancient and civilized region—as well as its world-famous wines!
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 19.  Wednesday, September 29.  Free day.
Right now this is a day to relax at the villa—unless we come up with something else!
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10.  Thursday, September 30.  Travel to Arezzo.
After breakfast we will say goodbye to the countryside and depart for Arezzo, one of the wealthiest cities in Tuscany. Our home will be a hotel near the historic city center, which is as beautiful as it appears in Roberto Benigni's classic film La vita è bella ("Life is Beautiful"). After getting settled in your room, we will meet for an introduction to Arezzo and dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11.  Friday, October 1.  Explore Arezzo.
In the morning we will meet our guide for a tour of Arezzo and learn about its historical highlights. Once an important Etruscan trading post, Arezzo was later absorbed into the Roman Empire. A free republic as early as the 10th century, it supported the Ghibelline cause in the violent battles between pope and emperor and was eventually subjugated by Florence in 1384. Today, the city is known for its churches, museums and fabulously sloping Piazza Grande, across which a huge antiques fair is held each month. Come dusk, Arentini (locals of Arezzo) spill along the length of shop-clad Corso Italia for the ritual late-afternoon passeggiata (stroll).

After our tour, you will be free to explore the city on your own.
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 12.  Saturday, October 2.  Arezzo Antique Market.
The market is one of the largest in Italy and as a result of our workshop with Monica, it especially will be fun to search for items to be used in our work! You’ll be able to stroll the streets for antique, vintage, and modern items among the 500 exhibitors and about 100 little shops.  The fair takes advantage of the extraordinary scenery of Piazza San Francesco, Piazza Grande, and the Logge del Vasari, but the stalls spread over the side alleys and squares across the historic center, transforming the character of the city for the two days of the Antique Market. In the evening we will meet up for dinner—and talk about our great finds!
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Day 13. Sunday, October 3.  Free day!
Today you'll be free to further explore Arezzo--or you can return to the Market!
Meals included: Breakfast

Day 14.  Sunday, October 4.  Depart for Venice & Murano.
Today we'll travel by private bus to Venice. Enroute we will be joined by some others that are going on a Beadventure cruise that will be departing from Venice in a few days. After arrival, we'll take a water taxi to our hotel on the island of Murano. In the afternoon you'll have free time to explore the island and enjoy a visit to its many shops filled with beautiful glass--and beads!
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Day 15.  Monday, October 5. Venice.
In the morning we'll travel by Vaparetto (Venice's "bus") to Venice where our private guide will give us a tour of this fascinating city. We're also working to squeeze in a private workshop on a very-Venetian project--stay tuned for details!
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner

Day 16. Tuesday, October 6. Departure.
Today you'll depart from the Venice airport (airport code VCE) for home--or further adventures! Perhaps you would like to continue your European adventure by joining Beadventures on its Mediterranean cruise! Check out the details here!
Meals included: Breakfast

Important Note About Itinerary: 

We are continuing to fine tune the above itinerary.  As a result, there will be additions and other tweaks as we work through the details.  Be assured that any changes will maintain--if not enhance--the quality of your travel experience!

About your project . . . "Source of Life"

Monica has designed this beautiful bead embroidery bracelet for this Beadventure.  It was inspired by the coffered ceilings of the Cathedral of Pisa, the Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta of Siena, and the wonders of Florence.  It uses many bead embroidery stitches and the focal point is a susended Swarovski crystal.  As you find with Monica's work, this project incorporates  fine materials found in high fashion embroidery.  Bellissima!

About Monica Vinci, your workshop instructor . . .
"I was born on the island of Sardinia and now lives in the city of Pisa, Italy. When I was a child, my mother and my grandmother taught me to crochet, knit, embroider, and build Sardinians baskets.

During my pregnancy, I found I loved working with beads—first with Swarovski elements, then I learned peyote stitch, bead embroidery, soutache embroidery, and macramé.  Whether a simple or more elaborate creation, I make my jewelry trying to reach perfection and taking care of the smallest details. 

Following the birth of my son I decided to dedicate herself to his upbringing and it was then that I fell in love with beads. Gradually, beading became an incredible passion.  I began publishing in Italian and foreign magazines as well as teaching. I have created a large studio in my house where I teach classes at as well as at various shows in Italy and abroad.

My greatest satisfaction is to see my students making success and creating magnificent pieces. At my workshops, I try to convey all my little secrets that I have acquired over the years. Never stop learning!!! I'm self-taught and I always want to learn new techniques and transmit my knowledge to others. You always have goals in your life, and they are always the most important stimulus for creativity! – Monica Vinci

Learn more about Monica’s work by clicking here

About Maggie Meister, your tour leader . . .
"The love of ancient history, color and patterns have followed me throughout my life and my designs have come to fruition during the time my family and I lived in Italy. In looking back, beads have always been a part of my life – from playing with Mardi Gras beads or collecting semi-precious stones as a young girl to my love of ancient and ethnic jewelry as I became older. Today seed beads have become the medium I use to translate my sources of inspiration into personal designs for adornment.

When living in Naples, Italy, I was surrounded by ancient history. The fragments of Roman columns, mosaics and frescoes are my inspiration and I am grateful for those “ancient voices”. Translating these voices into designs fills my days with joy and wonder and I cherish my “connection” with the past. Teaching and beading are ways for me to share this wonderful experience and bring those voices of the past into the present." -- Maggie Meister

In addition to teaching around the United States, Maggie leads Beadventures to Italy each year. Her book, "Classical Elegance," was released in August 2011. Her work was featured in the October 2012 issue of Ornament magazine and Maggie was a 2013 “Designer of the Year” for Beadwork Magazine. Learn more about Maggie and her work by clicking here.


Trip Cost         

4475 Euros (click here to convert currency);
Single supplement (based on availability) 1120 Euros

To Sign Up & Payment Terms

To guarantee your spot on this trip, send in a US$1,000 deposit and completed registration form (click here to go to registration information and form); balance will be due 120 days prior to start of Beadventure.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • All lodging
  • 80% of meals
  • Private ground transportation for the itinerary’s activities
  • Private guide in Florence
  • Private guide in Sienna
  • Private guide in Arezzo
  • Private tour of Chianti region
  • Entrance fees to all sites on the itinerary
  • Workshop with Monica
  • Italian-speaking tour leader
  • Tips

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

  • Airfare to and from Rome
  • Workshop kit
  • 20% of meals
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Costs of a personal nature (i.e. laundry, telephone calls)
  • Other customary beading supplies (i.e. task lighting, beading mat, etc.)
  • Travel protection

Trip Notes . . .

Travel Protection
Beadventures recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Beadventure customers have had great customer service from TravelEx Insurance Services.  For more information on its available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 02-0040.

Fitness level
There is a great deal of walking on this trip, much of it up and down hills, on uneven cobblestone streets, as well as stairs as most places do not have elevators.  As a result, this trip is not for people who have difficulty walking or other mobility issues.

Supplies for Monica’s Workshop
Bring your customary supplies, bead mat, magnification, and a battery-powered task light that can be powered from an external source (or you'll need to bring lots of extra batteries!).  You will not have access to electrical power to run a typical task light during class.