SAY YES TO YOU!
SAY YES TO YOUR CREATIVE DREAMS!
Make a date with your imagination in one of the most
inspiring cities in Italy, Florence!
THE TUSCAN SUN WARMING YOUR FACE AS A COOL OCTOBER BREEZE BLOWS OFF THE ARNO RIVER.
Drinking wine with a group of delightful friends and sharing the day’s adventures over a bowl of fresh pasta.
Walking in the footsteps of the Renaissance masters and finally seeing Michelangelo’s David in person.
Grabbing your journal and travel art kit and heading to the Boboli Gardens for an afternoon capturing the beauty of fall in Tuscany.
An evening passeggiata (stroll) through a piazza…
And stopping at your new favorite gelateria to taste today’s flavor.
ARE YOU READY TO TRADE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD GENERIC STARBUCKS FOR A STREET-SIDE CAFE AND FRESH PASTA IN FLORENCE?
Is it time to kick your creativity in high gear and recharge? Is it time to stop resisting your own success?
Discover what is possible for you and ignite your creative potential during a week-long inspiring adventure and learn how to keep the magic going when you return home.
My experience with Ignite Your Creative Potential retreat has become one of my fondest memories and that is why I am going again. I would describe the experience as esoteric…an incredible week of being immersed in Renaissance art, architecture and history with a group of like-minded artists, learning creative tools (some used by the Renaissance masters) to use in your own work, the street art of Blurb and Clet, beautiful vistas of the city all laid out in front of you…this is just the beginning. They say that experiences make you happier than things. I thank you for that experience. ~Lynne W.
Learn how to tease your creativity out of the shadows and put it to work for you WHEN you want it to, not just when “it feels like it.
Discover where the seat of your creativity lies.
Develop your unique creativity blueprint to keep the magic going daily when you return home.
Reach “flow nirvana” faster through simple routine hacks.
Tame and leverage your cranky inner critique so you can realize your full potential and dreams.
Reconnect with your creative passions.
Recharge your inspiration.
Master the art of completion, say arrivederci to your creative blocks.
Become an idea machine.
Ultimately, it’s engineered serendipity.
HOW DO WE DO THIS?
We start with where ever you are at. The week begins with a one-on-one 30-minute coaching session with Jennifer where you will dive deep into your creative goals and dreams and develop an individualized plan that will enable you to consistently complete the work that you are a called to make—that masterpiece, book, song, a new app and so much more.
Who knows, maybe there is a hidden Leonardo artist, inventor, creator inside of you that is just waiting to come out. We design a strategy for you to nurture that process so your ideas can flourish and multiply.
GET IT DONE!
NONE OF THIS MATTERS IF YOU CAN’T GET TO THE FINISH LINE.
Completion is the biggest challenge that creatives, like you, face. Sure, there is a lot of advice about how to “get it done” out there, but it is often general.
During our week together, I get to know you and your unique challenges and design a strategy tailored to you, so you break through those blocks and barriers that keep you from your high five completion moments.
Daily sessions bring together the best techniques for expanding your creativity and give you concrete skills to use to get busy making the work that you are called to create.
You need time away from your daily routine and space for inspiration to hit and to recharge your creative wellspring.
I HAVE IDENTIFIED THE BIGGEST
CHALLENGES TO BEING MORE CREATIVE:
UNIQUE CREATIVE IDEAS
FLOW STATE FASTER
…AND HAVE ASSEMBLED THE BEST EXERCISES TO
CONQUER THESE OBSTACLES
Together we will glean the secrets of the Renaissance while deepening our creative capacity.
Imagine walking in the footsteps of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Dante, and Galileo– channeling their creative energy. Together we explore their inspirational secrets, creative routines, and processes as we develop our creativity blueprints.
Imagine coming to Florence and enjoying a creative rebirth with a small community of like-minded adventurers, where you all discover the power of the artist salon as you bond with your new creative colleagues, a relationship that extends beyond the seven days of our trip thanks to the magic of technology and our private Facebook group.
Simply, Florence is the perfect environment to learn to see the world in a different way under the guidance of your personal art history professor and creativity coach, Jennifer Vigil, Ph.D.
Learn her secret ninja museum strategy to maximize your inspiration while avoiding visual overload. You will never look at museums in the same way again. But how do you capture those flashes of insight in a way that you can utilize them when you are back home feeling uninspired and blocked? No worries, with a combination of old school and new tech (your phone’s camera and a free app), your journal becomes a pot of gold paying out brilliant nuggets whenever you need them.
Just steps from the foot of Ponte Vecchio, our hotel is nestled in the Oltrarno section of Florence
(the other side of the Arno river) known for its artisans and slower pace (and fewer tourists, so you will get more of a feel of how the locals live). Enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the Duomo (the main cathedral) and Palazzo Vecchio (the old palace) during your morning breakfast in the rooftop restaurant. The neighborhood has many delicious restaurants, and there is an enoteca (wine bar) a block away that is perfect for a late afternoon glass of wine and savory hors d’oeuvres.
We are just blocks away from Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, Santo Spirito church, and it’s piazza (plaza) and a block away from a small grocery store where you can find quick snacks and anything you forgot to bring.
There will be plenty of time during the retreat to go shopping for special mementos of the trip, and I am delighted to be your shopping guide and help you haggle with the vendors in the open-air leather market.
your adventure begins…
As you take in the sun setting over the Arno river from the middle of Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) surrounded by centuries-old jewelry shops, the songs of local musicians and the buzz of the busy bridge foot traffic serenade you. With a sigh, you soak up the last warm glow of the day’s sunlight and breathe in the crisp fall air rich with aromas of dinner being prepared at the nearby Golden View restaurant – fresh pasta, delicious sauces, and the enticing smell of roasted meats make your stomach grumble.
As you cross to the Oltrarno side of the bridge, you are just steps away from your home for the week, the charming 4-star Hotel Pitti Palace.
The lobby’s golden lights draw you in as the friendly staff welcomes you home from your day’s adventures reveling in the magic of Florence.
AH, LA DOLCE VITA (THE SWEET LIFE)… TIME FOR YOUR NIGHTLY PASSEGGIATA (STROLL) AND A DINNER WITH YOUR NEW CREATIVE AMICHE (FRIENDS).
WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT FLORENCE?
WE WILL WANDER THE NARROW STREETS
DISCOVERING HIDDEN TREASURES.
Italians are known for elegant design in everything they do. It is summed up in the philosophy of la bella figura (the beautiful figure) which essentially refers to making the best possible impression in everything one does—how one looks, behaves, and how one presents things to the world.
- Ignite Your Creative Potential survival kit. A carefully curated bag of essential creative tools and bonus items for your seven-day retreat
- Five creativity coaching sessions (one held at the Boboli Gardens) plus ongoing conversations during the week
- Secret ninja museum strategy class with art historian Jennifer Vigil, Ph.D.
- Private, 30-minute coaching session with Jennifer
- Walking tour of the Oltrarno exploring artisan studios while Alexandra Lawrence, Italian state-licensed tour guide, explains the rich cultural and artistic history of our Florence neighborhood
- Creative, sensual exploration adventure at Mercato Centrale–balsamic, olive oil, cheese and charcuterie tasting with our Mercato Centrale hosts Paola and Alessandro Baroni
- 4-star boutique hotel accommodations double or single occupancy (the rooms are arranged with either two single beds or a king). Need a roommate? Just select double occupancy, and we will match you up with another retreat member
- Seven delicious buffet breakfasts in the hotel’s 6th-floor dining area with spectacular panoramic views of the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio
- Welcome dinner and a farewell feast celebrating the cuisine of Florence and Tuscany
- A 4-course dinner cooking class at a charming culinary school where we prepare our meal in their beautiful classroom kitchen and then enjoy the dinner in their enchanting barrel-vaulted wine cellar
- Two lunches when we are out on the town
- Plenty of free time for you to explore Florence on your own or with the group
- Optional evening passeggiate (leisurely strolls) in different neighborhoods
- Optional walk to Piazzale Michelangelo. Great panoramic view of Florence skyline from Piazzale Michelangelo (this is where you can take that iconic Florence skyline photo)
- Optional walking tour of San Lorenzo open-air leather market—purses, gloves, wallets, luggage, bags, belts, etc. (Jennifer will be on hand to help you haggle if you would like)
- Membership in our private Facebook group
- Pre-trip video call with the retreat group members
- Information packet (sent when you register) with tips on packing, local customs, cellular phone access, currency exchange, information about Florence so you can start dreaming, and other necessary details for an enjoyable and stress-free experience
- When you arrive, a welcome packet with useful information about Florence
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Your round-trip airfare and travel arrangements from home to the hotel in Florence (this includes any taxi or bus costs to transport you to and from the airport to the hotel)
- Four dinners, five lunches, and any snacks are not included (During the two included dinners there will be a limited amount of wine provided, you may choose to purchase additional wine or alcoholic beverages)
- Other non-included items: souvenir and gift shopping, personal phone calls/ cellular service/ SIM cards (if you would like assistance in purchasing an Italian SIM card for your phone when you arrive, Jennifer can help you with that), taxis, admission fees to any other museums or landmarks not listed in the “What’s Included” section, laundry, bell-hops, and tips for your room maid (we recommend € 2-3 per day per person)
- Personal, medical, or trip cancellation insurance (trip insurance is highly recommended)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
An $800 non-refundable deposit holds your spot. The balance is due August 15, 2020. You can pay by credit card, debit card, check or wire transfer. Contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to pay by check or wire transfer.
The only criteria are that you are open to adventure and exploration. The exercises and activities that we will do will help you be more imaginative and creative in your problem-solving. This is for anyone who wants a lightning bolt of inspiration (which is more likely to hit you while you are dunking your biscotti in your cappuccino at a café in Florence than at your corner coffee house) and wants to have more creative ideas. Discover your inner Renaissance person (I know the phrase is usually man, but women are no longer relegated to the kitchen. We can bring home the Prosciutto AND make the pasta). Uncover your inner inventor, writer, musician…the possibilities are endless once you ignite your creative potential. And you can leverage your new-found idea-generating machine in all aspects of your life.
Once you sign up and reserve your place, you will be added to the FB group. This is a great place to get to meet everyone else. We will have a video call at least a month before the trip so we can get to know each other and I can answer any questions that you have.
Yes! You will get plenty of one-on-one attention and will have plenty of downtimes. We are sensitive to each person’s needs and tailor activities accordingly.
Sign up for a double, and we will pair you with another person who wants to share. The earlier you sign up, the better your chance of getting a roommate. If we don’t have another double for you to share with, you will be charged the difference for a single. Want to make sure that you have a roommate? Tap a friend or family member to join you.
Florence airport is the closest, but Rome is an option too. See the section on Flights for information on getting from Rome to Florence. If you want to see Rome for a few days, flying in or out of there is a great option. 1800FlyEurope.com offers better rates for flights that come in and out of different cities. That is the sight I use since I always tack on additional travel. Note that they only handle departures from US cities.
A taxi from Florence airport is €22-25 and €1 per bag. It takes about 15 minutes to get into Florence (assume another 5-10 minutes to get to the hotel). There is a €2 Sunday service charge and €3.20 additional charge for late night service (10 pm – 6 am).
The retreat starts on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 2 pm. We recommend arriving the day before so that you can sleep in and adjust to the time zone. We have reserved rooms for October 12th, which can be easily added during checkout. The cost is $255 (if you are sharing and both of you are arriving early, the price will be split between both roommates). It doesn’t affect the deposit. The extra charge will be added to your balance due August 15, 2020.
Yes! I have reserved rooms for October 12th, and you can easily add that during checkout. The cost is $255 (if you are sharing and both of you are arriving early, the cost will be split between both roommates). It doesn’t affect the deposit. The extra charge will be added to your balance due August 15, 2020. If you want to stay later, you can contact Hotel Palazzo Pitti’s website and book directly through there. You will get the best rates that way.
No. 45% of Italians speak English, and since Florence is a major tourist destination, plenty of people speak English. You will receive our guide to Florence when you register that gives you information about navigating language and my recommendation for a small phrase book.
Feel free to bring a few of your favorite travel art supplies, but you will be getting lots of goodies in your Creativity Toolkit bag. There are also a few art supply stores that are fun to explore.
Yes. Having time to let ideas and what we are doing percolate is part of the retreat. You can explore on your own or hang with others. I love to share my favorite spots and the best places to get gelato (fortunately my favorite one is less than 5 minutes from the hotel). Two dinners are included, but we usually eat together as a group (you are free to join, go off with just a few people or by yourself). Italians have mastered the art of dining, and I like to embrace it on the retreat. It is a great time to get to know each other more, share ideas, get inspired and revel in lively discussions. I imagine us as Renaissance artists, scholars, scientists, poets/ writers, and architects discussing the possibilities of our ideas over Chianti and a hot plate of fresh pasta. When do you get that kind of opportunity in your daily life
Contact your cell phone provider and ask about their international rates. Some offer a flat $10/day fee for data and calls. Others are much more expensive. You may have to have them turn on international roaming (or you will do it in your phone’s settings). You can buy an Italian SIM for about €30 and have about 1 - 2 GB of data (sometimes more depending on the current special), but you must have your phone unlocked by your carrier before arriving. There is a TIM cell store near Piazza Repubblica about 15 min walk from the hotel. Bring your passport to the store if you want to buy an Italian SIM card. You need it to purchase the SIM card. The store staff speak English and are very helpful. Depending on the time of day, it can be a bit of a wait which is why some prefer the convenience of using their home carrier and paying more for the ease. I will take you there and help you out if you want.
In short, no you don’t have to be a fashionista when you travel to Italy. Italian women have been cultivating their style their whole lives. I do encourage you to embrace some of their strategies—solid and less colorful interchangeable separates that can be mixed and matched, use accessories to add color, texture and “pop” and change up your look, fewer nicer quality pieces, and less is more.
When I travel, my goal is to not look like a tourist. It helps in several ways. Firstly, I am less likely to be a target for pickpockets (I have never had a problem with pickpockets and the Italian police crackdown on anyone targeting tourists since tourism is an important industry in Florence). Secondly, I can blend in more and get more of a feel for what life is like for locals. That being said you should dress in layers and be comfortable (wear shoes that will support you on the uneven cobblestone streets). Slacks or skirts are fine. It won’t be warm enough for shorts so no worries about whether that is even appropriate. Jeans that are nice, very new looking or black, are ok, but I am on the fence about whether that makes one stand out as a tourist more. You must have your shoulders covered in churches so toss a scarf in your bag that can double as a shawl. More on packing in our Florence guide that you will receive after you register.
No. You will get a journal in your Creativity Tool Kit bag for you to capture your thoughts. I suggest bringing your cell phone for capturing images and for a museum inspiration technique.
The hotel has free wifi, and parts of the city have free wifi but don’t count on it when you are out and about. If you want data and texting/ calls you can either turn on international roaming or purchase an Italian SIM for about €30 and have about 1 - 2 GB of data (sometimes more depending on the current special). Make sure you check your cell carrier’s international rates. Some have daily flat rates of say $10/day. I find it cheaper to get an Italian SIM, but some prefer the ease of using their own carrier’s international plan. See cellphone question above for more information.
Yes! Feel free to email me at Jennifer@jennifercvigil.com. If you would prefer to talk, email me and I will schedule a time for us to chat. I love sharing resources and getting to know you.
I’m ready to ignite my creative potential!
This creativity retreat is limited to 10 participants.
The balance is due August 15, 2022.
*If you select double occupancy, we will try to match you with a roommate. If a roommate is unavailable, we will switch you to a single occupancy room, and you will be charged the difference. (The earlier you sign up, the more likely we will be able to match you with a roommate. Your early bird rate will be locked in so if you are switched to a single the increase will be based on the rate you signed up at.)
There are a couple of options for getting to Florence.
You can fly directly to Florence airport (FLR) and take a taxi to the hotel. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous (or want to spend some time in Rome pre or post-trip), you can fly into Rome’s airport (FCO) which is located outside of Rome in Fiumicino and take a train to Florence. If you choose this option, we can provide you with more detailed travel information for getting from Rome to Florence.
If you want to come a day early, contact us, we have reserved rooms for the evening of October 17, 2022, and we can add that to your package. There will be an option when you register to add the extra day otherwise any room requests for the night of October 17 must be received before September 20, 2022. Other additional nights can be arranged directly with Hotel Palazzo Pitti.
Jennifer helps creatives tease their imagination out of the shadows and put it to work for them. Her mission is to help people live authentically and artfully as they pursue their passions. Jennifer also works with artists teaching them how to write more powerfully about their work. Offering classes and retreats are two ways she fulfills her mission to be of service to others and support them on their creative journey.
Learn, create, live artfully.
THAT’S JENNIFER’S MANTRA.
She believes that art and life shouldn’t be separate and is committed to helping you live an artful life. Living an artful life is a way of seeing, being, and journeying through the world. Having a life that is engaging, exciting, fulfilling, and joyful is her goal for you. Living an artful life is about embracing each day and choosing to find the beauty and magic that is there waiting for you to see it.
She fell in love with Florence when she lived there in 2014. It was the Italian concept of la bella figura that spoke to her. It is so easy to live an artful life in Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, where you are steeped in art, history, and intrigue, where life isn’t rushed, and food and friends are savored. Come taste the magic and join her in Florence and learn how to bring that spirit home with you to your daily life.
Jennifer is committed to supporting artists and creatives like you in creating the work you were called to make. As an “information junkie,” Jennifer likes to connect people with ideas and resources. She sees life as a giant puzzle and each person a piece. The more pieces you meet, the more the overall picture comes into view. Traveling is an integral part of this, and she enjoys making new friends where ever she goes.
PERSONAL CONNECTION AND CREATING CUSTOM STRATEGIES, PLANS, AND SOLUTIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO REALIZE THEIR CREATIVE PASSIONS IS HER STRENGTH
She has been in the trenches taming her own cranky inner critic, taking a sledgehammer to creative blocks (well, more like walls), and creating routines that get her into flow nirvana quickly and consistently so she can create the work she is called to make. And she can show you how to do the same.
She has been a Leonardo Da Vinci fan since her father gave her a book about him and his drawings when she was a small girl (and budding artist).
She grew up aspiring to Da Vinci’s Renaissance person ideal—not limiting herself to any one pursuit but embracing science, art, music, literature, poetry, anything that intrigued her curious mind. She would probably “blame” Leonard for her information junkie ways. 😉
She has been supporting artist for almost 20 years working with and mentoring MFA art students, helping them bring to life their ideas in powerful work that makes an impact. She understands the importance of thoughtful, constructive, critical, and specific feedback in the nurturing process of artists. She understands the profound effect supportive yet challenging creativity mentoring can have on the development of an individual’s creative potential.
With a dash of whimsy, a spirit of adventure, and a focus on personal connections, she draws on her experience as an artist, art historian, curator, and creativity mentor as she helps individuals ignite their creative potential and develop strategies and processes that keep them inspired and able to access their creativity quicker and consistently.
about our team
MIKINNA KERNS | THE WONDER CAPTURER
Retreat assistant + official trip photographer
Mikinna uncovers your inner essence in amazing portraits that you will cherish.
Her photographs capture the magic hidden in plain view in our daily lives. Mikinna is one of those lucky people who discovered her true calling early in life, portrait photography. She has an amazing talent for freezing magical moments in time reflecting our most unguarded and human exchanges—the wonder of a small boy gazing in amazement at the enormous bubbles made by a street performer or the tender exchange of two young lovers staring into each other’s eyes while embracing on a park bench. We are honored to have her on our team, capturing our special moments throughout our adventure in Florence.
She is our “Girl Friday” too. Have any questions, need help with something? Mikinna is your support person, and if I am unavailable, she is there for you.
ALEXANDRA LAWRENCE | THE STORYTELLER
Tour guide + Florence Ambassador
Alexandra isn’t a tour guide; she’s a captivating storyteller weaving together art, history, political intrigue, and insider secrets as she brings to life the rich history of Florence. Sharing juicy tales of jealousies, rivalries, insights into the daily life of the Renaissance masters and the Machiavellian exploits of their patrons as if she is a ghost whisperer relaying the gossip, woes, and sagas of the long-passed citizens of Florence. All told through the rich artistic legacy these visionaries left behind—paintings, sculptures, commanding edifices, and soaring cathedrals.
An American married to an Italian, Alexandra is passionately enthusiastic about the past and present of her adopted home (for almost two decades now) Florence. Drawing on her degrees in political science and Italian literature (a Dante specialist, no less), her passion and enthusiasm for Florence are infectious, and she is a delightful ambassador for the city.