FAQs

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How can I pay for the workshop?
Almost every course or workshop prospectus page will display a Paypal button for payment. Paypal is a secure payment gateway and all your payment details will be processed by them. We here at Creative Retreats in Italy do not ask for, nor require any of your banking information.

Near the Paypal button on the prospectus page, the amount to be paid will normally be displayed. Otherwise, details of payment will be explained in another section of the page. Not every workshop costs the same, and the actual cost breakdown for each will usually be different, according to the type of course involved. Some may require a deposit payment, with the balance being paid in cash at a later stage. Others may require an administration fee up front, with the remaining costs being paid directly to a supplier or service at the venue. Check your prospectus carefully for details.

For those workshops that require a bank transfer payment, following confirmation from us of your place on the course, we will send the necessary banking details to you.

Please DO NOT charge us with your banking, transfer or exchange costs. As an example — a deposit payment of €195 made through Paypal will incur a cost of approximately €7. This transaction fee will be added to your final balance as part of your required balance if you have not absorbed the cost yourself at the time of payment of your deposit or administration fee.

All our workshops, courses and events are priced in Euros.

What is the difference between an independent, a residential and a closed workshop?
A residential course provides accommodation along with the course content, and will be for a fixed duration. The accommodation provided will normally be for one paying participant only, per course fee, unless otherwise stated. Specific details will be provided with each course/workshop prospectus.

An independent course does NOT provide accommodation. The course will be for a fixed duration, but the participant is free to find accommodation in keeping with his/her personal budget and taste, and to extend the period of accommodation before and/or after the actual course dates. The course participant will also be free to decide whether to share their chosen accommodation with a friend or family member. For example — renting self-catering accommodation usually implies that the rented apartment/home will be large enough to host more than one person, depending on the number of bedrooms it has.

A closed course will have been created based on specifications provided by the group which will attend the course. The request for the course might have been made by an arts’ group, a college or institution, or by a corporation or even by a single artist or tutor who has wanted a ‘made-to-measure’ event for his or her students or followers. There will not normally be places available on the course for ‘external’ participants.

What language are the workshops conducted in?
Generally speaking the courses are conducted in English, even when the workshop mentor is Italian. If you are an artist/teacher who intends to employ our services to organise a ‘made-to-measure’ course to your own specifications, it will, of course, be possible to use the services of a translator/interpreter in an alternative language if required. It should, however, be made clear that the services and vendors we use, will generally be local and Italian.
What personal information do you require from me, and why?
Let’s begin by assuring you that we will never ask for your banking information. Any transfer of funds will be done either through Paypal which carries out financial transactions through its secure payment gateway, or through our own bank, the details of which you will have been given by us in order to make a money transfer.

So what do we need:

  • Your name — so at least we know what to call you when we meet!
  • Your email address — the most convenient way to remain in contact for information and updates regarding your chosen event
  • Your home address — that’s where we will be mailing your Welcome Pack including a town map and details regarding the location and event venue
  • Your telephone number — numbers for your home land line and for a mobile phone are very useful when we need to make arrangements for your arrival here in Venice. A mobile phone is particularly useful when you are here just in case you need to warn us of a late arrival or some other situation that is creating difficulty for you.
  • Your point of departure — this might be your town or your nearest airport. We do our best to supply you with information regarding flights or other forms of transport to reach Venice, and having an idea of where you live, or better still — which airport is closest to you, will mean that we will be able to better target the accurate transport details for your journey over here.
  • In our registration form we ask you your approximate age, gender and language — the former two are optionals and are included in the form to give us an idea of the characteristics of the people joining a particular event. You are not obliged to give us this information, though it is very useful to us to know. We do, however, ask that you tell us your language. Our courses are conducted in English so it is essential that you have an adequate grasp of the English language in order to fully participate in the course programme.

Creative Writing

I am doing a creative writing workshop — what should I bring with me?
As a general rule you would bring along the following standard items:

  • Notebook and pen/pencil
  • Laptop or other digital device for writing notes, research, communication (don’t forget to pack the adaptor/charger for each device)
  • Digital camera or other mobile device with camera function
  • USB memory stick

NB. All digital devices are optional. There will sometimes be a *wi-fi connection at the venue for those who like to remain connected with the social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc. Some people extend their stay beyond the actual course in order to enjoy the local tourist attractions — having a camera to hand is obviously a useful way to record your holiday experience.

* Wi-fi is available in only some of the venues we use.

What tutoring time can I expect on a writing event?
There will normally be approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours’ tutoring on each workshop day. Here is a sample programme devised for a creative writing retreat:

  • Timetable Monday 12th
    Morning and afternoon free for sightseeing and personal pursuits.
    (Some students will be arriving on Monday).
    Evening 18.00 hrs Welcome meeting with Prosecco on Giudecca — a time to meet other members of the group, followed by a short orientation walk to introduce you to the venue location and the nearest local transport stop.
    Optional evening meal together in a pizzeria close to our venue.
    Please confirm a booking for the evening meal so that we can book seats for all.
  • Timetable Tuesday 13th
    Morning tutored session 10.00 – 12.30 hrs (with short refreshments break)
    Lunch 12.30 – 13.30 hrs (included)
    Afternoon tutored session 14.00 – 17.00 hrs (with short refreshments break)

    *Special Project Day

  • Timetable Wednesday 14th
    Morning tutored session 10.00 – 12.30 hrs (with short refreshments break)
    Lunch 12.30 – 13.30 hrs (included)
    Afternoon tutored session 14.00 – 17.00 hrs (with short refreshments break)
    * You will be given full details of the special project in your welcome pack
  • Timetable Thursday 15th
    Morning Venice walkabout with local English speaking host or hostess as an added interest to the Special Project 10.00 — 12.30 hrs
    Lunch of typical Venetian ciccheti and Prosecco 12.30 — 14.00 hrs (included)
    Afternoon free for sightseeing and personal pursuits.
    Optional farewell evening meal together.
    Please confirm a booking for the evening meal so that we can book seats for all.

The programmes are devised in collaboration with the tutor and their teaching preferences and/or special projects which they create specifically for each retreat. In the case of this particular programme, the level of instruction is not suitable for beginners, but nonetheless, the tutoring time at any level of achievement would be very similar.

For customised events, the group creating the ‘made-to-measure’ event may include as much or as little tutoring time as desired in keeping with the group budget.

Locations & Venues

I am doing a watercolour workshop — what equipment will I find on site?
For full details of what will be made available for your use on site, go to the ‘Equipment on site’ page where you will also be able to book equipment at no extra expense for the event you will be attending.

Standard equipment on loan or to purchase:

  • Water buckets
  • Water spray bottles
  • White plastic mixing palettes
  • Absorbent cloth
  • Folding chair for ‘en plein air’ work
  • Folding stool for ‘en plein air’ work
  • Lightweight backpack

Limited quantities of Fabriano Artistico cold pressed NOT paper available to purchase at cost — €9 per imperial sheet

Equipment on site >>>

Where in Italy do you operate?
At the present time we specialise in Venice and its surroundings. Our experience has taught us that Venice holds fascination for people from all over the world, and they are usually more than willing to compromise on the length of a creative retreat, preferring to combine their artistic activity with a few extra days set aside for exploration. The city has so much to offer and is a constant source of inspiration for artists of all genres.

We look forward to extending our operations to other areas of Italy in the future.

Painting & Drawing

Any clothing suggestions for silk painting?
Just one thing to add to the list already included under the Wellbeing section for clothing suggestions during the various artistic activities here in Venice — avoid wearing tops (shirts, t-shirts etc) with draping sleeves. When we work on the silk stretched onto the wooden frame, for a good part of the exercise we have to lean over the area to draw and paint, and there is always the risk that our clothing might smudge and ruin the wet Gutta outliner and paints. Wearing either short or close fitting sleeves reduces this risk to a minimum. For the same reason, when you are working on a particularly large piece, pay attention to loose flowing clothing of any kind (eg.tunics, kaftans etc) which can have the same disastrous effect on your work!
I am doing a sketching tour — what should I bring with me?
Here follow the recommendations for your basic sketching kit as suggested by our guest mentor, Sarah Sherwood who will be leading the walkabout sketching tour during the ‘Painting Venetian Light’ workshop. Different tutors may make alternative suggestions according to their own drawing style and preferred subjects. Each workshop prospectus will usually have a specific kit recommendation. In the absence of an alternative list, use this one as a reference.

  • A rigid cover sketch pad
  • Pencils according to your own drawing preferences. Sarah Sherwood suggests you include a grade 2B in your selection
  • Charcoal pens (optional)
  • Micron black ink pens in different sizes
  • Rubber
  • Small ruler
  • Pencil sharpener or knife (you may have problems bringing the knife if you are flying to join the event)
I am doing a watercolour workshop — what equipment will I find on site?
For full details of what will be made available for your use on site, go to the ‘Equipment on site’ page where you will also be able to book equipment at no extra expense for the event you will be attending.

Standard equipment on loan or to purchase:

  • Water buckets
  • Water spray bottles
  • White plastic mixing palettes
  • Absorbent cloth
  • Folding chair for ‘en plein air’ work
  • Folding stool for ‘en plein air’ work
  • Lightweight backpack

Limited quantities of Fabriano Artistico cold pressed NOT paper available to purchase at cost — €9 per imperial sheet

Equipment on site >>>

I am doing a watercolour workshop — what should I bring with me?
Here follows a generic list of materials as suggested by Cecil Rice for his ‘Painting Venetian Light’. Different tutors may make alternative suggestions according to their own painting style and preferred subjects. Each workshop prospectus will usually have a specific kit recommendation. In the absence of an alternative list, use this one as a reference.

Basic Kit Recommendations

Here follow the recommendations for your basic kit as suggested by our guest tutor, Cecil Rice for the watercolour painting workshop. A few of the more cumbersome accessories will be provided on loan by Creative Retreats in Italy.

Colours
A basic set of good quality watercolours is advised. You don’t need many colours (unless, of course, you like to have a wide choice) but a few quality watercolours are important.

Winsor and Newton artists’ watercolours. These can be tube or whole pans. Half pans are too fiddly. Tubes are great because you can get at a quantity of colour very readily. 5ml tubes are fine but 14ml are more cost effective in regular use and will not run out quickly. It’s a good idea to buy 14ml of Raw Sienna.

Here is a hit-list of essentials which will provide a very sound basis for your watercolour painting.

  • Cobalt Blue (genuine)
  • Winsor Blue Red Shade (R/S)
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Indian Yellow
  • Raw Sienna

It is also very desirable to have some other colours, as these will extend your range. Unless you already have extra Winsor and Newton Artists Watercolous that you can bring with you I recommend investing in an affordable set of St.Petersburg watercolours. It will save you money and give you many extra colours of good quality. I recommend the 12 pan set (around £12) or 24 pan set.

Papers
There are pros and cons to different papers. If you fancy the flexibility of paper that is sealed along the edges in a block-pad then buy a 300gsm or 140lb weight, NOT surface block of Arches or Saunders Waterford paper. These can be bought via Ken Bromley or Jacksons Art. Bromleys will supply pre-cut sheets. Don’t buy the very smooth paper called Hot Pressed or the rough paper (called ‘rough’). Get the ‘Not’ surface paper.

A few free half-imperial sheets of watercolour paper is an excellent idea. The paper on the blocks does not stay flat as it gets wet and we will often be working wet. In this case it is better to have several half-imperial sheets of Not watercolour paper, of 200lb/425gsm weight.

We will do our best to source appropriate paper locally to offer at cost. You will be informed in good time if this will be available at the workshop. However, if you have a preference (eg.Bockingford) you would probably be wiser to bring your own paper with you.

Brushes
It is important to have one very soft moppish brush of around 1 inch wide. Rosemary and Co (UK) series 41 Extra large Squirrel mop is excellent. But a cheaper purchase could be a flat goat hair ‘Hake’.

Two or three sable brushes are excellent too. A set with size 8,6,4,2 and 1 size can be bought for around £25. But many medium-soft synthetic hair brushes can be used and many people will already have some watercolour brushes at home.

Mixing vessels/palettes & water containers
For those who do not wish to carry a palette with them from home, small white mixing palettes and white plastic plates will be supplied in situ. Tubs/small buckets will also be supplied for use as water containers.

Boards & stretchers
For the determined, a paper stretcher is a good idea though not essential. Each painter will be supplied with a board to rest the paper on, and masking tape to fix the paper to the surface. The board size will accommodate a paper size of about 50 x 35 cm. Stretchers can be bought from Ken Bromley (Perfect paper Stretchers) for those who prefer to bring their own equipment.

What tutoring time can I expect on a painting event?
Here is a sample programme devised for a watercolour painting workshop:

  • Day 1:
    Half-day walking tour with creative mentor including mid-morning break. Time for sketching and photography.
    Typical stand-up snack lunch with glass of Prosecco wine (lunch included)
    Afternoon free for personal pursuits
  • Day 2:
    Tutored sessions, morning and afternoon
    Typical timings, 10.00 – 12.30 followed by light lunch then 14.00 – 16.30
    Lunch taken together with group in venue (cost included)
  • Day 3:
    Tutored sessions, morning and afternoon
    Typical timings, 10.00 – 12.30 followed by light lunch then 14.00 – 16.30
    Lunch taken together with group in venue (cost included)
  • Day 4:
    Quiet time morning session (personal sketching or development of a piece of new work)
    Tutored afternoon session
    Typical timings, 10.00 – 12.30 followed by light lunch then 14.00 – 16.30
    Lunch taken together with group in venue (cost included)
What’s the difference between the 4-day & 1-day silk painting events
Well, apart from the obvious difference of the number of days each event lasts, we could say that for the longer event, you would probably be making your trip over to Venice specifically to participate in that event. You could well be travelling alone, or with a friend who has a similar interest in taking part, and the main purpose of your trip would be to do a silk painting event in Venice. You will have budgeted for the event programme — and don’t forget we offer downloadable sample budgets with each event prospectus to help you do your sums.

Now let’s look at the single day event. You are more likely to be taking a holiday with family or friends in Venice, but like the idea of fitting one creative activity into your vacation as a special experience to take home with you alongside all the rest that Venice has to offer to the visitor. It will perhaps be easier for you to dedicate just one day to yourself — maybe also with a member of your family or a friend from your holiday partners. The cost of the one day event is no more than you would be spending to wander around Venice taking in a lunch and refreshments and a couple of postcards! And at the end of your time with us in the workshop, you will be taking away a beautiful hand painted silk scarf — you would have eaten your included lunch and taken refreshment at no extra cost — and you will have learnt a new skill and made some new friends.

Painting on Silk

Any clothing suggestions for silk painting?
Just one thing to add to the list already included under the Wellbeing section for clothing suggestions during the various artistic activities here in Venice — avoid wearing tops (shirts, t-shirts etc) with draping sleeves. When we work on the silk stretched onto the wooden frame, for a good part of the exercise we have to lean over the area to draw and paint, and there is always the risk that our clothing might smudge and ruin the wet Gutta outliner and paints. Wearing either short or close fitting sleeves reduces this risk to a minimum. For the same reason, when you are working on a particularly large piece, pay attention to loose flowing clothing of any kind (eg.tunics, kaftans etc) which can have the same disastrous effect on your work!
Is there a lot of standing for the silk painting?
There is not a straightforward answer to this one as very much will depend on how tall you are — the height of the table — the height of the seating and even on the size of your silk project. But let’s look at the most common factors and situations to give you an idea.

  • Much of the preparation of your design template could be done in a seated position — either leaning on the table surface or by using a portable board to attach your design to, working with the board resting on your lap.
  • It would be very difficult to transfer your design to the silk whilst sitting down. The silk is quite capricious and needs controlling to keep it still as you work, so a standing position is preferable. However — if we know well in advance, we may be able to procure a low table to make this phase possible even in a seated position.
  • Much the same could be said for all the phases of the process — at all times there must be a considerable space between the silk and the work surface so that the paint or other substances applied to the silk will not be marred or smudged.

In conclusion — yes — there is normally a lot of standing involved. Our advice is to be aware of your own limitations and stop at least once every half hour during the more intensive moments — stretch — do a little exercise to ease any discomfort in your back or arms — take a tea or coffee (or Prosecco) break, and then get back to work with renewed energy!


A few examples of sitting and standing during the project development

What’s the difference between the 4-day & 1-day silk painting events
Well, apart from the obvious difference of the number of days each event lasts, we could say that for the longer event, you would probably be making your trip over to Venice specifically to participate in that event. You could well be travelling alone, or with a friend who has a similar interest in taking part, and the main purpose of your trip would be to do a silk painting event in Venice. You will have budgeted for the event programme — and don’t forget we offer downloadable sample budgets with each event prospectus to help you do your sums.

Now let’s look at the single day event. You are more likely to be taking a holiday with family or friends in Venice, but like the idea of fitting one creative activity into your vacation as a special experience to take home with you alongside all the rest that Venice has to offer to the visitor. It will perhaps be easier for you to dedicate just one day to yourself — maybe also with a member of your family or a friend from your holiday partners. The cost of the one day event is no more than you would be spending to wander around Venice taking in a lunch and refreshments and a couple of postcards! And at the end of your time with us in the workshop, you will be taking away a beautiful hand painted silk scarf — you would have eaten your included lunch and taken refreshment at no extra cost — and you will have learnt a new skill and made some new friends.

Travel & Accommodation

Any helpful hints for self-catering accommodation?
Apart from any rules and regulations set by the owners of the apartment covering various topics such as safety, security, smoking, children and use of the electrical appliances, it is worth mentioning those listed below which might not have been included in the ‘house rules’ but which are equally important in their own way.

  • Remember that your self-catering apartment is probably in a block of flats where local people live. They are not on holiday and will not appreciate thoughtless behaviour such as talking loudly on the communal stairways or noisy suitcase trolleys in the wee hours.
  • There is a local by-law which prohibits unnecessary noise after 11pm. Your neighbours would be well within their rights to call out the police if you do not abide by this law.
  • If your apartment is not on the ground floor — do not walk around in outdoor shoes inside the home. Heavy walking makes unnecessary noise for the apartment below yours.
  • Check how you should dispose of your rubbish/garbage. In some areas of town there is a daily door-to-door collection (though the rubbish should normally be outside the door by about 8am) whilst in others you will need to take your rubbish to a collection area. There are different bins for recycling so do separate your rubbish accordingly.
  • Remember that in self-catering you will NOT be getting a daily change of linen. Make sure you hang up bath towels to dry after each use.
  • Do NOT leave dirty dishes or a dirty oven/hob at the end of your holiday. You might find you have to pay extra for the end-of-stay clean if you have not cleaned up the kitchen area.
  • Make sure you throw out your rubbish/garbage at the end of your stay
  • Leave all your wet towels in the bathroom at the end of your stay unless instructed otherwise — not on the bed or parquet floor
  • Make sure you turn off heating and/or air conditioning at the end of your stay. Do NOT leave windows wide open and air conditioning running if you go out of the home.
  • Storms can brew up suddenly and violently in Venice — if you are going out for the day and have any doubts about the weather — make sure the windows are well closed, and as an added precaution, you might also close the shutters.
  • When you leave — don’t forget to leave the apartment key according to whatever instructions you have been given

Here is a sample condominium notice pinned up in a local apartment block. It is an invitation to respect the rules in place in the building.

Are there alternative airports within reach of Venice?

You have the choice of several airports. Naturally you will need to check what flights are available to you from your point of departure, but here is a map indicating various airports and their vicinity to Venice. Click on the small map to view an enlargement.
See related blog post >>>
See our interactive map >>>

map-airports

Can I hire a car when I am in Venice?
Bearing in mind that you would NOT need a car to travel around Venice since there is no automobile traffic within the city limits, here is a list of car hire companies which have offices at Piazzale Roma, the last point in Venice to which cars can drive. If you decide to drive to Venice from your home destination, there are two dedicated areas for parking in the city.

  1. Tronchetto island
  2. Piazzale Roma
How can I find a hotel in Venice?
Apart from making enquiries and booking through a travel agency near your own home, you can take advantage of the numerous offers available online. Don’t forget that some of the online airline companies such as Easyjet also combine their flights with special hotel offers occasionally. Here follows a list of some of the better known accommodation ‘portals’ where you will find hotels, bed & breakfast establishments, self-catering apartments etc. It is a good idea to find accommodation within easy reach of your event venue — make sure you check your chosen event details for the location.

What is the difference between an independent, a residential and a closed workshop?
A residential course provides accommodation along with the course content, and will be for a fixed duration. The accommodation provided will normally be for one paying participant only, per course fee, unless otherwise stated. Specific details will be provided with each course/workshop prospectus.

An independent course does NOT provide accommodation. The course will be for a fixed duration, but the participant is free to find accommodation in keeping with his/her personal budget and taste, and to extend the period of accommodation before and/or after the actual course dates. The course participant will also be free to decide whether to share their chosen accommodation with a friend or family member. For example — renting self-catering accommodation usually implies that the rented apartment/home will be large enough to host more than one person, depending on the number of bedrooms it has.

A closed course will have been created based on specifications provided by the group which will attend the course. The request for the course might have been made by an arts’ group, a college or institution, or by a corporation or even by a single artist or tutor who has wanted a ‘made-to-measure’ event for his or her students or followers. There will not normally be places available on the course for ‘external’ participants.

Which is the closest airport to Venice?
The most popular airports for access to Venice are Treviso, ‘A.Canova’ and ‘Marco Polo’ airport, Venice.

Venetian Masks

Are the mask workshops suitable for children?
The mask painting activity is not suitable for children under the age of 10. In any case, no child may take part in the workshop without the supervision of an adult member of his or her family. The artisans overseeing the course cannot take responsibility for young people participating in the event, so please do NOT ask them to do so.
Is discount available for children?
In view of the limited attention span of young children, we strongly advise you NOT to book the 3-day full immersion workshop for them. We also run full day or half day laboratories which are more appropriate for youngsters and are more economical. Contact us for further advice and information.

Wellbeing

Are there choices for vegetarians in the included meals?
Before deciding on using the services of any of the restaurants in which we take our included meals, we make a point of visiting every one of them to ensure that there are also choices available for those who follow a vegetarian diet. When the included meals are taken at the venue, there will always be a selection of foods suitable for vegetarian guests. We cannot, however, guarantee that the meals respect the stricter preferences of vegan diners.
Can I drink the water in Venice?
fountainThis is one of the most frequent questions I come up against. For some reason many visitors connect the idea of drinking water in Venice with the thought (not always positive) of the water that runs through her canals. Let me just reassure you that even when the water in the canals is at its very cleanest, Venice still gets her drinking water from up in the surrounding hills and mountains. So without hesitation I can tell you that you can safely drink the water in your apartment or hotel, unless of course there is a specific warning not to do so. You can also safely drink the water from any one of the fountains dotted around the squares in the city — just don’t put your mouth on the water spout. Might be an idea to get yourself a little collapsible drinking mug to keep in your bag or backpack if you are uncertain as to how the master the technique for drinking from the public fountains. Unfortunately in recent years some of these fountains have been closed, but there are still many available for use.

Here is a map of the fountains around the city:
http://venicewiki.org/wiki/Mappa_delle_fontane

Is there a lot of standing for the silk painting?
There is not a straightforward answer to this one as very much will depend on how tall you are — the height of the table — the height of the seating and even on the size of your silk project. But let’s look at the most common factors and situations to give you an idea.

  • Much of the preparation of your design template could be done in a seated position — either leaning on the table surface or by using a portable board to attach your design to, working with the board resting on your lap.
  • It would be very difficult to transfer your design to the silk whilst sitting down. The silk is quite capricious and needs controlling to keep it still as you work, so a standing position is preferable. However — if we know well in advance, we may be able to procure a low table to make this phase possible even in a seated position.
  • Much the same could be said for all the phases of the process — at all times there must be a considerable space between the silk and the work surface so that the paint or other substances applied to the silk will not be marred or smudged.

In conclusion — yes — there is normally a lot of standing involved. Our advice is to be aware of your own limitations and stop at least once every half hour during the more intensive moments — stretch — do a little exercise to ease any discomfort in your back or arms — take a tea or coffee (or Prosecco) break, and then get back to work with renewed energy!


A few examples of sitting and standing during the project development

What clothing should I bring?
Almost without exception I would suggest casual and comfortable. Just consider what your course is about — if it’s painting, then your clothes will probably risk sploshes and splashes, not only from your own brush, but perhaps from someone else’s who is standing near you. Even your sketching or ‘en plein air’ work may involve sitting on the ground or other grubby places, so bring clothes which will stand up to the rigours of some ‘rough’ treatment. If you have long hair, perhaps tying it back with a bandana scarf or similar is advisable when you are working. Some of our workshops will involve clambering into a boat — for which high heels are definitely out, and anyway, the urban structure of Venice requires a lot of walking so comfortable shoes or sandals are an absolute must.

Eating out with your group will normally be a casual affair and even among the local Venetians you will find that ‘casual’ is accepted almost everywhere. For those of you who will be extending your stay and have perhaps booked a special event such as a night at the Opera, that would certainly be the ideal moment to pull out the glad rags in order to live the moment to the full. If you have booked into one of the Creative Retreats events with a special occasion included which calls for a particular dress code, details will be found in that course prospectus.

Venice, for those of you who don’t know the city, has its own micro-climate which is affected by two factors in particular. The first is the fact that everywhere you go you are surrounded by water. This inevitably creates unusual conditions affecting our perception of the temperature — when the humidity is high, everything seems much hotter in the summer whilst the opposite is the effect in the winter. The second point relates to the urban structure of the city: most of the buildings are very close to one another which means that walking through town you can find yourself in an open square (where the sun beats down in the warmer months), and moments later, in a very cool and shady narrow street. As a result, unless you are dressed like an onion allowing you to strip off and cover up quickly, you can end up feeling miserable and very uncomfortable! Or worse still, with a raging temperature which will ruin your holiday altogether.

Some people are unaware that Venice has one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy — if you are here at the right time of the year, there is nothing to stop you going over to the Venice Lido for a dip or a dose of sunshine.

In conclusion — don’t bring too much — make sure your shoes are comfortable (maybe some plasters for emergencies!) — dress like an onion to peel off and put on as needed — a nylon kagool or similar to roll up very small is good — cotton in preference to synthetic — remember if you want to visit churches, shorts and sleeveless t-shirts are not allowed (a head covering is not usually necessary) — costume if you are aiming to fit in a visit to the beach — a hat or peaked cap if you think you will need it for ‘en plein air’ activities — a small collapsible backpack to hold the clothes you peel off and put on, camera, water etc, might prove useful to leave your hands free whilst moving around town.

I fully appreciate that many of you will be seasoned travellers who have already organised a standard ‘wardrobe’ for your travels, but nonetheless, for those who are first time visitors to Venice, they might find a few of my suggestions here useful and even unexpected.

What numbers are used for emergencies locally?
Emergency numbers
  • Carabinieri
    Call: 112
    Web: www.carabinieri.it
  • State Police
    Call: 113
    Web: www.poliziadistato.it
  • Guardia di Finanza – Finance Police
    Call: 117
    Web: www.gdf.it
  • Fire Service
    Call: 115
    Web: www.vigilifuoco.it
  • Ambulance service
    Call: 118
  • Corpo Forestale (pollution, forest fires etc)
    Call: 1515
    Web: www.corpoforestaledellostato.it
  • Coast Guard
    Call: 1530
    Web: www.guardicostiera.it
  • Infancy assistance
    (for children in danger including family crises)
    Call: 114
    Web: www.114.it
  • Violence against women
    Call: 1522
    Web: www.antiviolenzadonna.it
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XYZ -- Italiano

Ci sono corsi in inglese?
Gli eventi che presentiamo sono quasi tutti presentati in lingue inglese, solitamente tenuti da una persona or più persone di madre lingua, a volte con il sostegno di una persona bilingua come assistente per la pianificazione dell’evento. I nostri eventi non sono da considerarsi corsi di lingua, ma soltanto opportunità di praticare delle persone di madre lingua inglese, offrendo occasioni di instaurare rapporti sociali e culturali. Per beneficiare da tali incontri, invitiamo i nostri ospiti italiani a non parlare in italiano durante le attività, per poter sfruttare al massimo l’occasione unica dello scambio culturale.
Posso partecipare?
Chiunque (con più di 18 anni) puo partecipare ai laboratori organizzati da Creative Retreats in Italy. Per la maggior parte i corsi sono tenuti in lingua inglese, quindi è richiesta una buona conoscenza di inglese per poter seguirli.