• Unwind & recharge in Italy, the Cultural Heart of Europe
  • Dissolve creative blocks
  • Engage all your visual artistic skills with our hands-on artist workshops
  • Go on a series of cultural mini-Adventures
  • Have the time & space to Explore, Inspire, Create…

Refuel your inner artist in Assisi – with the gorgeous Italian landscape of Umbria as a backdrop…

Facilitated by Michelle and painter and photographer Michael Eldridge of Starstone Creativity Journeys


Creativity thrives in all sorts of ways but one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is simply the time and space to allow your creativity out to explore.

What better place to do it than Assisi, amidst beautiful countryside, great food and like-minded people, with centuries of inspiring art and culture all around you? Actually, the point is you can make time and space to be creative wherever you are, and this short retreat helps you reconnect, recharge and refocus your energies, so that you can get right into the heart and soul of what really makes you tick.

Starstone workshops are dedicated to helping individuals nurture their imagination and creative expression. They are open, friendly and run by Michael Eldridge, professor of painting at the Art Institute of Sienna. In these annual Assisi retreats, Michael and Michelle bring their passion for visual arts and creativity together to provide a truly unique adventure…

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MICHAEL ELDRIDGE is a painter, photographer, co-active coach and arts educator who is ‘a legend’ back in Bournemouth, where he used to lead the Arts University. Italy though, is his chosen home – he has a Venetian wife and his daughter and grandchildren now live in Perugia. He’s inspiring a generation of young Italian artists at the University of Sienna, but also he’s passionate about helping all of us connect with and find joy in unlocking our own creativity, which is why he started Starstone Creativity Journeys.

MICHELLE RUMNEY is also an artist and coach who can guide, teach, lead, provoke, prod, support and inspire, show you techniques and tools, work through blocks, helping you make the most of this fantastic opportunity of having time to yourself, space around you and other people in the mix. She started Artists Adventures when living with 360+ days of sunshine in Andalucia and so loves the Italian light and atmosphere that this particular retreat offers. 

You don’t need to be able to draw or paint or sing or make music or write stories or whatever you think of when you think of the word ‘ARTIST’ – artist is a state of mind and that’s what this is all about – your creativity will come out in whatever ways you allow it.


Michelle and Michael bring their painterly sensibilities to this inspiring short break and set you off on a series of mini-Adventures, some looking inwards and others looking outwards.

Each day begins with movement, getting us in flow, connecting with ourselves. Then time in the gorgeous studio at Casa Faustina exploring aspects of creativity, process, approach and mindset. We’ll be engaging you with the challenges and joys of simply paying attention, increasing your awareness and tuning in – unwinding.

Our challenges over the course of these precious few days use walking, photography, drawing, painting, collage (and anything else that seems appropriate at the time) to help immerse everyone in the simple pleasures of making visual art – anywhere and with anything, in your own personal creative flow.

Once you get started these creative Adventures tend to take on a momentum of their own, carrying you along with them. Michelle and Michael’s intentions are that you come away refreshed, clear and enthused about the next steps in your own personal Artist’s journey…


We both love this region of Italy and we’re so lucky to have chosen La Casa Faustina as our base. It’s an Agriturismo (Eco Farm) near Assisi, with beautiful gardens to wander in, a pool to relax by, its very own Sicilian chef – who cooks a healthy, mostly vegetarian menu – and the whole place is surrounded by Italian countryside and wide open spaces to explore. Starstone have been running retreats here for several years and love the feel and nature of the whole place. Most guests like us, love the whole ambience here, and opt to book accommodation here, but if you have other ideas, let us know when you book.


  • Thu 26 – Mon 30 May 2016 – 6 places still available
  • €540 per person sharing
    €590 per person single room shared bathroom
    €630 per person single room private bathroom
  • Secure your place with a €150 deposit
    Use for a current conversion into your own currency.


  • Arrival & departure transfers from Perugia airport
  • 4 nights accommodation Thu – Sun at Casa Faustina (based on sharing a twin room)
  • Daily TaiChi/Qi Gong session to get us moving & in flow with Michael
  • Daily creative workshop and art tuition in the studio with Michael & Michelle
  • Daily creative adventures in different places of interest with Michelle
  • All materials
  • Our Assisi Unwinder hosts on hand to help you make the most of your time in Assisi
  • Time and space for yourself to be creative (no previous art experience necessary)


  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance


To maximise the relaxing element of our days here, accommodation is full board and in garden apartments, each of which have a shower. There’s a lovely swimming pool and the package includes all meals, prepared by Casa Faustina’s (excellent) Sicilian chef. Coffees at break times are extra.

There are 10 gorgeous apartments available, each with their own little garden. If you’re happy to share, the price is as quoted in pounds above – bring friends, or make new ones!

  • €320 per person for 2 people sharing an apartment (€80-90 euro per night)
  • €396-440 for 1 person in a single apartment (€99-110 euro per night)

There are also two other Agriturismos nearby, which you can also stay in. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have or sort out particular requirements.


You will need to make your own travel arrangements, but we can advise you on flights that others are taking and the latest deals that we know of.  Aim to arrive on Thursday during the day – we start at 5pm and leave any time on Monday morning… 

  • BY PLANE  Ryanair flies from Stansted to Perugia. A recent check (March) showed early morning outbound flights arrive in Perugia on Thursday around 11am and depart on Monday at 11:30am – perfect!) Find the latest prices on Skyscanner for this route and for other options and airports. There is an airport bus from Perugia to Assisi’s train station – let us know and we will pick you up from there. If you’re with a group, the best option is a taxi from the airport, a 10-minute drive which costs little when sharing the fare.
  • BY CAR – Many visitors choose to hire a car and extend their break by travelling around this beautiful middle region of Italy. There are lots of places to go, such as the city of Perugia, or the marvellous Sibillini Mountains and National Park which are not far away in Le Marche, and Tuscany is a short drive too. Exit at Assisi and click the La Casa Faustina on your smartphone link and you’ll be there in 10 minutes! We’ll send you more precise details when you book.
  • BY TRAIN – If you choose to fly into other Italian airports, such as Rome or Florence, the train network is good and cheap compared to the UK, especially if you book in advance – ItaliaRail helps you find routes and works in English. Assisi has it’s own station – let us know when you’re arriving and we will pick you up from there.