WELCOME TO OUR CREATIVE RETREAT
Are you a creator, a foodie, an entrepreneur, a dreamer who is looking at taking a break in an inspiring destination to unwind and refresh, and to connect with amazing new people? You've come to the right place! We are 2 friends - Alessandra Mignardi and Seema Rose - who are passionate about food photography and love connecting with people. We met virtually during the pandemic and felt an instant connection. We spoke about creating a platform where people could see a new place, meet like-minded individuals and rejuvenate their minds.
A creative retreat seemed like an inspired idea, and we have just returned from our first ever retreat in the beautiful city of Florence! We were accompanied by an amazing group of creative minds and brilliant photographers. We had an absolutely fabulous time, with heart-to-heart conversations, great food and wine, loads of laughter, and a totally relaxed and revitalising stay. Check out our photos!
florence creative retreat
Johanna Karlsson (@throughherkitchenwindow)
Attending this retreat was so special in so many ways. The people, the atmosphere, the long talks, the food, the friendship, Florence, Valdirose and of course the hosts. I was going there with no expectations other then getting to know people and maybe take some photos. I went home with so many beautiful memories, friendships for life and new inspiration and courage. Seema and Alessandra are also the best hosts. Everything was so well planned both for activities and food. You just had to tag along and enjoy the company of the others. They are both very warm and loving persons and they just made you feel comfortable at once.I can highly recommend going to one of their retreats. I will definitely go again in future. Don’t hesitate, don’t be afraid of not knowing anyone there. Just go and it will be amazing.
Haniyeh Nikoo (@haniyeh.nikoo)
I had the pleasure to be among the creatives who joined the first retreat planned by dear Seema and Alexandra. They went above and beyond to make the retreat extra special and magical. From the choice of location, to the food and activities were all well thought and amazing. They even surprised me with a beautiful cake and made my birthday that happened to be during the retreat, a memorable one. I am forever grateful for such a beautiful, bonding and special gathering they planned!
The creative retreat at Valdirose, hosted by Seema and Alessandra not only met, but exceeded my expectations at every turn. Their attention to detail was flawless. Nothing was left to chance. As a creative with an event planning background, I appreciate the care they took to make sure all my needs were met, from accommodating my vegan diet, to helping me find ice for my nagging achilles. I was able to let my cares flow down the River Arno and simply bask in the warm company, excellent food, and super fun outings. I highly reccomend this retreat and give them 2 huge thumbs up!
Carol Clayton (@vegeta.full)
Emotions are peculiar things, uncontrollable and unforeseen, they envelop you when you least expect it. From the minute I set foot on Valdirose soil, I was swathed in the most genuine hug by both Seema & Ale. They are such beautiful souls that emit such warmth and love, it’s so hard to cry tears of joy. From start to finish, not only was the retreat so meticulously planned it ran like clockwork, the attention to detail was phenomenal. Individual gift bags, handtied and named, set a precedent for how we all would be treated throughout, not so much like royalty, that’s too aloof, but like close knit family. The food, the fun and the laughter will be my takeaway memories, compounded by the love and bond between us all. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for the newfound soul mates I have in my life, all from different backgrounds but all bound by the emotions we felt at this retreat. Everything was of the highest quality from the food to the accommodation to the attention to detail. If you are looking to boost your self-esteem whilst being submerged in a cacophony of inspiration, friendship, and joy than these retreats will sate your soul. I am already saving for the next one! I can’t thank you enough my dear friends.
I had the absolute pleasure of joining the food photography retreat in May, and it was an unforgettable experience. From the moment I arrived, I felt welcome and was treated like a queen. The host was so natural in creating a sense of connection with all of us which made the retreat feel like a meeting with long-lost friends. The retreat took place in a stunning old Tuscan villa which was perfect for relaxation and inspiration. What truly made this retreat special was the amount of attention the hosts put into making us feel special. We didn't have to worry about a thing during the retreat, and those tiny surprises we didn't expect were just the cherry on top of the cake. I left the retreat with lifelong friends and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. If you are passionate about spending a relaxing creative time in a place that screams history and indulgence, then I wholeheartedly recommend this retreat. Trust me, the friendly atmosphere in an incredible place like Tuscany will not disappoint you.
Anja Burgar (@useyournoodles)
It’s not everyday that we have a chance to be a part of an experience that touches our heart in the most inexplicable way bringing us joy, making us feel like a united tribe, inspiring us to be limitless and connecting us back to our passion like never before. The Florence retreat at Valdirose was that magical experience for me. The venue was so tastefully selected that from the moment I stepped in, I was lost in its charm. The food was so beautifully curated that it gave me a taste of true Italy. The activities were so thoughtfully organised that they sparked laughter but also deep conversations. Those 4 days at the retreat were epic, dreamy, memorable, life changing, blissful, fun, soul fulfilling & downright mind blowing. I went in with some expectations but Seema & Ale blew me away with their attention to detail and thoughtfulness. Everything was so well orchestrated that it created a synergy like never before. Even though I’d not met many of the others, the retreat felt like an old friends reunion. This retreat has a special place in my heart and shall remain there for years to come.
Dyutima Jha (@dyutima_myfoodlens)
are you ready for the next one?
welcome to florence Oct 25-28, 2023
We are completely inspired and refreshed, and ready for our next retreat! By popular demand, we agreed to organise one more retreat this year at the beautiful Valdirose in Florence, Italy. The dates are October 25-28, 2023.
Valdirose is a family home from the second half of the 19th century, located on the hills of Lastra a Signa. It is situated 14 km from the center of Florence. In 2007, it was completely renovated, with a lot of care and attention paid to preserve deep-rooted nostalgia and heritage of the home's original owners. Family memories, soft colors and little details create a quiet and cozy atmosphere. This villa is aesthetically perfect for photography.
Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is located about 145 miles (230 km) northwest of Rome, is surrounded by gently rolling hills that are covered with villas and farms, vineyards, and orchards. The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The urban fabric of this small city, on the banks of the Arno river, has hardly changed since the Renaissance and its narrow cobbled streets are a cinematic feast of elegant 15th- and 16th-century palazzi (palaces), medieval candle-lit chapels, fresco-decorated churches, marble basilicas and world-class art museums brimming with paintings and sculptures by Botticcelli, Michelangelo et al. Unsurprisingly, the entire city centre is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
DETAILS OF THE RETREAT
Where: Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Dates: Wednesday October 25 - Saturday October 28, 2023
Arrival of participants. Introductions, conversations.
Enjoy welcome hors d'oeuvres and wine at Valdirose, followed by a delectable dinner. Dine on local produce cooked by a chef specially assigned to our group. Get a flavour of authentic Florentine cooking - a perfect start to an amazing retreat!
Breakfast at Valdirose
Lunch at Valdirose by our chef. Continue your culinary experience of authentic Italian cuisine - you are going to love it!
Post lunch, we will go on a curated, cultural walking tour of Firenze's artisan quarter of the dynamic and just off the beaten path, Sant'Amborgio neighborhood. Meet local artisans, get to know their unique art forms and their creative process, and enjoy some caffè or gelato or a "Gran Crema" at a traditional gelataria
For dinner, we will enjoy the world famous, delicious sandwiches at All'Antico Vinaio as well as some wine & aperitivo at the Buchetta del Vino"Wine Window"
Breakfast at Valdirose
For lunch, enjoy a unique farm to table experience at an amazing farm restaurant that only use raw materials grown by them and believe in regenerative food and agroecology. We will get an opportunity to actually pick local produce and see it being used in the beautiful lunch that the chef will create exclusively for us. That's not all, we will also enjoy a cooking class with the chef!
Dinner at Valdirose prepared by our private chef. It will be a special evening!
Breakfast at Valdirose
Cost: EUR 1485 per person
Accommodation for the duration of the retreat, either in a twin-sharing room (shared king bed) or triple sharing (2 room unit with a single bed and shared king bed)
Transportation for sightseeing
Cost does not include:
Flight costs, taxes and baggage fees
Transportation to and from Valdirose on arrival and departure
Expenses related to shopping
Meals/items/activities bought individually by you
What should you bring with you:
This is a beautiful location and Valdirose provides fabulous photo opportunities. So, if you are a passionate photographer, please do bring your camera. Whilst photo set-ups are not included, we assure you, there will be lots of editorial photo ops.
what is a retreat?
A retreat is a travel, learning, and rejuvenating experience, hosted in a peaceful and inspiring location. It's the coming together of a small group of creatives to escape from their normal routines, exchange ideas with like-minded people, create soul-satisfying memories together and refresh and recharge themselves in the process. It is not a workshop, in that, there won’t be any formal teaching or learning. We can learn about each other and our journeys via candid conversations.
why do you need a retreat?
It has been a tough few years for all of us during and post Covid. We have experienced big changes in our lives. We have been readjusting our personal and professional dynamics like we have never done before. But it has not been all gloom and doom. We have learnt to see value in the simple things; things that make our hearts sing. Self-care is one of them. We all need to be kind to ourselves and nurture our spirit - in whichever field it may be. Now, people are looking for more meaningful connections. A retreat provides a perfect setting to achieve this. A beautiful and inspiring location, great food and drinks, an opportunity to taste the real flavour of a new city, to meet some amazing new people, to re-energise your spirit and find your creative flow.
would you join us on this creative journey?
We would love for you to join us. If you are interested, please fill out the form below to sign up. We will follow it up with an email for the payment details. Attendance is restricted to 10 people (including the hosts), so don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to experience a unique getaway with fellow photographers. We look forward to creating beautiful memories together!
I am a foodie by birth and photographer by profession. Born and raised in the heart of Italy by three great cooks – my mum and both my grannies - I have my own food religion. Together with the passion for cooking, I developed a passion for styling and photographing food.
Since 2006 I have lived in Tilburg, the Netherlands, with my husband and our three children who are said to be food “spoiled”. My style is deeply inspired by the Masters of chiaroscuro, Rembrandt and Caravaggio. It’s in the drama of strong contrasts and depth of complex scenes that I find myself comfortable.
I am a food & lifestyle photographer based in Dubai. Over the course of my exploration into photography, I’ve attempted a vast array of styles, themes and motifs. That being said, the one I personally identify with the most is what I’d describe as dark and moody. I prefer dramatic, moody shots with pops of colour. I love the mystery and storytelling around it.
Nature is a big inspiration for me - the colours of leaves & flowers, the way sunlight interacts with things, the natural framing by trees - it’s all so fascinating. I like drawing inspiration from seasons as well. I love connecting with people and find myself being enriched and inspired by learning about others’ creative journeys.