Educational Retreats in Italy where professional development and authentic local experiences converge to create a dynamic cultural exchange.


Sunflowers in Mercatello sul Metauro


Educational Retreats in Italy where professional development and authentic local experiences converge to create a dynamic cultural exchange.


Exclusive occupancy at Palazzo Donati


Educational Retreats in Italy where professional development and authentic local experiences converge to create a dynamic cultural exchange.


June 2016 Group


Educational Retreats in Italy where professional development and authentic local experiences converge to create a dynamic cultural exchange.


Visit to ceramics studio in Urbania

Learning Together in a Special Place:
Perspectives on Leadership

Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy
June/July 2018 Series

The charming town of Mercatello sul Metauro, with a population of 1500, is located in the Marche region in east-central Italy. In the 4th year of this series, two sessions are being offered for a cross section of educational leaders. Small group professional development will be complemented by sightseeing excursions and encounters with local artisans and townspeople, taking you inside village life.

Series Organizer: Angela Ferrario is Founder of International Study Tours, LLC, which she established in 2005 for the creation of educational travel initiatives in collaboration with U.S. and International colleagues.

Susan McDonald

June 23 – June 28

Session One

Inspiring Early Childhood Leadership: Creating a Deliberately Developmental School Culture

Susan MacDonald

Susan McDonald

June 30 – July 5

Session Two

Leadership for Change: Identity, Social Justice and the Right to be Visible

John Nimmo & Debbie LeeKeenan

Learning becomes a travel journey where:

• Sharing ideas, challenges and experience is encouraged
• Synchronicity with the environment brings energy to the dialogue
• Leisure time interweaves with physical activity
• Collaborative engagement engenders new friendships & relationships

Educational travel for:

• Emerging to seasoned leaders, who work or have worked in education
• Travelers who appreciate the slower rhythm of small Italian towns


Our accommodations overlook Mercatello’s main piazza where we will have exclusive occupancy at Palazzo Donati, a family owned historic residence with modern amenities.

What’s Included

  • Accommodations for 5 nights from check-in on Sat, June 23 or June 30 to check-out on Thu, June 28 or July 5 at Palazzo Donati.
  • All meals beginning with welcome dinner Sat evening.
  • Walking tour and local excursions.

Join Us

$1,990 per person / Shared Double Room
Based on shared accommodations in double twin bedded rooms. Single room supplement available. Reserve your space now by sending your registration form and deposit online.

Our Setting

  • Daily meetings will be held in one of the large common areas at Palazzo Donati.
  • We will have access to the entire property, which includes two kitchen areas, one modern near the dining room and the other rustic with a charming open fireplace.
  • The entrance leads to a large walled outdoor area where we can relax or dine in the private garden. As you walk out the front door to the main square, you can enjoy a morning cappuccino or an evening aperitivo at the outdoor tables of the local café.
  • Around the piazza are the former palazzi of the founding families and the town hall and shops under an arcaded walkway.
  • There will be time to enjoy our immediate surroundings and wander around the small medieval streets of the town.

Daily Itinerary

Access to local places, artisans and regional cuisine is possible through a partnership with Nicoletta Amicizia, resident and tour guide along with local expert Luisa Donati, whose family owns Palazzo Donati. They are available to make sure our days run smoothly while introducing us to everyday life of the town and the surrounding area’s hidden treasures.

Itinerary may be subject to slight changes.

Palazzo Donati


Arrival at Palazzo Donati.
Walkng tour of the town.
Welcome dinner at Palazzo Donati.


Morning: Breakfast
Afternoon: Guided hike and late afternoon lunch at local agriturismo. Those who do not wish to hike will be driven.
Evening: Opening session.

Mon, Tue, Wed

8:00-9:30: Breakfast
Daily schedule combines blocks of time for professional development sessions and local excursions. Includes group lunch and dinner.


Morning: Departure after Breakfast.
Centro Internazionale Loris Malaguzzi

Optional Extension: Reggio Emilia, Italy 

$350 (includes transportation to Mercatello)

Participants have the option to begin their experience in Reggio Emilia by adding a guided visit to the Loris Malaguzzi International Center on Fri, June 22 (for those attending Session One) or Fri, June 29 (for those attending Session Two).

Includes transportation to Mercatello from Reggio Emilia on Sat, June 23 or 30. Recommended arrival in Reggio Emilia is Thu, June 21 or 28.

Participants are responsible for booking their own hotel accommodations in Reggio Emilia. Recommendations and assistance will be provided.

Ground Transportation To/From Mercatello

Optional Reggio Emilia Extension includes one way private bus transportation from Reggio Emilia to Mercatello.

Those not participating in the Reggio Emilia Extension are welcome to purchase a space on the private bus from Reggio Emilia to Mercatello on Sat, June 23 (Session One) or Sat, June 30 (Session Two) for $75.

Return ground transportation by private bus is provided from Mercatello to Bologna Airport on Thu, June 28 or Thu, July 5 for $75.

Alternative ground transfers between Mercatello and other airports can be arranged. Pricing will be provided according to individual or group requests. Mercatello does not have a train station.

Flight Arrangements

Participants are responsible for booking their own flights.

From the US, Italy’s main international airports are Rome (3.5 hours from Mercatello) and Milan Malpensa (5 hours from Mercatello). From inside Europe, airports with suitable connections to Mercatello are: Ancona (1.5 hours), Bologna (2.5 hours) and Florence (2.5 hours). All have car rental services.

“I would like to join the chorus in praise of the wonderful people, setting, food and wine that enhanced our learning together in a special place.”

“Time to learn, to share, to give, to make friends, to think!
Thank you all for being part of this and for making my life brighter.”
“Thanks again for sharing your wisdom, challenges, ideas, and strengths with us all! It was wonderful!”
“How wonderful it was to be there, to know interesting and provocative people and to learn from different sources and fields. Words cannot express my appreciation and deepest appreciation to all of you. The powerful collaborative process of our work was intense.”
“I wouldn’t be the educator/administrator/human I am today without the serendipitous life lessons you facilitated during our time together in Mercatello. I am forever grateful and am confident our paths will cross again soon.”
“I am deeply grateful to all of you for all I have received - for being open to the experiences and giving so much of yourselves to our retreat. The whole is clearly more than the sum of its parts.”
“I want to thank all of you for the connections we made!”

Registration & Payment

To reserve a space, submission of Registration Form and $500 deposit per person is required. Please fill out the form and deposit online or print and mail Registration Form & Travel Agreement and a $500 check made payable to International Study Tours, LLC to: Angela Ferrario, 15 Beach Street Extension, Milford, MA 01757.

Confirmation and Invoice for Balance Due will be sent by email.  Balance may be paid by PayPal, credit card or check and is due upon receipt of Confirmation and Invoice but no later than March 31, 2021.

Angela Ferrario

International Study Tours, LLC
(508) 473-8001
15 Beach Street Extension
Milford, MA 01757

Questions? Please contact Angela below.

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