Since that spring, M18003 has grown on its own momentum to include participants from artists to accountants, from 20-somethings to 80-somethings, from America, Europe and Africa. In our arts workshops, participants have the chance to forget about being efficient for a week or two and to concentrate on being creative. Over the years we have offered workshops in Painting, Photography, Fiction Writing, Cooking, Singing, Acting, Poetry, Creativity, Yoga. Our groups are small and our instructors are passionate about art and about life.
1. How long has the business been operating and how did it start?
2. What is your company's mission?
We introduce people to Italian culture through art workshops in a variety of areas by immersing them in an intimate and authentic experience that goes deeper than typical tourist experiences.
3. What does your company specialize in?
When we design, our, cultural, culinary and personal development workshops, in Tuscany/Chianti, Lake Garda, Bologna, Venice, Florence and the Piedmont we focus on creating an experience. M18003 aims to show you an authentic Italy, not just dazzle you with highlights. We think that the good and simple life of Italy is an artwork in itself. We try to find interesting, non-traditional places to stay, like a historic refurbished ex-convents or a family-run winery or villa. We don’t hurry from one town to the next, we dig our heels in and talk with the man who owns the local cheese store and eat newly harvested strawberries, drink fresh wine from a vintner’s cask. Linger over a cappuccino and watch the people come and go. Walk the dirt paths instead of pointing at them from a tour bus. Then you’ll slowly begin to understand what makes Italy so special.
4. Who is the founder or owner of the company and briefly describe his/her past activities?
We are Linda Mironti and Michael Mele, both Italian Americans, both with long backgrounds in the arts. Linda was a singer, then a chef, then a singer again. Michael a dancer/choreographer turned fiction writer. In the spring of 1995 they created M18003 to give their friends and families an inspirational place to work on their art while getting to know the magic of Italian culture.
5. What is your most popular travel package and why?
Any of the programs offered at the Tuscan Renaissance Center especially food and wine packages because it is a unique and inspiring environment rooted in the traditional Tuscan values of beauty, great food, an appreciation for nature and the value of community. The monastery, dating back to the 12th century, was meticulously restored using traditional building methods and all original materials. Today, the monastery remains true to its original spirit, rich architectural detail. The 17 rooms and suites where participants are housed have lovely modern bathrooms, screened windows, air conditioning, period furniture, wi-fi internet service, satellite television and minibar, all designed to perfectly compliment the medieval surroundings.
6. What is the best compliment you received from a client?
“I’m sure many a tear has been shed on the eve of parting from this wonderful place. This is certainly the case here. I will never forget how my soul was filled with peace and love from everyone and the beautiful surroundings. I have grown so much this past week - evident to everyone including myself. I will never be the same. My eyes have been opened. My heart has been touched and now my spirit can fly. What is experienced here can never be captured by mere words or photographs. We who have had the opportunity know its magic. Thank you both for fulfilling your dream and sharing it with us.”
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