FOOD. WINE. CULTURE.
Nourish your soul with a taste of Italy
Come experience la Dolce Vita with us...
Is Italy at the top of your travel dreams list ?
Join us on one of our
beautifully curated trips to Italy & beyond
and immerse yourself in la Dolce Vita!
Isn't it time you connected with your inner Mediterranean soul?
Welcome to La Dolce Vita!
Whether your idea of happiness is the tranquil beauty of the Tuscan countryside or the excitement of exotic delights in magical cities
we have what you're looking for...
Don't wait for some day~ your life is NOW!
If you're longing to go to Italy to taste the amazing food, delicious wines
and live your own La Dolce Vita experience
but don't know where to start, why not let me take care of the planning for you...
Sign up for an adventure with me today!
Upcoming trips and events
Taste of Sicily
Join us for a food, wine and cultural journey on the beautiful island of Sicily.
We'll spend 10 days exploring the diverse history, stunning architecture and tasting the delicious cuisine, paired with the most important and diverse wines of the region.
We'll also enjoy some fun experiences from olive oil and chocolate tastings, to a special hands on cooking experience- plus a few fun surprises.
We will be adding more retreats, so check back for additional
dates, locations and travel updates.
Looking for a tailored vacation just for you?
Contact me to arrange a special trip guaranteed to create unforgettable memories for
your family, friends or business
To stay up to date on events and upcoming trips
at the bottom of this page
Here are some photos from our past trips and retreats
Tuscany is the heart of Italy and one of my favorite places to explore
Note from host:
Have you ever wanted to eat and drink
your way through Italy? Now's your chance!
This is an experience, not just a vacation
or typical retreat, it's an immersion
into one of the most loved cultures in the world.
Come with me and be prepared to enjoy
the wine, delicious cuisine (and of course the gelato!)
of the place that I call my heart home.
The food we will eat is made from fresh natural
ingredients, sourced locally according to the season.
Food, Wine and Passion
are integral parts of Italian culture.
Travel to Italy with us and discover for yourself what Italians already know...
how to live and enjoy life with passion!
Have a food sensitivity? No worries- Italy has many gluten free and vegetarian options!
The true beauty and magic of Italy can be found in the small towns and villages, with wonderful local experiences.
Together we'll explore the hidden landscapes, being sure not to miss the important sights, as we create memories and stories to last a lifetime.
"Thank you, Ann Marie, for showing me a side of Italy and myself I would never have discovered on my own.
Grazie mille, Bella! "
*read full reviews
Get ready to fall in love with Italy, connect with new friends, bathe in laughter and joy,
and revel in new adventures as you rejuvenate your mind, body and soul living la dolce vita
Dine Al fresco in the harmony of the exquisite landscape, and feel like part of the family
Allow your palate to be awakened with fresh simple cuisine and vibrant wines
Meet your host
Ann Marie Packard
Retreat host, Event Planner, Italophile
Organizer for "San Franciscans who love all things Italian" and "Let's go to Italy" Meetup groups
Italian Ambassador and member of Le Donne D'Italia
Each time I return to Italy there's a feeling that stirs my soul and whispers welcome home.
I remember my first visit, in 1988, sitting in an ancient piazza sipping cappuccino, my travel companion lost in conversation and I was lost in the beauty of my surroundings...
Italy has a way of tantalizing all your senses at once, I've never felt so completely present than I did in that moment. I was captivated by the sights, beautiful language, the music and delicious aromas filling the air, the glow of bistro lights as the sun set, and the gentle summer breeze caressing my soul...
It was that magical moment that I fell in love with this beautiful country, it's been my heart home ever since. Italians live life at a slower pace and they live it fully, with passion. This is the experience I want to share with you.
Why I began leading retreats
After my fathers sudden passing in 2007 at the young age of 60, my outlook on life changed.
My father and I had plans to travel together once he retired. He worked hard his entire life and spoke often about the things he was putting off until retirement, a "someday" that never came.
That was the moment I let go of my own excuses, and made a decision to enjoy life, now.
Each year, I kept my fathers dreams alive by traveling to a place on his bucket list and sprinkling some of his ashes there. So, in a sense we did travel the world together after all.
Soon, I started noticing signs showing up in my life, like the flyer for a yoga retreat in Tuscany which led me to quit my job of 25 years to follow my heart and create a dream of curating retreats of my own.
I've lost some very dear people over the last few years, its always a harsh reminder that life really is too short not to do the things that you dream of doing. For me, helping others live their dreams and do something for themselves, is immensely fulfilling.
I read somewhere that we are the sum of our experiences, if so, then investing in traveling and creating memories should be a priority.
I've also found that sharing our experiences with others takes it to another level. Connection is a basic human need, I love witnessing the sharing, friendships and transformation I see on the faces of my guests during one of my trips.
After this crazy pandemic I'm so ready to travel again, how about you? Come live la Dolce Vita with me?
Dolce Vita Retreats
San Francisco, California