Your Roman Holiday, May 2014

 “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
– Saint Augustine

May . 2014. Rome. Private tour group.
Day 5 will be our SketchCrawl and/or Free Day.

My husband Val and I are leading a group with EF Tours next year and we have seats just waiting for you! This is a once in a lifetime journey and I cannot wait to share it with you.

This City Stay: Rome tour is no longer offered to the public, but we can and are running this through EF as a private tour. At this time, we will not be offering the two-day extension into Venice, but we may revisit that idea later.

Here are the facts:

  • Open to adults and college students over the age of 21. Easier if we want to do a wine tour.
  • Round-trip flights.
  • Land transportation.
  • Hotels with private bathrooms.
  • Light breakfast daily and two (2) local dinners.
  • A full-time native EF Tour Director.
  • Entry to the following: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • One (1) experiential learning activity. (part of EF)
  • Sightseeing tours of Rome and Vatican City.


Traveling with an artist has its advantages. Come with us to Rome and you will also get these goodies:

  • A handmade bag full of goodies from me INCLUDING a handmade journal with info sheets about our trip, places to keep notes and things you collect along the way, as well as…well, more surprises.
  • A one-day SketchCrawl event where we can meet up with other artists who live in Rome. You will get to study the architecture, the people, and maybe even be included in our magazine‘s Drawn Butter column if you sketch your food! We will be setting this event up through their forum.
  • Basic curricula in Art, Architecture, and Roman Culture.
  • Basic language lessons from Val in Italian. Val is developing some basic lessons to get you started before the trip that we can all practice. We’ll set up a private email group once we get people registered.
  • Your own personal Latin translator. Rome is covered in Latin phrases and Val will help you learn how to read them.


A husband-and-wife team with passions for travel, Italian culture, food and wine, this will be our second trip to Europe and promises to be a trip full of awe, wonder, and fun. I cannot tell you how excited we are about this trip. Here, get to know us a little better…



Ana Maria Selvaggio (me)
An illustrator, writer, and avid journaler, I hold a Creative Writing MFA, as well as a graduate certificate in Educational Media Design & Technology. Previously an Architectural Design major, my influence for the trip will focus on the Art and Architecture of the city of Rome. We will be sketching, taking photos, eating, and soaking in all the sights and sounds of the city. We will be both tourists and explorers as we go off the beaten paths to experience Rome in the most magical ways possible.




Val Michael Selvaggio
Fluent in both Classical Latin and (soon-to-be) Italian, Val holds a Masters degree in Curriculum Design & Instruction. K-12 Certified in Latin, and an avid student of Roman Culture for most of his life, Val dreams in Italian. He’s fun, lively, and has a real passion for Italy and Rome.

(Val writes me poetry in Latin, so to say he has a passion for the language is an understatement.)






We can take more than 14, but we are choosing to keep the group small, cozy, and interactive. Just think, dinners by candle and moonlight with the sounds of the city around us. And stars! Chatting over meals, sharing the day’s finds, looking over sketchbooks, making art and eating some of the best food in the world…and gelato!


Register here:
Please note: Day 5 will be our SketchCrawl and/or Free Day.

If you want in on the trip, you can register directly through the link above. If you have any questions, contact me (Ria) via email at ria dot selvaggio at gmail dot com and I will connect you with our rep at EF Tours.

We get a 200.00 discount if we register before Feb 28th, 2013.

The price for this tour will increase as we get closer to the tour dates. For anyone who has traveled, you know this price is a good one.


I have spent my whole life wanting to travel, to see the world before someone pushes a button somewhere and blows it all up for good. I got tired of saying “someday” and I am making it happen. After hosting a student from Hong Kong last year, and getting more involved with EF Homestay Programs, my family and I were bitten seriously hard by the longing to travel. I always said I couldn’t afford it but, honestly, I can’t afford not to.

I had priced around and was amazed at how doable this was. For everything I just told you about, AS OF THIS POST your total cost is less than 3600.00 per adult. Students are slightly less. That’s everything except a few meals and spending money! For a week in Rome? Priceless.

THE PRICE WILL INCREASE THOUGH! We have to make sure we jump in while we can and get our payment schedules set up. They can auto-debit it out of our bank accounts monthly and, before we know it, we’re on a plane to Rome!

I will try to post updates as the price increases. It is my hope that you make “someday” happen now though.

This video is of their normal tours where they combine groups. WE WILL NOT BE COMBINING OUR GROUP. We are running this with EF as a private tour group so it will be JUST US AND YOU. Everything else is the same, except day 5 on the itinerary is a free day.

Come join us!


Frustration is the Mother of Invention

Ok, so I finally got tired of futzing around with the old theme. It wasn’t mine, I had found it on the internet as a free download and thought I would try on a magazine layout. And while it was a nice theme, it had more complexities than I had cranial capacity to handle. Lesson learned: Make your own. I mean, really, I kinda do this for a living so I should know better.

Things have been really busy the past few months. College, clients (God love them) and homeschooling have taken up most of my waking moments. We have had a few bouts of illness here and there, mostly dependent on how thick the yellow pollen film is on our cars outside and whether or not we have each mutated the germs and recycled them back to each other.

Friends that do not normally have allergies have been suffering from them this year and I don’t know that it is going to get better. We had a harsh winter, the temperatures dropping to way below freezing on several occasions, so Mother Nature seems to be working overtime to make up for it.

Things are warming up, no cool reprieves, and I am not really looking forward to it. My days of enjoying the beach are gone almost completely; the sound of the surf lapping at the sand, the sun warm overhead as the salt spray hitches a ride on the incoming breezes. I can head out at dawn for some beachcombing but as soon as it starts to get hot I have to vacate as, with my lymphatic system not working, it makes it uncomfortable at best. There are still shade trees and pavilions in the park though and I am looking forward to a day outside this weekend.

A friend of mine from the museum has asked me to partner with her as a mentor to high school-aged creatives here locally. The group, YASO (Young Artist’s Society of Ocala), is having its first event this Saturday. In conjunction with Tom’s ShoesOne Day Without Shoes event that ran today, YASO is doing Barefoot in the Park. Combination cookout, play date, and shoe drive for Soles4Souls, Barefoot should be a lot of fun. I am going to be doing some fake henna (read brown liquid eyeliner) on people vs face painting, we have a few teens bringing their acoustic guitars, and there will be board games and other activities. Mostly it is a day to share the fresh air and remind each other that it is our responsibility as human beings to look out for those around us and that compassionate giving should be part of our daily lives; we shouldn’t have to wait for Easter, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day to show people that we care. So often we get caught up in the day-to-day that we forget to breathe and it is time we all slowed down a little. Life moves by so quickly as it is.

I took Val to the Latin mass at Queen of Peace here locally on Easter Sunday. I was really impressed. Everyone was so incredibly nice they made us feel right at home; which is saying a lot considering I am not Catholic. The almost three hours (yes you read that right, three) that the Latin mass lasted went by so fast I didn’t notice. The church itself is lovely but the people were what made it such a nice experience. We will be going back regularly starting this weekend but for different reasons.

Val, aside from being obscenely fluent in Latin, was trained in Tridentine mass when he lived in Arizona. As soon as our new friends found out he got swarmed, happily, and it was nice to see how bright it made him smile. He really missed doing it and I am looking forward to watching my gargoyle in action. If you are reading, thank you to all of you for making our first visit such a warm and inviting one. See you Sunday!

I need to revamped my sleeping schedule. It has gotten totally out-of-whack lately, as my mother would say. Speaking of which, 3am, that’s my cue…

News | Creative Facilitator

As of this weekend I will be at the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida every Saturday and Sunday through the weekend of February 3rd. I have been hired on as a “Creative Facilitator” and will be overseeing hands-on art stations in conjunction with the Deidre Scherer exhibit.

Entitled “Close Up with Red”, the image above is used
with permission from the artist. Thank you Deidre. :)

The exhibits themselves are meant to create an open dialogue on the topics of aging, death, dying and grieving as well as, I think, a reminder to be compassionate, have faith, and offer hope and companionship to those around us. I have seen Deidre’s work up close and it is awe-inspiring, humbling, heart-wrenching and life affirming. I do not know how else to really describe it. You need to see it.

I encourage all of you that are local or who will be in the area to come out and show your support of the museum and the exhibit. My own personal hours there are:

Saturdays: 10:30am – 2:30pm
Sundays: 1pm – 4pm

This Saturday will be my first day there and Sunday, February 3rd, will be my last day which is also the last day of this incredible exhibit. So if you would like to chat about the exhibit and create something personal in response to the exhibit, come play with me!

Various art supplies and creative space will also be provided during the week but I will only be available on the weekends. As extra incentive, :::Cheshire cat grin::: I will also be bringing more supplies with me from my own studio for everyone to use during the hours I am there on the weekends.

The next date that I will be at the museum, as of the current schedule, will be Saturday, May 24th at 3pm. contemplate/generate is a hands-on workshop and guided tour.

I will post updates as I am scheduled so keep checking back!