— by Mellany Armstrong, Associate Director of Communications

The idea for Christie Carrozza’s business began when she sat in the middle seat on a flight home from Costa Rica.

“The woman sitting next to me offered me an orange and introduced herself,” Carrozza said. “She said ‘I’m 37 years old and I’m retired.’ How do you do that?”

The woman explained that she had started her own marketing company as a teenager, made her fortune, and now had the flexibility to travel and do what she loves.

“I want to be able to travel and share my passion and spark that with others,” Carrozza told the woman. “I have a talent for drawing. I don’t know how to put this together. This is my joy!” Her seatmate suggested Carrozza lead art retreats in beautiful cities around the world, and Passport Palette Retreats was born.


Imagine the gorgeous, sun-drenched vistas of Tuscany as your art studio, and you get the gist of what Carrozza is talking about. Artistic ability is not a prerequisite for the retreats. Her website states, “You are rediscovering the world around you and your own creative abilities.”

The first art trip is set for the end of October in Italy, where Carrozza has traveled extensively. Her target clientele is young professionals in their 20s, 30s and 40s, “people who feel they don’t have the opportunity to travel, and people who may not have someone to go with them.”

“We want to cater to individuals who want to travel and want to do something new,” she said. Her first group of eight travelers includes people in creative design fields as well as medical students.

Carrozza and a co-host will give the travelers tours of neighborhoods in Rome and Florence, with time for art built in. Kits containing compressed charcoal and water color paints will be given to each budding artist, and Carrozza will teach them how to use the tools, as well as the basics of shadow, light, perspective and figure drawing.

“There are perfect places around Rome where we can set up and draw landscapes,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to capture those memories by hand, not just in photographs.”


Carrozza, who is originally from Broomall, Pa., nurtured her love of drawing by attending Young Artists Workshop figure-drawing and fashion-illustration classes at Moore during her middle school years at St. Mary Magdalen School in Media. She had received a scholarship from her art teacher.

“That was what planted the seed that led me to pursue my degree and study abroad with a focus on fashion design,” she said. She went on to get her master’s degree in teaching, and taught English in Costa Rica, Spain and Florida, where she now lives.

“I want to share that joy and understanding with others and have the opportunity to expand their talent and share my own with them,” she said. “It happened, all from taking the right flight.”