I don’t know about you, but when April comes each year, I start thinking about spring blossoms, new beginnings and travel. In particular, travel to Italy and the beautiful town of Varenna along Lake Como.
April is also a time for spring cleaning, not just of your closets, but a time to reassess all those projects you’ve been meaning to tackle. Maybe one of them is writing down some of those family stories you talk about across the dinner table; a childhood memory that’s starting to fade; or a funny incident that happened in high school. Our writing retreat, “Italy, In Other Words,” is the perfect place to put pen to paper and memorialize those thoughts for future generations. If you don’t write it down, it may be lost forever. And can you imagine a more inspiring place to write than by the shores of dreamy Lake Como?
You don’t have to be an experienced writer to participate. Of course, we’ve had plenty of guests who’ve been teachers or writers or worked in publishing, but we’ve also had participants who were nurses, stay-at-home moms and even a postal worker. You just have to have a desire to learn and a willingness to collaborate. Kathryn Abajian, a college professor of creative writing, will help you craft your thoughts into expressive prose that you can feel proud of by the end of the week.
But we won’t harness you to a desk all week. Oh no, mornings are for workshopping, but afternoons you’re free to wander on your own, read, write or take part in the short excursions I’ve planned for you. Come with us to the internationally renowned gardens and exquisite rooms of the 13th century Villa Monastero, where Nobel prize-winner Enrico Fermi once lectured in physics.
Join me on a jaunt to the ruins of an 11th century castle, high above the town.
Another afternoon, we’ll take a boat across the lake to Bellagio, where you can shop for silks, leather goods or myriad other items with the “made in Italy” label. Stay for dinner and enjoy a delicious meal with us on a patio shaded by flowering vines, before heading back to Varenna by boat.
Other afternoons, you may just want to sit at one of the many cafes by the lake, waiting for the muse to strike, while enjoying a gelato or a spritz.
Or just meander up and down the cobbled streets soaking in the views:
There is no shortage of beautiful places that can inspire you, like here:
And if you’d like to try your hand at watercolor painting (no experience necessary), I know a friendly, talented artist in town who will give you a lesson:
Over the years, I’ve hand picked some favorite restaurants for you to try, where the food is always top notch.
You’ll stay at the beautiful Royal Hotel Victoria, with your own private room and bath. The hotel is conveniently located in the center of town, within easy walking distance of everything and features some lovely outdoor patios for relaxing or grabbing a bite to eat.
If weather permits, take a swim in the pool or the lake.
Bring a friend if you like. Not everyone who comes wants to write, and we have a discount for non-writing participants, although space is limited.
More than anything, you’ll leave with the satisfaction of having made new connections with like-minded people, and you’ll have experienced the food, the culture and the environment of one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Life is short, so what are you waiting for? Registration is underway now for “Italy, In Other Words.” Contact me or Kathryn to register, or visit www.italyinotherwords.com
Italy, In Other Words – September 30 – October 6, 2018