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A Writing Retreat on Lake Como

A Writing Retreat On Lake Como

 Have you ever wanted to write down that memory of your mom making jam from backyard berries, or the time you went deep sea fishing with dad? Maybe it’s not a food memory, but a travel adventure, or a life-changing event that you’ve been thinking about getting down on paper. Now, how about doing just that in beautiful Varenna, Italy this fall, with expert guidance from a talented writing coach and author (Kathryn Abajian) and afternoon excursions by none other than me, Ciao Chow Linda?

Sound tempting? Then come join us this September 20-26 in Varenna,  a picturesque town on Lake Como, surrounded by the foothills of the Alps.
Its narrow streets will beckon you to meander and explore. Maybe you’ll get inspiration from its picturesque charm and come up with ideas you hadn’t thought of before.
You can stroll down to the water and enjoy a drink or a meal at one of many restaurants and cafés overlooking the lake, while waiting for the muse to strike.
We’ll be staying right in town, at the Villa Monastero, a noteworthy attraction in its own right,  that dates back to before the 12th century when it was founded as a nunnery. It later fell into private hands and today is the setting for international scientific conferences — and this year, our conference — “Italy, In Other Words.”
Some of the rooms are open to public viewing, and visitors walk among the spectacular botanic gardens that you will have all to yourself after hours.
As a participant in our writing workshop, you’ll feel like lady or lord of the manor, overlooking the lake and mountains in the distance.
Inspiration is bound to strike you in this unforgettable setting.
The writing and instruction workshop is held for five mornings, and also includes two personal consultations, all conducted by Kathryn, a retired college professor.  She has given writing workshops in California and in Abruzzo, Italy, and is also the author of a book entitled “First Sight of the Desert.”
Bedroom furnishings vary, from modern to rooms furnished with antiques. Those who sign up first will be offered priority. Most rooms have a view of the lake.
Afternoons are free for writing or exploring. For those interested, I’ll take you to a few places of interest, including the ruins of this 12th century castle nearby.
The area is known for its taleggio and gorgonzola cheese, so we’ll most likely take a short trip to visit someplace where it’s made, or aged (and sample some, of course.)
You might want to join me for a boat trip across the lake to Bellagio, a scenic village oozing with charm, and a great place for some shopping.
You’ll find lots of restaurants tucked into the little streets and staircases in the town.
  For those interested in watercolor or cooking lessons, they’re optional, but can be arranged too.
We can’t talk about Italy without mentioning its food, and the food in Varenna is top notch. Here are a few samples from my visit last year – eggplant parmigiana:
 Fresh trout from the lake:
 And torta della nonna (recipe here on Ciao Chow Linda)
Want more information? Go to or contact Kathryn at for more details. Hope to see you in September.


This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. Oh, how beautiful! Talk about a dream vacation!I bet that the surroundings would be so inspirational for writers of every skill level. Plus your participants would have the benefit of your writing skills – what could be better?

  2. I am just pea green with jealousy! How I wish I were going to be there. I am drooling at the pictures and dreaming of our stay on Lake Lugano — Italian side. We passed Lake Como and I said one day we'd be back. Unfortunately not this year — we are already committed from the middle of September to the middle of October. I will have to live vicariously through your adventures.

  3. Linda, I've been meaning to hop over here and read this since you posted it a few days ago. What an enticing writing workshop. Sounds like perfect fodder a novel or a screenplay! I've yet to visit Lake Como. I've seen much more of central and south Italy than the north. Wish I could join you. With any luck I'll be showing folks around Abruzzo on our culinary tour, Wouldn't it be lovely to meet up afterwards…

  4. What a trip of a lifetime opportunity Linda! Sadly, I have to wait until I'm retired out of education to be able to go with you in the months of Aug-May. I will certainly join you soon! I hope to follow along through your posts during the trip. These photos alone, truly made me feel as if I was actually there! I will share this post on social media for you.

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