I am going back to Italy. I recently read a series of memoirs by an Irish writer named Rosie Meleady, about buying a decrepit villa in Umbria and moving her family there to fix it up and run a wedding planning business. As I read, I kept thinking this was a writer I would love to know personally. Then I learned that she is now running writers’ retreats, and I had to sign up.
If you know me at all, you know I am obsessed with Italy. My ancestors came from there, and the one time I visited, I felt at home the moment the plane landed. I have been desperate to go back, and now I am really doing it.
I have not been on a plane since before covid-19 began, so I will be stepping out of my comfort zone here, but I think there is finally an excellent chance that the pandemic will be over before I leave.
The retreat is six days long, near Lake Trasimeno, on the border between Umbria and Tuscany. We’ll have several hours of writing per day, as well as sessions to discuss our week, and excursions to several villages, a winery, and more. I am currently editing the first draft of my science-fiction novel, but expect to be done with it by then. So I’ll probably use the retreat time to work on the outline or first draft of the second book in the series — unless this one still needs a lot more editing by then.
The retreat isn’t until summer, and I am still planning my itinerary. In addition to the six-day writing program, I plan to see some of my ancestral villages in Umbria and Marche, as well as visit Ravenna, and Venice. And I’ll be flying into Rome, so I plan to take a few days there to see parts of the city I missed last time. I also to journey to San Marino, an autonomous micro-country surrounded by the Italian countryside, and quite close to where my father’s maternal ancestors lived in Marche.
I don’t have concrete plans or reservations yet, just possibilities. And I can’t wait! If you have sights to suggest in central Italy, let me know. I am open to suggestions.