Now imagine yourself writing, but this time you’re sipping a cappuccino in the middle of an ancient town, in front of a beautiful and historic view. You’re hearing a language your ears aren’t familiar with, and feeling the sun against your skin as the smell of someone’s pasta dinner wafts past you. This is what we offer the writers who come with us to Italy for their vacation and creative writing workshop – new and dramatic stimulus with the help of the Italian countryside, a mix of history, views, and scents from the old continent. Yet, it is more than just a change of location that makes writing in Italy so exciting.
In reality, creative writing in Italy shouldn’t be any different than creative writing anywhere else. By all logic, location shouldn’t matter. After all, stories or poetry forms in the mind, and the images and plots and beautiful prose flows at the same speed regardless of surroundings. At least, that’s what those who have never been to Italy might say.
The truth is a little more complicated.
At the risk of playing into stereotyped tropes and lapsing into the standard adjectives about the Italian countryside, cities, people, food, fashion, and ancient history, I’ll start with the stunning impression the Coliseum makes the first time one sees it against the morning sun, or maybe what happens to the heart when one descends through layers of stone and hundreds of years to see frescoes adorning walls erected before Christ was born, or possibly I’ll start with the taste of Italian coffee and how it stimulates both body and mind as one sips in the shadows of St. Mark’s in Venice.
The truth is that creative writing in Italy takes on a level of gravitas not found in other places. Rome, or Venice, or Florence, or smaller towns and the Tuscan countryside, they all offer charm, peace, inspiration.
The truth is that when one is surrounded by not only the ghosts of history, but the reality of a lived culture that has existed for more than 2000 years, somehow the words flow more swiftly, fall more easily from one’s mind, and speak with far more depth than when one is at home. When one visits Italy from another place, the essence of the Italian language, and music, and art, and stone, the movement of the Italian people, they all are like an elixir that blends with one’s own passion to create stories that somehow partake of the essence of the place.
It is not always painless, this act of creation – in fact, Italy sometimes forces us to unearth unspoken, unrevealed aspects of ourselves – but the wellspring of beauty, connection and desire seems boundless, and what we end up writing is bigger and better than anything we’ve attempted before. Italy asks much – and it gives back a hundred-fold.
Italy is, quite simply, heaven for a writer. As has been said for generations, and as is evident in the beauty that springs forth from artists of all kinds, there’s something different about the light, and this light suffuses not just the country, but the heart and maybe even the soul of a writer the moment one touches down.
For information on our upcoming workshops, and to read about past workshops, please go to Creative Writing Workshop or contact Teresa Cutler-Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Paolo Nascimbeni at email@example.com.