Digital Detox Writing Holiday Italy

Digital Detox Writing Holiday Italy

Who is it for?

Writing fictional prose is a journey that takes us to a realm of escapism where the imagination leads. We believe that learning to pass through the boundaries of time and space can offer coping strategies and enhance wellbeing. Our writing holidays are for anyone over eighteen who would like to learn the art of story, and fiction, and who longs to spend some time in a magical Italian villa in Tuscany enjoying great food, and sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience with other like-minded people.

What if I am not a published writer?

That’s absolutely fine. Most of our guests are not. People often worry that they are not writerly enough to go on a writing holiday. All you need is the inclination to put pen to paper. No former experience or credentials are necessary. That’s because we view the skills shared as a self-development wellness opportunity, one that you can utilise for the rest of your life. By honing your imagination, and understanding the art of story, you can cultivate a highly useful coping skill, a hobby that allows you to mentally escape the stresses and strains of everyday life.

What will I write about?

Take some time in advance of your trip to think about what you would like to write. Jot down some ideas in a notebook. Don’t worry if nothing springs to mind. Some of our visitors have been so enamored by the villa, and its surroundings that they decided to write about that? Here’s an example of what that might look like.

This might be the place.

It’s evening time. As you gather on the veranda with your group to watch the sun sink behind the Tuscan hills, you feel deeply content. You have just eaten a delicious meal containing some of the freshest ingredients that you have ever tasted.
During dinner, the conversation owed as each of the group revealed their individual reasons for being here. A few of them had received strong recommendations. Others had fallen in love with the area years ago, and had always intended to return. Some were enchanted by the beautiful photos of the villa, and wanted to experience living in a Tuscan palace for themselves. The atmosphere is relaxed and pleasant. Some of the group have written before. Others are only beginning. There is a sense of camaraderie. You are among your own people. You can be yourself. But none of that is what has you smiling so unreservedly this evening.
The villa’s location in Tuscany is truly breathtaking. The verdant hills surrounding the palace are dotted with vineyards that produce some of the nest wines in the world. You are now in the homeland of Chianti, and Montepulciano. The food you have just enjoyed is made from the freshest ingredients, sun ripened under a Tuscan sky, and sourced from local farms and markets. The villa itself is a stunning example of medieval architecture, with its candelabre, and ancient gardens.
But even with all this external beauty to behold, what has pacied you runs deeper still. It comes from a place within you, reaches into the core of your being. This opportunity to give back to your creative self is long overdue. So much of what the world demands of you in ordinary life is taken for that creative well. Now that you have made time to replenish that source, there is a very pleasant sense of calm. What it comes down to is the fact that you are at last giving time to a long overlooked need. Immediately, as if your creative self knows this, you feel inspired. A wave of peace has come over you. That book of yours, the one that had started out so well, the one you thought would become a novel, the one which you had eventually given up on – has afterall life in it, you realise. You thought she was dead, but She crept into your mind just as soon as you landed in Italy.
You might have seen her at the airport, peeping out from behind the bookstand, dressed in her signature white trouser-suit, the dark Dior sunglasses, her hair perfect underneath a long white scarf. Old Hollywood. Your leading lady has followed you here. Just like a star-let who longs to be re-invented, she has come because she wants you to re-discover her story, to nish it.
It’s been a while, but you allow yourself to remember. Now you are inside that pretty head of hers again, her problems are yours. She glances at her hands, and doesn’t care much for the manicure they gave her in Paris during the transatlantic stop-over. She will remember not to deviate from Chanel Rouge Noir next time. Nothing beats red. You can see the entire world through red, or so she says, those beautiful eyes of hers irting their way back into your aections.

“You cannot seduce me into writing you back to life,” you b.
“Oh don’t be such a buzzkill” she says, knowing full well that she has you.
She approves of this place, and can’t wait to be re-born amongst these ancient hills. It’s a perfect setting for her comeback, she tells you, knowing that you want to buy her story as much as she wants to sell it to you. You stay calm, slightly nervous that if you press her, she might disappear.
“So there is more to it?” you ask gently.
“My story is not over. Not by a long shot,” she purrs. Her condence assuages.
“What is that accent?”

You hadn’t noticed that hint of southern charm before, had you?”
“Where are you from?”
“Carolina, originally. But that’s a long time ago, dear. Let’s talk about now. Let’s talk about the future. ”
“Alright,” you hear yourself say. Do ideas come to others this vividly, you wonder.
“They do if they are good ones.” She can read your mind.
“I’d like you to call me Carolina this time. Sissy is not ……..really me.”
You take out your notebook, and she swishes towards the window.
“And do let some air in. You’ll suocate us both, dear,” she says inging back the curtains to reveal a million brilliant silver stars.

“Rose’s,” she said. “Is there anything more moving than the scent of roses in the night air?”
The room is lled with perfume. You inhale it like a cigarette. She turns to you.
“My second husband Ralph, he loved it here. He owned a vineyard you know, not far from away. Did I ever tell you about Ralph, dear?” You scribble as she describes the man who rst showed her Rome.

You have always heard it said that stories have a mind of their own, ever since you began writing. Sure, certain ideas seem to ow, but this one feels dierent. Is this how a novel feels, you wonder. That’s what you had wanted this book to be, only it had gone o track, come to an abrupt end; after two thousand words, your hopes dashed. If another short story was to be, who are you to argue? After all you are only the writer, the one breathing life into the ideas that come to you. You don’t decide what the story wants to be. Stories have a mind of their own you have come to realize. Your job is only to give them space to breathe; to listen to them, to let them grow.
Once you believed that writers were in control of stories. Now you know it’s the other way around. Stories are the bosses. Writers are only there to serve the stories that come out of their own imagination. Their job is to make room for its whims, the whims of the creative self. Surrendering to that realm seems easier here. Here, all those other sounds are turned down, and you can listen. Most people would think you were o kilter if you said it out loud though. You wouldn’t dare court such notions at home; wouldn’t even have dreamed of doing so here either, only did not someone else not say something along those very lines at dinner earlier? Perhaps that is why you gave her permission to come in here and tell you how she wanted the story to go, what she wanted her new name to be. Perhaps you had at last given yourself permission to hear her. Perhaps she was always there only the noise of your other life; the day to day bills, of your job, the realities, the administration, the family, had drowned her out. What matters is that you are here now.
You can feel her as if she was another person, that divorced courtesan who has outlived ve husbands and swindled each one out of his fortune. You close your eyes. Yes, it’s as if she were standing right before you. She wasn’t pleased with the ending you had previously written for her. Frankly you had rushed into it, wanted the thing to be over. Now you can sense that she has something else in mind for that nal chapter. You can smell her perfume on the breeze carried to you by the ceiling fan. You feel the soft tail end of her silk scarf across your face. You can picture her vividly, with her raven hair and piercing green eyes, eyes that seem to look right through you. She is a woman of strength and determination, who has overcome countless obstacles to get where she is today. She deserves a better ending; has come to demand one. You can’t wait to see what she has in store for you next, because this has never happened before. This feeling where a story has more to give, a story you thought was over. A story too long to be an essay, bigger than a novelette. You smile because you know you have something here, something else, something very special. What you have here – within your imaginations grasp – might just be the makings of your rst novel.
What perfect timing too. Ahead of you now are six glorious Tuscan days, days to languish, and absorb all the inspiration that you need, nights to dream under an endless sky. Before now, she might have slipped through your ngers. You might have brushed her o, distracted by life. It’s easy to lose an idea during its immature phase. Wasn’t that what the tutor had said at today’s initial workshop? You could identify with that notion. Before today, you had let fear get the better of you countless times when an idea had come your way. Now though, you feel more condent, because you have begun to realise that ideas are just the basic ingredients.
Today you learned that stories have to be attended to, just as grapes must be pressed and fermented. You have never done all that before. No wonder your eorts had never materialised before now. No wonder your ideas never had the opportunity to become full bodied completed narratives. Just like the grapes that grow so plentiful across this ancient terrain, ideas too need to be gently cared for. They need to be supported with structure. They must be hung upon a trellis that acts to strengthen them so that they might blossom to their full height. No wonder the characters never reached the natural arch of their development. Armed with this new found knowledge that stories must be crafted like ne wine, you feel brave.
All that was missing was structure, you realize. And that can be learned. Wasn’t that what the tutor had told the class earlier. Structure can be learned. It is a formula. You allow yourself to savour the possibilities, allowing them to seep into each and every cell of your body, letting the memories of this evening suuse your consciousness. The fan swirls overhead. Birds chirp the evenings close. Your bedroom is cool and pleasant. As you lie on your bed, you know that you have all you need. You gave in to your intuition. You let yourself come here. Now you are sleeping beneath centuries old wooden beams, taking in the powdery nish of the walls of a magical villa. Your mind wanders.
The beauty of Tuscany has inspired writers for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. Now that you are here too, right in the heart of Tuscany, about to spend your rst night underneath an endless star-studded sky, surrounded by the region’s natural beauty in a palatial villa rich with history, you get it. You really get it.
Exactly how many people have come through these rooms? How many ideas have been formed in this place? Is it by chance that so many writers spent time in these regions, or could there be something in the air? Something that has already liberated you, something in the earth; something about the culture, the layers and layers of it. You realize it’s no coincidence that a long list of literary visionaries have formed novels here; writers and artists who have found inspiration here just like you have.
It’s no wonder you feel so content and at peace. Your soul has come home. Already, you know you have chosen the right place. You have made the right decision. Whatever happens during the course of this writing holiday; whatever happens next is meant to happen because being here is just what you needed. This could be the place where you will put the nal chapters to that novel. Yes, you believe this might just be the place.