Spannocchia (Tuscany) – May 10-18, 2015
Writing Immersion in Sustainable Tuscany : time, space, and structure to work creatively.
We believe in offering a full array of activities, each of which is optional, so that retreat participants can get the most from the experience based on their own interests and ambitions — our retreats bring together a dynamic group of participants with varied interests and backgrounds.
Each day begins with optional yoga in the villa lawn under the morning sun in the shade of cypress trees. After yoga, we meet for a peaceful silent breakfast, followed by a brief writing talk. The hours between breakfast and lunch are dedicated to writing, though on some days we will have longer workshops, special activities, or day trips.
One optional trip will be an hour-long hike together through the chestnut oak forest to the Castle that Only God Knows. Each evening, we will feast family-style on traditional Italian cuisine, drink Spannocchia wine and enjoy their tasty olive oil. We will learn the tenuta’s history and we will have a few drawing/painting classes. But most importantly, we will write. . . and we will enjoy ourselves.
Spannocchia’s dedication to preserving the traditionally sustainable way of life on a Tuscan tenuta has remarkable effects on the creative process. A healthy relationship to the land carries over into the way we think and the way we write, and guests at Spannocchia have the privilege of getting not only wonderful food and lodging but also an example of traditional Tuscan agriculture.
Each day at the retreat, the following activities are available:
- One-on-one manuscript guidance
- Drawing and landscape painting instruction
- Enlivening interdisciplinary group critique
- Early morning yoga and breathwork
- Personal development writing
- Delicious healthy food
- Creative writing discussion and prompts
Click here for information about additional activities available at Spannocchia.
This retreat has space available for twelve participants only and typically fills well before the program deadline — consider applying soon. If you’re interested, please don’t miss your chance to spend time in Tuscany with us!
I came here wanting to be done with six stories and I left with two new collections and notes on a novel.
I went well past what I expected I could do.
–Gina, Writing Immersion Participant 2010
About the Retreat Center
Run by the Spannocchia Foundation, its main emphasis has been to continue the traditions of sustainable organic agriculture and Tuscan culture.
Castello di Spannocchia provides room, accommodations, as well as meals featuring their own delicious olive oil, organic produce and wine for all program participants.
Each evening, guests are invited to meet on the veranda to chat, drink wine, and take in the sunset. After wine, traditional Italian four-course dinner is served family-style for all guests in a lively and warm atmosphere.
This retreat is an opportunity to find oneself at home with a rare integration of sustainable agriculture and artistic enrichment. You may participate in as many additional activities as you would like. Or, you may choose to devote your time solely to your writing.
Frequently Asked Questions about Spannocchia
What are the meals like?
Delicious four-course traditional Tuscan cuisine is served family-style for all guests, whether staying in the villa, the fattoria, or one of several cottages on the property. When weather permits (it usually does during Italian summers), we dine outside, enjoy the company and take in the lovely weather. The exquisite lunches and dinners will quickly become one of the most memorable aspects of the retreat.
Is it easy to get to Spannocchia?
Pick-up from the Florence airport and delivery to Spannocchia on the first day of the retreat will be arranged for you. If you need transportation from Spannocchia back to the Florence airport on the final morning of the retreat, it is also included. Some participants choose to extend their stay in Italy, traveling elsewhere.
Is it safe to drink the water?
The water is pure and drinkable. In fact, the well was blessed by San Bernardino. You may find that it tastes especially satiating.
What are some nearby attractions?
Siena and San Galgano are within a half-hour’s drive. They are each unforgettable and deserve be a part of each participants weekend travel plans. Within hiking distance are the strikingly beautiful 10th century Castle that Only God Knows and the abandoned monastery of Santa Lucia. Not far beyond the monastery is Ponte della Pia, a still-standing 1st century Roman bridge.
What else is there to do on this farm?
Besides writing and experiencing the richness of traditional Italian farm life, participants can lounge near the pool, listen to the birds and take in some Tuscan sun.
Is there electricity?
Yes, and there is a television and a computer with internet access as well as free wifi in the wifi room. Remember to bring your European travel adapter for your electronic devices.
How close is the nearest town?
Rosia is about ten to fifteen minute’s drive. There is a post office, and there are grocery and drug stores, should you need to pick up anything or mail postcards back home.
What else goes on at Spannocchia?
It is always buzzing with the rustic life of a well-run farm. Every other Wednesday is Nosta Cena, a special and more formal dinner. We should also be so lucky as to witness Pizza Night, where traditional pizzas, including the legendary gorgonzola and pear, are cooked in the outdoor wooden oven. Interesting guests are always making their way in and out, and often during nice weather Spannocchia is home to traditional folk music and dancing.
What will the weather be like?
Generally warm/hot during the day and cool during the night.
Is there a swimming pool?
Yes, and it will be especially refreshing.
What are the accommodations like ? Is this a clean farm?
Accommodations in the villa are wonderfully kept. While everyone is used to different lifestyles, be assured that Spannocchia is priceless and special. It is, of course, surrounded by agriculture. If you want to bask in posh lodging, it would be better to look elsewhere.
What shall we do on our weekends?
Travel to Italy’s hidden gems nearby! Everything is available to you. Rome and Venice are just a few hours away, as is the legendary island of Elba. At Spannocchia, we will get together as a group to finalize and coordinate weekend plans to see whether car-pooling is an option.
I wrote more in the two weeks at Spannocchia than I did in my first year of my MFA.
– Rachel, 2011 Writing Immersion at Spannocchia
What’s Included in the Retreat
- Ground transportation to and from the estate from the airport (FLR)
- Room and board at Spannocchia
- Tuition for all daily yoga classes, writing critiques, and wellness workshops
- Ethically-printed personal journal
- Wellness and Writing Immersion handbook filled with creative guidance and exercises
All-Inclusive Program Pricing
Wellness and Writing Immersion at Spannocchia:
Total Price of program: $
2460 $1979 USD (double room)
As always, we’ll get you to and from the airport (Florence – FLR), the costs of yoga/breathwork and critique/workouts/writing instruction are included, breakfast, lunch and dinner are included (except on Saturday night), use of facilities are included. Airfare is not included.
Additional cost for single room: $840
Applications will be reviewed the order in which they are received. Due to the appeal of the retreat offerings and the date/location, it is likely that the course will fill up soon. The first installment goes toward the total amount and reserves your space. Please make your payment as soon as possible and come on a retreat with us!
If your application has been approved, you can confirm your spot at the retreat via Paypal. You do not need to have a Paypal account — all you need is a credit or debit card.
Payment Plan Option: Split the Cost Over Three Months
For participants unable to pay for the entire retreat at once, we offer a payment plan. After paying the deposit, you can split the remaining cost of the retreat over the next three months. We want everyone whose application gets accepted to be able to participate in this experience, and so we will be happy to use this payment plan option to make this retreat a reality for you.
Should You Apply?
If you answer yes to each of the following questions, this retreat may be a good fit for you:
- Do you have an appreciation for the unique traditions of other cultures?
- Are you looking for new direction with your writing?
- Do you strive for greater physical and emotional well-being?
- Are you excited to take part in a new and empowering routine that includes the options of daily writing, yoga, painting, appreciation of nature, and the warm community of creative people?
- Are you ready for focused time for rejuvenation, self-development and peace?
If your heart says yes to this experience, please send your application while there is still space available.
Photos on this page were taken by Josh Bowen, retreat participant at Spannocchia 2011.
How to ApplyThe application process is the same, whether you’re applying for a retreat in Italy, Bali, or Mexico. If you are hoping to come on a retreat, you can apply by clicking here.