Explore your senses and expand your writer's toolbox for six days in Italy with author and writing instructor J. Suzanne Frank.
In picturesque Le Marche, immerse yourself in story-growing techniques as you hunt for truffles, wander through cobblestoned villages and dine at castles. Work on the initial concept, the first chapters creation, or the final draft of your story with unique assignments built for you and your writing goals. Scribble in luxurious gardens and share with your fellow scribes over five-course gourmet dinners designed by the tour's own sommelier.
These dates in October host the local truffle festival which will be used to teach you how to research and apply that sensual element to everything you write -- increasing sentence-by-sentence tension and deepening characters' actions and connections.
Embrace this exclusive experience to explore the way you perceive the world and transform your writing practice!
Whatever stage your writing project is in, bring it to Italy. Bring it to life!
-Arrival (*Bologna, BLQ is the recommended airport).
-Piero will meet you and escort you to your Bed and Breakfast just outside the beautiful village of Urbania, within walking distance of shops, markets, restaurants and village life unspoiled by time.
-Take time to settle in and unpack before we all meet up.
- Suzanne, and our host and native Marchegiano, Piero Pagliardini, will welcome you over drinks and give an overview of the week to come. Then pizza night! Enjoy the best pizza in town in an authentic Italian pizzeria. A stroll, a nightcap, and a good night’s sleep.
- Enjoy a local breakfast onsite of cappuccino and fresh pastries, followed by our first day of class with Suzanne. Over the course of the week, Suzanne will provide prompts and feedback on planning your novel.
-Break for an authentic, seasonal lunch.
-Time to find your writing spot in a local café or on the B&B grounds. Write, explore the village, rest and freshen up.
-That evening Suzanne and Piero will pick you up for a hill-top dinner next to a 1,000 year-old monastery. Prepare yourselves for a true Marchigiano meal!
-Wake up to pastries (or le paste) and cappuccino.
- Stroll through the traveling open-air market as you ponder your first writing assignment.
-Time to wash up followed by an authentic lunch at Castello della Pieve, the characteristic medieval castle set 550 meters above sea level in the municipal area of Mercatello sul Metauro. In 1301 Dante Alighieri’s exile was decreed from this tiny village.
-Return for afternoon class and writing session with Suzanne.
-Dinner in a local Osteria
--Breakfast at the B&B
-Morning class and writing session with Suzanne (espresso provided!).
-Break for a light lunch (aka in Italy – two courses only).
-Independent writing time.
-Late afternoon we will drive through the Le Marche countryside for an afternoon trip to Cartoceto, a village famous for the best and only DOP olive oil imported from Le Marche. We'll visit the inimitable Vittorio Beltrami, "The Einstein of Cheese," says Lydia Bastianich, and not just because he looks like Albert Einstein but because he is a genius cheese maker. His pecorino di fossa - a sheep’s milk cheese wrapped in grape leaves, and buried under stone for 90 days is indescribably intense, earthy and like nothing you have ever tasted. From the cheese cellar, we'll walk over to his shop where the family Beltrami will prepare us an in-depth sampling of the Beltrami cheeses, cured meats, and breads, with wine pairings along with house made sweets.
(*Please note a separate dinner is not mentioned this day because our late afternoon tasting usually leaves our writers stuffed until morning!)
-Breakfast and early morning TRUFFLE HUNT with professional local guide. Our seasoned truffle hunter, along with his dog, will lead us on an autumn walk through the forest in search of truffles. Mud boots provided! If hiking isn’t your thing, spend the morning shopping, relaxing in a café and exploring local treasures in the village.
-Time to wash up at the hotel followed by a truffle-inspired lunch.
-Afternoon class with Suzanne.
-Evening visit to the OPENING of the National White Truffle Festival! Once a year the town airs out its old wine cellars and turns these secret rooms into repurposed wine bars. Float from one wine cellar, or cantina, to the next, enjoying the variety of local and national wines paired with savory truffle-based delicacies. Each cantina has its own theme – from traditional (eat and drink at long, wooden picnic tables), to indulgent (buy the cantina mug, and enjoy free refills the rest of the weekend), to extreme (these cantine have been known to pack in DJ’s, dance floors, and motorcycles into the limited 100 sq.ft. space). There is something for everyone at the National Festival of White Precious Truffle of Marche and a reason why it has put Sant’Angelo in Vado on the map!
-Meet back up for a group dinner in the town square.
- Enjoy a local breakfast at the hotel (have you tried the chocolate pastries yet?).
- Return to Sant’Angelo to for a morning at the White Truffle Festival. Revel in the town’s festivities which range from street artists, to market booths, to live music. Buy roasted chestnuts on the corner or crostini with liver pate and truffle shavings from the local butcher.
-Lunch on your own. Piero will be there to make recommendations.
-Return to the hotel to write down final experiences and pack.
-Meet that evening for an onsite farewell dinner where we will raise a glass (or two, or three!) to Suzanne, a week of inspiration and to Italy!
(*Please arrange departures for after 12:00 noon.)
-Pick-ups at BLQ Bologna airport and Bologna Centrale Train Station will be offered between 12:00-3:00 p.m.
-Departures at BLQ Bologna airport and Bologna Centrale Train Station will be offered from 12:00 noon onward. In order to arrive for your flight with ample time, we recommend scheduling departing flights after 2:00 p.m.
-Pick-up and Departures from other locations, or at times outside these parameters can be arranged at an additional fee.