Creative Writes at Palazzo Donati in Italy

When a Creative Writes workshop participant & good friend said to me; “people find a form of home here,” I felt immense joy and pride, and I am looking forward to taking our writers to a different home in Summer 2017.

Creative Writes is teaming up with Luisa Donati from Palazzo Donati in Le Marche to host the retreat from her medieval family palazzo. What’s a ‘Palazzo’? Good question. It’s old, like Stratford-on-Avon old. It’s made of stone and memories; it’s a country house built 400 years ago. Is it a Kardashian Palace? No. The gilt is real, but it’s not everywhere. The history is that of lives, not monies. It’s a big house that welcomes friends. It’s a place to start to write.

Creative writes palazzo donati 004


The writing retreat will run Monday 28th August to Saturday 2nd September 2017.

The history of the Palace:

“Palazzo Donati has been our family home since 1687. The history of our family in this area goes back to the 1300’s, when our ancestor Corso Donati was exiled from Florence by the same Pope who ordered the exile of Dante. Confined for a year, he was allowed to return to Florence, but his oldest son remained in after falling in love with a local girl.” Luisa Donati – Palazzo Donati.

The Palace:

The entrance to this magnificent house is found in the main square of the village. The front door opens into a long corridor which leads to a large walled garden. A wide stone staircase takes you to the first floor.

The Palace is made up of two wings: the east wing of the house includes an elegant reception room, as well as three double bedrooms and one bathroom. The west wing of the house occupies two floors: the first floor has two kitchen areas, one modern, the other rustic with a charming open fireplace, a formal dining room, two more informal family living areas, two double bedrooms and one bathroom, a service room with washing machine and ironing facilities. The top floor boasts three double bedrooms, all with ensuite bathrooms.

The Donati Family:

The Donatis, farmers and landlords from the Mercatello area, have owned Palazzo Donati since 1687. In the Marche’s Palazzo they have created a unique setting that provides an easy-going, friendly and informal environment. Our host and local expert Luisa Donati will lead the excursions in the area, highlighting key points of interest and introducing guests to local artists, artisans and the region’s extraordinary cuisine.
Five days of creative writing workshops will draw from the history, the stories of the characters associated with the Villa and the beautiful surroundings to inspire our writing.

Highlights of the local area include:

Family history – who the Donatis were and who they are now. Including:

  • Parts of the house used to hide an artist during the Nazi occupation
  • The kitchen areas with all the stories about food and tradition
  • Tour of the medieval Village including the working Monastery
  • The meandering river Metauro
  • The beautiful Romanic church of San Francesco
  • Visit Lina the local handmade Tagliatelle champion for 10 years. She will show us how to make Tagliatelle in speedy time!
  • The Renaissance ceramic masters of Urbania
  • Swim in the pools of the valley of Metauro
  • Traditional charcoal making
  • Hike to the borders of Umbria, Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.
  • Walk to Castello della Pieve where Corso Donati and Dante Alighieri were exiled
  • A visit to the local artist Martini, a sculpture hidden in the woods
  • Wild river swimming in the Meatauro valley with picnic
  • Meet Paola who will introduce us to the skill of making cheese. Tradition demands that only women can make cheese!
  • Hike through wonderful landscapes