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A Tuscan Retreat


Sunday, October 20 to Saturday, October 26, 2013

This trip is now sold out. Email to be added to the waitlist.

Looking for an October adventure? Politics & Prose and writer Phyllis Theroux invite you to join a small group of congenial travelers for a week at Villa Spannocchia, a charming farm estate near Siena, Italy, for writing, reading, relaxation, day trips to nearby hill towns, plus a day to explore the city of Florence. Whether you are a professional or aspiring writer, or someone who just wants to record travel impressions, each day will include time for work and contemplation, followed by village excursions and leisurely meals and conversation. Phyllis Theroux has been sponsoring this trip for ten years under her Nightwriters banner; this is the first time that she and Politics & Prose will join forces.

Built in the 1500s, Spannocchia is a destination in itself, with a setting that overlooks 1,100 acres of forest, fields, and pasture. Minus a few telephone lines in the far distance, what you see from your bedroom window is what inspired Dante while writing the Divine Comedy--fruit and olive orchards, vineyards, and sheep grazing on the hillsides. In 1925, a Florentine essayist, Delfino Cinelli, purchased the property as a writer’s retreat. His descendants, who still own the land, have left many of the original antiques, paintings and photographs inside the villa. This is not a hotel, but a home.

Monday through Thursday, the days will begin with breakfast in the community dining room. After breakfast comes a morning writing session in the villa’s separate upper dining room. (The writing session is optional; you can use this time in whatever way you choose.) Whether you are new to writing or an old hand, you and others in the session will meet as equals to sharpen the eye and better understand how to use writing as a tool to dig into the crevices of memory and imagination. Optional exercises and prompts will be provided.

Afternoons will be free time to use reading, relaxing, exploring some of Spannocchia’s trails and gardens, or taking excursions to the hill towns of Siena and San Gimignano. An in-country guide, Joanna Warren, will enhance your travels with her local knowledge. Each evening after dinner you will gather in the living room with the rest of the group to discuss books--an optional reading guide will be provided.

Phyllis Theroux has been sponsoring this trip for ten years under her Nightwriters banner; this is the first time that she and Politics & Prose will join forces..

On your last night at Spannocchia, you will dine at a popular enoteca in the tiny nearby hilltown of Orgia. The following morning you will leave for Florence. After checking into the Hotel Maxim, the rest of the day is free to explore the central part of the city, where the Uffizi and the leather market are just two of the walkable attractions near your hotel. On Friday night, you will enjoy a final goodbye supper.

Saturday morning is departure day. We will help you find your way to a bus or cab for the airport.

Buon viaggio!


Click Here to view the itinerary.



Click Here for the registration form.

For more information, please contact PhyllisTheoroux at or Susan Coll at




  1. The Leopard, Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  2. The Stones of Florence, Mary McCarthy
  3. Twilight in Italy, D.H. Lawrence
  4. House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall, Christopher Hibbert
Promotional Period: 
Oct 20 2013 - Oct 26 2013

The Leopard (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780375714795
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon, 11/2007



ISBN-13: 9780156027632
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books, 11/2002



Twilight in Italy (Paperback)
Model: x90488

ISBN-13: 9780688053390
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks, 6/1999