Story Circle Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to women telling their stories, is proud and excited to sponsor this upscale trip, offered by Custom Europe, with private transportation, local certified guides, and first-class hotels located centrally for your comfort and convenience.
Please join us for this lovely trip to explore the gorgeous Tuscan and Umbrian countryside, experience the Adriatic coast, and be inspired by the delectable sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Italy. For writers who want to grow their sensibilities and skills, group writing sessions will be held for you to record and reflect on your Italian experience.
PAYMENT DETAILS BELOW/REGISTRATION FORM AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
This itinerary is based on a 9-day trip with Day 1 and Day 9 designated as travel days. That leaves 7 days in Italy with 2 nights in Assisi, 3 in San Marino, and 2 in Bologna. While in Bologna, we’ll make a day trip to Florence and then return to Bologna, so we have the convenience of remaining in the same hotel. We will also fly out of Bologna the following day. See the detailed daily itinerary below. Space is limited, and sign-ups will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
The writing workshop will meet for 1 hour per day for the 7 days we are in Italy and will focus on sensory writing inspired by the beauty of the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside. Resource materials will be provided, and there will be time for writing and sharing. At the end of the week, we will invite all trip participants to gather for an official “Reading,” where each woman who wishes to share may read a short piece or poem to the group.
Your writing instructor and host for the entire trip is Len Leatherwood, a nationally award-winning teacher who has been teaching writing privately to students in Beverly Hills, CA for the past 21 years. Len is not only a published author of flash fiction and memoir, personal essay, and a nine-year daily blog entitled “20 Minutes a Day,” but she is also the Online Classes Coordinator and President of Story Circle Network. In addition, she has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for the past thirty years. For questions, you may email Len at email@example.com.
October 15: Overnight Flight – Depart from the US for flight to Rome FCO.
October 16: Assisi – Arrival at the airport of Rome. Our guide will greet you at the airport for transfer to Assisi. On arrival in Assisi free time for lunch followed by a brief orientation of Assisi. Welcome dinner that evening.
October 17: Assisi – After breakfast, meeting with your guide and optional tour or free time. Assisi shows visitors the true Italian countryside in all its glory. The town sits in the region of Umbria, just east of Perugia, and lies nestled in the foothills of Mount Subasio. Assisi is known as the birthplace of St. Francis and the famous Basilica that is dedicated to him. There is also the 12th Century Rocca Maggiore Fortress and a huge medieval complex, all of which gave the town its UNESCO World Heritage status. The town is dotted with beautiful churches, small narrow lanes, and charming piazzas, where you can sit, and people watch from the quaint cafés. Free time for lunch and afternoon at your leisure. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
October 18: Perugia – Cortona – San Marino – After breakfast departure for the area of Florence, a quick stop for a free visit in the University City of Perugia, rising from the countryside in a jumble of medieval buildings, Umbria’s capital city offers an enchanting blend of history, culture and lively student energy. Then onward, via Lago Trasimeno Coast, to the medieval town of Cortona, a romantic collection of medieval red-brick buildings set high on a Tuscan hilltop. Built around a central piazza, the town is a warren of time-worn lanes and piazzas, set to a backdrop of dreamy Tuscan scenery. Free visit and time for lunch. In the late afternoon, you will reach your hotel in the area of San Marino, accommodation, dinner, and overnight.
October 19: San Marino – After breakfast departure for the guided visit of San Marino, a place apart – as it’s a separate city-state completely coddled by the Apennine Mountains. It also proudly holds the title of the oldest republic in the world, offering a peek into what powerful nations like Venice would have looked like back in the day. Forest-green Monte Titano is the UNESCO-approved jewel in the crown. This wedge-shaped mountain is home to the capital city, Citta di San Marino. It also marks the highest point in San Marino. Full-circle mountain and countryside views are your reward for climbing – or catching the cable car – to this towering pinnacle. Medieval streets drizzle down the steep edge of Monte Titano. The capital is big on culture, so expect plenty of Neo-Classical churches and museums – and tax-free shops. Red-topped towns dot the countryside around. Free time for lunch and afternoon at your leisure. Tonight our dinner will be at an old farm.
October 20: Rimini and the Adriatic Coast – Historic Rimini and a day at the beach on the Adriatic. This morning we will depart for the short drive to Rimini for a guided tour and time at the beach on the Adriatic. In the afternoon we will return to San Marino for dinner and socializing.
October 21: Bologna – After breakfast, we will depart for Bologna, one of Italy’s most elegant and exciting cities. Guided visit of the city, among the weaving porticoes and medieval towers, you will experience spirited markets and bustling arcades, all in a city that continues to feel vibrant and welcoming long into the evening. Bologna holds international acclaim for its food, architecture, and automobile design while retaining an authentic and intimate city center where each street exhibits the city’s historical and social roots. Free time for lunch. In the late afternoon, you will reach your hotel in the area of Bologna, accommodation, dinner, and overnight.
October 22: Florence – After breakfast, we will depart by bus to Florence; guided tour of the main monuments: Piazza del Duomo, the Cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, Brunelleschi’s Dome, and Piazza S. Maria Novella. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon, walk towards the picturesque Ponte Vecchio and its workshops of goldsmith masters. Before departure, a brief stop at Piazzale Michelangelo, from which you will admire the splendid city in all its grandeur. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
October 23: Bye, Bye Italy – Breakfast in hotel and transfer to the airport of Bologna.
Cost & Fees:
While a tour of this kind would normally cost around $3,200, Custom Europe has agreed to make it available to Story Circle Network members and their guests for a non-profit price of $2,060. This is a non-profit trip with only pass-through costs. Airfare is not included.
For current Story Circle Network members and their guests (men and children over 16 are welcome), the Debra Winegarten $500 Scholarship will automatically be applied to your bill, further reducing the cost of the trip to $1560 per person (excluding airfare and other fees, discussed below).
What’s included in this price?
- 7 nights of accommodations in hotels (based on double room occupancy)
- Breakfasts and most dinners at three different 1st class hotels
- A full-time guide who will travel with us via tour bus
- Daily tours in each location
- Daily lunch on your own
- Tips to our guide and bus driver ($3 – $5 per day for each)
- Single room costs extra
- Trip insurance – We will provide more information for all who sign-up.
We will divide the cost up over the next year into four payments:
- $30 Registration Fee to Story Circle Network
- Due on Sign-Up
- Register and pay below
- 1stInstallment – $500
- Due on Sign-up.
- Check payable to Custom Europe: email Len Leatherwood at firstname.lastname@example.org for complete instructions.
- 2ndInstallment – $500
- Due in October 2021
- Check payable to Custom Europe
- 3rdInstallment – $560
- April 2022
- Check payable to Custom Europe
There are TWO steps to registering for this trip. Both steps are required for a complete registration.
1. Email Len Leatherwood (email@example.com) for instructions on where to send the first installment of $500.
2. Pay the Story Circle Network registration fee, below.