Write Your Manuscript or screenplay on a Tuscan Volcano
The notion of writing a novel or screenplay in Italy is not entirely a new one, as creative writing holidays have been around for a while and they have proved to be very successful. However, a creative writing holiday in a Renaissance hermitage made from lava and set in the grounds of a 16th century Pope’s Palace on an ancient Tuscan volcano has to be a new one!
I was lucky enough to discover the outstanding Palazzo Cervini estate a few years ago when I myself was searching for a place with the right kind of tranquillity to enable me to complete my first book A Green Existence. The construction of the magnificent Palazzo Cervini was commissioned by Pope Marcello II in 1538 and was designed by the famous architect for the Vatican Antonio da Sangallo to be the Pope’s private residence. Situated on an ancient and intriguing Tuscan volcano (Mount Amiata) this immense Renaissance Palace with its Castle, Romanic chapel and evocative hermitage lies just a few valleys away from the famous Brunello vineyards of Montalcino, in a small village named Vivo (translated:Alive) in southern Tuscany.
Another Renaissance Pope, Pope Pius II and various other artists of the Renaissance period wrote about the remarkable natural beauty, inspirational tranquillity and the evocative spiritual atmosphere that the village of Vivo possessed and surprisingly very little has changed in more than 4 long centuries! The Palace has miraculously survived the ravages of time, 2 world wars and political/social unrest and stands proud, overlooking beautiful valleys, quiet forests and crashing rivers, fed with volcanic spring water. In fact, it was the quality of the spring water that gushes from a mysterious volcanic spring on the slopes of Mount Amiata that first drew man here during the Neolithic period- as the archaeological finds in various caves on the volcano suggest. Pagans, Long-beards and even the mysterious Etruscans were drawn to the enigmatic presence of the second tallest peak on the Italian peninsula after Mount Etna in Sicily.
To this day the 4 sympathetically restored holiday homes within the hermitage still have this sweet, volcanic spring water available on tap, in their kitchens and bathrooms. The local thermal spas of Bagni San Filippo can be reached within a short, 10 minute drive and the other famous spas of Saturnia, Bagno Vignoni and Chianciano are all well within a day trip. Log fires within every house offer exactly the kind of soulful ambience necessary for the completion of a first novel, for roasting some chestnuts on the glowing coals or maybe just for receiving inspiration while sipping a glass of local Brunello.
I completed my first book in just a short time at the hermitage owing to the inspirational atmosphere that this jewel of estates provided me with and, now that the estate and its owner Contessa Cervini (direct descendant from Pope Marcello II) has finally opened its doors to the world, this wonderful Tuscan Palace can be enjoyed by writers and fellow artists alike.