Summer Writer's Residency in Umbria, Italy

Spend 13 days strengthening your craft as a writer  of fiction, a writer of poetry—or both—in Umbria.

Program Highlights

Cost for the residency is $2,000, and includes the following below. Airfare is not included and is the responsibility of the student.

  • Accommodations and most meals at Bed and Breakfast "San Marco"
  • Writing workshops in small-group cohorts
  • Craft lectures led by Dr. Richard Wertime, Professor of English and University Director of Creative Writing, and Professor Tracey Levine, Director of the Creative-writing Concentration in the English Major
  • Transportation to cultural destinations and points of interest led by a private tour guide
  • Ground transportation, including trips between the Rome airport and the Bed and Breakfast at the beginning and end of the residency
  • Entry fees to all museums and cultural sites

Graduate students enrolled in this course will receive 3 graduate credits from Arcadia University, and these credits are transferable to other colleges or universities with the consent of those institutions. Undergraduates who enroll will receive 4 credits, and may similarly transfer those credits to other institutions serving as the students’ home schools. Graduate students will pay a discounted (by 15%) tuition cost of $1,800 for the 3 credits they receive, for a comprehensive price of $3,800 for the tuition and residency experience combined. Undergraduates will pay a discounted (similarly by 15%) tuition cost of $2,400 for a comprehensive price of $4,400.

THE COST OF THE EXPERIENCE WILL COVER a considerable number but not all of the students’ needs during the trip and the residency experience, and will afford participants some very privileged opportunities as visitors to central Italy. Here, first, is a general breakdown of what will be covered by the fee exclusive of tuition:

  • Transport by private air-conditioned bus upon arrival in Italy directly from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport to the Bed and Breakfast “San Marco” in Umbria on July 8. The bus will make a lunch stop at a buffet en route to the bed and breakfast (lunch at the student's expense). This will give students adequate time to eat a good lunch and use the facilities.
  • Transport by private van the morning of departure from Umbria directly from the B&B “San Marco” on Saturday, July 18, by way of the great hill town Orvieto for a mid-day four-hour stop, to the Leonardo da Vinci Rome Airport Hotel for a one-night stay (double-occupancy) prior to the plane flight home the following morning for those participants not extending their stay abroad beyond the conclusion of the residency. The cost of the one-night hotel stay ($135 plus tax) is the student’s responsibility, although Arcadia will have booked the rooms in advance. Complimentary shuttle service will take the group directly from the hotel to the airport the morning of Sunday, July 19, for departure to the U.S. Arcadia students wishing to spend several extra days in Italy before returning to the U.S. may make those arrangements through Arcadia University at the time they enroll in the course.
  • Double-occupancy accommodations with some sharing of bathrooms at the Bed and Breakfast “San Marco,” Montefalco (Umbria), Italy, a comfortable, hospitable, and impeccably maintained cluster of buildings situated in a beautiful farm valley some 20 minutes from Spoleto.
  • All breakfasts, many lunches, and most dinners will be provided by B&B "San Marco" during the residency period itself in its comfortable dining areas. Other meals—some lunches and one dinner during our tours of the area’s famous hill towns—will be at the student’s own expense. We eat outdoors at the B&B on a graveled terrace, or under a beautiful canopy of vines and overhead trees, when the weather permits. It often does! The Bed and Breakfast makes an abundance of fresh fruits in season, purchased from a local farmer, available to participants continuously throughout the residency. The cuisine is local and delicious. Strict vegetarian, vegan, and kosher dietary restrictions, however, cannot be accommodated.
  • Wireless Internet connection (all students will be required to bring a laptop, iPad, or tablet device of their choice connectable to the Internet) and photocopying facilities for the exclusive use of the class. A tech expert will meet the group upon our arrival at the B&B to link each participant’s computing device into the high-speed photocopier. The B&B also boasts seminar space for class meetings; and outdoor terraces, gazebos, and lawn chairs are available for study and conversation.
  • All entrance fees for prearranged visits to museums, historic buildings and sites, and other cultural destinations requiring a pass or ticket of admission. Also covered are local transportation fees required in Perugia and Orvieto.
  • Students will receive continuous literary mentoring and coaching on their writing from the two directors of the program throughout the residency, as well as periodic meetings with fellow-students in small-group cohorts.
  • Each student in the course will be covered at no cost by a University health-care policy covering emergency health needs and disastrous situations. For a nominal additional fee of $1.60 per day, students may (and are strongly encouraged to) purchase supplemental coverage that will increase the medical care they are entitled to receive during the stay.
  • Transport by private bus to nearby cultural destinations and points of natural and historic interest on the following schedule (weather and other conditions permitting). A licensed professional guide will accompany us for all or parts of most of our outings to give us historical background on what we are visiting. 

Tentative Schedule

Tuesday, July 7: Departure from the U.S. (for those not going in advance of the beginning of the residency)

Wednesday, July 8: Arrival at the Leonardo da Vinci (Rome) Airport in Fiumicino for those leaving the U.S. on July 7th. All participants in the residency to be gathered promptly at 10:30 a.m. at the entrance to the Ciao Restaurant on the mezzanine level of Terminal 3 of the airport for pickup by our driver from the Remoli van company from Foligno. We will travel together in a private, air-conditioned van up into Umbria to the Bed and Breakfast “San Marco,” with a leisurely lunch-stop at a buffet (our individual expense) along the way. Total travel time, including lunch stop, around 3 hours.

  • Afternoon arrival at the B&B–We will be welcomed by our hosts, Carla Romagnoli and her husband Philippe Papapietro, together with their son Nicola (nee-COL-ah), who will offer us refreshment and show us to our rooms. After some rest and unpacking, we’ll convene in the courtyard to meet Federico Bartolomei, our tech expert, who will network each of our laptops or iPad (or other devices) into the high-speed photocopier installed for our exclusive use.
  • Festive welcome dinner at the B&B in the evening

Thursday, July 9: following breakfast, we will have a first craft workshop for all writers, jointly conducted by Dick Wertime and Tracey Levine. Lunch to follow.

  • 3 p.m. departure for our FIRST LOCAL OUTING by van for the town of Bevagna, where we till tour Roman ruins, medieval churches, and medieval craft shops to see paper made by hand, coins minted, and silk thread spun. Evening return to the B&B for supper. 

Friday, July 10: Entire day spent at the B&B for craft workshops and writing in cohorts. All meals at the B&B. Dinner will feature exquisite pizzas from the nearby hill town of Gualdo Cattaneo. 

Saturday, July 11: departure at 8:30 a.m. immediately following an early breakfast for our FIRST FULL-DAY EXCURSION TO PERUGIA AND TO ASSISI. For this trip we will be accompanied by our professional, licensed tour guide, Francesca Sensini, who will show us a selection of the important sites to be seen in both of these major urban centers. Lunch during this outing will be at our own individual expense in an eatery of our choosing. Evening return to the B&B for supper.

Sunday, July 12: Entire day spent at the B&B for craft workshops and writing in cohorts. All meals at the B&B. 

Monday, July 13: departure at 8:30 a.m. immediately following an early breakfast for our SECOND FULL-DAY EXCURSION TO CASTELLUCCIO AND NORCIA, again with our tour-guide Francesca Sensini, the former a town high in the mountains of a national park, the latter the birthplace of Saint Benedict—and one of the food capitals of central Italy. Lunch this day will be at our individual expense (some of us will choose to eat together at a famous restaurant in Norcia). Evening return to the B&B for supper. Today’s outing will be the longest journey we take during the residency itself. 

Tuesday, July 14: Entire day spent at the B&B for craft workshops and writing in cohorts. All meals at the B&B. Evening entertainment at the B&B following supper.

Wednesday, July 15: following breakfast, the morning will be spent on a craft workshop on poetry conducted by Tracey Levine.

  • 3 p.m. departure for our SECOND LOCAL OUTING by van for the town of Montefalco, where we will do a walking tour of the town, visit the town’s museum, rich in the work of famous Renaissance artists, and do some shopping in the town’s fine stores. Evening meal at the famous Ristorante da Giorgione in Montefalco, Giorgione a chef now renowned across all of Italy for his cuisine. 25 Euro per person for this meal; each of us pays. Evening return to the B&B.

Thursday, July 16: late sleep-in after a festive evening! Brunch followed by individual writing consultations with the co-directors; work in cohorts following a light lunch. Dinner at the B&B followed by evening entertainment. 

Friday, July 17: FINAL FULL DAY AT THE B&B. Throughout the day, WRITERS WILL GIVE READINGS OF THEIR WORK to the rest of us. All meals at the B&B, a final entertainment after dinner. 

Saturday, July 18: following breakfast, 10:00 A.M. SHARP DEPARTURE FROM THE B&B after our farewells to Carla and her family. 4-HOUR STOP TO VISIT THE MESA-TOP HILL TOWN OF ORVIETO en route to the hotel in Fiumicino where we will spend the final night in Italy (unless we have individual plans to sustain our stay in Europe beyond the end of the residency). Cost of lunch in Orvieto is ours individually; as will be dinner at the hotel, and the hotel stay itself, in Fiumicino where we will spend the night. A block of double-occupancy rooms has already been reserved for this night, for which night—if you are not moving on right away to other travels—you will pay for yourself (roughly $135 plus tax) with your own credit card. You may upgrade to a single room if you prefer at your own expense. 

Sunday, July 19: pre-arranged shuttle will carry those who are returning to the United States to Terminal 5 at the airport for their flight home.

Course Description

EN 375/475 - The Umbrian Writer’s Workshop, is a standard curricular offering among the creative-writing courses in Arcadia University’s program in English, both at the undergraduate and at the graduate levels. Its being offered in Umbria in this distinctive format obviously requires adaptation to the special conditions under which it will be taught. Below is a description of its distinctive features and the expectations which students will be required to meet.

Required texts. Students will be asked to purchase in advance and take with them on the trip a single paperback, 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years, published by Penguin.

Each student, further, will be equipped with two handbooks at the outset of the residency: the Umbrian Writer’s Workshop Handbook compiled by the program’s director, Richard Wertime, for use by students in writing fiction, and a Poetry Writer’s Handbook compiled by co-director Tracey Levine, for use by students in writing poetry. Again, students may work primarily in either genre, fiction or poetry, or they may combine both in their work for the course.

Required materials. Each student must bring a laptop computer, iPad, tablet, or similar device, which will get active use during the course. Students should also equip themselves with at least one good sturdy hardback notebook that can be carried around during our excursions to cultural destinations, since part of the course will require students to take notes on and write about what they experience in Italy. (Bring a good supply of pens!)

Advance homework and meetings prior to the trip abroad. Since our residency in Umbria is of such short duration and so filled with events, each student will be required to arrive in Umbria with a recently authored piece of his or her original fiction, in the 6-to-10-page range (double-spaced, please, and printed in 12-point type), or with the manuscripts of four freshly written poems. You can bring those with you in your computer, to be printed out on the photocopier at the B&B. These “first works” will prime our creative pumps at the outset of the residency, and enable all the students (and the instructors) to acquaint themselves with everyone else’s work. It is mandatory, not optional, that students be prepared and willing to share their writing with the instructors and their fellow-students during the residency. Anyone reluctant to share his or her work with others should not seek admission to this course.

Course expectations. Several of the mornings during the residency period will be devoted to intensive 3-hour workshops, to begin soon after breakfast, during which students will meet in a seminar setting to

  • receive craft lectures by the instructors
  • discuss common readings in the required text and in the instructor’s handbook
  • participate in assigned free-writing and guided writing exercises
  • work with the other members of their cohort on selective activities and stories-in-progress
  • participate in formal critiques of other students’ works

Barring unforeseen health problems, students will be expected to participate in all of the scheduled activities and complete all of the assignments. Selectively “opting out” will not be an option! Each student is assigned a place in a cohort and will work with the others in his/her cohort throughout the residency.

Certain evenings will be devoted to more informal group get-togethers in which students give impromptu readings of works-in-progress, discuss craft issues, and review our recent cultural outings.  Our hosts at the B&B will also be providing us with some delightful evening entertainment as well as serving us delicious dinners. Some of those dinners will last deep into the evening and evolve into warmly friendly festive occasions.

Body of student work to be produced in the course. Including the story that students will have written in advance and brought with them to Italy (which story students will be encouraged to revise and refine), each student focusing on fiction during the residency will be expected to have produced a body of 3 complete short stories, together with the assigned exercises that will have been completed during the residency period. The three short stories, cumulatively, are not to exceed a total page length of 40 pages, nor fall short of a minimum of 25 pages. Students interested primarily in working on poetry will be expected to have completed a portfolio of 15 pages of poetry over the length of the course. Students interested in working in both genres can make special arrangements to do so with the instructors in the course.

Presentation of written work at the end of the course. Since the whole trip to Italy encompasses a period of only 14 days, students will have until the end of August to submit in paper copy, either in person or by Priority U.S. Mail—not by electronic transfer—their final portfolio, for which a checklist will be provided. Following the group’s return to the States, the director of the program will be periodically available to consult with students about their work. The end of August will be the firm deadline for the submission of the final portfolio for this course. 

Teaching Faculty

Program Director Dr. Richard A. Wertime, Professor of English and University Director of Creative Writing, holds a B.A. in English from Haverford College, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in Shakespearean studies and focused his work on Late Medieval, Renaissance and Eighteenth Century British literature. He has taught at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, since 1975. For many years he has served as Arcadia’s Director of Graduate Studies in English and the Humanities. Initiator of Arcadia’s new MFA in Creative Writing , he regularly takes responsibility for organizing much of Arcadia’s annual literary season, inviting to campus the internationally renowned, the nationally famous, the up-and-coming—and former Arcadia students who have established solid literary reputations for themselves.

Wertime occasionally teaches one of Arcadia’s most advanced fiction writing courses, as well as a wide range of courses in English and American literature, including a seminar on the major novels of Willa Cather. His short fiction (nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize) has appeared in such journals as The Hudson Review and Ploughshares; his articles on cultural subjects as diverse as modern Italy and Classsic Maya civilization have appeared in such journals as The Yale Review and Southwest Review; and his literary criticism has appeared in a wide array of publications. From 1972 until 1995, Wertime served as the senior Contributing Editor to Archaeology Magazine, to whose pages he contributed essays on a multiplicity of archaeological subjects. In the fall of 2000, Wertime published a memoir with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Citadel on the Mountain: A Memoir of Father and Son, which was the 2001 recipient of the James A. Michener Memorial Prize for literature. His was the first non-fiction work to be awarded that prize.

Professor Tracey Levine, This summer, Tracey will conduct the craft workshops on poetry. She grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and has been teaching creative writing, composition, literature, and film courses since 2006. She currently teaches at Arcadia where she is the director of the creative writing concentration for undergraduates. Professor Levine has thought at Bucks County Community College, Community College of Philadelphia, and at Syracuse University. Prof. Levine earned a B.F.A. in Screenwriting from the University of the Arts, an M.A. in English from Arcadia University, and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Syracuse University where she was on fellowship. She has worked at WHYY on several documentary projects, and her creative writing work has appeared in Verbal Seduction, Metropolis VoxPop,Literary Mothers, A Manner of Being and the Philadelphia Citypaper and has done extensive work editing manuscripts. She was a finalist in the Glimmer Train Family Matters Contest in 2010, and was also involved in the Living Writer’s Reading Series at Syracuse University and the Kelly’s Writers House poetry reading series, and is currently working on a collection of short fiction.



Bed and Breakfact San MarcoPart of the national consortium of inns that spans all of Italy, the Bed and Breakfast “San Marco” is hosted by the literate, urbane Italian and French couple (husband and wife), Carla Romagnoli and Philippe Papapietro. Their engaging son Nicola speaks good English and will be continuously present at the B&B during our residency. “San Marco” is a casale, a coherent, village-like cluster of buildings set amid graveled courtyards and lawns; well-tended vineyards and acres of sunflowers stretch generously around it. No industry or modern housing is to be found anywhere near the premises, which are tranquil and secluded—though a good main road is just hundreds of yards away. The B&B affords amazingly ready access to a dazzling array of magnificent hill towns—nearby Gualdo Cattaneo, Montefalco and Bevagna, Spoleto, Trevi, Foligno, the magnificent Spello, and, just farther north, Saint Francis’s hometown, Assisi. Norcia is less than an hour away. Smaller gem-like hilltowns dot many a steep wooded hillside in the region. The region is steeped in multiple layers of history that reach back through Renaissance, Medieval, and Roman times to a great Etruscan past and the area’s earliest culture, that of the Umbri. More information on B&B "San Marco".

Registration & Deadlines

Limited spaces still available. Contact Dr. Dick Wertime at

  • Dates: July 7-19, 2015
  • Course Code: EN375/EN475 | Period: 2015 Summer II

PLEASE NOTE: Those interested in registering for the course may do so online through the normal registration process. The cost of the residency itself--EXCLUSIVE THIS YEAR OF ROUND-TRIP AIR FARE (for you to arrange individually if you're joining us) and EXCLUSIVE OF DISCOUNTED TUITION--will be $2,000, the best price we've been able to offer since the program's inception 5 years ago. ONLY TEN REGISTRANTS FOR THE PROGRAM FOR SUMMER '15 WILL BE ACCEPTED because of lodging constraints (double-occupancy) at the bed & breakfast where we live together, the B&B "San Marco" in Montefalco, Italy. We are the only guests at the B&B during our ten full days of residency there.

Those interested in the program on a for-credit basis have the option of registering for the course for 4 credits if they are undergraduates (EN375) or for 3 credits if they are graduate students (EN475). Those interested in taking part on a non-credit basis are also still welcome to enroll as "auditors" for a supplemental fee of $600 in addition to the $2,000 cost for the residency—again, exclusive of air fare (and the making of flight arrangements), which is the responsibility of each student.


Tuition will be ADDED to the $2,000 cost of the residency experience itself. 

Tuition must be paid to Arcadia University, through payments to the One-Stop Shop in Taylor Hall, in 3 increments—the first increment, due on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17TH, the second and third payments each to be made on TUESDAY, APRIL 14TH and TUESDAY, JUNE 16TH, respectively. If you commit yourselves to participating in this program, the Office of International Affairs on campus will require you to sign an agreement (now university policy) committing yourself to pay the full $2,000 cost of the residency—no rescinding once you've signed on.

Any participant interested in registering for and participating in the program should contact Dr. Richard Wertime, at as soon as possible. 

Each traveler must submit a photocopy of the photo page of his or her passport. The passport must not expire prior to January 2016.