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, July 6-18, 2016.

Program Highlights

Cost for the residency is $2,100, 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 $720 per credit ($2,160 for 3 graduate credits) for a comprehensive price of $4,260 for the tuition and residency experience combined. Undergraduates will pay $660 per credit ($2,640 for 4 undergraduate credits) for a comprehensive price of $4,740.

Included Costs Details

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 7. 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 17, 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 ($165 all inclusive) 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 Monday, July 18, 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 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. 
  • An orientation dinner for all participants living locally will be held on the evening of Wednesday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m., in the Castle Dining Room. Students participating in this coming summer's residency will be assigned some creative work and some reading at that time, ahead of the residency itself in July. Details will follow. The amount of advanced work will be moderate.

Program Schedule

Wednesday, July 6: Departure from the U.S. (for those not going in advance of the beginning of the residency). Most direct flights to Rome are overnight flights leaving the U.S. about 6:30 in the evening, and arriving in Rome about 8:30 or 9 the following morning. Non-stop flight time from Philadelphia averages about eight and a half hours in the air. 

Thursday, July 7: Arrival at the Leonardo da Vinci (Rome) Airport in Fiumicino for those leaving the U.S. on July 6. All participants in the residency must be gathered promptly at 10:30 a.m. at the entrance of the Ciao Restaurant on the mezzanine level of Terminal 3 at the airport for pickup by our driver of the private, air-conditioned van that will transport us up into Umbria to the Bed & Breakfast “San Marco,” with a leisurely stop at a buffet (our individual expense) along the way. Total travel time, including lunch stop, approx. 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, 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 whatever we will be writing with) into the high-speed photocopier installed for our exclusive use. 
  • Festive welcome dinner in the evening

Friday, July 8: 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 will tour Roman ruins, medieval churches, a historic theater, and medieval craft shops to see paper made by hand and silk thread spun. Our visit will be led by our professional tour guide, Dr. Francesca Sensini. Evening return to the B&B for supper.  

Saturday, July 9: Entire day spent at the B&B for craft workshops and writing in cohorts. All meals at the B&B. Dinner will feature pizzas from one of the area’s exquisite pizza restaurants. 

Sunday, July 10:  FIRST FULL-DAY EXCURSION TO CASTELLUCCIO AND NORCIA, again with our tour guide Francesca Sensini.  Departure from the B&B at 8:30 a.m. sharp. Castelluccio is a hill town high in the mountains overlooking a spectacular plain on which multiple grains are grown, producing the fioritura, one of the great flower displays in all of central Italy. Norcia is the birthplace of Italy’s second greatest saint (and national patron), Saint Benedict. The town is also a renowned culinary center, famed throughout Italy for its pork and cheese products. Lunch this day will be at our individual expense (some of us may choose to eat together at a famous restaurant there in Norcia.) Evening return to the B&B for supper. 

Monday, July 11: Entire day spent at the B&B for craft workshops and writing in cohorts. All meals at the B&B. 

Tuesday, July 12:  SECOND FULL-DAY EXCURSION TO ASSISI, again with our tour guide Francesca Sensini. Departure from the B&B at 8:30 a.m. Our first stop will be the famed Porziuncola, Saint Francis’s church and place where he died, now enshrined inside the massive basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. We will then ascend by van into Assisi proper, where we will visit, first, the Basilica of Santa Chiara, and then take a walking tour of the central part of town before lunch (at each person’s expense). You will have leisure time after lunch to shop, relax, or explore on your own. In the afternoon, we tour with Dr. Sensini the great Basilica of Saint Francis, which contains the saint’s tomb, and is one of the greatest shrines in all of Italy. Evening return to the B&B for supper and possible after-dinner entertainment. 

Wednesday, July 13:  Entire day spent at the B&B for craft workshops and writing in cohorts. All meals at the B&B. Evening entertainment, unless scheduled for the night before. 

Thursday, July 14:  Following breakfast, the morning will be spent on a craft workshop on poetry conducted by Tracey Levine in which all participants in the residency will be expected to participate. 

  • 3 p.m. departure for our SECOND LOCAL OUTING by van for the nearby town of Montefalco, where we will do a walking tour of the town, see the town’s museum, rich in the work of famous Renaissance painters like Benozzo Gozzoli and Perugino, and do some shopping in the town’s fine stores. We’ll remain in town for our evening meal at one of the town’s celebrated restaurants, a fixed-price meal for which each student will pay 30 Euros. Evening return to the B&B.

Friday, July 15: 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. 

Saturday, July 16: FINAL FULL DAY AT THE B&B. Throughout the day, WRITERS WILL GIVE READINGS OF THEIR WORK to the whole group. All meals at the B&B, final festivity after dinner. 

Sunday, July 17:  Following breakfast, 10 A.M. SHARP DEPARTURE FROM THE B&B after our farewells to Carla and her family. We will make a FOUR-HOUR STOP TO VISIT THE MESA-TOP HILL TOWN OF ORVIETO en route to the hotel in Fiumicino, near the Rome airport, where we will spend the final night in Italy, double-occupancy at each person’s individual expense, though Arcadia will book the rooms. Members of the group electing to stay on in Europe may make their departure, as they choose, after our night in the hotel. A shuttle paid for by Arcadia will take students to the airport for departure the following morning.

  • PLEASE NOTE: Our evening arrival at the hotel in Fiumicino on July 17 does NOT afford participants sufficient time to make it into Rome proper for evening entertainment. Anyone wishing to visit Rome, before or after the residency in Umbria, will have to make individual travel arrangements to make that possible. 

Monday, July 18: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE U.S. FROM TERMINAL 5 AT THE ROME AIRPORT, except for those electing to go on to other Italian or European destinations after the conclusion of the residency experience. Participants must be ready, Monday morning, to be on time for the hotel shuttle’s departure for the airport. Normal flight time returning to the U.S. non-stop: roughly ten hours in the air.

EN 375/475 Course Description

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 Preparations

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

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

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.



Part 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 6-18, 2016
  • Course Code: EN375/EN475

PLEASE NOTE: Those interested in registering for the course may do so online through the normal registration process.  ONLY TEN REGISTRANTS FOR THE PROGRAM FOR SUMMER '16 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).

A very limited number of spaces in the program for summer '16 will be available to alumni of Arcadia's academic programs who wish to participate in the Summer Residency as "auditors." Such participants, if approved for participation by the program director, will pay a one-credit $720 "auditor's" fee to take part fully in the program in lieu of paying standard tuition, though such participants will not, in fact, receive one academic credit for their participation. The $720 auditor's fee will be in addition to the required $2,100 cost of the residency itself as well as in addition to the participant's round-trip air fare, arranged and paid for individually.

  • For graduate students, $2,160 for 3 credits
  • For undergraduate students, $2,640 for 4 credits

Tuition will be ADDED to the $2,100 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.  An initial payment of $700, payable by March 14 is required of registrants who wish to lock in a place in the residency, which is strictly limited to 10 student participants. Making that first payment of $700 obligates the registrant to the full $2,100 cost of the residency under the University's current regulations. Two subsequent payments, each for $700, are due on April 25 and on May 30.

If you commit to participating in this program, the Office of International Affairs on campus will require you to sign an agreement committing yourself to pay the full $2,100 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 2017.