the beauty of tuscany:

nido d'inverno and its surroundings

The retreat will take place at the end of a winding dirt road outside the Tuscan hill town of Montisi, in the rustic beauty of two secluded farmhouses within walking distance of one another. One house will provide quiet spaces to write during the day and will host selected group activities. The other will provide us with lodging and common space that includes a fully equipped kitchen. And now, a few stories…

nido side view colombaio.jpg

nido gathering space

When Kate’s parents bought Il Colombaio in 1972, the house had been deserted for two years. They rigged a system to pump water up from the source (very little, and so rationed: first the dishes, then the children’s bodies--feet last!). They wanted to make the fewest alterations possible, to respect the memory of so many hard-working lives spent within those walls.


FRONT Casella.jpg

nido lodgings

Set on an acre of olive grove, the farmhouse has traditional beamed brick ceilings; whitewashed stone walls; terracotta, tiled floors; and windows shaded with wooden shutters. Two parts of the house likely predate 1760, one built with earth-filled walls and a slightly newer part, with stone and brick walls; a third part was added subsequently.




A few minutes' walk from the retreat, the medieval village of Montisi straddles the past and the present, housing only a few hundred residents and the handful of shops they need for everyday items. a small negozio di alimentari. a small but busy forno. a farmacia (whose pharmacist shuttles between Montisi and the neighboring village of San Giovanni d'Asso). a barrino ("The Umbilicus of the World"), a bank, a sometimes-open post offic, and a few artisanal gift shops. Montisi is quiet in January, having just finished the Epiphany celebration featuring a visit from la befana, a witch who dispenses gifts to local children.


Montisi village is, at its centre, a medieval wonder. Its narrow streets … have been unchanged for centuries.
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