The Santa Maddalena Foundation for Writers and Botanists
The Santa Maddalena Foundation for Writers and Botanists was established with the later addition of the Festival degli Scrittori in Florence to honor the great novelist and memoirist Gregor von Rezzori. The Foundation’s aim is to offer a retreat to writers and botanists that provides freedom and tranquility for work. There are four resident Fellowships available during each season of the year. The Foundation gives special consideration to writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and scripts – and writers engaged in works on the natural world.
Gregor von Rezzori felt that his well being as a writer was made possible by the roots he was finally able to put down in Santa Maddalena. And though he often said that he was delighted his guests did not grow roots there themselves, he was happy in the knowledge that they did become addicted to the inspiring qualities of the place.
Bruce Chatwin described his love for Santa Maddalena in many of his writings. An accomplished traveler, he often noted how a place can fulfill essential needs for writers, providing inspiration and often the means for dealing with a paralyzing case of writer’s block. As Chatwin notes, this was as true for deskbound writers such as Flaubert, Tolstoy, Zola, and Proust, as it was for literary vagabonds like Melville,Hemingway, Gogol, and Dostoevsky, whose writing lives “were a headlong round of hotels and rented rooms-and, in the case of the last, a Siberian prison.”
“As for myself,” Chatwin wrote, “I have tried to write in such places as an African mud hut (with a wet towel tied on my head), an Athonite monastery, a writers’ colony, a moorland cottage, even a tent. But whenever the dust storms come, the rainy season sets in, or a pneumatic drill destroys all hope of concentration, I curse myself and ask: what am I doing here? “Why am I not at the Tower?”
“The Tower is the place where I have always worked, clear headedly and well, in winter and in summer, by day or night – And the places you work well are the places you love most.” Bruce Chatwin
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