Letter from the Director

19 September 2021

Dear Civitellians,

Mornings here at the Castle demand a sweater now, late evenings, too, as there is a nip of autumn presenting itself at sunrise and sunset. But midday is hot, we avoid the penetrating heat, especially on excursions, keeping to the shady side of the street. Pools are closing, bicycling is picking up, as are long walks through the amazing and varied countryside here.

We have just said goodbye to Group III and are happily planning for the imminent arrivals of Group IV, to be followed by guests involved in our ‘Umbrian Sojourns,’ our winter program of travel study groups. Many alumni will return to take advantage of the autumn and winter months while our Fellowship Season is closed. In early September I began my 14th year as Executive Director of Civitella. I remember saying to myself when I arrived here, “Hey, I’m ambitious, I will do this for a few years and then move on.” But that was before I fell under the spell of the Castle, its ‘genius loci,’ my dedicated staff, and the amazing conversations with worldwide Fellows. Every group is different, every conversation is revealing, and in spite of the occasional problem or challenge, the day to day beauty of Umbria and our program still speak to me.

All of us on staff consider ourselves guests here, we are all guests of Ursula Corning, our Founder who died in 2002, and her values still have an imprint on every decision we make. She loved extending hospitality to a wide net of diverse friends (‘from bankers to backpackers” she would say), and she loved sharing Umbrian discoveries with her guests, taking them to Gubbio, Assisi, Spello, and beyond. That same generous hospitality and a desire to share what is truly Umbrian are still at the heart of our work today. Come join us!

Dana Prescott
Executive Director