Letter from the Director

August 3rd, 2023

Dear Civitellians and Friends of Civitella,

Umbria is in the full grip of summer. Sunflowers are in bloom in the fields below the Castle. Our vegetable garden is yielding a veritable ratatouille of tomatoes and eggplants and at night, a large yellow moon shines above Monte Corona.

Since I began as Executive Director in June, it has been a joy to observe our Fellows as they become fast friends, delve into their work, join us on excursions to nearby città d’arte, and enjoy the homemade spirits after dinner.

It has been an equal joy to get to know and lead our kind and dedicated staff, who make this residency shine. Former Fellows often tell me Civitella is the best of all the world’s residencies, for the quality of the experience we offer, and I fully agree.

In a recent essay in The Washington Post, novelist Rebecca Makkai wrote of how the pandemic made many people too anxious to socialize, transforming extroverts into introverts: “I’m talking about people choosing to be alone because they find the prospect of seeing strangers or even friends too overwhelming; people no-showing for ticketed events; people choosing Netflix over supporting a friend’s art show or concert or garage sale.”

I’ve thought about this essay a lot lately. To me, it only underscores how essential our Civitella is. The togetherness we create here in four groups a year—the conviviality, warmth and kindness, the shared meals and laughter—are today ever more precious and fundamental. Community like this is what knits together the world.

Thank you for your continued support of our vital work.

Alla prossima,
Rachel Donadio
Executive Director