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An Adventure with My Creative Writing Class

My creative writing class is very small -- only three people -- Katie, Milan, and me. When Jeff had told us previously that he wanted to take us to see his home in a tiny Tuscan village, I had not known what to expect.

That morning, we all met at the San Marco gate in anticipation. The drive was pleasant,  sparked with conversation about Jeff’s experiences here in Tuscany over the years and their influence on his novels. The incredible azure landscape took my breath away. We stopped on a steep hill for photographs. The view was mesmerizing. That had been our first destination.

After about an hour drive through the stunning Tuscan landscape, worn over the years by the agricultural uses of the land, we arrived at the tiny village. It was called Chiusure. It appeared similar to several other Tuscan villages I had visited with the school, however the vibe was cozier and more welcoming. The first encounter with the village was a quick drive through.

Instead of stopping at the village, we headed to a small, hidden paradise. It was a site specific installation an American Artist had been working for years, called Bosco della Ragnaia.  He had turned a patch of ordinary woods into a magnificent garden, filled with hidden treasures and witty, quirky sculptures. There were pomegranate trees, herb gardens and mushrooms.

After our adventure through the gardens, we returned to Chiusure. There, Jeff and Valeria welcomed us into a beautiful, cozy home where we shared lunch, conversation, and laughter. Jeff’s cat, Elvis, was also quite a pleasure to meet.

We ended the day with a hike through the Tuscan countryside, topped with a spectacular view of the village from the top of a nearby hill.

I think that beautiful day will stay with me forever.

Lisa Mavrodieva

Siena Art Institute student