• sensing italy with jan cornall, 2019
  • sensing italy with jan cornall, 2019
  • sensing italy with jan cornall, 2019
  • sensing italy with jan cornall, 2019

Sensing Italy with Jan Cornall, 2019

WHEN: 25 May, 2019

WHERE: Palazzo Donati, La Marche, Italy

COST: Early Bird AUD $4450.00 plus €250 cash on arrival

  • Details
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For writers and artists 

The Create Escape has proudly collaborated with Jan Cornall, Sydney and Luisa Donati of Palazzo Donati to design this exciting creative immersion workshop holiday in Italy for you.

7 nights, 8 days in the village of Mercatello sul Metauro, Pesaro/Urbino, Italy. Immerse yourself in an extraordinary Italian village experience as you learn new ways to bring the senses into your writing and art making. *Take part in cooking and cheese making workshops, visits to nearby historic villages, local printmakers and artisans. Daily creativity workshops will show you how to turn your delicious indulgence into fine art.

  • Stay in the historic Palazzo Donati in Mercatello sul Metauro with our host Luisa Donati
  • Take part in daily creativity workshops and readings with Jan.
  • Get to know the locals and explore this beautiful medieval village at your doorstep.
  • Take a cooking workshop.
  • Visit local artists in and around our village.
  • Explore the Unesco protected town of Urbino and the extraordinary Palazzo Ducale.
  • Experience an outstanding banquet dinner or two cooked exclusively for us by local cooks who are passionate about local food, wine, music and good laughter
  • Eat truly delicious local food. *This area is a paradise of porcini mushrooms, tarfufi (nero and bianco), strozzapreti pasta (strangle the priest!), cheeses and local wines.

The Location

We will be staying in Palazzo Donati in the village of Mercatello sul Metauro in La Marche.

Many travelers have enjoyed the delights of Tuscany, but relatively few have discovered and experienced the unique charms of its’ warm and welcoming neighbors in Le Marche.
 Le Marche is in the eastern side of central Italy nestled between Tuscany, Emilia‐Romagna, and Umbria.

This region is renowned for some of Italy's most delicious food. Think of food gathered from the wild; mushrooms, game, nuts, field herbs and – the area’s greatest culinary treasure – truffles are an important feature in the Marche. And of course, pecorino cheeses, olive oil and wines.

You’ll soon find out why Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Gennaro Contaldo all LOVE this region, these people and indeed this village.

The Retreat

  • You have the option to start a new project, revitalise an old one or simply capture the experience in your chosen art form.
  • There will be daily creativity workshops and readings with Jan.
  • Time to work on your chosen project and time to explore the local surroundings and visit some artists and artisans who live in the village.

The Workshop 

Immerse yourself in an extraordinary Italian village experience as you learn how to employ the senses for your writing and art making.

Morning workshops and cocktail hour readings/sharings will include meditative writing exercises and supportive feedback sessions.
Each day we will investigate a different sense — taste, scent, visual, auditory, texture with prompts also given for observing weather elements and times of day.

Participants will be encouraged to keep a creative journal — a daily diary of the senses where they can record encounters with people, places, food and wine of the region. Every sensual moment will be up for grabs as we learn how to turn our delicious indulgence into fine art.

Other Activities

A cooking workshop with Anna and Paola
Walk to the tiny village of Pieve della Castello – where Dante Aligheri’s exile from Florence was planned by Corso Donati in 1301. Dante, the famous poet and politian who married Gemma Donati had become a distant relative of Corso Donati.
Yes, our host family has some interesting history.
A walk to visit an internationally-celebrated sculpture/artist Pasquale Martini to enjoy lunch in his sculpture garden and there is an option to do a simple carving workshop with him.

Optional extra: *Cheese making workshop with Paola

About Jan Cornall

Jan Cornall of Writer’s Journey supports writers and creative artists of all genres through the long process of realising their artistic goals, through international writing and creativity workshops, journeys and mentoring services.

Based in Sydney, Jan has been awarded a number of grants and fellowships for her work and has written plays, musicals, screenplays, a novel, a collection of stories and poems and three CDs of songs.

Jan also loves to sketch and make artist books.

Browse Jan’s work portfolio here. ... More

With a Master of Arts in Cultural and Creative Practice Jan has taught creative writing for nearly two decades at writer’s centres, community colleges, universities (UTS, WSU) and writer’s festivals in Australia and Asia. Using a technique she has developed called Meditative Writing, Jan takes writers deep into their creative source.

Dedicated to nurturing the unique attributes of each writer, her writing workshops produce startling results. Each year a number of Jan’s first time writers go on to publish with major publishing houses.

Getting to us


Our tour begins and ends in Arezzo at 2pm. You can fly into Rome, Florence or Pisa or Milan and catch a train through to Arezzo, no direct trains are available. We suggest taking a direct train from Rome airport /Fiumincino to Florence that takes about 2 hours and you can either stay overnight or go on to Arezzo. The train to Arezzo from Rome takes just over 3 hours to Arezzo.
Arezzo is a beautiful Tuscan town that was featured in the movie ‘Life is Beautiful’ and worthy of a visit for a day or more.
NOTE that if coming from Australia or New Zealand we recommend you arrive in Europe a few days before our event begins so it will give you time to recover from jetlag and you can be ready to begin the workshop and start the fun.
We will be picking you up from the train station in Arezzo and driving in a minivan or car convoy up to Mercatello sul Metuaro. It’s 1.5 hour drive.


Palazzo Donati is a magnificent building located in the main square of the quaint and quiet village of Mercatello Sul Metauro, deep in the green hills of Le Marche.
Crossing the entrance door of this ancient palace of medieval origin means jumping in time and discover the authenticity of the Italian Renaissance. The long main corridor ends in a large internal garden, an oasis of peace among roses, fruit trees and ancient trees.

The Palazzo is divided into two parts, full of details and timeless charm, to be discovered climbing the large stone staircase leading to the first floor.

The left wing opens onto an elegant and spacious room, with Renaissance decorations while the right wing is formed by two floors. Composed of three double rooms and a bathroom, the left wing is perfect for moments of relaxing in the warm pastel colors.

The right wing is instead divided into two additional floors: the first floor consists of two areas used as a kitchen, one modern and the other with a rustic charm with an antique fireplace, from a formal dining room and two more informal areas, where you can spend pleasant moments in a family environment.

The first floor of the right wing of Palazzo Donati is also composed of two double bedrooms with 1 bathroom, a utility room with washing machine and iron.

On the upper floor, there are three double bedrooms, all with private bathrooms; the entire right wing is also equipped with central heating.

A fascinating place to spend holidays between slow rhythms, flavors and wrapping colors.

A village full of fabulous characters and timeless experiences –

Benvenuto nel nostro palazzo di famiglia " - Luisa Donati


EARLY BIRD cost at time of publication (29 October, 2018) is as listed below. EARLY BIRD rate expires on January 1, 2019.

We take all major currencies via bank transfers and AUD only via credit card.
The Early Bird costs are outlined below.


$4480 €2786 $3170 £2476

Full Rate (Bookings made after January 1, 2019)

Cost at time of publication (29 October, 2018) is as listed below.

$4950 €3078 $3502 £2800

Cash on Arrival

We require an additional cash payment of €250, this is to be paid to our host on arrival

Payment terms.

Deposit: 20% of the full listed rate (excluding cash on arrival) is payable at time of booking to secure your place. This can be paid via credit card in AUD or through bank transfer. 

We take all major currencies via bank transfers.

The Full cost (excluding cash payment on arrival) payable in full 60 days prior to event start. 

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