Spring 2019 Writer Retreat


A Central Italy and optional Naples retreat with prices starting at $5400
All roads lead to Rome. And bones.

Have a mystery or thriller rattling around your brain but can’t get the skeleton down? Need help reviving a manuscript lying comatose on your computer or dead under your bed? Let us help you flesh out your outline or book on our writing retreat to the marvelous and macabre sites of central Italy.

We’ll host morning workshops and one-on-one sessions to help you investigate how to complete a whodunit. Following a lunch break in a ristorante or trattoria, you can continue writing in a public garden or outdoor caffè, or you can seek inspiration on our excursions to some of Italy’s most bone-chilling attractions. In the evenings, we’ll meet in a piazza for a pre-dinner aperitivo to celebrate your investigative progress, help you crack any case issues, and plan the next day’s sleuthing.

After ten days with us in Italy’s creepy crypts, the mystery of how to write your mystery will be solved!


Rome with day trips by train to Bologna and Florence
April 7-14, 2019
Two additional days in Rome with a day trip to Naples (optional)
April 14-17, 2019


Residence Magnolia, a residential hotel in a Roman neighborhood one mile from the Vatican


Creep out at the Catacombs of St. Domitilla, the only one of Rome’s underground burial networks that still contains bones
Place your hand in the Mouth of Truth like Audrey Hepburn did
Jump out of your skin at the capuchin crypt decorated with the bones of 2,000 monks

Lunch with Traci’s Italian mystery writer friend who also writes for TV and movies
Climb one of the city’s two leaning towers that date to the Middle Ages
Shudder at the sight of Saint Catherine’s blackened corpse on her golden throne

Admire Michelangelo’s David because he’s spine-tingling in a good way
Shop at the Ponte Vecchio where gold has been sold for more than 1,000 years
Gross out at Galileo’s shriveled middle finger in a bell jar

Naples (optional)
Sip world-famous Neapolitan coffee at Caffè Gambrinus, a historic literary salon frequented by the intellectuals of the Belle Epoque
Eat at the restaurant that invented pizza margherita in 1890 for the Queen of Italy
Tremble at the ossuary where locals decorate the abandoned bones of plague and WWII victims in exchange for protection

Rome (two optional days)
Stay in The Eternal City to go beneath the Vatican to visit the papal tombs
Toast to the trip and your mystery with a glass of limoncello, and then throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain to make sure you come back to the dark side of Italy!



$5400 Rome, Bologna, and Florence
$800 Rome and Naples (optional)


To make sure the trip is a good fit for you and your book project, email Diana diana@lemonlit.com or Traci traci@lemonlit.com. We’ll schedule a fifteen-minute phone or video chat to discuss your writing skills, your needs, and how we can get you on track to completion.


Following your consultation, pay in full or reserve your spot with a $1000 deposit (non-refundable). We will invoice you for the balance, which is due October 1, 2018.



An individual phone consultation to discuss your book project and goals
A suggested reading list and worksheets (as needed) to prepare you to arrive ready to write
A group video chat for trip FAQ and a mini Italian lesson

During the Trip
Three group writing instruction lectures
A one-on-one mentoring session with Diana or Traci
Single-room lodging plus VAT and hotel tax
Transportation to and from Bologna, Florence, and Naples
Welcome dinner (with limoncello!)
Farewell dinner (with more limoncello!)

An individual phone consultation to make sure you’re on track to complete your book
Access to our closed Facebook group to stay in touch and exchange ideas with fellow lemonistas (our nickname for ourselves and you)


Airfare to and from Italy
Transportation to and from hotel and within cities
Lunch, pre-dinner aperitivi, dinner
Entrance fees to museums and exhibits
Personal expenses


Group and one-on-one brainstorming sessions
Connecting with fellow writers
Learning Italian language, culture, and history


Some countries require a passport to be valid at least six months beyond the dates of the trip. Although Italy is not currently included among this group, travel laws are subject to change at any time. We therefore recommend that you have at least six months left on your passport prior to its expiration date. Otherwise, you might not be permitted to board your flights.

If you can’t make the BONES OF A BOOK retreat, reserve a spot on our LITERATURE AND LEMONS retreat on the Amalfi Coast September 30 – October 7, 2018 with an optional Rome stay October 7-10, 2018.