USA/Italy | 2002
Gabriella de Ferrari is a writer and art historian. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel
A Cloud on Sand, and most recently,
Gringa Latina: A Woman of Two Worlds, a memoir of her Italian-Peruvian background. She lives in New York.
I came to Santa Maddalena in June 2002. I stayed for five weeks. Tomorrow I go back to New York having accomplished a great deal. Above all I have discovered that within me exists the ability to write again and have done so. When I arrived and since September 11 I lived in fear that for me the possibility of writing had disappeared forever. The events of that dreadful day took place a few blocks from where I live and they took away along with so much else my ability to concentrate and be creative.
Santa Maddalena is an oasis of calm and beauty tucked away in a corner of the Tuscan landscape. It is inspiring, peaceful, devoid of banal distractions. One day merges into the next, the rhythms of life are filled with the beauty of nature, the company of books and of exotic objects that are placed with serenity and taste in the vast rooms of a large house and its accompanying tower. The spirit of its founding writer Gregor von Rezzori looms large and is its guiding light. Here, his wife Beatrice welcomes writers from all places and provides the kind of magic that allows creative juices to materialize.
I leave Santa Maddalena filled with enthusiasm and optimism for my writing life, with my confidence restored and with gratitude for Beatrice, the determined and generous master of Santa Maddalena.