Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Category: Writing in Italy

A Writer’s Dream and the Writing Process


Amalfi Coast Photo by Margie MIklasWriters each each have their own preferences for writing.  Some write early in the morning, some write at night, and most of the good ones write every day.

Margie writing Photo by Margie MiklasI have to have silence when I write and I like to be alone so I have no distractions. I find that I like to write near the ocean, where the sounds of the waves drown out any other sounds. For me the water is  relaxing and soothing. I thought it would also be inspiring if I could spend a couple of weeks alone at the sea on the Amalfi Coast to finish writing my first novel, a work I had begun two years ago.

I am fortunate in that my dream became a reality and I have been able to spend two weeks last month in Positano on the beautiful Amalfi  Coast finishing up Critical Cover-Up, my first novel.

Writing in Positano Photo by Margie MiklasThis has been…

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by Arielle Tan

During my European cruise last summer, I had the chance to visit 3 cities in Italy; The Vatican, Sorrento and Pompeii. Sorrento, a small city in the region of Naples, is definitively worth a visit even if it will only take you a few hours. Away from the busy cosmopolitan cities such as Rome, Milan and Florence, Sorrento has its very own charm. I visited the Piazza Tasso, the Cattedrale dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo and the Vallone dei Mulini with my sister and everything was beyond beautiful.

As its name suggests, the Piazza Tasso is the center market place of the city and it has everything you need: restaurants, shops, lounges and little markets. Don’t underestimate the small size of this city, as it is a real hub of activity. The streets are filled with local stores and local products and it is the perfect occasion to taste Sorrento’s specialty: the limoncello – a lemon-flavored hard liquor. Lemons are at the heart of the city and of its culture. You will see many local products either made with or having lemon references such as soaps, liquors, food, accessories and clothes.

Not too far from the center of the piazza is the gorgeous Cattedrale dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo. It was built in the 11th century before being rebuilt in the 15th century in Romanesque style. Upon entering, I was amazed by the wonderful marbles, the gorgeous painted ceiling, the frescoes, and their many marquetry. The cathedral’s ornate interior really shows the wealth in details of all its artworks. Don’t miss the diorama of the Nativity at the entrance!

The next stop is Sorrento’s truly hidden gem. My sister and I almost missed it as nobody told us to look out for it. I am talking about the Il Vallone dei Mulini (Depp Valley of the mills). While walking over a stream, we saw over the street’s railing an abandoned 10th century mill embraced by Mother Nature’s arms. It is a beautiful scenery (though some might find it a bit creepy).

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If you ever get the opportunity to visit Naples, I really suggest you to visit the charming city of Sorrento. Little warning: even if there are a few beaches in this region, I don’t suggest you to do a tanning session since the fees to enter and to have a place on those beaches are very expensive. Leave your beach activities for Mykonos and embrace the Italian culture instead!




With all my affection




Torna a Surriento

Come Back to Sorrento






Writing in Italy


by Alexa Schnee

Writing in Italy has come to be an experience that I will never forget as an author. I have a book project that is set in Italy, and I had a taste of what it was like being an author in a foreign country when I was researching it three years ago when I was living in Venice. The book is about Casanova, the 16th century libertine who stole possibly thousands of women’s hearts. While that project is finished and going through the self-editing process, I am also working on another novel. Although it is set in Montana in America, which was where I grew up, I would not have had the opportunity to work on it has I have if I hadn’t come to Italy. Distance from the setting you are writing about can often be a good thing—inspiring new creativity and thoughts.

I often come up with some of my best ideas when taking a walk or run, and Florence has offered the perfect place for me to explore. Writing can be an extremely frustrating process, but usually getting out and seeing something new helps to formulate a new way to approach a specific scene or dialogue strain that might be troubling me. In America, unless you live in a large city with access to a lot of different things to do, it’s hard to feel as though you are gaining a cultural experience—in Italy, taking a stroll through the streets is enough.

Whether I take some time to peruse the different museums Florence has to offer or journey to a town not so far away like Pisa, there is always something to do or see. I have noticed a huge difference in my writing since arriving. Everything I put on paper seems to have a lot more depth, something every writer strives for in his or her work. To have been able to reach a new maturity in who I am as a writer could have been achieved somewhere else, but to say that my writing grew here is a privilege.

While I head back to the States in about a month, I am planning on returning in the fall to continue my writing and to travel around Europe and Italy. I’ve come to need this place in order to produce my best writing, and nothing brings me more joy than knowing I will return to a country that now feels like a second home—a location that continues to inspire and offer something new every day.


Alexa Schnee has always wanted to be a writer. She loves the smell of the bookstore, because nothing in the world smells exactly like it. When she isn’t writing, she’s murdering some musical instrument or hitting the road. She will never, ever like math and will always love dancing in the Montana rain. She is a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and currently spends her days traveling the world and drinking too much coffee. Her first novel was released April 2012.


A Conversation with Young Author Alex Schnee


Meet You in Florence…

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