Dana Prescott
A Letter from the Director June 2014

By today a heavy summer heat has settled over the Castle. Group II Fellows are grateful for the cool of interior spaces, portable fans, and the appearance of an occasional ice cube, so rare in Umbria. Already sinking into a rhythm of work, rest, and exploration, these newly minted Fellows represent seven nations and our three disciplines of writing, visual arts, and music. From a Mexican science writer to a Malaysian composer to a performance artist from California, they bring varied backgrounds and a richness of experience that is already the heady stuff of conversations at the dinner table.

From where I sit today, writing the introduction to this evening's lecture and catching up on email, I hear Maurizio's tractor in the distance mowing yet another acre of the lawn. The birds and dogs are temporarily silenced by the heat, and roses, broom, and fresh grass perfume the air. My morning's work was happily interrupted by the delivery of fresh goat cheeses from outside Anghiari. It's harvest time and the neighboring fields are dotted with spools of hay ready to be gathered and stored.

It's remarkable to think of our Foundation's 20 years of welcoming international visitors, friends, and Fellows, to this special corner of Umbria. Over 500 Fellows from over 70 nations have learned to correctly pronounce 'Umbertide' and to negotiate purchases at the market. They have relished the generosity and spirit of our founder, Ursula Corning, whose presence continues to be felt on a daily basis on each of us at Civitella Ranieri.


With warm regards from Italy, Dana