“Working with Fiona to prepare and run the course at Villa Lugara was a seamless, efficient and enjoyable process. The house and grounds are beautifully suited to creative courses, with space and set-up for everything from contemplative individual practice to lectures to full-group workshops, with as much gorgeous landscape and cuisine as you can take in too. Fiona and Steve were incredibly helpful and quick to respond to all queries and needs. I wouldn’t hesitate to run another course at Villa Lugara, or to recommend it to other creative instructors looking for a beautiful, well-run, inspiring setting and venue.”

– Emma Hooper, creative writing tutor:

“What I liked most about Villa Lugara was the feeling of welcome and inclusivity. The house was comfortable and friendly, with all the services I needed and then some. The setting is beautiful and thought inspiring, and meeting such a range of people, having such a range of conversations, was fascinating.

I loved my time at Villa Lugara, where the people and place were so lovely. The hosts were incredibly welcoming and I very quickly felt comfortable. The house is beautiful and quirky to explore. The pool overlooks the folding green hills of northern Italy and every meal was above and beyond what I expected. Meals were full of wonderful flavours and locally produced food – much of it from Villa Lugara’s own garden. I met a fascinating group of people of all ages and backgrounds and really enjoyed the conversations we had over workshops, wine, and watching the stars. I went with ‘writer’s block’ and came home inspired, ready to pound the pages with my prose. After all, paradise, it turns out, really is a good place to perfect it.”

– Jason Hill, student

“What I loved most about Villa Lugara was the location, the views were stunning, but most of all, Fiona and Steve were wonderful hosts, welcoming, warm and generous. Also fabulous food and great wine!” 

– Mina Bancheva, student

“What I most liked about the Villa was the peaceful setting and the dramatic, panoramic, distant views of the mountains and valleys were breath taking. The location and course succeeded in getting my mind away from all the business of life and the politics of Britain. It was great to be in the convivial company of like minded souls. I appreciated the intelligent conversation the extremely well versed hosts plus the generously stocked library and film projection room.

Everything was pretty much perfect. My room was lovely with spectacular views. The house was a delight and beautifully decorated and furnished throughout. The studio-ettes in the barn worked exceptionally well allowing private time to work plus plenty of space to gather as a group. Everything that I needed was supplied.

It was a top experience which I couldn’t fault. The food and drink were very good and plentiful. Freshly cooked, locally sourced and seasonal. And my food choices were catered for extremely well.” 

– Janet Dorey, student

“I can not say enough about Villa Lugara as a retreat for creatives! Not only is the setting simply stunning but Fiona and Steve are the perfect hosts. The Villa itself is beautifully restored and decorated, the individual workspaces are unique and stay cool in the summer, the pool provides a constant sense of relaxation whether you are in it, or chatting about writing and art while sitting on the edges. I was fortunate to lead a yoga practice every morning while attending a recent writer’s retreat and so looked forward to it each day…out in the fresh air, overlooking the pool, and taking in the gorgeous countryside. Fiona had everything we needed to hand and has created a space where one can not only work diligently and with great concentration, but enjoy every minute of it as well! Would not hesitate to go back.

The food was so fresh.. and as a vegetarian… just loved the use of the garden and the presentation.”

– Toni Chapelle, student

“I went to Villa Lugara with an intention to challenge myself and to get out of the comfort zone of well-known. As a beginner in creative writing I was so lucky to join a group of such brilliant, so advanced in writing professionals who were so kind, honest and eager to help, that I returned home with the complete plan, the detailed feedback and priceless advices on my future work development.

In a Da Vinci like surroundings of the Villa, Fiona has managed to re-create a truly Renaissance environment, making it a paradise home for all of us. The workshops and conversations in between, great dinners and aperitif o’clock at a beautiful David Hockney pool… all these moments will stay in my heart forever. I was inspired, I learnt a lot, I made friends – I did not even dream about such a great start of an exciting journey I am embarking.

I am so thankful to everyone who made it happen.”

– Yaroslava Savelyeva, student

“The relaxed and friendly atmosphere, Fiona and Steve are very welcoming, it felt like visiting family or good friends.

I enjoyed the portico with its fabulous views in particular for mealtimes and painting when shelter was needed.

The food was Amazing – surpassed my expectations.”

– Cathy Page, student

“The large light bedroom was very comfortable bed; the bathroom was large enough and close by so that sharing wasn’t a problem. The dining room looked stunning with a huge table accommodating everyone. The reading room was very comfortable.”

– Elaine Johnston Smith, student

“Thank you for a wonderful stay at Villa Lugara…I have never felt so well looked after and by and with such interesting people…I loved our stable studios too…everything was so well thought through and organised…and as for our meals!!!

– Emma Galloway, student

“I loved the fact that it was your home – this meant it had a really relaxed and welcoming feel. I loved our little separate studios which were beautifully designed and very practical.

I loved the visits. It was fascinating to get a feel of town and village life, apart from the painting, and each venue had plenty of possible views.

It was a delightful week. Thank you to you all so much for a very memorable time.”

– Janet Schlapp, student

“The bedroom was lovely and the bed very comfortable. I loved the spacious bathroom.”

– Joanna Bridge, student

“Wonderful place and location, Fiona and everyone brilliantly hospitable

The food and drink were much better than expected or previously experienced on this type of holiday.”

– Liz Tredea, student

“What I liked most about Villa Lugara was the ambience; a feeling of welcome. I felt like a house guest not a hotel guest. Loved the rooms and the fittings.”

– Simon Dale, student

“The stables were excellent. I loved all the brickwork and the mini community feel inside.

The meals were perfect. Don’t change anything.

We had a very inspiring, relaxing and enjoyable time.

Fantastic views, the mist and the remoteness

Love the pool!”

– Victor and Sarah Crew, student

“The house is beautiful, and has been sympathetically restored. Fiona and Steve were great hosts, they made me feel very much at home and nothing was too much trouble for them.

Beautiful location overlooking a valley.

Good company and a great course in a lovely location.

The food was wonderful which enhanced the whole experience. Louise is a great cook! Fiona and Steve also provided us with a plentiful supply of delicious wines and beers.

The whole experience was great!”

– Celeste Kelly, student