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I was seventeen years old and as I watched my step on the suicidally thin strips of footpath, I never imagined that I would marry one of the Italian boys on the Vespas that shot up and down the tiny, medieval streets of Florence.

But one year after arriving in Florence to study Italian, I did fall in love. There followed eighteen years of going back and forth between Italy and Sydney, trying to decide where to live. During these early years of oscillation, I won a scholarship to the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. After graduating, I became a radio journalist and reported for 2GB, Kiss FM and corresponded for the ABC, 2UE and the American Radio News Network. Ultimately I moved into television news and while Associate Producer with Channel 10 I wrote my first book – Walking Sydney, A Guide to 25 of Sydney’s Best Walks.

During those eighteen years I always, always went back to Florence to see my gorgeous Italian boyfriend. 

The move to live permanently in Italy and marry Paolo brought me two beautiful babies. Three books followed – The PromiseDeath in the Mountains and Naples: A Way of Love. My current work in progress keeps me busy travelling all over Italy. I hope you’ll join me on writing tips, formulas, updates and manuscript developments on my blog.

After four decades of living in and writing about Italy, I decided it was time to share what I have learnt here in Tuscany by helping other writers achieve their dreams. My Art of Writing retreats are held in Casentino, the mountains of Tuscany, where I have a holiday home and farm. The retreats are for beginning, emerging and established writers, in June and September. The Art of Writing is held in a small, family run farm hotel in the middle of an ancient forest. I bring famous publishers and published authors to the mountains of Tuscany (Casentino) to teach, share their journeys and appraise manuscripts. The retreats are small, only ten people per group, that way each writer and their project receives extremely close and personal attention. 

I hope you can join me. I’d love to meet you and help you take your idea to novel, in what I think is the perfect environment for creativity.

— Lisa Clifford

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Lisa Clifford on living, loving, and writing in Italy:

Getting candid with Carla Coulson.

Naples: A Way of Love Giveaway

Chatting with Girl in Florence’s Georgette Jupe on love, Italy, and the decision to stay