Greetings from Umbria

12 Oct|Tom Hodgkinson

The view from a pilgrimage to Monterchi

Idler retreaters gather in Umbria for a week of philosophizing, learning and making things

I write to you this week from a small village on the border of Umbria and Tuscany where we are on the first ever Idler Retreat.

Twenty of us have gathered in a lovely old Italian manor house for a week of philosophizing, learning, making things and wandering around medieval city-states gazing at frescos by Piero della Francesca. Erm… what’s not to like, basically?

The gates to Villa Pia

Historian Tom Holland gave a brilliant talk on the Trump-like processes whereby Rome conquered the world, back in the day. I have delivered lectures on the Cynics, medieval values and the life of William Morris. And Idler retreaters – a fun bunch of interesting people if ever there was one – have been making gorgeous commonplace books under the expert tutelage of Ros Badger, Idler Academy Head of Craft.

Tom Hodgkinson gives a lecture on medieval values

Every evening we enjoy a fantastic five-course feast along a long table with a wood burner blazing in the corner. The beer and wine flow freely, the sun shines every day and there is no washing up to do. Truly we have found the big rock candy mountains – but with a lot of culture thrown in. We’ll be back next year so do watch this space.