Orvieto Retreat
Location: Istituto San Lodovico, Orvieto (TN), Italy
Leader: Heidi Hornbacher
Next dates: Sunday, May 26 – Saturday, June 8, 2024

Develop a new idea, or figure out why that old one isn’t quite working. Our workshop-style classes, practical lessons, and one-to-one consultations will help get your feature or television script ready for agents and studios.

The Italy writing retreat is designed to move each project forward, offering each participant analysis and discussion with our leader and collaboration with fellow writers. We focus on exchanging ideas and pages so that you feel inspired and productive. We offer practical exercises to hone your writing skills and teach you a few tricks of the screen trade. Our skills-based mini-lessons will tackle specifics such as subtext, stakes, beginnings, creating characters that pop, “getting in late and getting out early” from a scene, defining relationships, being precise and concise, and much more.

For new material, we will guide you through assembling a script, from pitch to outline to completed scenes. If you’d like to perfect an existing project, we will break it down and put it back together again, giving you insight into what works and what doesn’t, so that you can leave with a strong, streamlined screenplay that you’ll feel confident handing over to any agent or studio in town.

Also, you’ll be away from your daily grind working against a backdrop of beautiful landscapes, delicious cuisine and inspiring culture – ITALY! You’ll have the option of writing breaks ranging from town walks, to cathedral and underground city tours, wine-tastings, and other exploration.

See Registration to sign up. More information under our video, below.




Sunday: Arrival & Welcome Dinner
Monday-Friday: Morning workshops; afternoon writing time and 1-to1 consultations
Saturday & Sunday: writing time; optional outings
Monday – Thursday: Morning workshops; afternoon writing time and 1-to1 consultations
Friday: Morning writing time; afternoon workshop; group dinner
Saturday: Departure by 11am

We may modify any of the above, taking student preferences into account. We will also offer group outings to local places of interest.


Our past students have a lot of wonderful things to say about us. Watch our testimonial video and read other Alumni Testimonials.

Also check out our Venue, Yearbook photo albums, and Liz Hara’s blog about her experience.



Our Italy retreat is recommended for writers with some screenwriting training. Although we have welcomed writers at all levels of experience, our ideal participant has written at least one script, is familiar with format, and has a basic understanding of script writing software such as Final Draft. We are delighted to work with first-time screenwriters via our online workshops and coaching services.

To maximize your time, your workshop leader may ask you to submit story outlines, beat sheets, or treatments in advance. As part of the application, you must submit a brief description of the project you would like to tackle in Italy. You may change your mind, as long as you discuss the switch in advance with our leader. To apply, see Registration.

We are a paperless program. All submissions and exchanges of pages will be electronic. You will need a reliable laptop and a screenwriting program capable of converting files to PDF format for distribution. A tablet with an application like Good Notes or Final Draft Reader may be helpful.

We ask writers who participate in the Italy retreat to be open to constructive feedback, and to be willing to provide such feedback to others. We expect all participants to adhere to our Code of Conduct.