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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Dare luce all'oscurita


    un quadro grande fatto del gruppo

Ogni workshop mi riserva una sorpresa ma quest'ultimo a Cittadella più di ogni altro.

Quindi cosa c'era di così diverso?

Abbiamo provato cose nuove.

Abbiamo avuto un Open Day tra i workshop e abbiamo invitato il pubblico a girovagare e vedere cosa stavamo facendo. Abbiamo allestito una mostra di opere d'arte passate e presenti, alcune della nostra mostra di Civitanova Alta a luglio, e, la cosa più sorprendente di tutte è stata un concerto 'one-man' di GONG di Giovanni Del Savio, dove ha dato bagni di gong gratuiti alle persone.

Abbiamo dato dimostrazioni in stampa monocromatica.

Silvio, il titolare di Cittadella, ha orchestrato il catering e anche il tempo ha fatto del suo meglio.

E il gruppo?

Un meraviglioso miscuglio di gente di lingua inglese e italiana che conversava in quel modo meraviglioso che ha l'arte di dissolvere le barriere della comunicazione.

Abbiamo suonato e dipinto; ha provato entrambi contemporaneamente e ha scoperto il potere e la bellezza della vibrazione, come svuota la mente occupata dal suo chiacchiericcio senza senso e consente il colore, la forma e la bellezza.

Abbiamo fatto delle gite alle calde sorgenti minerali di Lu Vurghe per vivere meraviglie sensoriali dove tutti i sensi si fondono in armonia.

Abbiamo percorso le colline tra Montemonaco e Montefortino fino all'alta valle del fiume Ambro, salendo oltre l'Abbazia di Madonna dal Ambro fino agli antichi boschetti pagani e alle cascate dove abbiamo scritto poesie Haiku come se fosse la via più naturale del mondo per rendere omaggio alla natura in questo luogo sacro.

Abbiamo iniziato le nostre giornate con Ci Kung intorno alla piscina e li abbiamo finiti parlando fino a notte fonda, ben dopo che gli altri ospiti di Cittadella avevano lasciato i loro tavoli da pranzo

I giorni in studio ci hanno visto suonare e dipingere e scrivere poesie in armonia l'uno con l'altro e spesso anche insieme, (vedi pittura sopra) e abbiamo riso, cantato e spesso pianto per la pura gioia di essere vivi e nutriti dal maestoso Monte Vettore sospeso in il cielo sopra di noi.

Nella nostra ultima serata abbiamo fatto musica. Giovanni ha distribuito tra noi i suoi numerosi strumenti musicali e (per qualche motivo) Giovanni ha scelto me come direttore d'orchestra. Ma ha funzionato.

E l'ultima mattina il gruppo ha realizzato insieme un ultimo dipinto, che abbiamo lasciato come regalo per Silvio

Tale è la natura dei nostri laboratori Cittadella; celebrare l'arte e la vita stessa, rischiare e sostenersi a vicenda nel creare oltre noi stessi, dare luce all'oscurità.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Lighting the Dark

A creativity workshop in Italy

a group painting by workshop participants

Every workshop brings a surprise to me but this last one at Cittadella more so than any other.

So what was so different?

We tried new things.

We had an Open Day between workshops and invited the public to wander around and see what we were up to. We put up an exhibition of past and present artwork, some from our Civitanova Alta show in July, and then a GONG one-man concert by Giovanni dal Salvio, where he also gave free gong baths to visitors

We gave demonstrations in mono printing too,

and Silvio, the owner of Cittadella, orchestrated the catering (and the weather did its best as well)

And the group?

A wonderful mixture of English and Italian speaking folk who conversed in that wonderful way that art has of dissolving barriers of comunication.

We gonged and painted; tried both simultaneousy, and discovered the power and beauty of vibration, how it empties the busy mind of its nonsensical chattering and allows in colour and form and beauty.

We took trips out to the hot mineral springs of Lu Vurghe to experience sensorial wonders where all the senses blend in harmony.

We travelled across the hills between Montemonaco and Montefortino to the upper valley of the river Ambro, climbing up past the Abbey of Madonna dal Ambro to the old pagan copses and waterfalls where we wrote Haiku poetry as if it were the most natural way in the world as a way of paying homage to nature in this sacred spot.

We began our days with Ci Kung around the pool and ended them talking into the night, well after other Cittadella guests had left their dinner tables

Studio days found us gonging and painting and writng poetry in harmony with each other and often actually together too, (see painting above) and we laughed and sang and often cried at the sheer joy of being alive and nurtured by the majestic Monte Vettore hovering in the sky above us.

On our final evening we made music. Giovanni distributed his many musical instruments amongst us and (for whatever reason) he chose me to be the conductor. But it worked.

And on our final morning the group made one final painting together, which we left as a gift for Silvio

Such is the nature of our Cittadella workshops; to celebrate art and life itself, to take risks and to support each other in creating beyond ourselves and to give light to the dark.



Monday, August 9, 2021

Wednesdays Part 2


This is a photo of me sitting on a hillside beneath the majestic Monte Vettore

But it isn't just that

This is a photo of Judy Offord seemingly lost on the edge of a wood on the same hillside

But it isn't just that

This is a photo of Delfi Renzi sitting in the garden of our Energy Centre at Cittadella with Monte Vettore in the background

But it isn't just that either

Duncan Campbell was with us too on our Wednesday special but alas no photo of him. Probably up a tree somewhere, where he is oft wont to be

And listening.

We are all listening

Because this was our sensory day.

A day of opening and exploring our five senses

Spending time on each; a half an hour or so.

Because, you see, it is what we do when we enter our garden of now, our realm of creativity. We open our senses to nature

It is where our minds are free to accept the gifts that Creativity bestows on us; gifts or art; imagery, music, dance, poetry, and all the other wonders that allow us to create beyond ourselves and to give light to the darkness that ever threatens to engulf us,

Next Wednesday, The Sea


September workshops  in English and Italian

Cittadella where we work


Italy: Claudia 351.5042828

UK: Michael 328.3535358

Monday, July 26, 2021

What we do on Wednesdays

 Wednesday is our studio day.

We meet, we plan, we make art together .

Usually at my studio in Morrovalle.

Often in the countryside too, when members of our group host us for the day.

We are an international mix of artists which includes poets, authors, photographers and painters, most of whom live in Italy and others in the UK

Our weekends in the Sibillini mountains of Italy are held at Cittadella, our mountain retreat in the Sibillini National Park in September.

Our exhibitions

Earlier this month we had a group exhibition together in Civitanova Alta as part of the 'Rinascita' art celebrations there, first of a series we plan for 2022 where all our hopes are for the rebirth (rinascita) of creative life on our precious planet

Our webinars

Bi-weekly webinars are where we keep in touch with each other in real time, sharing our dreams and ideas about recovery and freedom. Where we share our artwork in poetry, photography and painting

My plan for 2022 is to make Le Marche our creativity hub within Italy, and as a first step, to form a new group (a pod) to exist and run parallel with our current one. And then another and so on and so on. To make Cittadella the energy centre of our activities, where we draw inspiration from its natural beauty and the glory of its setting, high up in the Sibillini mountain range in the lea of the majestic Monte Vettore


Learn more on links below, about...


Our workshops

Michael Eldridge

Listen to an interview with Michael Eldridge here

Contact details;

email Michael:

whatsapp +39 3283535358

In Italian; Claudia Renzi whatsapp  +39 3515042828

Friday, October 2, 2020

Our Mountain Creativity retreat in mid September

Our Creativity Workshop: painting, poetry, writing, adventuring.

Cittadella sits high up in the Sibillini range of mountains under the gaze of the Mt Vettore, the highest of the seven peaks which form a circle and which are linked together by ancient pathways.

It has been our workshop base for the past three years where we have collectively explored our creativity in painting, poetry and adventures in the natural beauty of its surrounding countryside, a magical playground which allows body, mind and spirit a release from the concerns and pressures of life and which gives free rein to the senses. We connect slowly to this world of huge skies, deep forests and mountain glades, gurgling streams and crashing waterfalls; a magical place where there are an ever increasing number of indigenous animals, as its flora and fauna return to their ancient habitats, encouraged by an enlightened re-wilding programme in the Sibillini National Park

Ci Kung morning lesson

Our days began early with Tai Ci and Ci Kung around the pool, where we push away things we don't want in our days, our lives; and then invite in things which we want and desire. Butterflies and honey bees abound in this unpolluted air, and we are all entranced by this symphony of life which abounds at this altitude. It feels as if we too are floating in the sky and it is the very best way to start the day

Then off we trip up the hill to have breakfast, meeting again at 9.30 to discuss the day ahead. 

Mornings were a gentle time at Cittadella. On one we went searching for glades to be alone in; being surprised by rustlings of creatures in the grass and the beauty of deer tearing past us. We spent a day  at Lu Vurghe, an ancient thermal spring near Ascoli, an old Roman resort which has recently been restored to provide hot mini baths above the beach alongside the river Tronto and its rapids. It was a day to dream about and we sketched and painted, wrote poetry and bathed in the hot water pouring from huge rocks. Some of us (one) braved the rapids too.

                                                      Lu Vurghe

Lu Vurghe.........

I lie here.

The river, driven by its own intent,

Fleetingly holds my shape,

Roughly caresses my body,

Rudely probes my secret places.

The future is elsewhere.

The past wiped clean.

Only now fills the void.

A poem by Ruth Dunsby (below)

Most afternoons we devoted ourselves to studio time, sharing ideas and taking time individually to go sketching or painting or writing Haikus and poetry, and dipping into the pool to cool down

Our evenings after dinner (delicious Italian food) were when we would get together to share stories about our daytime adventures. It is a good time, a time when friendships are made and when we relax in the beauty of twilight and the first whispering sounds of the night and the beauty of the stars in this clean mountain air. We were an eclectic group of different nationalities and age groups but so alike in many ways too; in our love of creativity in whatever form, and in our sense of wonder at life's possibilities

La Cena

The Garden at Cittadella

morning get together

Dancing to the end of love (Leonard Cohen inspired)

Click on GALLERY; to see some of this year's work


Michael Eldridge

Tel Michael (whatsapp) +39. 3283535358 to know more about our creativity workshops in 2021

email;, or


In Italia, chiama Claudia 351 5042828 (whatsapp)

email :


Friday, January 3, 2020

Early summer in the mountains of Italy

Early June in the Sibillini mountains is an exquisite time of year. The winter snows have all but receded from Monte Vettore and her sister peaks, and although the Springtime starts a little later here than along the coastal strip, it bursts through suddenly at this time, in a riot of colour as if celebrating the very rebirth of nature, awakening the animals, the bears from their winter slumber and the wolves who are already nursing their newly born cubs and in the crystal clear blue sky above, the mountain eagles are scouring the fields below for food for their offspring. Butterflies and honey bees abound in this unpolluted air, and we are all entranced by this symphony of life which abounds at this altitude

Our days
We arise early of a morning before breakfast to stroll down to the pool for Tai Chi or Ci Kung

Here, it is as if we are floating in the sky, or at least the swallows and house martins might think we are as they swoop down and around us and falcons glide blissfully high up above us.

Staying at Cittadella, you can't help but become absorbed in Nature, and there are places close by amongst these mountains which are somehow sacred, by the waterfalls, the gushing streams and rivers, the ancient pathways. And our walks and adventures hereabouts allow us to shed ourselves for a while of the strains and stresses of our lives and to allow our creativity to flourish. We paint, we write poetry, we photograph, and we share our experiences with one another, forming new and lasting bonds in our lives.

Many past participants will be returning again this year; the finest of folks who love to share what they have learned....And there will be a places available for newcomers too.
So who would this attract?  I would say, folks who have some experience with art expression; any type at all photography, music, writing, sketching, painting, handicrafts, gardening,

They would have a love of sharing too and probably be less rational and more poetic by nature.

And if this gives you a tingle in your tummy, well, that's a positive sign,.And if you need to chat about the weekend, don't be shy, just call me on whatsapp +39 328 3535358. 

Or mail

Monday, May 6, 2019

Hoopoes have arrived

The Hoopoe birds have arrived from Africa. Here in Italy in Spring they are the heralds of warmth and of the flourishing of nature and are an awakening call to the renewal of life (our species included), with their HOOPO calls echoing across the landscape. I look up and see the swallows are arriving too and within this week I know the first cuckoos will swoop in and I find myself enchanted and totally absorbed by a cacophony of music each morning.
I log in to my daily Guardian fix and there, would you believe is an article on birdsong  and its therapeutic value to those who take time out to listen. And then I check my mail and find a quote by Krishnamurti..
'I do not know whether you have listened to a bird. To listen to something demands that your mind be quiet—not a mystical quietness, but just quietness; just to listen. It is only when you listen without the idea, without thought, that you are directly in contact '
So something is going on! I know that when serendipity conjures events and bowls them at us, that it is a wakeup call, telling us to pull our socks up, and for me to dust my brain; put my mind and attention to things that matter and to discards stuff which is of no use to me.
Things that matter, my painting (unfinished work), photography (editing to do), my creativity workshops (getting publicity out)
Now, talking about things that matter, if you too would like to lose yourself in nature in the magical heights of Monte Vettore in Italy this Spring (where Creativity will surely find you), click right here
And the venue is Cittadella. Bear, wolves, eagles, falcons, marmots, butterflies and wonderful Italian cuisine. There's a Guardian article about Cittadella here 
And, if you are truly interested in joining one of our workshops, you can call Michael on (whatsapp) +39 3283535358, or email; 

Ciao for now,