First…we sincerely wish each of you the most enjoyable and meaningful
holiday season.  The La Romita family is certainly far-flung, with our
extended family reaching around the globe…and including each of you.  This
family extends in time as well as space; some of you haven’t been back to
Umbria in decades but your cards and missives—electronic or
otherwise—continue to arrive and to warm our hearts.  I have just
finished my tenth season at La Romita, and having worked with about 1500
participants, feel I’m just now starting to understand the depth and
breadth of this phenomenon.  Each year people arrive to revisit us after
long separations and, though this place has been my home away from home
for ten years, I invariably learn something new about it.  It must be the
nature of the place mixed with the nature of art and the nature of artists
themselves.  It’s obvious from your words that we’ve made an impression on
the lives of many who have visited…but perhaps less remarked upon is the
impression you’ve left on us.

Adabelle Hill, the artist responsible for the slide shows we use at La
Romita, passed away this past year, and though I never met her, I’m
reminded of how much I’ve learned from her and how beautiful is the
knowledge of introduction; introduction to the towns of Umbria and the
treasures they hold.  It is truly an expansive gift.  How many times have
we set out to see the glories she has cataloged and how much has that
influenced our understanding of history and culture.  But just as valuable
is the gift that each of you has brought to us…and to our Italian
neighbors.  Your appreciation does not go unnoticed.  Residents of our
towns—Stroncone and San Gemini and Todi and all the others—look
forward to the next La Romita group visit and always strive to make the
visits meaningful.  The mayor of Stroncone greets people personally and
has opened up his archives of ancient, illuminated manuscripts time and
again.  The cultural offices of San Gemini and Cesi call us repeatedly to
let us know of events that would be of interest to our participants.
There are countless other examples and I’m sure that each of you still
carries some warm memory within you.

Adabelle, in her History of La Romita presentation says, “If these walls
could talk…”, referring to the five-hundred years of contemplation and
intrigue and activity within these old stone buildings, but I’m always
reminded of the current incarnation of La Romita…of these ten years of my
life…of this recent half century…of the dreams of the Quargnali and Benson
and Linsley clan come magically to life.  I’m reminded daily of how La
Romita has changed my life and of how much each of you has played a part
in making La Romita what it is today.

(Please stay tuned to this blog for information about our winter plans.
Maybe we are coming somewhere close to you and we would love to see you.
Ben and Enza will be in California in January and I will be coming to
Texas and Oregon and will be making presentations here in California as

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