FOOD WRITERS IN CILENTO: May 14 – 19, 2020


Sometimes the best way to improve your food writing (not to mention your life) is to step away from the computer…and travel to a little-known region of south Italy. Join Domenica Marchetti and Kathy Gunst ~ two highly respected and award-winning food writers ~ and a small group of like-minded food lovers for five memorable days at a retreat overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. This spectacular private site, a stone’s throw from the ancient temples at Paestum, is the ideal spot for a relaxed and revitalizing workshop designed to clear your head, motivate you, and make you a better food writer.

When: May 14 – 19, 2020

Where: Borgo La Pietraia, a family-owned agriturismo overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea and the island of Capri.

Location: Capaccio-Paestum in the region of Campania

Food Writers in Cilento is a brand new collaboration between food writer, cookbook author, and radio journalist Kathy Gunst and seven-time Italian cookbook author Domenica Marchetti. Food and art historian Danielle Oteri, whose family runs Borgo La Pietraia, will be our local expert.

We will spend part of each day immersed in the art and craft of writing about food. Because we’ll be in Italy, we will also spend time exploring the food and wine of this unspoiled area south of Naples. Among the highlights:

  • Five-course tasting menu at Borgo La Pietraia’s own fine dining restaurant, FOOD.

  • Private tour of Italy’s best producer of buffalo mozzarella, with lunch at the farm.

  • Guided tour of the ancient temples at Paestum.

  • Visit to a fig and chocolate confectionery tucked away in the Cilento National Park.

  • Cooking class with a Baronessa at her farm estate.

  • Hike in the countryside followed by a 0KM picnic lunch.

These and other activities will serve as the inspiration for our daily sessions as we delve into the wide world of food writing. We will cover a range of topics from recipe writing and cookbooks to essay writing and reporting and interviewing techniques. There will be time for sharing work, asking questions, and getting feedback. Our goal is to create a positive environment for learning and sharing. So whether you’re a beginner who wants to break into food writing or a professional already working in the field, you will benefit from this small, intimate, hands-on workshop.

We welcome spouses, partners, significant others and friends. If you have someone who would like to join you but is not interested in the food writing aspect of the trip they can join at a reduced rate. The price includes all activities except the workshop. Other activities throughout the region can be arranged at an additional cost. 

There’s a reason that writers have traveled to Italy for hundreds of years to find inspiration. Because in Italy inspiration is all around us, in the ancient temples still standing amid the gentle hills; in the care with which ingredients are grown and turned into memorable meals; in the passion of the food and wine producers; in the blue of the Mediterranean and the silvery green of the olive groves. Join us for this unforgettable experience.

Registration and fees

Take advantage of early-bird registration! Register by July 4 and take $150 off the registration fee.

Fee: $2500 per person, based on double occupancy

Single supplement: $350

Price includes:

  • Accommodations

  • Daily breakfast

  • Daily writing instruction and a private session with one of the writing coaches

  • Eight meals with wine

  • All ground transportation via private coach

  • All guides, entrance fees and tours

  • Private cooking class

  • Transfers from Borgo La Pietraia and Naples airport or train station

  • Taxes, service charges, and gratuities

Fee for partner not participating in the writing workshop: $1900. (Additional activities including excursions to Naples, Pompeii, Caserta, trekking and biking and in the Cilento National Park, are available at an extra cost.)

Not included in the fees: Mixed drinks or additional wine; international airfare; mini fridge charges or room service; trip insurance.

Please note, these prices are dependent on payment by check or bank transfer. If you wish to pay by credit card, we will add an additional fee (depending on card type) to cover the transaction costs.


All suites have:

  • En suite bathrooms with luxury showers, organic soaps and shampoos made from local olive oil and flowers, a heated towel rack and a bidet

  • Private terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea with table, chairs and a lounge chair

  • Air conditioning and heating units that can are set by the guests

  • Hairdryer

  • Mini-fridge

  • Flat screen television

  • For couples or friend who would like to share, the suites have one queen bed or one queen bed plus one twin bed

  • For solo travelers, we have four small suites available with double beds.

Payment schedule

A deposit of $1,000 per person is due with your reservation, $350 of which is non-refundable.

Final payment is due 90 days before departure.

Who we are:

Kathy Gunst is a James Beard award winning food journalist. She is the author of 16 cookbooks (her latest book is Rage Baking— The Transformative Power of Flour, Sugar and Women’s Voices (Tiller Press, Feb. 2020). She is the Resident chef for the award winning NPR show, Here and Now, heard on over 500 public radio stations nationwide.  She writes for the Washington Post, Eating Well, Better Homes and Garden, Yankee, New York Times, Newsweek, and other publications. She teaches workshops in food journalism and cooking classes around the globe. 

Domenica Marchetti is the author of seven books on Italian home cooking, including her bestselling book, The Glorious Pasta of Italy. She is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post Food Section, and a bi-monthly contributor to Italy Magazine. She also writes and develops recipes for the Chicago Tribune, Eating Well, Fine Cooking, and other publications. Domenica spent her summers growing up in Italy, and she travels there often for research and inspiration. In addition to writing about Italian food, she teaches cooking classes and workshops in the U.S. and abroad and leads culinary tours in Italy.

Questions? Contact Domenica Marchetti at


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