Write it in Italy

One new idea for every day in 2011. We're talking big, small, local, international, in action and on the drawing board. Here's today's -- what's yours?

Grazie a dio, Julie Hampton's done it again.

The Phoenix-based artist and co-owner of Downtown's a.ware just listed a second opportunity for local creatives to get out of the country and create ... in an Italian atmosphere.

Hampton purchased Casa di Julie (formerly the Rosenclaire House) through rental subscriptions and runs artist-led workshops during the summer. Her latest venture, Porta Blu, is for the writers.

The 400-year-old, one bedroom, one bathroom stone cottage is in the heart of Vitiana, a mountain village in Tuscany's Gargagnana region of Italy. It's a quiet spot, Hampton writes; a perfect writer's retreat.

And it can be yours -- April through October -- for a week's (or more) worth of great writing/painting/crafting/whatever.

Porta Blu is meters away from Casa di Julie (Hampton's first investment), a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with space for workshops or a family getaway.

Hampton says the offer -- two weeks and a bonus week if reserved and paid for by May 21 -- ends September 2011.

For more information, specific dates and quotes, and reservations, see the Porta Blu and Casa di Julie website or email her at [email protected]

Bonus: Hampton's leaving later this month for Italy and hitting the highway for a road trip this summer, so she's hosting a summer kickoff tonight at a.ware with new ceramic birds and owls by Sherrie Zeitlin, earring by Jenna Harden and bags by Highway.

(Word is, if you say "put a bird on it," the a.ware girls will give you 20 percent off of your entire purchase today and tomorrow.)

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton