Elizabeth Berg’s Writing, Cooking & Art in Venice ~ 5 Days

Elizabeth Berg
venice elizabeth berg writing workshop and cooking class
Elisabeth Berg Writing Workshop
Venice cooking and writing vacations with Elisabeth Berg
Venice gondola

Join New York Times bestselling author, Elizabeth Berg, and Cooking Vacations for The Writer’s Studio in Venice, Italy, from May 16 to 20, 2016.

You are invited to spend a gorgeous week in Venice with Elizabeth Berg and learn about writing and the arts in our Writer’s Studio.

The week includes a full-day writing workshop with Elizabeth, a hands-on cooking class, a visit to the Rialto market, a private boat tour to the island of Murano including a Venetian glass-making tour and demonstration class, dinner at our favorite trattoria, and a food lover’s cicchetti tour – the wine and small tapas-style aperitivo tasting through the most famous wine bars in Venice.

Elizabeth will also accompany our group throughout the week’s activities which culminate in a bacari, wine bar for a giro d’ombra, a wine tasting in old world Venice. Elizabeth, as you know, loves the arts and she loves to cook.

Join Elizabeth Berg and Cooking Vacations as we celebrate the art of writing and the beauty of La Serenissima, Venice, in an inspirational week that will open your hearts and minds through winding waterways, blushing palazzos and a lagoon of 117 islands.

A Note From Elizabeth Berg of The Writer’s Studio

This is a course designed to do a lot in a small amount of time, a kind of boot camp for writing, limited to ten people. The goal is to come away with a finished piece – essay, short story, travel piece, or similar – and a passion for writing more. The class consists of a morning meeting with me from 8:30-10am for orientation, a brief lecture on character, place, and dialogue, and doing and sharing a few impromptu writing exercises. From 10am-12pm, the class is sent out for two hours to gather information, to look in a new way at people, places and conversation so as to provide rich detail to their writing. From 12-1pm, participants meet again with me to share what they observed, and we talk about how some of the details they noticed could be used to shape their piece. Our group will be small and limited to 10 participants who will craft their piece, and from 6-9pm, meet to read aloud up to ten double-spaced pages of their work to others and listen to a kind but honest critique from me and other workshop members. (Please note that I cannot read any work done outside of my workshop.)

A whole day is given over to the writing workshop, but the beauty of the week is exploring Venice in order to find details to bring not only to the workshop, but to your writing in the future.

A Note on Elizabeth

Elizabeth Berg is an American author whose books include, The Dream Lover, Durable Goods, Joy School, Talk Before Sleep, The Year Of Pleasures, Open House, The Pull Of The Moon, and The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, to name a few.

“Elizabeth Berg’s gift as a storyteller lies most profoundly in her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the remarkable in the everyday.” ~ The Boston Globe

Writing, Culinary, Arts

Walk in the footsteps of literati greats such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust, Henry James and D.H. Lawrence while learning and expanding your writing skills with Elizabeth Berg. Explore and experience the great writers’ stomping grounds through Piazza San Marco, Caffé Florian, the Grand Canal, Palazzo Barbaro and Harry’s Bar. Be inspired by the beauty of Venice, the sights, sounds and scents that attracted and inspired these great writers and scribe your most memorable story, too. Join us at Harry’s Bar and sit where Hemingway wrote his best.

Get ready to write, cook, explore and dream, while soaking up the rich culture of the most beautiful city in the world.


The Writer’s Studio

When asked, what makes for good writing, Elizabeth says, “It’s all in the details. A writer must learn how to find or imagine such details, then learn how best to present them to the reader.”
Discuss and learn how to make your page come alive with Elizabeth Berg in dreamy Venice. She will share her knowledge on character, place, dialogue and detail that will advance and help shape a story. You will return home with a finished piece of work, either a short story or a narrative essay based on your stay in Venice.

This workshop will teach you which techniques work best for you as a writer. You will also have a chance to see how others respond to your work, through kind but honest critiquing. Best of all, you will be given tools that you can continue to use at home.

There’s something about being away from home that allows us to tap into our creativity in ways we never have before. Come to Italy and see what you discover about yourself.

*No manuscripts can be read by Elizabeth outside of the group or sent on to publishers.


Venice Accommodations

Our 3-Star property accommodation is in the heart of one of the most charming areas in Venice – on the Grand Canal and just steps away from the Academia and Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Set amongst cafés, art galleries, traditional restaurants and interesting shops with hand-made artifacts, your accommodation is charming, quaint and old-world.

Rooms are modern with classic decorations and offer both canal and garden views, ensuite private bath, in-room safe, mini-bar, hair dryers and air conditioning. Each room offers a traditional atmosphere decorated with Venetian art, paintings, glass and antiques. The property is family owned by Alberto. Daily continental breakfast, which is included, is served in the traditional breakfast room and includes cappuccino, caffè, tea, fresh Italian croissants, assorted seasonal pastries along with breads, cakes and fruits. Free internet is available in the common area as well as in the rooms.

The concierge is available 24 hours to answer questions, give advice and offer every comfort you might imagine.

Venice Cooking Classes

Join Elizabeth Berg and Chef Isabella for a hands-on cooking class in the heart of Venice, learning traditional cuisine of the region. Chef Isabella will guide each guest through preparing a full course lunch, while sharing her knowledge of food history and secrets in the kitchen.

Discover how to create authentic Venetian foods and also learn the important cooking techniques for each recipe. Each guest will prepare an antipasto, pasta or risotto, fish or meat or vegetarian main course, and a dessert with a toast of wine included.

We use only fresh and in-season vegetables and produce from the Rialto Market. Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods together at the table with local red or white wine included. Please note, food allergies and diet restrictions are respected and we will cater to your every need.



“Winding waterways, soft colored palazzos, gondolas gliding the canals…bella Venezia…”

Join us in Venice, hailed “the most beautiful city in the world,” for an extraordinary experience. Walk under pink glass lamp lights, stroll along the majestic Piazza San Marco, cross dainty bridges that straddle narrow inlets of water – Venice’s beauty is endless.

Venice is a magical place where prisms of color reflect in meandering waterways and gondolas skim along narrow canals while festive Carnival masks peer down at your every turn twelve months a year. The feeling is surreal.



Writing & Cooking In Venice – 4 Nights & 5 Days
May 16 to 20, 2016

Monday ~ Welcome, Meet Elizabeth & Readings, Venetian Chef’s Tasting Dinner

  • Arrival and check-in. Refresh, relax and enjoy your aperitivo. Read over the contents of your Welcome Bag including a copy of Elizabeth’s Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True, a writing journal, and a selection of helpful information that will acquaint you with Venice and outline your program.
  • Also included is your Chef’s apron and general information on landmarks and Venice.
  • Meet & greet. We will meet over an aperitivo, take questions about the week ahead and Elizabeth will do a short reading.
  • Chef’s Tasting Dinner at our favorite trattoria just steps outside and on the Canal. Dine on traditional cuisine in charming surroundings that overlook the area of the Academia. (Wine, drinks, grappa and an assortment of after dinner digestives are not included, and are available at a surcharge).

Tuesday ~ Morning: Excursion to Murano for Glass Making Tour & Afternoon Cicchetti Tour

  • Breakfast is served
  • Join us on a Venetian glass making tour and demonstration on the romantic island of Murano. Your tour starts with a pick up by boat at your hotel and includes a lovely boat ride to the island of Murano. Upon arriving, you are brought to the studio shop where artisan glass-blowers, who have mastered this ancient art, greet you. Our host, Ludo, and glass blowing artisans offer a one-of-a-kind tour where you will learn the history of Venetian glass blowing and see the artisans at work. Learn the techniques of layering colored liquid glass, cane working, filigree, engraving and sommerso, submersion.
  • Each guest will watch the master Murano glassmakers select glass, blend colors and add threads of gold in the process (the actual glass blowing is done by the artisan, as it takes years of training to master). This Venetian art dates back to the 7th century, and utilizes crystalline glass, smalto, and aventurine, with threads of gold, millefiori, multicolored and lattimo, mild glass. It is a well-respected art and today the Venetian artisans continue to create masterpieces: chandeliers, frames, jewel boxes, necklaces, and glasses for Champagne and wine.
  • Following the tour, you will be able to create your own glass piece using over 100 glass beads and pieces to make either a necklace, bracelet or mosaic; beads, supplies and final necklace or bracelet are included in the program price. The tour is 2 hours, including pick up, tour and 30-minute glass making workshop.
  • Enjoy time out to wander around the island, visit its many quaint shops and maybe grab a gelato or a quick bite to eat. The group returns to the hotel by boat.
  • In the late afternoon, we all meet our English-speaking guide, Sara, for a walk through the canals of Venice while visiting the bacari, typical Venetian bars, for food tastings.
  • The 2-hour tour takes you through the canals of Venice including 3 to 4 stops in a historical bacari, where you will taste small portions of local foods that pair up with the local Venetian wine. Cicchetti food includes specialties such as sarde in soar, a sweet and sour fish, polpette di carne o polpette di tonno, Venetian veal or tuna meatballs, tramezzini, an assortment of delicate tea sandwiches, moscardini, baby octopus, baccalà mantecato, whipped baccalà, and capesante al forno, baked scallops, to name a few. A true cicchetti experience offers you an assortment of traditional appetizers with an ombra, a glass of wine from Veneto.
  • Join us on this Venetian tradition with a stroll and a colorful experience of meeting locals, sipping the delicious wines of the regions and tasting a wide variety of small bites, carefully prepared cuisine of Venice!
  • Free for dinner. Suggestions available.

Wednesday ~ Elizabeth Berg & The Writer’s Studio

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Meet Elizabeth from 8:30-10am for orientation, a brief lecture on character, place, and dialogue, and doing and sharing a few impromptu writing exercises.
  • From 10am-12pm, the class is sent out for two hours to gather information, to look in a new way at people, places and conversation to provide rich detail to their writing.
  • From 12-1pm, participants meet again with Elizabeth to share what they observed, and we talk about how some of the details they noticed could be used to shape their piece.
  • From 6-9pm meet to read aloud up to ten double-spaced pages of their work and listen to kind but honest critique from Elizabeth and other workshop members.
  • Dinner on your own. We provide you with Restaurant Hot Picks.

Thursday ~ Rialto Market Tour, Cooking Class & Olive Oil Tasting & Q&A With Elizabeth

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Join the group for a morning guided tour through Venice’s Rialto Market. This famous outdoor market is a busy scene starting at the crack of dawn as suppliers sail up with their barges, unload and set up their stands for what becomes a boisterous scene of buyers, sellers and spectators, examining and negotiating amid crates and stands piled sky high with goods. Fish is famous here, along with vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits and more. This landmark marketplace has been setting up and selling daily since 1097! Our Chef heads directly to her established merchants for the best products and, of course, conversation of the day.
  • Following the market, it is off to the kitchen for your hands-on cooking class.
  • Olive Oil Tasting
    Before your cooking class, we offer an informative Olive Oil Tasting with tastings & discussion. You will taste Cooking Vacations’ extra virgin first cold-pressed olive oils. Tastings & discussions are included in your package.

Venetian Cooking Class

Cooking with our Chef Isabella in Venice includes a hands-on cooking class showcasing Venice’s foods from the Renaissance to the present. You will learn the traditions, technique and style of Venice’s cuisine using fresh fruit, vegetables, produce and fish from the Rialto Market.

You’ll cook like a Venetian making appetizers, pasta or risotto, a main course and dessert.

Delicate pastas and sauces include Venetian risotto, gently toasted and scented with arugula, artichokes or shrimp. Baccala mantecao, whipped baccala, branzino marinato, marinated sea bass, gnocchi di zucca, squash gnocchi and lasagna di pesce, are a sample of the recipes in Isabella’s cookbook.

Desserts are endless. Here are a few temptations: zaletti polenta biscotti, crostata, baicoli or torta amaretti.

Tie on your apron and join Elizabeth Berg for a splendid authentic cooking experience in our Venetian kitchen!

In the early evening, Elizabeth hosts an hour or so casual Q&A regarding your experiences and answering general questions.

  • Evening free & dinner on your own. Restaurant Hot Pick provided.

Friday ~ Departure! Ciao!

  • Breakfast is served
  • Check out & Arrivederci Venezia!

**Add on an extra night or two with pricing starting at $395 per room per night, based on double occupancy, breakfast included, and join us at an extra cooking class or the opera. Italian VAT included.

Program Includes:

  • 5 days, 4 nights at our Venetian 3-Star Accommodation with private bathroom. Click to View!
  • Welcome Prosecco aperitivo with reading by Elizabeth.
  • Chef’s Tasting Dinner on first night arrival, Prosecco toast included. (Wine & beverages at a surcharge)
  • The Writer’s Studio – with Elizabeth, a full day of writing.
  • Rialto Market Tour
  • 1 Hands-on Cooking class featuring a full course Venetian menu and dinner following. A toast of local wine included. (Additional wines and beverages available at a surcharge).
  • 1 Full-day Boat Excursion to Murano with glass blowing tour and glass blowing demonstration and jewelry making class.
  • Olive Oil Tasting, informal discussion and tastings included.
  • Cicchetti Tour through the neighborhood with wine tastings and cicchetti tasting tour.
  • Q & A with Elizabeth for an hour or so casual Q&A regarding your experiences and answering general questions.
  • Welcome Gift Bag with Cooking Vacations Chef’s apron, recipe booklet & writer’s journal. Farewell prosecco.

~ Add Ons

  • Add on an additional night or two, room rate starts at $395 per room per night, breakfast included.

This small intimate group will be limited to 10 participants. Please call for more details

Program Prices

$3,495 per person, based on double occupancy. Includes all taxes and Italian VAT.

$995 Single Supplement. If you are traveling solo, or request a single room even though you are in 2, this is the supplement.

$2,995 per person for non-writer companions, including all elements of the program except the Writer’s Studio. While your co-traveler is writing, there are many add-on activities to choose from.

Check Availability

2016 Dates: May 16 to 20, 2016. Additional nights are available for those who wish to extend their stay. Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included.

Non-writer companions are welcome and might like to choose a variety of add-on activities from hands-on cooking classes, a boat tour to Torcello or a guided tour to the Academia.