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“An unforgettable experience”

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Reading Retreats in Rural Italy at La Macchina Fissa
Reviewed March 3, 2014

I first discovered "Reading Retreats in Rural Italy" in the travel section of Melbourne's newspaper. I was studying at the time and couldn't afford a trip away but kept the artical hoping to make it there one day as an intern. A few years later I got my wish and it was truly magical. The night I arrived Clark was hosting a concert (the most incredible piano-violin duo) and the friendly, electric atmosphere in such a stunning location is etched in my memory as one of the best nights of my life. Clark was a fantastic person to work with - wickedly funny and friendly. We worked hard and enjoyed ourselves throughout the two months I was there, hosting b&b guests, art shows and jazz concerts. I was lucky that I arrived when I did or I would never have had the chance to experience Castello di Galeazza (the last home of Reading Retreats in Rural Italy). Two months after I arrived at the castle in 2012 there were terrible earthquakes throughout the region which had us running for our lives in the middle of the night. The castle was completely destroyed, and along with it so many years of love and attention Clark had lavished onto the property. Corte Eremino is a triumph for him and has the potential to be as special and as beautiful as its last incarnation. I reccommend this as a place to visit with all my heart xox

Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
1  Thank EllaClevelandMills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 14 of 29 reviews

Reviewed January 21, 2014

My first experience with Reading Retreats in Rural Italy in 2006 was so enjoyable that I had to come back not once, but twice. I was lucky enough to experience Halloween on my first two occasions, so this past trip we decided to enjoy Corte Eremo in the springtime. Clark is an amazing host and makes you feel like family. It's easy to relax and enjoy the atmosphere with a good book, stroll through the ever-expanding gardens, and enjoy the company of two loving dogs and a family of goats.

Downtown Mantova is a quick drive or leisurely bike-ride from Corte Eremo. Clark is more than willing to give some tips on where to explore in the area and also the surrounding parts of Italy.

I'm overdue for my next trip to see Clark and the other friendly characters I've met in rural Italy.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Dustin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

I was there for a Halloween party and some photography, and stayed for four days. The rooms are big and nice, the beds are comfortable, and Clark is the best host one can wish for. He took great care of us, and even some food wishes (I don't and can't eat everything) were no problem. I will certainly stay there more often when in the neighbourhood!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank basbrader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2014

Reading Retreats in Italy is a must and unlike anything else I have ever experienced. Clark is a wonderful soul who you will instantly make you feel completely comfortable and welcome. There is so many wonderful books to read and such incredible art to look at.

A holiday here is a moment in your life when time really does stop!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Catherine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2014

I had visited "Reading Retreats " many times in its previous incarnation and was a little nervous that the something special would be missing in Corte Eremo. But it's still there and still special!!

My bedroom overlooked the Orchard and the peace & quiet meant I had my best night's sleep for weeks (I am an erratic sleeper) . Breakfast was available whenever I wanted it and the rest of the day was my own. Mantova/Mantua is nearby and has great coffee stops and I’m told there lots to see there also but sightseeing is for next time.
As ever, Clark will entertained, amused and gave guidance on local travel and events. Verona is the closest Airport.

Room Tip: This is not for someone who wants to isolate themselves in a hotel room with private bathroom and ro...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Helen F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

I have visited “Corte Eremo - Reading Retreats in rural Italy” in several occasions, and every time I’ve felt like at home. Clark and his staff were more than welcoming. The place is really at a stone's throw away from the Old Town of Mantua. For example, in less than 5 minutes by car you can reach the beautiful Palazzo Te.
I've really appreciated the atmosphere of Corte Eremo. Everything a travelling art lover is looking for, is here to be found: thousands of books, some of which antique and rare, beautiful paintings, and even three pianos! And – this is the real Clark’s signature! – hundreds of different plants and flowers, growing and blooming in the garden.
I would not describe this place as an hotel or a B&B. Corte Eremo is something different, and something more: I really felt like at a friend's place.
A native-English speaking owner is a big plus.

Thank you Clark for your exquisite hospitality. I will visit you and Corte Eremo again and again!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank VisitMantua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2015
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  • Stayed: July 2015, traveled with friends
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Thank BarbaraDAndo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Reading Retreats in Rural Italy at La Macchina Fissa

Address: Via Macchina Fissa 107, 46010, Curtatone, Italy
Location: Italy > Lombardy > Province of Mantua > Curtatone
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Curtatone
Price Range: $59 - $71 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
As of December 2015, La Macchina Fissa is the new home for the non-profit cultural association Reading Retreats in Rural Italy and its founder, Clark Lawrence. Founded in December of 1996, the association is like a home away from home for guests of all ages and all walks of life: bibliophiles, art and music lovers, and people who love gardens and gardening. ... more   less 

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