Story Circle Network


A 9-Day Writing Experience

November 2 - 10, 2019

Rome, Sorrento, Pompeii, The Isle of Capri and the Breathtakingly  Beautiful Amalfi Coast



This upscale trip features private transportation, local certified guides, writing sessions based around your Italian experience, and an elegant 4****hotel located in a park for your comfort and convenience.  On this trip, you will experience the history of Classic Rome with your private guide, the beauty of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Isle of Capri, and Naples.  There is no packing and unpacking as all excursions will be day trips.  The schedule is designed so that if you are working, then you only have to take off work for five (5) days because we will utilize two weekends.

Cost of the trip is $1,795 (Commercial retail is $2,980) but members of Story Circle Network and their guests will receive a $500 Debra Winegarten Memorial Scholarship making the total tuition $1,295. 

This is a non-profit trip with only pass-through costs. Airfare is not included.


The Story Circle Network provides a $500 per participant Debra Winegarten Memorial scholarship for each member and as many guests as they would like to bring.  If you are not a member you may join now for $55 and be immediately eligible for the scholarship. That reduces the cost per member to $1,295.  Members of Story Circle Network are women only, but guests can be male or female.

Your writing instructor and host for the entire trip is Len Leatherwood, a nationally award-winning teacher who has been teaching writing privately to students in Beverly Hills, CA for the past 18 years. Len is not only a published author of short memoir, flash fiction, personal essay and a six-year daily blog entitled "20 Minutes a Day," but also is the program coordinator for Story Circle Network's Online Classes. In addition, Len has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for the past thirty years.  



Saturday, November 2 - Depart any airport for Rome, Italy for an overnight flight to Rome (FCO) airport.
Sunday, November 3 -  Morning arrival at Rome (FCO)  airport where Len will greet you for your first excursion, a walking tour of Classic Rome with our favorite guide, Antonio.  After the tour, your private coach will take you to Sorrento, the gateway to the Amalfi Coast where you will check in to the Grand Parco del Sole (see below.)  Tonight we have our Welcome Dinner at the Grand Hotel Parco del Sole.
Monday, November 4 -  Breakfast in the hotel, followed by a 9 am gathering for the writing workshop participants. At 10:30, we'll travel to the iconic Lucky Store (, where we'll view a demonstration of inlaid wood-making and have access to the finest inlaid wood furniture and ceramics on the coast. All participants will qualify for a  Story Circle Network discount on any purchase, and, yes, they do ship. After lunch on your own, we'll have a guided tour of Sorrento, a city also well known as the birthplace of the famous writer Torquato Tasso, for whom the main square of Sorrento is named. ( The rest of the afternoon will be free time in Sorrento, then we'll head back to the hotel. On the way, we will have a quick stop to visit the beautiful villa whose former owner was the American novelist, Francis Marion Crawford ( We'll have dinner in the hotel followed by a short session for the writing workshop participants.
Tuesday, November 5 - After breakfast in the hotel, we will gather at 9:00 and board our coach for an all-day guided tour of the beautiful Amalfi Coast with stops at many of the villages along the way and ample opportunities for photos at breathtaking overlooks. We will reconvene for dinner in the hotel followed by a writing/sharing session for workshop participants.
Wednesday, November 6 - After breakfast in the hotel, we will gather at 10:30 and board our coach for an excursion to Pompeii, where we will have a guided tour. We will have dinner in the Hotel followed by a writing/sharing session for workshop participants. 
Thursday, November 7 - After breakfast in the hotel, we will leave at 9:00 by coach and head to the marina for an exciting hydrofoil journey across the Bay of Naples to the Isle of Capri.  Here you will have an all-day guided tour of the island, along with free time for sightseeing, shopping, and admiring the beautiful views. After dinner at the hotel, the workshop participants will gather for writing/sharing. 
Friday, November 8 - After breakfast in the hotel, we will leave at 9:00 by coach for an all-day guided tour of  the beautiful city of Naples: Posillipo, Santa Lucia, Mergellina, the amazing centre with Piazza del Plebiscito, the San Carlo Theatre, Galleria Umberto and the historical part of the town “SpaccaNapoli”. Dinner will be on your own followed by a writing/sharing session for workshop participants.
Saturday, November 9 - After breakfast in the hotel, the workshop participants will gather for their final writing/sharing session. At 11:00, the "Tastes of Sorrento” tour begins with a visit to a local farm to see how mozzarella cheese is made along with the tasting of other typical products. Then we will go for something that cannot be missed in Italy: a pizza lunch followed by the best gelato in Sorrento. The tour will end with a visit to a family-owned farm with limoncello tasting. The remainder of the afternoon will be free for final sightseeing and shopping on your own.  In the evening, we will gather for a Farewell Dinner in the hotel along with readings of selected pieces of work from the writing workshop. 
Sunday, November 10 - Early departure by private coach with breakfast boxes to Rome FCO airport for departure home, where you will arrive the same day.  Note: If you choose to spend some extra days in Rome or anywhere in Europe on your own, we can help you with arrangements.

What's Included


- Accommodations for 7 nights in a 4-Star hotel in the area of Sorrento – Grand Hotel Parco del Sole ( or similar – in Twin/Double rooms with private facilities inclusive of buffet breakfast & local taxes. Under EU regulations no contract is legally completed until there is also a monetary exchange. The Grand Hotel Parco del Sole has been reserved, but guaranteeing that reservation depends on participants sending in deposits on time.

- Modern, air-conditioned bus for transfers and excursions as mentioned in the itinerary inclusive of parking, motor way tolls and eventual entrance fees to the cities. Professional driver.

- Packet Capri & Anacapri: Included: Transfer Hotel/Harbour/Hotel + Hydrofoil to/from Capri + Minibus for Island Tour + Guide service.

-4 Dinners in the hotel – beverages included – ¼ wine or soda + ½ water per person.

- Huge buffet breakfast each morning. On the last day, a breakfast to go will be given to each participant because it will be an early departure to the airport.

- 1 Visit to a local farm with tastings.

- 1 Pizza Dinner in Sorrento – beverages included – ¼ wine or soda + ½ water per person.

- Local guides: Rome ½ day, 2 x Sorrento ½ day, Amalfi Coast full Day, Pompeii ½ Day, Naples Full day, Capri full day.

- Entrance fees: Pompeii, Cloister Amalfi, Augustus Gardens Capri.

- Full time host/writing instructor for entire trip.

- Emergency medical travel insurance while in Italy. This realistically covers almost any emergencies

- Professional liability insurance of $2,000,000 per participant.


The Holiday price does not include:

Souvenirs and personal expenses, airplane flights, extras, city tax if any ( and if so, these are only a few Euros for the entire stay), meals not included in the itinerary, and anything not mentioned in the "What's Included" section. 




Policies and Costs: The total cost of the trip, per participant in a double room (2 or 1 bed as requested) is $1,795 each. Items not covered are listed above but generally, this is an all-inclusive tour and any additional costs should be low.  

Writing Workshop Details


The writing workshop will focus on enhancing sensory details inspired by the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this week-long Italian adventure.  The women-only group will meet daily and either write in the session via prompts and/or share their writing from the journals everyone will be encouraged to keep while experiencing the many different sites over the week. On the last evening, we will have a Reading for those who wish to share a short piece at the Farewell Dinner.    



Payment Schedule—1) $500. on Enrollment (Note—this payment is used to make deposits to various vendors in Italy to legally secure the reservations under EU regulations and is non-refundable.)


                                   2) $ 400. payment, February 4, 2019


                                    3) Balance on May 23, 2019 ($395. for members; $895. for non-members.)


Note—Len Leatherwood is offering her services free of charge to keep the cost low. To cover her flight, on the final billing date her airfare will be divided equally among participants added to the total above. Even for the minimum of 10, that cost is not much when divided.


Note- the payment schedule is based on dates provided by vendors and then forwarded.  Failure to make payments on time may jeopardize your reservation.  On enrollment, a complete policy e-brochure will be provided.


A full refund of the $500. deposit will be given if fewer than 10 people register.


Make checks payable to: Custom Europe and mail to Len Leatherwood, 713 North Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210.

Who Is Eligible to Participate?


Current members are given priority and will be notified first, but the tour is open to anyone and is on a first-come basis.  Because this tour is non-profit, it is considerably less expensive than commercial tours and is organized by Custom Europe, international non-profit tour organizers for over 30 years.  Story Circle Network is familiar with the reputation of Custom Europe, whose tours are backed by Liberty Mutual Insurance ($2,000,000 per participant ) to guarantee you get exactly what you have paid for.


Yes, you may join just to get the scholarship.


You do not have to be a writer to participate. If you feel a trip like this is something that interests you with the best price on the planet and you would “fit” with the group, then this is your opportunity to go to Italy first class all the way on the price of a budget trip.

Rules and Regulations

There are few and they are established by Custom Europe on all their trips. First, no grouches—this a trip for people who are positive and want to have a great experience.  Second, no tobacco products of any kind, anywhere. That includes electronic cigarettes.  Last, while this is an easy trip physically, it does require some walking and getting in and off a bus.  If you cannot get on or off the bus without assistance or slowing down others, this is probably not a good trip for you.