About the program

Essere Residency is a self-directed program designed to encourage the creative and personal growth of writers, artists and creatives of all disciplines at any stage of their career or personal self-expression. 

The residency offers a supportive space to develop professional creative skills as well as receive mentorship and support for inner wellbeing. Each person’s unique creative process is fostered within the context of a vibrant international community, in the tranquility and historic richness of rural Tuscany.


Whether you need dedicated time to bring a project to completion, or space to envision something totally new, this two-week residency delivers the right amount of structure, support and solitude.

Days are free to explore your creative vision and share perspectives with artists of different ages and cultures from all over the world. Evenings we come together for inspiring, instructional talks by the Artists in Residence on topics of relevance to all. These talks are followed by a delicious 3-course dinner and wine prepared by our local chef.

Individual mentorship in specific disciplines is available by appointment with the AiRs and residency Director Jennie Lee will be offering personal coaching support and guided meditation sessions. 

Possible excursions to  nearby thermal springs may be organized as well as an on-site cooking class. All in all, you can expect two weeks filled with joy and inspiration!

In Tuscany, my senses came alive! The spiritual peace truly helped me to consider some next steps in a different way.

- Suzanne

Location information & Dates

The privately owned, historic hillside estate situated in a rural area of southern Tuscany dates to the medieval age. This peaceful hamlet houses Etruscan tombs, a tower, church, and courthouse. It is an iconic Italian landscape sure to inspire. 

There are many paths to walk through the olive groves and woods surrounding the property and the nearby village of Piazze has an open market, coffee bar, massage therapist, grocery, pharmacy, and other basic services.

Day trips can easily be made to beautiful towns such as Siena, Florence, Montepulciano, Assisi and many more.

Address: Private Estate in Cetona, Province of Siena, Italy

Nearest Airports: Florence and Rome

Transfer Time: 2 hours

Train Station: Chuisi-Chianciano T.

Hospital: 1 hour

Dwell in possibility.

Important dates

Dwell in possibility.

What's included

Lodging & meals 

Workshops, mentorship & more:

Studios & shared work spaces:


What’s not included:

The location, the leadership, the learnings, the LOVE!

- Carol

Accommodation and Work Space

Every resident will have a private room with a work desk in one of the six historic homes.  A few double occupancy rooms are available for couples or collaborators traveling together.

Le Capanne has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms on 3 floors with a bright kitchen, a large sitting area with fireplace, smaller upstairs reading area also with fireplace, and dining room with French doors onto a private garden. Situated just outside the hamlet on a hill with sweeping views, a short walk up a gravel path takes you to the main estate.

Il Poderino is a renovated farmhouse with breathtaking views. It was formerly the stables of the estate. On a private road just below the main hamlet, it has a large living room with open fireplace, kitchen, laundry room, and spacious dining room with open fireplace. Two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms on the lower floor face the garden and 2 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms on the main floor have windows onto the countryside.
Casa del Neri is in the main hamlet and has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, on 2 floors. The kitchen and dining room have an open fireplace and the sitting room also has a fireplace. There is a quiet, private garden with outdoor dining area, surrounded by cypress and the pool is a short walk up a tree lined path.
La Canonica was originally the residence of the parish priest. Now completely renovated with wood floors, the rooms are reached by an internal staircase which opens into a spacious sitting room with antique wood burning stove, dining area and kitchen. There are 2 bedrooms (double or 2 twins). These share a bathroom with a deep tub and shower. This home shares a garden with Casa del Fattore.
Attico is on the third floor of the central family villa of Camporsevoli accessible by a separate entrance. The apartment has 3 double bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, living room, library, dining area and kitchen. It is decorated with beautiful antique furniture and boasts incredible views.
Casa Del Fattore is a gorgeous apartment with frescoes on the vaulted ceilings, a spacious kitchen, dining area, and comfortable sitting room with working fireplace. The 2 bedrooms (one double and one with 2 twins or double) are reached by an internal staircase. These share a bathroom with built-in shower box. Garden area behind the building is shared with La Canonica.

Workspaces include:

Meet the Director

Jennie Lee

Jennie Lee - Director of Essere Residency Program

Let’s connect!

Jennie was a constant loving supporter and teacher. I am walking away feeling so much joy and peace.

- Allegra


I’m Jennie Lee, Founder and Director of the Essere Residency. For the past 25 years, I have supported others through spiritual life coaching, yoga therapy, meditation instruction and wellness retreats. I have also written 4 books on self-development and spiritual living, which have won numerous awards including the Nautilus Book Award.

I understand deeply the need that artists have for space and time to nurture the inner process which precedes great work. Essere was founded with the desire to support artists of all disciplines, at every stage of their career in doing this. I firmly believe as we nourish our souls, we are better able to self-express and to serve others in the world.

I have benefited greatly from the times I’ve spent in residency and from the inspiration gained traveling internationally and interacting with a global community of artists. Incredible insights and friendships have come from both. For this reason, I am excited to be curating the Essere Residency, to share many of the experiences and practices that have been most impactful for me.

After growing up in California and receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Pepperdine University, I moved to Italy and fell in love – with the country, its people, culture, language and history. I studied Italian Language at the University of Siena and International Communication in Florence. I speak Italian fluently and have loved living in Florence, Siena, Catania and Montepulciano.

I have been involved in the arts throughout my life, and have written 4 traditionally published nonfiction books, as well as screenplays, curriculum, articles, blogs, poetry, and even greeting cards. Additionally, I have explored oil painting, photography and fusion cooking. I call Hawaii home now but return to Italy every year since there is a place in my heart only it can fill.

I am so excited to share with you this supportive space for your creative self-expression, to luxuriate in the beauty of Tuscany together, and to celebrate the development and deepening of your unique work!

Please contact me anytime to discuss your interest in Essere and how I can support your personal artistic goals.


Jennie was a constant loving supporter and teacher. I am walking away from this feeling so much joy and peace.​

- Allegra

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? Contact us anytime!


Don't give up your daydream.

This is a self-directed experience with no specific required outcomes. It is expected that residents will engage naturally as a part of the community through optional daily activities such as meals, craft talks, meditation sessions, and possible excursions.

Four nights each week, there will be talks by the Artists-in-Residence on subjects relevant to all artistic disciplines. During the second week there will be time for participants to meet privately with the AiRs for personal mentorship. Director, Jennie Lee will also be available for individual assistance and counsel. 

Presentations by those who wish to share their work will be scheduled during the second week of the program as well.

Resident artists must be able to speak conversational English to communicate in this international community, where the common language is typically English. Italian will also be spoken, but all applications and referral letters must be submitted in English.

Children cannot be accommodated.  Subject to availability and if requested in the application, you may be accompanied by your spouse/partner. Spouses/partners will be charged a slightly reduced fee. Please inquire for specifics if interested.

No, pets are not allowed.

Ten 3-course dinners are provided, including wine.

Those with food allergies or other dietary restrictions should contact us in advance to be sure they can be accommodated, before submitting an application.

Residents have access to shared kitchens for other meal preparations.

There is a walk in clinic about 20 minutes from the property. The closest hospital is approximately 1 hour away.

Please contact the residency to discuss specific questions regarding accessibility needs.

Residencies may not be deferred. Applicants  would need to re-apply to be considered for another program.

We are unfortunately unable to provide individual feedback to applicants.

A non-refundable deposit of $500 USD is required after the applicant receives acceptance of candidature. 

Full payments are then due March 21, 2024.

Deposits are non-refundable.

Other payments are non-refundable after May 1, 2024.

Any cancellation must be made in writing by email. 

Although residents have private rooms, this is a group living situation with shared kitchens and common areas. Please do not apply if you cannot be flexible and considerate of others’ needs.

Absolutely no drug use is allowed. Smoking is permitted in designated areas only.

Essere Residency is not responsible at any time or under any circumstances, for medical fees in case of illness, accident, etc. Please secure travel and medical insurance.

By submitting the application form, you are agreeing to accept all the above conditions.


Everyone was considered and cared for. The group was welcoming, open, fun and accepting.
I am leaving with a sense of belonging.

- Molly

Ready to apply?

First, please make sure you have read all of the requirements before starting your application.

from stillness inspiration arises

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