In Italian "il chiostro" means the cloister, by definition a central square area within a monastery or convent, surrounded by arched walkways which is used for contemplation and seclusion from the outside world. For us, Il Chiostro is a metaphor. Take yourself away from your hectic, demanding life and place yourself in a beautiful, seductive environment that will give your spirit a chance to breathe.
We are Linda Mironti and Michael Mele, both Italian Americans, both with long backgrounds in the arts. Linda was a singer, then a chef, then a singer again. Michael a dancer/ choreographer turned fiction writer. In the spring of 1995 we created Il Chiostro to give our friends and families an inspirational place to work on their art while getting to know the magic of Italian culture.
Il Chiostro has grown on its own momentum to include participants from artists to accountants, from 20-somethings to 80-somethings, from America, Europe and Africa. In our arts workshops, participants have the chance to forget about being efficient for a week or two and to concentrate on being creative. Over the years we have offered workshops in Painting, Photography, Fiction Writing, Cooking, Singing, Acting, Poetry, Creativity, Yoga. Our groups are small and our instructors are passionate about art and about life.
Why Italy? Art, music, scenery, food, wine, the romantic language, friendly people, crafts, fashion,… There is a reason why Italy has inspired great artists for centuries, why the Renaissance started here, why opera and ballet were born here, why 60% of Western art is still here, why its cuisine is cherished around the world, why Italian is the language of love. There is an essence of Italy that is magic and seductive. Other places may have some of these characteristics, but Italy has them all. Our programs may take place with Tuscany or Venice or Rome or Sicily as the backdrop. Il Chiostro aims to show you an authentic Italy, not just dazzle you with highlights. We think that the good and simple life of Italy is an artwork in itself. We try to find interesting, non-traditional places to stay, like a convent or a farmhouse or a family-run winery. We don`t hurry from one town to the next, we settle in at one place for the week. We dig our heels in and talk with the man who owns the grocery store. We shop for dinner at outdoor markets, eat newly harvested strawberries, drink fresh wine from a vintner`s own cask. Linger over a cappuccino and watch the people come and go. Watch them watching you. Walk the dirt paths instead of pointing at them from the comfort of a tour bus. Then you`ll slowly begin to understand what makes Italy so special.
Il Chiostro is this Italy. Then with the combination of good food, wine and working on a creative project with stimulating people in a sublimely beautiful setting, the deepest, most unexpected passions emerge. It happens time and again...
Il Chiostro, Inc.
23 W. 73rd Street, #306
New York, NY 10023 USA
Linda Mironti and Michael Mele, Directors