på dansk 🇩🇰 (kommer snart)
What is your definition of ‘artist, creative or scholar’? We are open to both professional, established practicioners and scholars, and also to those who consider themselves amateur or emerging. There is no need for you to be formally employed or self-employed as an artist or researcher in any way. You just need to be genuinely working on an artistic or scholarly project which you can outline to us in an email. Lars and Else liked guests to send a resume and links to their work, so we could have an impression of your project, and also for our archives and in case we might be able to make connections/ introductions between others with similar interests. Our guests have to date ranged from people who are highly established in their fields, to those who are emerging as artists or scholars. Any artistic, scholarly or creative practice is relevant, including music, visual art, performing arts, the sciences, humanities, etc. This also includes creative/critical practices such as writing creative non-fiction or journalism.
We are especially keen to encourage more visits from people who are minoritised or marginalised and recognise that they may encounter more barriers than others. If this applies to you and you would like to discuss any concerns, including finding funding, please contact Leila (via the Contact Me page) – she also runs an Arts Council England funded social enterprise dedicated to helping writers of colour break into the children’s literature industry, and will happily advise if she can.
We are always excited to hear about guests’ successes, especially if their stay in Ascea in some way helped, and previously Lars and Else celebrated those on the blog. We have started a new blog with this in mind, and may set up a social media profile so we can share links to, for example, guests’ exhibitions or publications.
Are there any restrictions or conditions on a stay? Because this is a retreat where we expect guests to spend some time working on a project, minimum stay is two weeks. We offer a 10% discount on the monthly rate for stays longer than a month. Please see individual apartment information for details of prices. For the moment we are working on a seasonal basis – until we have improved insulation and installed solar-powered heat-exchangers in the apartments we don’t intend to have guests during December-February.
Is there any funding available for a stay? Many of our guests do receive funding or grants to work here, often from their national Arts Council or comparable body. England-based applicants can apply to the Develop Your Creative Practice fund at the Arts Council. Leila can talk to you about this scheme if it is new to you; contact her via the contact page.
UK authors may find grants available, for example: https://www2.societyofauthors.org/grants/grants-for-residential-stays/ or here: https://www2.societyofauthors.org/grants/grants-for-work-in-progress/
Are there other creative or relevant activities available? In previous years, Lars organised a Symposium which we hope to continue. The Elea Art Club onlus (not-for-profit association) was started by Lars and Else in 2007 and over the years it has organised many exhibitions and performance events in the region including both local and international artists. Leila is a widely-published children’s author and creative writing teacher, and René is a composer and musician, so we are planning to offer activities related to this depending on availability. We can also put you in touch with local English-speaking guides who can organise visits to sites of cultural, environmental, historical interest and/or ‘foodie’ tours. These are people we know in the region, and which we consider to be local experts in their fields – we are not an agency and we don’t take payment/percentage from them or you for such activities.
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
About travel to/from Ascea
This section is mostly about travel practicalities – for more on the area itself, have a look at this page: ‘Ascea and the Cilento’.
How do I get there by air or train? The closest airport is Naples (Napoli) Capodichino. On arriving there, you can get a taxi or the Alibus (a shuttle bus) from just outside the airport, to the central train station. The prices estimated below were correct to the best of our knowledge as of Autumn 2022.
Tickets for the Alibus are about 5 euros per person and can now be got online at the Naples Airport (Aeroporto di Napoli) website: https://www.aeroportodinapoli.it/info-e-servizi/trasporti or paid for by contactless card on the bus itself. The trip takes about 20 minutes, depending on traffic.
A taxi from the airport to the station costs around 30 euros and also takes about 20 minutes. From the central train station in Naples (Stazione di Napoli Centrale) take a train directly to Ascea. The train will usually be a ‘regional’ one, which takes about two hours and the price is around 9.50 euros. Outside the summer tourist season, there may not be on-board announcements, so it is useful to know that the stop just before Ascea is Vallo della Lucania. You will need to validate your ticket before travel, by stamping it in one of the small green machines at the end of the platforms. You can buy train tickets in advance online at:
There is a useful guide to Naples central train station here: https://www.seat61.com/stations/naples-centrale.htm
There is a useful guide to buying train tickets for Italy here: https://www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-italy.htm#how-to-use-trenitalia.com .
What do I do when I arrive at Ascea train station? We can usually arrange for either René or someone else to pick you up at Ascea station by car, and take you up the hill to the apartment where you will get keys and a short walking tour of the village in order to orient you as to the locations of the shops, postoffice, ATM, etc. In order to organise this you should let us know ahead of time what train you expect to arrive on from Napoli, and send us a message when you are actually on a train, to confirm which arrival time you are on, in case of changes or delays.
How do I find out about scheduled strikes? We have added this FAQ because of the delays, strikes and cancellations during 2022 across the whole of Europe, affecting various travel sectors. The Italian for strike is ‘sciopero’. This government website: http://scioperi.mit.gov.it/mit2/public/scioperi gives a list of scheduled strikes across Italy so you can see if any of these affect your travel plans. News of strikes, weather and other relevant local news is often also found on https://www.cilentonotizie.it/ .We hope this is helpful but we cannot take responsibility for the accuracy of any of this information – please ensure you have the information you need for your journey.
How do I get there by car? Find a Google map of Ascea showing road numbers here: https://firstname.lastname@example.org,15.1894581,15.54z . Parking is available in the village in two free parking lots a few minutes walk from the apartments.
How do I get around once I am there? There is a bus from Ascea paese to the marina and station, and inland to Vallo della Lucania, however this service is infrequent outside the summer months. There is a beautiful, but fairly steep, walk through olive groves from Ascea paese (where the apartments are) to the marina and station. It takes about 30 minutes to go down, and about an hour to go up, depending on your level of fitness! It is normal to ‘thumb a lift’ down and up the hill. Once at the station, you can travel north and south along the coast easily by train.
It is possible to hire a car locally in Ascea depending on availability. Car hire is of course also available at airports.
Buying essentials in Ascea
Where can I buy food/ essentials? All everyday products are easily available year-round within a short walk of the apartment. There are plenty of well-stocked grocers, stationery and hardware shops, a post office and other amenities in the village, a few minutes walk from the apartments. There are various bars, including a cafe-bar which is open all year round and serves meals (Flash Bar), a restaurant which is open mostly in the summer, all a few minutes walk from the apartments. Shops often close for ‘siesta’ time but then re-open and are open till late. Bars (cafes) are usually open from early morning, thoughout the day, and into late night.
How do I access medical care if necessary? There is a chemist/pharmacy a few minutes walk from the apartment where you can get any non-urgent medicines and advice. The general emergency number is 112. This useful article gives more details on what to do in an emergency: https://www.thelocal.it/20190826/emergency-in-italy-who-to-call-and-what-to-say/
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
About the apartments
Why are there not many photos of the apartments? We only began managing the apartments in mid 2022 following the death of Prof. Lars Aagaard-Mogensen. We are in the process of upgrading them and will add more photos and prices as soon as we have them. For the moment we just wanted to get a modern website up to replace the old one at https://wassardelea.blogspot.com/p/about-wassard-elea.html .
What do I need to know before I book a stay? While the apartments should be clean and comfortable, it’s important to emphasise that we are not aiming to provide a luxury holiday environment. Our focus is on keeping the apartments affordable and sustainable for people who want to work on their art, craft or research. The apartments are self-catering and you should expect to be self-reliant and to take a responsible part in keeping the apartments in good condition (for example, putting out the rubbish and recycling on the appropriate days, not allowing dirt to build up during your stay). We will of course help with emergencies and are very glad to give advice on the local area if you’d like it.
The area in general is hilly and steep so you do need to be prepared for that, and shoes/sandals with a good grip are highly recommended in any season. It is important to know that, if you want to see the wider area of the Cilento, you will need a car/ access to a car via a local guide, for example, as unfortunately public transport is limited. We will organise a lift from the station up the hill to the flats, and back again, when you arrive/depart. In autumn and spring (i.e. when not too hot or rainy) there is a beautiful walk down to the beach and the train station (Sentiero Aurella), however be aware that it is not lit at night so please keep an eye on the sunset times.
What is the apartment equipped with? The apartments are all self-catering, equipped with a kitchenette with cooking facilities and fridge/ freezer. Bed linen and towels are provided. Fans are provided in hot weather and heaters in cooler weather. Each one has a separate shower room with toilet, bidet and washing machine. There will be more specific instructions in each apartment about, for example, how to use hot water timers.
Are utilities included? Electricity and water are included. WiFi is also included but the bandwidth is low – the cafe 5 minutes walk away, Flash Bar, also has it in case of emergencies. Gas is not piped to houses in the area; shops sell and deliver bottled gas in large cannisters which is used for cooking and for heaters. We will pay for cooking gas, but if you wish to use a gas heater you should buy your own bottled gas when it runs out. An electric heater is provided.
What is it NOT equipped with? A TV, air conditioning, or central heating. We are working on the air conditioning but we want to install an eco-friendly type, e.g. solar-powered heat exchange systems, which requires some research and investment. Regarding the central heating, houses in the area are not built with central heating. We provide the gas or electric heaters which are widely used here when they are necessary.
Are the apartments suitable for people with reduced mobility? The sea view apartments have a lot of stairs and steep access to the attic level. Number 41 is flat inside, however, there are stairs down to the garden and as it is in an old building in the historical centre, the doors are not wide. The apartments are therefore really only suitable for averagely mobile people. The area in general is on a hillside with steep walks and uneven surfaces, so before booking please make yourself aware of the area and whether it is suitable for you. Contact us if you have any questions about this.
How do I get rid of rubbish? Recycling and mixed waste is collected on different days. It’s important to put the right bins out at the right time. There will be instructions in the apartments.
Are there any legal requirements? It is the law in Italy that any person staying for less than 3 months in a rental property has to be registered at the commune (town hall). We will need to have a copy of your identity document in order to do this.
Why is it called Wassard Elea? This was a choice made by Lars and Else. Wassard is an old family name of Lars’ and Elea is the Greek city where the pre-Socratic philosophers lived and whose ruins are in Ascea. Elea is pronounced e-lay-uh.
If you have any questions after reading through all this, just let us know – contact us.