I had never read this before until yesterday, but it has made a big impression on me. Nicolo Machiavelli, when he was forced into exile, retired to his estate at Sant'Andrea in Percussina near Florence. There he began writing the treatises that would ensure his place in political philosophy. In a famous letter to his friend Francesco Vettori, he described how he spent his evenings during this time:
When evening comes, I return home [from work and from the local tavern] and go to my study. On the threshold I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world.