From the banks of the Serchio river to the peaks of the Apuan Alps, there is valley of silvery olive groves, a seemingly soft, almost velvet earth, surrounded by rivers and sloping forests of chestnut and pine. Here, suspended in time, and awaiting us like the perfect muse — we find the heart of Tuscany. A place where beauty and craft meet; where folklore and tradition survive, and a more gentle way of life prevails. This June, La Vita in Equilibrio takes us along the artisan’s trail, uncovering the stories and secrets of this exuberant land for a week of yoga and self-discovery. Come join us for a creative awakening!
Nestled in this lyrical landscape, set amongst the terraced hills and a short distance from the medieval city of Lucca, we have found a true haven for relaxation. An immaculately restored 17th century Tuscan estate, Villa Boccella and its gorgeous grounds provide the ideal setting for our Escape. Each morning wake up to the sweet scent of jasmine, or perhaps take a chair under the rose-covered pergola. You might be inspired to follow the enchanting trails that lead you past the wild thyme and rosemary bushes or simply bask by the pool, in the golden light of the afternoon. The focus of this retreat, is manifesting the muse within you! So we have designed a week of artisanal workshops, and immersive experiences ranging from wine making to silk weaving – but have also included plenty of time for you to soak it all in and enjoy.
The path to creative awakening begins each morning in the Boccellina garden with our yoga and meditation class. With the Pizzorne mountains on our horizon, we reach into our authentic selves and follow a series of chakra opening asanas. We gently tap into the transformative but often elusive energy of mindful self-expression. When the body, mind and spirit are in harmony our creativity flows with greater clarity, and we can meet our day with playful curiosity. Our morning sessions are followed by a deliciously abundant patio breakfast, lovingly prepared by your hosts. Local, and seasonal fruits and vegetables are at the heart of our ethos, and in Tuscany we are in a food lovers paradise. Your taste buds are in for a real treat, as our epicurean journey takes us along the DOC trail of Lucchese wines and olive oil. From rustic farm-table lunches and pasta-making at a vineyard, to dining al fresco in ancient piazzas – the delicate flavors of the region, are sure to ignite your senses.
The area around Lucca, is often referred to as the ‘green island of Tuscany’. In the verdant splendor of this countryside, we encounter baroque villas, magnificent palaces and charming gardens. In fact the Ville Lucchese, are a symbol of an aristocracy that consolidated the 16th century silk trade. The social prestige of these nobles is evidenced by the opulence of these ‘country homes’. One of our favourites, Villa Torrigiani, in the nearby hamlet of Camigliano, sets the tone for a day of wonder and amusement! Our private tour takes us behind the extravagant baroque facade to the home of the noble Santini family. Here we visit the bedrooms featuring the family’s original silk hangings – while the lavish gardens, fashioned after Versailles, provide us with a moment of repose as we ponder the secrets of the silk trade. Following a rustic lunch with local cheesemaker at her sustainable cashmere goat farm, we continue our journey in search of silkworms. Lucky for us, and the worms, during the month of our visit they are ravenous! We not only get to feed them, we meet with and learn from the artisans who are carrying on the methods of spinning, and weaving handed down the generations.
The following day we visit the serene and opulent city of Lucca. Admired for its graceful piazzas and impressive 16th Renaissance ramparts surrounding the historic center, Lucca tends to attract the somewhat more discerning visitor. This is a place, where slow living comes naturally. In fact, some say that no one does ‘leisure’ better than the Lucchese. We experience this ‘town of a hundred churches’, by bicycle along the walls of the city with local cultural connoisseur, Federico Grabau. A descendant of one of thirteen aristocratic families that ruled Lucca during the Renaissance, his intimate recollections of a family history connected with the city, make our visit all the more special. Some highlights include the ancient Piazza Anfiteatro, one of the most picturesque squares in all of Tuscany, a visit to the home of Lucca’s illustrious son Giacomo Puccini, and the dazzling church of San Michele with its wedding-cake facade. The afternoon leaves you free to explore the town – as you stroll down the Via Fillungo, listen for the soft sounds of Madame Butterfly wafting behind the medieval walls and towers.
There is a rhythm and a harmony embedded in the theater of hills and valleys surrounding Lucca. Listening to winemaker Gabriele da Prato, of Podere Concori, speak about the relationship between music and his vines we are reminded of our own creative awakening as we visit his organic vineyard. Gabriele not only plays music to his grapes, he inspires enthusiasm and emotion to anyone who hears him speak about local terroir and the gentle ways in which nature expresses herself in the wines. Surrounded by fragrant fields of wild fennel and chamomile, we enjoy a homemade lunch before continuing along the enchanting Wine trail. As a group we explore the connection between the lush landscape, our feelings and the subtle stirrings of our imaginations. The roots of the vines dig deeply into the earth – they tell a story of lasting tradition, changing seasons, compassionate vinters and harvest. As we share our own stories, perhaps we glean a little inspiration from all the wine tasting! We stop at several more biodynamic wineries in the hills of Segromigno in Monte before heading back to our beautiful Villa Boccella for an evening of fun and relaxation.
When we are not exploring the local countryside, a host of creative workshops await us at the Villa. Tapping into personal archetypes, through mindful meditation, astrology and a series of arts and crafts activities, we open ourselves to renewal and we begin to feel the energy flow. At La Vita, we believe in nourishing our guests with personalized attention as well as giving them the freedom to choose how to spend their days. You may decide to opt out of an activity, and this too can be an integral part of your inner journey. Though, we are sure there is one activity you will not want to miss! We have invited a lovely individual on site, to provide our guests with the most magical of massages. Isa, our masseuse radiates beauty, and she will pamper you with a combination of lomi, shiatsu and stretching thai. You will be blissfully swept away by the scents of honey and rosemary; lulled into deep serenity by the sounds of her singing bowls.
Many artists, writers and sculptors have been inspired by this part of Tuscany. From Dante and Boccaccio to contemporaries like Botero – the region has certainly enjoyed being a muse! For this Escape we have planned an exciting day that takes us along the marble trail to follow in the footsteps of Michelangelo. We begin with an adventurous and exhilarating ride up a mountain, to reach the gleaming white marble of Carrara. You will be amazed by the sheer immensity of this natural basin. While we learn about the ancient ways of marble extraction, and take in the breathtaking views, we ponder the transformative process involved – after all, marble is actually limestone that has experienced a crystalline metamorphosis! Following our tour, we lunch at nearby Colonnata before heading to an old marble cutting yard, now restored as a workspace for artists. Here we get an intimate look inside an artist’s studio, discovering how to create magic out of stone. Our final stop is along the Versilia coast, at Pietrasanta. Known as the ‘small Athens’ of Tuscany due to the many artists who came to work the marble after Michelangelo, this charming town is the perfect backdrop for our favorite Italian pastime, the passeggiata.
Our Escape culminates on a glorious Tuscan summer evening – walking the graceful streets of Lucca we stop for an aperitivo before heading to the magnificent church of San Giovanni, for an incredible performance of Puccini. Your soul will rejoice in the emotion of the setting and the sounds. We continue our courtship with Puccini’s spirit at the Michelin starred restaurant Butterfly where we gather in a most elegant setting for a dining experience that will be as memorable as the friendships we have made. The next morning, we have a light yoga practice followed by breakfast before we transfer you back to your life with a restored mind and body, a deep sense of rejuvenation, self-discovery and transformation. We can’t wait to see you in Tuscany!
This escape is open to singles & couples of all levels of yoga and from all walks of life that are interested in the mind-opening experiences that yoga, meditation and travel can inspire. A love of Italy and it’s food and culture will make it all the more divine!
All prices are given in EURO
€2195 sharing in twin or double room
€2590 for a private double room
Can be paid in two payments using the code TUSCANYJUNE2018
30% Deposit to secure your place
The balance to be paid 42 days before the start of your Yoga Escape
• Group transfer from and to airport
• Welcome prosecco upon arrival
• Daily sessions of meditation and yoga instruction
• All meals during your time with us
• Your accommodation at Villa Boccella
• All group sightseeing and activities
• Transportation to and from activities
• A private tour of Renaissance Villa Torrigiani
• A visit with Silkworm breeder and silk workshop
• Guided tour of Lucca with bicycle ride of Renaissance walls
• Lunch with local cheesemaker on cashmere goat farm
• Visit to several organic and biodynamic vineyards
• Pasta-making class with local master chef
• A private tour of marble quarry at Carrara
• Guided visit of Pietrasanta and artist studio
• Personalized treatment with local masseuse
• Transformative astrology workshops
• Art sessions focusing on personal archetypes
What's Not Included?
• Your airline tickets
• Travel insurance (which we highly advise)
• Any additional spa treatments and shopping
• Meals and activities when you’re not with the group
Arrival: Guests will be greeted upon arrival at the hotel for check-in commencing at 3pm.
Departure: Group airport transfer from 11AM on the final day.
A note on getting there: You can fly to either Pisa or Florence airports, and we will have a group transfer organized to bring you to your hotel.
Alongside your usual luggage, you may wish to bring:
• Bathing suit
• Yoga clothes
• Personal yoga props if preferred (mat, blocks, straps, blanket)
• Trekking shoes
• Smart phone with camera and/or digital camera
• Plug adaptors / converters
Due to the bespoke nature of our Escapes, we offer no cancellations or refunds unless a replacement is found. We strongly encourage you to have travel insurance to cover the retreat in the event of strikes, natural disasters, health problems, and other unforeseen events.