La Dolce Vita: Yoga Retreat in Italy (Tuscany)
with Savonn Wyland (Bernal Yoga’s Founder and Co-Owner)
June 9 -16, 2018
Enjoy 7 nights – 8 Days of La Dolce Vita (“The Sweet Life”) in Tuscany, Italy- a destination that speaks for itself with its rich history, art + culture, idyllic villages, iconic landscapes, fabulous food so delicious in its simplicity, world class wines, friendly locals, and more.
- Daily yoga classes taught by Savonn. No need to bring your own mat or props. The yoga studio has blocks, blankets, straps, mats and bolsters. We will have opportunities to practice both inside the yoga studio and outside on the terrace.
- Delicious meals including lots of farm to table produce, estate produced wine, olive oil, and herbs. Most meals will be served al fresco (outside) on the terrace. Meals will be prepared by a local chef who makes deliciously fresh dishes based on what is in season and the region’s specialities. Food is sourced from local producers and wherever possible, that includes organic grains, fruit and vegetables. Also available will be homemade fresh fruit and vegetable juices and cleansing herbal teas using fresh herbs from the garden. You can indulge in local cheeses, pasta, breads, wines and other delights, along with plenty of dishes mades from nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables/salads, rice, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, fresh fruit and yogurt. Organic wine, olive oil and honey is produced in the surrounding agricultural area near Il Borghino and is served during the retreats. Friday night is Pizza + Prosecco Night, with pizza coming out fresh from the wood burning oven. If needed, gluten free and other special dietary requirements options can be arranged.
- Stylish yet simple lodging. Options include both shared and single rooms with private baths, as well as private rooms with shared baths. See pricing below for room availability and prices. The rooms are large, simple and furnished tastefully in local Tuscan style, each with fabulous views from every window. Tea and coffee are available in each house outside meal times. Each house also has a washer and dryer that you can use during our stay.
- A large communal area, “L’Olivo“, is the hub of the retreat centre – a place where we will to gather, enjoy meals together and share experiences. There is also a wood-fried pizza oven which we will make use of during the retreat, and a gorgeous outdoor terrace with panoramic views for al fresco dining and outdoor yoga classes. Wi-fi access is available in the communal areas.
- Day long trip to Cinque Terre. We will spend a day in breath-taking Cinque Terre exploring the five coastal villages embedded in rocky cliffs along one of Italy’s most scenic stretches of Liguria. For those who are hikers, it is possible to spend a day walking and climbing between these beautiful villages and enjoy some spectacular scenery along the way. For others, you can still enjoy walking the more gentle trails, spend time swimming, exploring the villages or sampling some of the local delights.
- Italian cooking class at Il Borghino with their local chef, Maria-Angela. In 2016, we learned how to make homemade gnocci, pesto and tiramisu.
We will be staying at Il Borghino, a Tuscan Estate and villa complex retreat center, consisting of 3 completely restored houses nestled in the hills of Tuscany, cradled between olive groves and vineyards with exquisite gardens and panoramic views over the historic town of Lucca looking towards Pisa and the sea. The accommodations include simple yet stylish rooms, a large salt-water swimming pool and Jacuzzi, an onsite yoga studio, wood burning pizza oven and Turkish Sauna.
The retreat is open to students of all levels. Since there are so many things to do on this retreat, it is a great opportunity to bring along friends or family who may not be interested in the daily yoga practices but who would be inspired by the culture of Italy and the chance to unwind, explore, meet new people and join in the excursions and optional activities.
The vibe of Il Borghino is relaxed, informal, and friendly and the goal of the place “is to provide everyone of the retreat an experience that blends healthy living with a perfect dose of Italian sweet life ~ La Dolce Vita~”
Optional Excursions and/or Add Ons:
- Local Tuscan wine tasting trip. Scenic 3km walk along the “Strada del Vino” (the wine road) to a local winery for a tour and tasting.
- Bike and Walking Tour of nearby Lucca. Includes a bike tour around the ancient walls, a walking tour to explore the main attractions and a cafe break.
- Puccini Opera in Lucca – For the opera lovers, you can catch a Puccini Opera every night in Lucca. The concert starts at 7:15pm and lasts up to 1 hr.
- Pietrasanta Artist village – If you fancy a night out in a nearby artist’s village, you can head to Pietrasanta, a thriving art centre full of galleries, shops and restaurants spilling onto the pavements. Best known for its marble and bronze artistic works. Pietrasanta often hosts international art exhibitions in the local piazza’s where you can sit over aperitivo and watch the buzz unfold. The town comes alive around 10pm so the best time to visit is in the early evening and staying until late so you can be part of the action.
- Barga and the Garfagnana day trip – If you prefer mountains and hilltop villages instead of the sea, travel to the heart of the mountainous Garfagnana region and the medieval town of Barga, stopping at the famous “Devil’s Bridge”, a masterpiece of medieval construction spanning the meandering river Serchio. Spend a few hours with your private guide exploring the charming hilltop village of Barga with its medieval fortress before stopping for a delicious gourmet lunch
- Italian Language Lessons – These will be conducted at the villa with an experienced Italian teacher.
- Visit to a Thermal Spa – This is a 3 – 4 hour excursion and includes entry in to the thermal pools (indoors and outdoors), Turkish steam room, and sauna. Well known to the ancient Etruscans and the Romans, the thermal waters are rich in sulphate-calcium-magnesium which aids relaxation and the digestive system.
- Massages and Holistic Treatments –there are wonderful local therapists who will be available throughout the retreat for various massages and other treatments.
- Shared Room + Private Bathroom (2 twin beds that can also be combined to make a bigger shared bed, 2 people per room, each room has a private bathroom.): $1990 (USD) per person (5 rooms, 10 spaces)
- Shared Room For a Couple + Private Bathroom (1 double bed, 2 people per room, has private bathroom): $1990 (USD) per person (2 rooms, 4 spaces)
- Private Room + Private Bathroom (1 single bed, 1 person per room, has private bathroom): $2290 (USD) per person (2 rooms, 2 spaces)
- Deluxe Private Room + Shared Bathroom (1 double bed, 1 person per room with shared hallway bathroom): $2290 (USD) per person (2 rooms, 2 spaces)
Retreat Price Includes: 7 nights’ accommodation + all linen + towels + laundry facilities; daily yoga classes; 3 delicious meals per day (except for the excursion day to Cinque Terre); unlimited fruit, water, and herbal tea throughout the day; local wine at dinner (1/2 bottle per person, per night max); use of the salt water swimming pool, Jacuzzi and Turkish Sauna; Cinque Terre excursion; Italian cooking class; WiFi (available in the common room only); transfers to and from Lucca train or bus station to Il Borghino at the start and finish of the retreat (there will be one scheduled pick up and drop off only-any transfers outside of this are not included).
Retreat Price does NOT include: airfare, optional excursions/activities, any meals outside of Il Bhorgino, travel insurance, massages and holistic treatments, other travel expenses, transfers from airport to Lucca.
Please use the button on the right to either pay your $500 deposit to secure your spot in the retreat.
Once you reserve your spot in the retreat, you will receive an email:
- Detailing the easiest ways to get to Il Borghino from various airports in Italy or from nearby Lucca. We will help you connect with other retreat travelers and give very detailed instructions on how to get to the retreat. There are three airports nearby: Pisa international Airport “Galileo Galileo” (18 Miles from Lucca), Florence International Airport “Amerigo Vespucci” (50 Miles from Lucca), and Rome, Fiumicino Airport (162 miles from Lucca). Regular trains and buses run from both Pisa and Florence airports to Lucca. Trains also run regularly from Rome airport, but the trip takes around 4.5 hours.
- Comprehensive packing list and travel tips for our retreat.
- Instructions on how your balance can be paid (including dates and how to pay online or by check)
Please note that the $500 deposit is non-refundable and secures your spot for the retreat. For the June 10 – 17, 2017 retreat, full payment is due by April 1, 2017. If you have paid in full by January 15th and need to cancel, we will offer you a full refund (not including the deposit). If you need to cancel between 1/15/17 and 4/1/17 we will issue a refund (not including the deposit) and you will be charged a 10% cancel fee. As we need to pay the retreat center in advance, no refunds will be given for cancellations later than April 1, 2017.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: We recommend that you get travel insurance in case of any life situation that may alter your plans. Check out travelinsure.com, insuremytrip.com, or any other option provided by your credit card, airline or travel company.
What Some Others Have Said About the Retreat
“I would recommend the retreat to anyone who wants to go to Italy, but has never traveled much. I liked the fact that we were expected somewhere and if we didn’t show up, someone would track us down. A sense of security in a foreign country – especially for women traveling alone. The all inclusive retreat enabled us to relax and not worry about food prep, or anything other than relaxing. We could participate in the activities (yoga, cooking class, etc), take excursions off of the property, or we could just lounge around the pool reading, sketching or napping.
My favorite part of the trip was spending time with my daughter. What a memorable week that I will always cherish and look back on and smile. I also met some wonderful people who I would never have gotten to know if it wasn’t for the retreat.
I enjoyed the day trip to Cinque Terre and the day trips to Lucca to just hang out. We felt very safe spending the day in Lucca on our own – of course someone was expecting us at a certain time at the end of the day and we were able to communicate via cell phone if we had any problems. None arose.” SS
“Yoga retreat in Tuscany was the trip I’d imagined for years. My grandparents emigrated from Tusa, Sicily so I’ve always wanted to visit. While Sicily seemed a little intimidating, Tuscany seemed magical. Though I like adventure with a little risk, I wanted to know that accommodations and food would be five star. Savonn and company did their research and IL Borghino Villa exceeded all expectations. I travelled with my daughter and we both were speechless when we saw our room. A view of the turquoise saline pool out one window and rolling hills, villas and vineyards from the other two. The staff was welcoming, professional, upbeat and excellent cooks. While I’m not a vegetarian, I enjoyed every meal. Visually appealing, nutritious and scrumptious, highlights were gnocchi, tiramisu, and pizza from brick oven. French press coffee greeted us each morning along with fresh juice and wine from local vineyards every evening. The Yoga room, which was underground, faced into the pool. Our very own aquarium. There was even a pup named Oliver whose human lived on the estate and he sauntered out to visit often. Lucca, the ancient walled city is a lovely winding road down the hill where piazzas await. Gelato, opera, shopping, restaurants, people watching while sipping a glass of wine. Cinque Terra was the highlight for me. Every photo I’ve ever seen could not compare to its beauty. My daughter and I agreed that experiencing a trip to Italy with yoga as the central core out of which other experiences radiated made this the trip of a lifetime.” JL
“I totally enjoyed our Yoga Retreat. I had no idea what to expect. I had been to Italy many times before, so I knew, no matter what, it would be terrific. I love Italy. Plus, the price- wow. You can’t beat that for what you get! With that in mind, the retreat was way beyond my wildest expectations. The site, the rooms, the food, the excursions were perfect. I wish like heck that I was going again this year, but, alas…
Without reservation, I would recommend this trip particularly for those who have never traveled to Italy before. This is an easy, beautiful way to slip into the spectacular country side of Tuscany. Food, wine, scenery, YOGA, beautiful accommodations, great travel companions. What could be better?” LW
“Italy has always been at the top of my travel list, and the retreat in Lucca provided the chance to sight see, relax, and do yoga. It was great to have a destination we could settle into, unpack our bags, and not worry about moving to a new place each day (with the exception of spending a few days in Florence at the beginning of the trip, which we’re so happy to have done!). The combination of experiencing a new country and having yoga to start or end the day with was really fun.
The best part of the trip was the time spent with my mom in a new place that neither of us had ever been. We were both constantly in awe of what we were seeing. “Oh my gosh, we’re in ITALY!” was said more than once on the trip. Not only did we have each other, but we were in close contact with fellow retreat goers from the beginning during our travel, which eased a few fears of traveling to a country where we don’t speak the language.
The scenery, food, and time shared with beautiful people made the experience truly wonderful. I will never forget it!” AN
“Going to Italy for a yoga retreat is not something I had ever considered doing for myself, but I realized a few days in it was perhaps the best thing I had ever done for myself. It is not until you’re fully removed from your everyday life, and spending time focusing – just focusing – that you realize how important it is to care for yourself – not just for everyone (else) you love. I felt like I was living in a dream or a fluffy soft cloud – for the guests, everything was so easy and so lovely/ pure luxury! People first – what an incredible group of inspiring and interesting people! After that and above all was the setting and the trip getting there that made it seem so magical; the accommodations were perfectly appointed, unique, simple and authentic; Yoga class scheduled every day, with nothing getting in your way (traffic, obligations, etc); every delicious meal was prepared for us; the activities that were arranged for us were all interesting and rich – or we could choose our own activity with no judgement or pressure; the masseuses’ on site were a perfect luxury… I left with a much deeper understanding of what it means to relax.
There was a bit of a martyr syndrome going on for me before I went – “it’s so expensive, can I really afford this, I should be meeting my family after, I should be spending the money on a family vacation, or the house, not on myself” and so on. Midway through the trip, while I was relaxing so completely by the pool, taking in the view, I realized it was worth every penny and then some. I felt a peacefulness, love for the wonderful variety of people I’d met on the retreat, and acceptance of myself that I don’t recall having ever felt so deeply before – and I brought that home.” SB