Land, Love, and Linguine
A Yoga + Cultural Journey to Italy
Tuscany, Italy
September 22-29, 2019

Benessere (beˈnɛssere): Italian for “wellness’ or “well-being”

The Tuscan countryside is world-renowned for its landscapes, history, artistic legacy, and influence on high culture. Admired as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, this region of Italy is ideal for enjoying the simplicity of life where you can reconnect with your essence and emerge from the experience rejuvenated.

This joyful journey, hand-crafted by Meg Townsend and Paul Galloro, is the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure as you explore the land and culture of Italy. We surrender to the beauty of the country, embrace all it has to teach us, and allow Love to guide our way.

This Land offers the opportunity to slow down and tune into the Italian pace of living. With this relaxed pace and the spaciousness of yoga and meditation practices, your nervous system will receive what it needs to rest and repair, and your mind will sink into stillness.

Love is the thread that weaves together the tapestry of our journey in Italy. Through connection with the Land, the locals, and your new retreat family (aka soul siblings), you will experience a deep connection with all aspects of your being. As we dive deeper into the cave of the heart, you’ll experience a deeper connection to your own light, and the light of others – the true meaning of Namaste.

An adventure to Italy would not be complete without exploring all its “pasta-bilities”! Mealtime provides the optimal space for connection of the heart through the belly. As we laugh, share stories, and moan over the deliciousness of each meal, you’ll find your inner landscape to be nourished on every level.

All are welcome. Come with an open heart and an open mind and the surrender to the beauty of Italia … one breath is all it takes.

Retreat includes:

  • 7 nights at Villa Gourmet
  • 2 meals a day (brunch + dinner)
  • all transportation in Italy during the retreat
  • daily yoga + meditation
  • afternoon yoga workshops + heart circles
  • day-trip to ground and relax in the hot springs of Grotta Giusti
  • pasta-making workshop with Chef Fabrizio
  • day-trip to explore Cinque Terre (this is a “free day” to explore on your own. A guide with suggestions with be provided!)
  • other local excursions and mini-adventures

Not included:

  • R/T flight to Italy
  • train to/from Altopascio 
  • meals in Cinque Terra
  • optional massage/body treatments at Grotta Giusti
  • ​travel insurance

**Upon receiving your deposit, we will send you an information packet that will include guidance on purchasing your flight and how to get to Altopascio where we will begin and end our journey together!!**

Join the Journey

Our Home in Tuscany: Villa Gourmet

Set in the countryside between Pisa and Florence, we make our home at Villa Gourmet, an 18th century Tuscan farmhouse, restored to the comforts of modern style. Some consider this to be one of the most beautiful parts of Tuscany, yet it is tucked away from the main tourist route, so you’ll find peace and quiet in and around our Tuscan home. The villa grounds boast an infinity salt-water pool, gorgeous gardens, a sun-deck, and many nooks to escape with your journal or a good book.​

Nourish Yourself

Any retreat experience in Italy must highlight phenomenal food. Tuscan cuisine is all about elegant simplicity. They insist on using only the highest quality foods, which means that you’ll be nourished with the freshest, highest quality food of the region. At Villa Gourmet, our meals are a family occasion. We have our own private chef, the amazingly talented Fabrizio Barghini, who will prepare the classic dishes passed down to him by his family. Every meal is crafted with the utmost precision and care, and you can taste the love in the food and the joy Fabrizio has for what he does. This year, we’ll spend an afternoon in the kitchen with him learning all the secrets of making perfect Italian pasta! Be prepared for a fabulous evening with lots of laughter and fun as you get to know your new retreat family, and tap into your inner chef! If you’re wondering about tasting delicious Italian wines, the answer is yes! This is a yoga retreat but wine is also a part of the Land in Italy. So if you’d like to mindfully experience wine with your dinner, our host, Stefano Barghini, will have select regional wines for purchase and you’re welcome to enjoy.

Land, Love, and Linguine
A Yoga + Cultural Journey to Italy
September 22-29, 2019


 
Early Bird Pricing (ends April 15)
Double Room (separate beds): $2,297 pp 
Double Room (shared bed): $2,597 pp
Single Room: $2,997 pp
Regular Pricing 
Double Room (separate beds): $2,797 pp 
Double Room (shared bed): $3,097 pp
Single Room: $3,497 pp
**ALL PRICES ARE IN USD**
Deposit of $597 reserves your space
Only 7 spaces on this retreat!

YOUR TEACHERS

Paul Galloro

Paul Galloro is a miracle worker. A miracle is defined as a shift in perception from fear to love, and he has made this shift in his life many times. One of the biggest shifts in his life happened after closing his yoga studio, selling his car, and packing up his belongings, and embarking on a three-month tour around the world to visit Italy, Thailand, and Australia. “It was like my own personal Divine Comedy, but in typical Paul fashion, I didn’t follow the format” he says about his experience. “I straight away arrived in heaven, tripped over myself and plummeted into the pits of hell where every fear of mine was used to beat me to a bloody pulp, and then somehow I dragged myself into limbo where I lay battered and completely bare.” At that point, Paul had to make a choice – to fold, or to choose Love.

The difference between a tourist and a traveller, according to Paul, is one comes to see and the other comes to Love. Here’s a few highlights of his time loving around the world:

  • sitting on top of the Duomo (with Meg Townsend!) watching the sunset over Florence
  • crying in the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi
  • eating the most delicious pizza in Naples
  • taking naps in parks on hot summer days in Austria, Prague, Berlin, Stockholm, and Florence
  • watching baby whales play in Tasman Sea in Australia

Paul’s approach to lifestyle and wellness goes beyond the physical and is grounded in Spirit and Love. Being a lover of movement, he has trained in everything from cardio conditioning and functional strength to Pilates, hatha/vinyasa, Kundalini, and therapeutic yoga. The essence of his teaching is the true meaning of Namaste, which is an experience of our oneness. He teaches from a place of Love – love for (your)self and love for others – and every experience will help you connect to the truth of who you are. Spending time with Paul feels like being wrapped in a warm hug and will leave you sparkling long after your time together is done.

Meg Townsend

Meg Townsend loves breathing in life to its fullest potential by traveling the world, exploring her creative gifts through singing and writing, going on photography adventures, dancing in thunderstorms, and teaching yoga. She first awakened to the power of travel and began her lifelong journey of falling in love with the world when venturing to Spain, France, and Ireland in high school. In the winter of 2014 after spending much time reflecting on how she wanted to deepen her teaching offerings, she began curating and guiding international yoga retreats. It’s the aspect of her work she finds most rewarding…..seeing travelers transformed through their bold explorations of inner and outer worlds. Highlights from her travels include:

  • Riding a Camel in the Sahara Desert, Morocco
  • Attending the world’s largest spiritual gathering in India and bathing in the Ganges
  • Visiting Puccini’s birthplace in Lucca, Italy to pay homage to her favourite aria composer
  • Fulfilling a lifelong dream of frolicking in lavender fields on San Juan Island, WA
  • Hiking to the top of a mountain in the French Pyrenees (which she’ll take you to on this journey!)

Meg’s yoga journey began at age 16 when she convinced her PhysEd teacher that class time would be better spent doing yoga in the locker room rather than attempting to sharpen her skills at basketball. For the next ten years she explored different styles of yoga and became enamored with the practice. Meg was invited to take part in her first yoga teacher training in 2008 and in 2010, met the teacher that introduced her to her bright, inner fire: Yogarupa Rod Stryker. She is forever grateful that these teachings altered the course of her life and is committed to serving the Sri Vidya Tantra lineage of the Himalayas through her practice and teaching. She has over 800 hrs of training in Hatha Yoga, Reiki, and Ayurveda.