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2018 Yoga retreat itinerary

We are developing and refining themes for each day and this itinerary is very much an outline guide. Precise timings and locations will be flexible and dependent on the weather and the needs and desires of the group. Extra sessions may be arranged for late morning and after dinner, as required.

Saturday

  • Arrival Day. Everyone is picked up at Pisa airport in the morning by air-conditioned minibus or car for the beautiful drive to The Watermill.
  • Lunch (oven-roasted vegetables with feta cheese and couscous; spinach and ricotta tarts; fresh fruit) will be served in the dining room in The Watermill courtyard
  • In the afternoon you’ll have plenty of time to settle in, relax, get to know one another and inhale the beauty outside
  • 16:00 - Millstream and riverside walk for those who want to come
  • 18:45 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah before a short minibus drive to the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano
  • 19:30 - ‘Introduction to Tuscany’ dinner at the Elvetico caffé, sampling the freshly cooked delights of the unique local cuisine. Local wines
  • 21:30 - Transport back to the mill.

Sunday
Theme: Earth

  • 08:00 - Morning meditation: Some 20 minutes of guided meditation in the Watermill studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - Yoga in the walled garden or the mill studio overlooking the river and the mountains. An invigorating practice to get your body moving and to align all the senses
  • 13:00 - Lunch in the Watermill dining room: Sample menu (all menus will vary according to the availability of fresh local produce): fennel baked in white wine, cream and parmigiano sauce, topped with fresh breadcrumbs; panzanella al mulino, a traditional Florentine salad brought up to date by the watermill chefs: olive oil, bread, onions, tomatoes from the garden, capers, olives, fresh basil from the garden; songino (lamb’s lettuce) topped with fresh nasturtium flowers and or borage flowers, with a honey and mustard vinaigrette; bresaola (air-cured Italian beef) with parmigiano shavings; fresh fruit in season (possibly including Watermill figs). Local wines
  • 14:00 - Deep relaxation followed by some gentle yoga to lead us into our creative expression of the day's theme. Activities include using the wonderful garden at the Watermill as well as art journaling and writing.
  • 17:00-19:00 - Free time to enjoy the gardens, maybe even a cheeky nap in the sunshine! Individual Shiatsu sessions available (extra cost)
  • 19:00 - Join everyone for a refreshing aperitivo on the Vine Verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: gorgonzola soufflé, Tuscan lentils and Tuscan sausage (there will be a vegetarian option) with fresh vegetables and garden potatoes; home-made torta della nonna (made by our own Italian grandmother!)
  • 21:00 - Silent meditation in the candlelit studio. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Monday
Theme: Water

  • 08:00 - Mindful walking (in silence) either in the gardens and grounds or around the village to awaken us to the day and to appreciate sights, sounds, smells and then – taste!
  • 08:30 Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining
  • 10:00 - Yoga in the Watermill studio - focusing on creating inner strength and resilience
  • 12:15 - Pre-lunch historic stroll: We’ll take a short ride in a comfortable air-conditioned van or car to Verrucola (about 10 minutes’ drive). Short walk around the take our walk in the imposing castle and beautiful village, with notes on its history
  • 13:00 - Lunch at Il Castello trattoria at Verrucola. sample menu: pasta with tomato sauce; Stufatino alla Romana (Roman beef stew); fresh fruit; wines; coffee/tea
  • 14:30 - Transport to the watermill
  • 15:30 - Deep relaxation followed by some gentle yoga to lead us into our creative expression of the day's theme. Activities may include visiting the stream at the Watermill as well as art journaling and writing. Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 17:30 - Individual Shiatsu sessions available (extra cost)
  • 19:00 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: Farfalle alla primavera (pasta with fresh seasonal vegetables); cotoletta alla Milanese con tacchino (turkey breast escalopes) (There will be a vegetarian option); fresh seasonal vegetables from our gardens; pannacotta.
  • 21:00 - Silent meditation in the candlelit studio. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Tuesday
Theme: Fire

  • 08.30 - A wake-up yoga session and guided meditation
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - Trip to the local market in the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano: by minibus or car. Browsing around the local market stalls -- merchants come with everything from local produce – cheeses, hams, mushrooms, roast chicken, fish, vegetables, flowers -- to leather bags, clothing, bling jewellery and fabrics. Walks along the city walls
  • 12:30 - Lunch at the local pasticceria/gelateria: fresh panini with cheese or ham filling; home-made ice-cream
  • Minibus returns to the mill after lunch (some people might care to walk back: about 25 minutes)
  • 14:00 - Individual Shiatsu sessions available (extra cost) or relaxing at the Watermill. Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 17:00 - Deep relaxation followed by some gentle yoga to lead us into our creative expression of the day's theme. Activities will be an exciting expression of the theme to include art journaling and writing and maybe something more...(!)
  • 19:00 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: risotto con funghi porcini (the ‘king of mushrooms’); Arista (Tuscan-style roast pork) (there will be a vegetarian option); fresh seasonal vegetables from our gardens; fresh fruit salad with home-make amaretto mousse ice-cream
  • 21:00 - Silent meditation in the candlelit studio. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Wednesday

  • Day’s excursion to Lucca
    Today we take a break from our daily schedule and take a trip together to the old city of Lucca, one of the treasures of Tuscany. You don’t need to worry about anything at all; all logistics are arranged so we can fully take in the day. The minibus will take you to the nearby station after breakfast and pick you up to bring you back in time for aperitivi and dinner.

    Lucca is our favourite Italian city, imposing dark red brick walls, wide enough to walk (or cycle: hire a bike) all the way round. The centre is wonderful with superb architecture, notably the San Michele church, the Cathedral, the medieval Piazza del Anfiteatro echoing the shape of the old Roman amphitheatre, the classical splendour of the Piazza Napoleone. And there are shops where you’ll find great shoes and leather goods, and there’s an elegant pedestrian shopping street, the Via Filungo.

    The train heads slowly from the station at Aulla on the single-track railway, meandering through the Alpi Apuane regional park, taking about an hour and 30 minutes to get to Lucca (and about one hour and 45 minutes back, don’t ask why!), but the journey itself is worthwhile not just for the great scenery (the impressive marble mountains, sparkling rivers, hilltop villages) but for observing Italian life.
  • For lunchtime, we are very happy to give you the ingredients for a packed lunch, but most people seem to prefer to choose their own café or restaurant for lunch (we can make recommendations) and enjoy a leisurely Italian meal in the heat of the day.
  • Around 19:30 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • Around 20:00 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. (Sample menu: fagiolini (warm green beans with gat’s cheese) ; baked salmon (a vegetarian option is available); fresh seasonal vegetables; Torta della Nonna speciale.

Thursday
Theme: Air

  • 08:00 - Morning meditation: Some 20 minutes of guided meditation in the Watermill studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - Short trip by mini-bus and car to a nearby privately-owned convent
  • 10:30 - Enjoy a blend of Tibetan Healing Exercises and sound meditation in the cloisters of this beautiful convent. Time will also be given to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Vacuum flasks of hot water for tea-, coffee-making
  • 12:30 - Picnic lunch at the convent: light, delicious and nourishing, including farrò salad, frittata with fresh vegetables and vegetable tarts fresh from the local baker
  • 14:00 - Transport to the Watermill
  • 14:30 - Individual Shiatsu sessions available (extra cost) or relaxing at the Watermill. Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 17:00 - Deep sound healing relaxation utilising Tibetan singing bowls and wind gong followed by a creative expression of the day's theme. This afternoon's activity will help bring some colour and fun into your life and may also bring something of interest to the garden at the Watermill.
  • 19:00 - Aperitivi on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: an amuse gueule of endive leaves with tuna, olives and a hint of peperoncino; a special homemade lasagne with a ragú, made by our Italian grandmother Mirella (a vegetarian option is available); local pecorino sheep cheeses, served with fresh pears and drizzled with Lunigiana honey, the only honey in Italy to be DOP – denominazione di orgine controllato; green salad from the garden; Mirella’s home-made tiramisú (to die for!) Wines.
  • 21:00 - Silent meditation in the candlelit studio. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Friday
Theme: Ether

  • 08:00 - Morning meditation: Some 20 minutes of guided meditation in the Watermill studio, the walled garden or the riverside gardens
  • 08:30 - Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10:00 - Leave for 1000-year-old village of Monte dei Bianchi in minibus and car
  • 10:30 - Explore village with stunning views over Apuan Alps mountains, vineyards and wooded valley. Walk (half a mile) to gourmet hill-top restaurant with fabulous views the setting for On-location yoga in the restaurant grounds, olive groves
  • 12:30 - small closing ceremony at hill-top restaurant
  • 13:00 - Gourmet lunch at the hill-top restaurant. Sample menu: risotto with gorgonzola and pears; freshly caught San Martino fish (char), oven-baked on chestnut leaves, with rosemary sprigs from the garden; seasonal vegetables; a sorbet with prosecco and lemon. Local wines
  • 14:30 - Return to the Watermill
  • 15:00 - Individual Shiatsu sessions available (extra cost) or relaxing at the Watermill Facilities for tea- and coffee-making, biscuits etc., available in the communal kitchen
  • 19:00 - Prosecco on the vine verandah
  • 19:30 - Farewell dinner together in the Watermill courtyard dining room, celebrating local specialities. Sample menu: Insalata tepida di riso con pesto (warm pesto rice salad), Involtini di pollo (rolled chicken breast with cheese, ham, herbs), a vegetarian option is also available. Torta di cioccolato di Capri (chocolate cake made with crushed almonds instead of flour)
  • 21:00 - Closing ilent meditation in the candlelit studio. (After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi are available in the communal sitting room.)

Saturday

Arriverderci e buon viaggio
After breakfast, we take off for the airport by car or air-conditioned minibus. Today we say goodbye to our beautiful retreat, but we hope that you will leave refreshed, renewed, rejuvenated, and nourished in all of your senses - and armed with inspiration and practical knowledge to help you carry your retreat experience into your daily life with you.

What to bring with you

Here are some props you should bring with you:
- Journal (minimum A5 size)
- Pen(s); pencils; coloured pens / Sharpies if they wish to use them
- Paints - Claireprovide watercolour pencils & brushes, but you may wish to bring your own items if you are familiar with using them.
- Earth (yes, you read that right)...a small amount of earth from where you live (this is very important for our Sunday creative session)