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Nutrition for the Soul itinerary and costs

We’ll nourish your soul in the beautiful surroundings of the historic watermill and its lovely gardens and grounds; we’ll take you on rural walks and visits to ancient walled towns and hilltop villages, castles and convents. We’ll even try a little painting in The Watermill studio overlooking the river, a wonderful way to concentrate and relax simultaneously.

Yoga class

In daily Nourish Your Soul workshops you’ll let go of stress, anxiety and worries, inhale lightness, joy, and beauty – and you’ll take away with you a unique set of simple and easy techniques to help you integrate your retreat experience into your life.

You don’t need to have any prior experience with yoga or meditation, and we will make each experience work for all levels. You can be assured of personal attention, too, as the group will be no bigger than 12 or so.

To create the most fulfilling experience for you, we’ve picked a theme to explore each day, and you’ll see it incorporated into every part of the day - from yoga, meditation and rural walks to the Nutrition for Your Soul workshops in the afternoon.

Precise timings and locations will be flexible and dependent on the weather and the needs and desires of the group.

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. We’ll have millstream and riverside walk for those who want to come. Then it’s aperitivi on the vine verandah before a short minibus drive to the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano for a welcoming ‘Introduction to Tuscany’ dinner, sampling the freshly cooked delights of the unique local cuisine. Local wines.
 

Sunday’s theme: Gratitude and Kindness

Gratitude and kindness - towards yourself and others - are the foundation of living a life that is fulfilling and nourishing. We start our time together by exploring these themes throughout the day.

  • 7:30am: Morning walk: We will take a leisurely walk through the countryside surrounding The Watermill, starting the day with some fresh air, as beautiful Tuscany wakes up around us, will help us soak in the full experience.
  • 8:30am: Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • watermill garden
  • 10:00am: Yoga in the walled garden or the mill studio overlooking the river and the mountains. A relaxing flow to help you connect to your breath, shed any stress of travel, and open your heart to our beautiful setting.
  • 12:30pm: 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; sognino (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.
  • 2pm: Nutrition for Your Soul Workshop: Gratitude and Kindness. In the walled garden or the mill studio overlooking the river and the mountains. Through simple yet powerful exercises and discussion we will explore the meaning of gratitude and loving kindness, and identify ways in which you can practice them in your daily life.
  • 4pm: Meditation: Loving Kindness: If the thought of sitting with your eyes closed for hours scares you, fear not! We’ll be practicing a 20-minute Loving Kindness meditation, and we will help you ease into it together.
  • 5pm-7pm: Your time to relax, unwind, nap, or do anything you enjoy! There are facilities for tea- (ordinary and herbals) and coffee-making in the communal kitchen. There’s wi-fi in the communal sitting room.
  • 7pm: Join everyone for a refreshing aperitivo on the Vine Verandah
  • 7:30pm: Dinner together in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: farfalle pasta with a sauce of fresh vegetables; roast pork Italian style (there will be a vegetarian option) with fresh vegetables and garden potatoes; home-made torte della nonna (made by our own Italian grandmother!) After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi and friendly conversation in the communal sitting room.

Monday’s theme: Release the stress

Today is all about melting away the stress we carry with us and learning how to live with less anxiety and struggle, and instead, with more ease and lightness.

  • 7:30am: Morning yoga in the walled garden or the Watermill studio. We’ll start the day with a relaxing flow to help you wake up your body, connect with your breath, and go into the day with an open heart.
  • 8:30am: Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • Verrucola
  • 10am: On-location walk: We’ll take a short ride in a comfortable air-conditioned van or car to take our walk in a beautiful location, possibly a castle or a vineyard.
  • 12:30pm: Lunch in the Watermill dining room: Sample menu: warm chick-pea and spicy Tuscan sausage; tuna and borlotti beans salad; fresh green salad and tomatoes from the garden, with vinaigrette dressing; fresh fruit; local wines
  • 2:30pm: Nutrition for Your Soul workshop: Release your stress. In the walled garden or the Watermill studio. This workshop is devoted to the topic of releasing the stress and anxiety we often feel. We’ll do a few simple exercises and share easy practices to help you learn to release your stress and live with more ease.
  • 4:30pm: Meditation: A 20-minute meditation to help you connect with your breath and continue to let your stress melt away.
  • 5:30-7pm: Your time to relax, unwind, nap, or do anything you enjoy! There are facilities for tea- (ordinary and herbals) and coffee-making in the communal kitchen. There’s wi-fi in the communal sitting room.
  • 7pm: aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • 7:30pm: Dinner together in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: tagliatelle con funghi porcini (pasta with the ‘king of mushrooms’); scallopine di tachino alla Milanese (turkey escalopes Milanese style; there will be a vegetarian option); fresh seasonal vegetables from our gardens; fresh fruit salad with home-make amaretto mousse ice-cream. After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi and friendly conversation in the communal sitting room.

Tuesday’s theme: Creativity

There are no such things as creative people and non-creative people. To be human is to be creative, and it doesn’t mean you need to be good at art or singing or writing poetry. Creativity is simply a way to express yourself, and there are many ways to do it. It’s an essential component of living with passion and inspiration and today we explore it together.

The millstream
  • 7:30am: Morning walk around the mill, millstream, river, Posara village
  • 8:30am: Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10am: Trip to the local market in the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano: by minibus or car. Enjoy 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, 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 (or some people might care to walk back: about 25 minutes)
  • 2pm: Nutrition for Your Soul Workshop: Creativity! In the Watermill studio and/or around the gardens and grounds. We’ll paint together and create collages you can take home as your memory of your stay with us. Absolutely no experience is necessary, we’ll have all the supplies you need, and this is simply an opportunity for you to try something - either new or familiar - inspired by the beautiful setting in which we find ourselves.
  • 4pm: Yoga and meditation: In the Watermill walled garden or the studio. A beautiful flow to help you connect to the creative energy of the day, followed by a 20-minute mindfulness meditation.
  • 5:30-7pm: Your time to relax, unwind, nap, or do anything you enjoy! There are facilities for tea- (ordinary and herbals) and coffee-making in the communal kitchen. There’s wi-fi in the communal sitting room.
  • 7pm: aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • 7:30pm: Dinner together in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: chicory with sweet gorgonzola, walnuts and local honey; chicken involtini with cheese and ham (there will be a vegetarian option); fresh seasonal vegetables from our gardens; Chocolate torte Capri-style with ground almonds instead of flour. After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi and friendly conversation 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

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.

We’ll take dinner in the Watermill courtyard dining room. (Sample menu: gorgonzola soufflés; baked salmon with a pistacchio crust (a vegetarian option is available); fresh seasonal vegetables; pears braised in red wine. After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi and friendly conversation in the communal sitting room
 

Thursday’s theme: Nourish your body

We’ve already been nourishing your body with our delicious fresh home-grown, home-cooked, locally sourced food. Today is all about the different ways we can take care of our physical bodies so that they can be strong and healthy.

  • 7:30am: Morning yoga: In the walled garden or the Watermill studio. Or beside the river. A beautiful and invigorating flow to help you connect to your breath and your body
  • 8:30am: Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10am: On-location: short trip by mini-bus and car to a nearby privately-owned convent.
  • Convent
  • 10:30am: Nutrition for Your Soul Workshop: Nourishing Your Body. In the secluded cloisters, refectory or gardens of the convent. An introduction to Ayurveda, learn about simple ways to incorporate it into your routine at home. We will also talk about other ways to nourish your body, with the focus on self-care and finding joy in being healthy.
  • 12:30pm: Picnic lunch at the convent: light, delicious and nourishing, including vegetable tarts fresh from the local baker.
  • 2pm: return to the Watermill
  • 3pm: Meditation: 20-minute mindfulness meditation
  • 3:30pm - 7pm: Your time to relax, unwind, nap, or do anything you enjoy! There are facilities for tea- (ordinary and herbals) and coffee-making in the communal kitchen. There’s wi-fi in the communal sitting room.
  • 7pm: aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • 7:30pm: Dinner together in the Watermill courtyard dining room. Sample menu: warm pesto rice salad, with home-made pesto; porchetta, a Tuscan speciality: stuffed roast pork, with seasonal vegetables (a vegetarian option is available); home-made cheesecake. After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi and friendly conversation in the communal sitting room.

Friday’s theme: The beauty of rituals

The simplest ritual can transform an ordinary day into one that is more memorable and special. Today we’ll spend time exploring different rituals together, so you can pick a few to take back home with you.

  • 8:30am: Buffet breakfast in the Watermill dining room
  • 10am: Leave for 1000-year-old village in minibus and car.
  • 10:30am: 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.
  • Vecchio Tino
  • 12:30pm: 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.
  • 2pm: return to the Watermill
  • 2:30pm: Nutrition for Your Soul Workshop: The beauty of rituals. We will share ideas for different rituals and simple ways you can make them part of your life, however busy you are.
  • 4:30pm: Meditation: A 20-minute Loving Kindness meditation
  • 5-7pm: Your time to relax, unwind, nap, or do anything you enjoy! There are facilities for tea- (ordinary and herbals) and coffee-making in the communal kitchen. There’s wi-fi in the communal sitting room.
  • 7pm: aperitivi on the vine verandah.
  • Farewell Dinner
  • 7:30pm: Farewell dinner together in the Watermill courtyard dining room, celebrating local specialities. 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!) After-dinner teas, coffee, digestivi and friendly conversation 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.

As we said earlier Everything is included in the cost of the retreat: workshops, accommodation (including all linen and towels), tours, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants), painting materials and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca).

You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Our policy is not to discriminate against people coming on their own by charging a vast supplement for single rooms. So, if you are coming on your own you will have your own individual bedroom. We would, however, like friends (and married couples) to share if it is at all possible and there will be a saving if you do so. And if you share with a non-participating partner he or she will enjoy a generous discount of £200 for the yoga retreat.

The mill is arranged as four self-contained apartments but, during a yoga retreat, it all comes together and we use the big reception room in our principal apartment as our communal meeting place.

Because The Watermill at Posara is a building of historic importance and listed by the Italian government, we cannot make major alterations, so some guests will have to share a bathroom with either one or two other people. BUT we do have four new bedrooms, each with en suite shower rooms for those who want their own bathrooms. These are called the Courtyard bedrooms (1 and 2), plus the double bedrooms in the Tuscan House (Bedrooms 3 and 4).

These are the bedrooms on offer, and their prices (including the yoga retreat):

BEDROOM 1

Courtyard en suite bedroom

De luxe bedroom with en suite shower room and large roof terrace overlooking the courtyard and gardens. Stunning views of the mountains. Double bed.

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1535 / $2350 single occupancy
  • Sharing: £1385 / $2150 per person sharing

BEDROOM 2

Courtyard en suite bedroom:

De luxe bedroom with en suite shower room and large roof terrace overlooking the courtyard and gardens. Stunning views of the mountains. Queen-size single bed.

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1535 / $2350 single occupancy

BEDROOM 3

Principal en suite bedroom, Tuscan house:

Large, dual aspect bedroom with en suite shower room (Bedroom 3). Views over the courtyard and gardens to mountains beyond.. 'Super Kingsize' bed can be divided into large singles if required.

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1535 / $2350 single occupancy
  • Sharing: £1385 / $2150 per person sharing

BEDROOM 4

Double en suite bedroom, Tuscan house:

Large, double bedroom with en suite shower room (Bedroom 4). Views over the courtyard and gardens, and to the mountains beyond.. 'Kingsize' bed can be divided into singles if required.

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1535 / $2350 single occupancy
  • Sharing: £1385 / $2150 per person sharing

BEDROOM 5

Principal bedroom, above the 17th Century mill (part of the Mill apartment):

Double bedroom with dual aspect views overlooking courtyard and up to the mountains (Bedroom 5).

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1435 / $2250 single occupancy
  • Sharing: £1345 / $2100 per person sharing

BEDROOM 6

Double bedroom, above the 17th Century mill (part of the Mill apartment):

Large double room, overlooking river (Bedroom 6). 'Super Kingsize' bed can be divided into large singles if required.

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1435 / $2250 single occupancy
  • Sharing: £1345 / $2100 per person sharing

BEDROOM 7

Boudoir, above the 17th Century mill (part of the Mill apartment):

Single room with dual aspect views over river and courtyard (Bedroom 7).

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1435 / $2250 single occupancy

 

BEDROOM 8 & 9

Cascades apartment:

Exclusive apartment for two (including your own bathroom and sitting room) with double bedroom (Bedroom 8) overlooking the mill cascades and the river. If you prefer to have separate beds, the sitting room can be made up into another bedroom (Bedroom 9)

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Bedroom 8 Single: £1435 / $2250 single occupancy
  • Bedroom 8 Sharing double bed (whole apartment): £1385 / $2150 per person sharing double bed
  • Bedroom 9 Single: £1410 / $2210 single occupancy

BEDROOM 10

Principal bedroom (part of Riverside Gardens apartment):

Double bedroom with dual aspect views of gardens and river (Bedroom 10).

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1435 / $2250 single occupancy
  • Sharing: £1345 / $2100 per person sharing

BEDROOM 11

Single bedroom (can be a small twin room) (part of Riverside Gardens apartment):

Single bedroom (but can be a twin room at a squeeze), with views over vine verandah, walled garden, with mountains in the background (Bedroom 11).

Price (including yoga retreat):

  • Single: £1435 / $2250 single occupancy

Deposit and balance

A deposit of £250 per person is required to confirm your booking.

The balance for your retreat is due eight weeks before arrival.

Please note our cancellation conditions set out below. (We recommend that you take out normal holiday insurance, including cancellation insurance.)

How to make your payment

We ask you to make your payment by direct bank transfer and we will give you our bank details for you to make this transaction.

If you are paying from outside the UK you might like to take advantage of Transferwise. In our regular transactions within Europe, to the USA and Australia, this company has transferred our money efficiently and speedily, and we have enjoyed excellent exchange rates and paid very low fees. Our guests say: “Wow what a great way to send money inexpensively.” “I'm amazed and impressed with how speedy it all happened.” “Totally impressed!” Just ask us for the link.

If you prefer to pay by credit card via by PayPal we can send you an invoice with a link for you to make a secure payment. You will find, however, that your exchange rate is less favourable (you will spend more in your own currency for the same amount in GBP) and, in addition, we charge an extra 3.5% on your payment as a contribution to the credit-card transaction fees incurred at our end.

Cancellations

A handling charge of £75 per person per course will be levied on all cancellations. In addition, if you have to cancel four to eight weeks before departure, a charge of 40% of the total price is payable; at two to four weeks, 60%; at one to two weeks, 80%; at less than one week, 90%. Once the course has started, 100% is payable.

We reserve the right to cancel any course at two months' notice and, where possible, provide you with an alternative.

For our UK guests:

You can book your own flights (there are good connections from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, East Midlands, Birmingham, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Bristol and an increasing number of other UK airports).

Or, to make life easier, you can use the services of our Personal Travel Adviser, Jan Handley, who will fix everything for you at very competitive prices. There is absolutely no obligation to use her, but if you would like her help, her UK phone number is 0844 8716162 (freephone) or +01964 626360 (local call charge) [From outside the UK. Dial +44 844 8716162 or +44 1964 626360] and her email address is jan.handley@co-operativepta.co.uk. We have found that many travel agents these days are not very helpful and are often tied to big tour operators. Jan will give you personal service.
 

For our USA and Canada guests:

We have asked Amy Furie, Director of Leisure/Travel Consultant for New Act Travel, Los Angeles, California, to act for us and our guests. Her office number is 1-310-201-0808 and her Direct Line is 1-310-284-5134. Her email address is Amy.furie@newacttravel.com Amy has been in the travel business for more than 20 years. She says: “I have traveled extensively over the years and continue to travel to extend my knowledge of our vast world we live in.”

We pick you up at Pisa airport on the first day between 10 am and 1 pm. Our departure times from Posara on the last Saturday are after breakfast, usually between 7.30 am and 9.30 am. (It takes between an hour-and-a-quarter and an hour-and-a-half to get to Pisa airport.) If you arrive or leave outside these times we can arrange transportation for you but you will have to pay for it.
 

Traveling by Car

You may decide to come by car. You can park at the mill and we'll give you full instructions on how to get there.