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Join Ananda Expeditions for a yoga and adventure retreat that comprises daily Vinyasa yoga practices for all levels, adventurous hiking and sightseeing excursions led by local guides, an array of culinary and cultural experiences, and ample time for relaxing or exploring the area on your own. This is the perfect holiday for yogis who want to practice while traveling with a non-yoga-practicing partner or friend.
Designed to preserve the original character of the village while still being both comfortable and modern, Il Borghino has been meticulously restored with energy efficiency and a concern for the environment in mind, using natural materials such as wood, marble, and terracotta. Il Borghino comprises three separate houses with 11 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms and can accommodate up to 18 retreat participants.
The rooms are large, simple, and furnished tastefully in local Tuscan style, and offer fabulous views from every window. Each house is fully self-contained and offers every facility to meet the needs and privacy of retreat guests. Tea and coffee making facilities are also available in each house for use outside meal times.
The large communal area, "L’Olivo," allows retreat guests to gather during the day, enjoy meals together, share experiences, and, of course, practice daily yoga. There is also a wood-fired pizza oven which will be used during the retreat, and a gorgeous outdoor terrace with panoramic views for al fresco dining.
Plan to arrive at the Lucca train station to catch the group transfer to the villa or make your own way. Check-in at the villa at 4:00 p.m. Settle into your room, then unwind with a relaxed, grounding yoga practice. Enjoy your first farm-to-table vegetarian meal, complete with local olive oil and wine, before retiring for a good night's sleep.
While the schedule is subject to change, here's an outline of the two types of typical days:
During the last day, enjoy a slightly earlier, farewell breakfast. You will check out at 9:30 a.m. Then, you will join the group transfer back to central Lucca or continue on your own way.
You will have the great privilege to learn to cook some traditional Tuscan specialties in a half-day class at the villa with chef Maria-Angela.
On your final night, you will close out your time together with a celebratory pizza and prosseco party.
On Wednesday, the group will travel to and spend the day in breath-taking Cinque Terre, the five coastal villages embedded in rocky cliffs along one of Italy’s most scenic stretches of Liguria. Motivated hikers can opt to spend the day walking the (at times challenging) coastal path that winds along the coast between the villages, enjoying spectacular scenery along the way.
Alternatively, you can walk some of the gentler sections of the trail, and still have time to swim, explore the villages, and enjoy a leisurely, delicious lunch. The drivers will drop you off at one of the five villages in the morning and pick you up again in the evening. To make the most of your day, you will have a quick breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and depart at 7:00 a.m. Transportation and entry into the Cinque Terre Park is included, but lunch out will be on your own.
A local guide will take you on a two-to-three hour tour of Lucca. You will bike around the city’s ancient walls, walk to and explore the main attractions, and enjoy a cappuccino break. The tour starts immediately after breakfast returning to the villa in time for a late lunch at 2:00 p.m. If you wish to stay in town after the tour, you can easily find a taxi to bring you back to the villa. Please note that while restaurants are open for lunch, the shops close daily between 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
After breakfast, you will walk three kilometers along the “Strada del Vino“ (the wine road), overlooking vineyards and olive groves, to a beautiful local winery for a tour and a tasting. There is an option to take a taxi if you prefer, at your own expense. The price is around 30 EUR each way, accommodating four to six people.
This retreat will take place at Il Borghino in Lucca, Italy. Literally meaning “small village”, Il Borghino offers a secluded retreat in the hills above Lucca with magnificent views overlooking forested valleys, vineyards, olive groves, and mountains in the distance. The villa is ideally located 15 minutes from Lucca, 35 minutes from Pisa, one and a half hours from Florence, and one and a half hours from the breathtaking Cinque Terre region - making it the perfect base to explore Tuscany and Liguria.
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Vegetarian menu is prepared by a wonderful local cook who designs deliciously fresh, regional dishes based on what is in the season. The food is sourced from local producers and uses organic grains, fruit, and vegetables wherever possible. The cook also makes their own fresh fruit and vegetable juices and cleansing herbal tea using fresh herbs from the garden.
As you are in Tuscany, you do indulge in local cheeses, pasta, bread, wines, and other delights, so although the menu is not a strict cleanse, it does offer plenty of healthy choices with nuts, seeds, legumes, plenty of vegetables and salads, rice, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, fresh fruit, and yogurt. Organic wine, olive oil, and honey produced in the surrounding agricultural area near Il Borghino are served.
Upon request, Ananda Expeditions can cater for gluten-free and other special dietary requirements.
If you prefer to explore Lucca on your own, taxi costs between 25 to 35 EUR (one way), depending on the taxi. Some taxis are four-seaters and some are six-seaters. Drivers will charge extra if they have to wait more than 15 minutes.
A Puccini opera is performed every night in Lucca. The concert starts at 7:00 p.m. sharp and runs for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. The price is 20 EUR (cash only), plus the cost of a taxi fare from the villa and back again (around 25 EUR each way shared between however many people go).
If a majority of the group wants to go, the dinner can be shifted to 8:30 p.m. to accommodate performance-goers. Booking tickets ahead is advised, so please let Ananda Expeditions know early on in the week if you want to attend a concert.
If you fancy a night out in a colorful artist’s village, Pietrasanta is recommended, a thriving town full of galleries, shops, and restaurants that spill out onto the sidewalks. Best known for its marble and bronze artistic works, Pietrasanta often hosts international art exhibitions in the local Piazza, where you can enjoy an aperitivo and take in the buzz of activity.
The town comes alive around 10:00 p.m., so it’s best to arrive in the early evening and stay late so you can be part of the action. Drivers will drop you off around 5:30 p.m. and can bring you home as late as 11:30 p.m. Guess what? The shops stay open until midnight in the summer. Eight-person vans with a driver can be booked if there is enough interest. Prices vary depending on numbers. Allow 25 to 35 EUR per person for transport, plus your dinner out.
Individual or small group lessons with an experienced Italian teacher can be arranged and will be conducted at the villa. Prices are 30 EUR per hour for individual lessons.
Ananda Expeditions has some really wonderful local therapists who will be available throughout the retreat for various massages and treatments on site. There will be a schedule on the notice board where you can sign up for your treatment. Please note that the therapists must be paid at the time of the treatment, so bring some extra cash if you plan on indulging yourself! Prices start from 60 EUR per hour.
This three-to-four-hour excursion is best suited to the cooler months. Spa entry costs 40 EUR per person and includes entry to the thermal pools (indoors and outdoors), Turkish steam room, sauna, and rental of bathrobe, slippers, and bathing cap. Allow approximately 25 EUR per person for transport with a journey time of approximately 30 minutes.
Please book your flights to arrive at Pisa International Airport (PSA). This is the nearest airport to Lucca, around 18 miles away. Transfer from and to this airport at a scheduled time is included. Ananda Expeditions will pick you up at the airport.
When booking your flights, you are recommended to plan your arrival time in Lucca for around 3:30 p.m., to coincide with the group transfer to Il Borghino at 3:45 p.m. There will be one scheduled pick-up only. Please email your arrival details to Ananda Expeditions as soon as they are available. If you are unable to make the pick-up, Ananda Expeditions can arrange for a taxi to bring you to Il Borghino.
You can also fly into Florence Airport (FLR) or Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), which are 50 and 162 miles away from Lucca respectively. Transfers from and to these airports are available on request.
Regular trains and buses run from both Pisa International Airport (PSA) and Florence Airport (FLR) to Lucca and are very reasonably priced. Trains also run regularly from Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), but the trip takes much longer (approximately four and a half hours).