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Sunflower Retreats is now offering to make your yoga holiday an unforgettable and joyful experience. Our team of qualified yoga teachers from all over the world is guaranteed to provide the best yoga classes, usually on our sun-drenched yoga deck. All guests will get enough of attention from our teachers and build great bonds with other fellow guests.
Sunflower Retreats is known for their highly praised yoga holidays for the mind, body and soul for fourteen years based in the picturesque hilltop village of Casperia, just an hour from Rome. Sunflower Retreats Holidays yoga classes are suitable for all levels from beginners to more practiced yogis.
Sunflower Retreats offered yoga holliday will cover the physical teachings of Hatha yoga with emphasis on the spiritual and holistic aspects of the yoga tradition in general. Each yoga class will include: Asanas (Physical Movements), Pranayama (Breathing practices), Meditation (Stilling and calming of the mind & inner self), Relaxation (Complete mind, body relaxation).
Village House with the characteristic of a traditionally-furnished medieval village house is used exclusively by Sunflower Retreats Holidays' guests. The houses have breathtaking panoramic views and are in delightful locations within Casperia's medieval walls. Each house has a small terrace where you can have your meals, read or sunbathe. Kitchens are shared, with facilities that are characteristic of a traditional Italian village house. The village shops, which include an organic health food store, stock a large range of food and drinks if you would like to cook at home.
Bathrooms are normally shared but we also have two village house rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Single travelers choosing this option will be accommodated in twin rooms with another guest of the same gender. They may also opt to pay a supplement to have a twin or double room to themselves.
In Sunflower Retreats, your inclusive program is one yoga class daily. In the morning, we will have a yoga session before breakfast. If you wish to have another yoga session in the afternoon, you may do so at additional cost. However, on the arrival and departure days, there will be no yoga classes.
Our teachers teach a variety of Hatha yoga methods such as Iyengar, Satyananda, Sivananda, Vinyasa Flow, Anusara, Astanga and Yin Yoga. They also teach a range of optional afternoon meditation classes throughout the week or weekend.
Besides the yoga classes, we also offer various activities in and around the center. You may easily arrange that as you like.
We highly recommend doing some cycling during your holiday in Sabina. We offer free use of bikes, including a mixture of racers, explorers, mountain bikes and even a tandem. We provide detailed maps of the area, as well as advice on interesting natural and historic sites to visit. There is a choice of routes, across quiet and low-traffic, hilly or mountain roads with spectacular scenery.
Lise Baronet, from Canada, has been teaching with us since 2011 and will return to Casperia teach from the start of our 2016 season through 11th May. She says "I look forward to 'coming home' to Sunflower where a reverence for yoga, people and the environment are a big part of the retreat experience."
Lise has studied and taught in Canada, Nepal, India and the Bahamas. Recently she felt a strong pull to move to Manitoulin, a Canadian island known by its first peoples as The Great Spirit. It is an island of breathtaking beauty, cultural significance and spiritual energy where people live in harmony with nature, with a deep respect for traditional aboriginal teachings; a way of honouring life that reminds her of the yoga teachings. So she is there to live the ancient teachings of both cultures that point us into the direction of holistic wellbeing. As she hikes, kayaks and snowshoes about the island, as she practices and teaches yoga, she feels the wisdom of the ancient sages of both cultures becoming more and more a part of her.
Lise has over 900 hours of asana, pranayama, meditation and therapeutic training influenced by Paramanand, Sivananda and Anusara. In her classes, poses sometimes flow, often are held; breath and meditative awareness are always central. she talks about the details of alignment but also want students to discover peaceful silence. Traditional poses are sequenced for their intended internal benefits and for an holistic experience different from merely a workout. Each class is touched with caring gentleness, humour and encouragement; the goal is a purification of body and mind that releases the vibrant, healing flow of energy.
Chloe Alex Stock, from the UK joins our team this year to teach a Yoga and Pilates Week from 12th to 18th May.
Chloe's passion comes from teaching what she knows and practises personally and from having the ability to translate that knowledge and breakdown of postures in the classes she teaches.
After living in New Zealand where she gained her Classical Pilates qualification, she followed her heart to India, the birthplace of yoga, to study and practise yoga in order to gain her 500-hour Yoga Alliance certification. From years of travel and teaching around the world, Chloe has gained great and valuable teaching experience through retreats and studios in Sydney, Cambodia, LA, New York, London, Sri Lanka, Biarritz and Tokyo.
Chloe is also a holistically trained therapist so truly appreciates the necessity of balance between strength and relaxation. She believes that yoga and Pilates should serve your body enabling you to feel recharged and restored.
We welcome Jessie Jeanne Stinnett, from the USA, to Sunflower Retreats for the first time, as she joins us to teach for two weeks from 19th May to 1st June.
Jessie began practicing yoga as a supplement to her career as a professional dancer. Jessie is a Yoga Alliance Certified instructor through Frog Lotus International. She teaches classes and workshops regularly in London and the US, and is also pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Practice.
Jessie teaches dynamic Vinyasa Flow yoga classes which focus on building strength, stability, and flexibility. She draws on her experience as a dancer/somatic movement practitioner to develop classes which condition and increase awareness of the body and heal, restore, and express ones inner landscape.
The use of metaphors and imagery are key methods of Jessies teaching style which serve the purpose of guiding her students to a deep, subjective understanding of how the techniques and philosophies underpinning the practice apply to them as individuals. She encourages depth of understanding over superficiality: quality versus quantity.
The pace of the class generally includes a quiet time of transition through Tapas (Sanskrit: heat/self discipline), building the internal fire, as the physicality of the practice intensifies to resolution in the final moments of relaxation, observation and reflection. Students are left feeling energized and thoughtful and encased by the energy that their very own body-mind cultivated as a glowing membrane of radiance.
Charlotta Granqvist, from Sweden, joins us again to teach from June 2nd to 15th.
Lotta has been teaching since 2007, having learned Hatha and Iyenger yoga in Thailand and India and Cranio-sacral Healing and yoga in Costa Rica. She realised how much yoga could help the body and mind to heal while working as a physiotherapist in Sweden and wanted to go deeper into therapeutic yoga in her daily work with patients at a centre for people with eating disorders. She also teaches regular yoga classes at a studio in Sweden.
Her yoga varies from a soft mindful Hatha yoga to a more physical Vinyasa Flow with a strong focus on your breathing and how your breath can help you. She is very dedicated to her clients, and loves helping people to feel good in mind and body!
We welcome Sara Rossi back to our team to teach from June 16th - 29th.
Sara from Italy, grew up in Costa Rica. She was introduced to yoga through a friend and Kripalu yoga teacher in 1997. After several years as a student, she decided to continue her education and became certified as a yoga instructor.
In 2004 Sara headed to India to study Therapeutic Yoga in Yoga Vidya Dham. She went to Seattle to study with renowned pre-natal yoga teacher Colette Crawford at the Seattle Holistic Center and has taken various levels of Anusara alignment based yoga training. She is currently a 500-hour. registered Yoga Therapist and she teaches gentle and energetic flow classes focused on connecting strongly to the breath. Sara also teaches Yoga Nidra the art of conscious relaxation (a powerful practice where the body and mind are liberated from their tensions and anxiety).
She is also a holistic health coach, having graduated from the Institute of Nutrition in New York, so her goal as a teacher is to guide her students towards a healthier lifestyle, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Sara's classes are suitable for all levels.
We welcome Kate Williams, back to our team to teach with us from June 30th - 3rd August.
Kate was 19 when she went to her first yoga class, with no idea what to expect. She was lucky enough to be blessed with a Hatha teacher who not only helped her to work with the various physical problems she had, including hypermobility and tendinitis, but to also connect the dots between her mind, her body and her breath.
She says "This simple and holistic union is such an ancient concept but one rarely considered in western culture. Teaching yoga is a great privilege because it allows me to share some of the incredible things I have learned and will continue to learn for the rest of my life. My wish is to make it more accessible to people and to break down some of the misconceptions of what yoga is and who can do it. The answer to the latter of course, is everyone."
"While I love the creativity and flow of sequencing postures in Vinyasa, my preferred method of teaching keeps returning back to Hatha. Here, we can really take the time to tune into ourselves on a deeper level, gently and mindfully building our practice, working with our own bodies to the principle of ahimsa - non-harm and compassion."
Kate works with students of all ages and ability, including people with particular injuries and health conditions. She is also a lifelong musician and writer who loves to travel.
She says "I am fascinated by our relationship with sound and its power to heal, and hope to explore this more in the future, and maybe incorporate it into my yoga."
Julie Bolitho-Lee, returns to our team to teach with us from August 11th - 31st.
Julie is originally from the US but now lives in Oxford. She has been practicing yoga since 2004. Her practice began when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of nineteen and she realized that a disconnect existed between her mind, body and spirit.
Julie was trained by Devarshi Steven Hartman, Megha Nancy Buttenheim, and Jovinna Chan at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the United States. She has a BA from Alma College and a Master's degree in Literature and Medicine from King's College London. She is also a 2005 Truman Scholar and an internationally published poet.
Julie has a passion for teaching and aims to bring love and offer grace to all of her students. Her yoga practice flourished after discovering Kripalu yoga, a form of Hatha yoga using inner focus, meditation, standard yoga poses, breathwork, development of a quiet mind, and relaxation. Kripalu emphasizes following the flow of Prana, (or life-force energy), compassionate self-acceptance, observing the activity of the mind without judgment, and taking what is learned into daily life. Kripalu yoga can be vigorous or gentle; and can be practiced by, as well as benefit, anyone.
Alice McGuigan, returns to Casperia to teach with us from September 1st to 14th.
Alice has been exploring various forms of yoga for over five years, qualifying as an instructor at Sampoorna Yoga School (Yoga Alliance UK) in India in May 2014. Her manner is adaptable and creative; one that reflects her training in a variety of styles. She often interlaces pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and philosophy into her classes with reference to the 8 limbs of yoga. Alice has taught Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow across India and Nepal, where she also completed a 10-day silent meditation course (Vipassana) and began teaching internationally.
Since returning to the UK, Alice has gained experience teaching group, corporate and private classes, including retreats locally and abroad. She has led Laughter Yoga and creative expressions workshops, ran classes to fundraise for ActionAid and regularly teaches around Berkshire. Always eager to learn more and deepen her understanding of Yoga, she continues to train under the guidance of several inspiring teachers; Elise Beechen, Sophie Cleere and Katia Major.
Alice says In the last few years, yoga has helped me find balance, positivity and strength in the mind and body. It is why I started teaching; why I love sharing it with others. I encourage students to practice mindfully, in a non-competitive and non-judgemental way. I offer a range of modifications, so that people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can participate and share the benefits of the practice.
Since graduating with an English and Drama BA from Queen Mary University of London (2013), Alice is also a freelance writer and arts project manager.
We welcome Maija Klamer, from the Netherlands, to our team to teach with us from September 15th to 28th.
With a background in dance and body language, movement is a natural way for Maija to express herself and to understand people. Maija was inspired by various international teachers such as Shiva Rea, Simon Park and David Lurey and went on to complete over three hundred hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training in Amsterdam in 2010.
At the beginning of 2015 Maija stayed in a Tantra Yoga ashram in Goa where she fell even more deeply in love with yoga and the rich Tantric culture. Back in the Netherlands she started studying Tantric-Ayurvedic body-work, which has deepened her understanding of the body, mind and emotional structures. She is currently training at the Tantra Academy in Amsterdam in Ayurvedic Abhyanga Massage and Marma points.
I feel it is a great privilege to be able to help people relax, energize and open their hearts to the beauty of existence. In my yoga classes we will work with different yoga styles and techniques such as Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin-Yang, Tantra, chakras and meditation.
Instead of just focusing on getting stronger and more flexible, I would like to invite you to feel that you are already perfect as you are. From this point of self-acceptance and compassion, we can feel more free to explore our possibilities and whatever comes up in the moment.
As well as teaching yoga, Maija will also be offering relaxing Ayurvedic massages during her weeks at Sunflower Retreats.
Lisa Quish, from Ireland, joins us again to teach from September 29th to October 12th.
My mom taught Yoga in the seventies; there was always a sticky mat on the kitchen floor, in front of the fire place or in the back seat of the car so it is not surprising that the legacy was passed on, (like a family recipe that gets handed down over time). It was not until my early twenties that I started practicing regularly and not until I went on retreat to Italy (for the first time) eight years ago that I was inspired to follow the teaching path.
Lisa gained certification in 2007 and completed a 500-hour Yoga Therapy post-graduate qualification in 2012, under the guidance of wonderful teachers like James Higgins, David Curtis, Shandor Remete, Shiva Rea and Jodie Ruffety. As well as classical Hatha she brings elements of Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Shadow and restorative yoga.
As a committed yoga practitioner and teacher my style is ever-evolving in an attempt to recognise and honour the multiple layers of yoga. As I explore, I play with ways to mindfully sequence the practice to best help my students to navigate their way through the peaks and troughs of life, physically and emotionally, offering tools to live in a way that best supports our human experience.
Daniele Piserchia, from Italy, returns to teach from 13th to 26th October.
Daniele has been a daily practitioner and teacher of Daoist yoga know as Sundao for four years. His background includes intensive training at the prestigious mountain Buddhist monastery called Magoksa in Gong Ju, South Korea.
Daniele has also studied many holistic spiritual methodologies and various approaches to meditation and channelling and brings his own unique wealth of knowledge and experience to his classes and lectures.
Danieles in depth understanding of Daoist Yoga along with his creative talent and personable charm makes his classes a very healing and rejuvenating experience.
Daniele has a passion for the Yoga science and has regularly attended yoga and meditation classes at Sunflower Retreats in Casperia as he also has also worked, in the past, as General PR and Retreat Manager at the centre.
Daniele is an articulate and knowledgeable teacher whose authenticity makes him accessible to students.
Lucy Bremner, co-founder of Sunflower Retreats, from London, has been a holistic practitioner in the UK and worldwide since 1988. She specialises in a wide range of body work, therapies and energy and spiritual balancing treatments such as Chakra Balancing and Reiki.
Lucy was drawn to the practice of Hatha Yoga and the yoga philosophy while studying holistic therapies professionally in London in 1989. In the late 80's and early 90's, then in her twenties, she travelled independently in Nepal, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Sudan and the USA, where she broadened her studies of yoga, Eastern philosophy and the healing arts, including the American Indian tradition and philosophy.
Lucy is a qualified Holistic Therapist and international yoga teacher, accredited with a distinction in her final examinations withFriends of Yoga - a society and examination body for yoga in the UK and India which is recognised by Yoga Allianceas an international yoga school. Over the last twenty years she helped hundreds of people with healing therapies and with yoga instruction, either through her yoga classes and treatments, or through all she has coordinated in the yoga and healing section at Sunflower Retreats' centre in Casperia. Her interests also include Shamanism, Astrology, art and the study of the sacred and divine feminine.
Lucy offers one-to-one healing yoga sessions for those looking for a transformational healing experience of yoga. Her yoga classes also include oracle card readings to help you find your life path and help with any questions you may have. Private classes are available most weeks within the season and can be booked on arrival.
Lucy's yoga classes are holistic and grounding, fusing the elements of Ying and Yang, yoga asanas and practices to bring balance (union) to the body, mind, emotions and spirit. She loves to share and communicate the ancient knowledge of Western and Eastern traditions through the healing power of yoga and meditation, both in her classes and her treatments. She is a gentle teacher, encouraging and supportive in her teaching and holistic therapy work.
A mother of two children born by natural childbirth methods, she also teaches pregnancy yoga and preparation for natural birth.Lucy will lead yoga sessions at Sunflower Retreats on weeks when there are no guest teachers, however she and her husband Alan may not always be at the Retreat Centre during your week. (Don't worry, our staff are fabulous too!). Lucy also teaches the 2 year part-time Yoga Teacher Training courses at Sunflower Retreats.
The picture-perfect village of Casperia, situated in the heart of the Sabina mountains, is totally pedestrianised. With fewer than 350 inhabitants, and Casperia is one of the last villages of Italy untouched by mass tourism.
The medieval structure and atmosphere of the village give you a unique feeling of being in a historic place in time-gone-by. A place of natural beauty surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and forest-covered mountains, Casperia is a hilltop village where you can watch the changing scenery from every angle. The night sky is a star-covered phenomenon not to be missed.
|Activities ||General ||Services|
A buffet breakfast/brunch using local organic products and fresh fruit and vegetable juices from our juicing machine is served each morning. Our staff will be there each morning to help you plan your day and book activities.
Guests usually prepare their own meals at home, or can take lunch in one of Casperia's restaurants. Each of our accommodation options has a terrace or balcony, so you can enjoy a delicious lunch of Italian food in the sunshine and fresh air.
Full meals, snacks and pizza are available in local cafs, bars and restaurants. The village shops have a range of local food and drinks for guests who wish to prepare meals at home.
We also organize transport to authentic local Italian restaurants and folklore festivals in neighboring hill-top villages. Another excursion is to go to the countryside, where delicious traditional specialties of vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes can be enjoyed. A small fee (per person) is charged for transport to and from these venues and remember, all our accommodations have fully equipped kitchens for those who want to sample some home cooking at any time.
A optional delicious buffet dinner is provided for all guests on the first evening and last evening of each holiday week. The cost is 25 EUR and including, wine, water and dessert and it is for a minimum of five people.
Horse riding is available at several stables near Casperia with a selection of horses, rides and treks in the surrounding Sabina hills and countryside. The riding is suitable for beginners and advanced riders and costs from 40 EUR.
There is a private swimming pool in the wonderful Casperia countryside, surrounded by olive groves and rolling hills, usually open from May to October (subject to the weather). The swimming pools use is included in the package price. You can also walk to the pool, use the pool at the local tennis club, cycle or use our free shuttle service, available upon request.
Cooking lessons can be booked on arrival for groups of three or more people and will include lunch or dinner.
Salsa classes with a professional instructor are for those who would like to learn to dance, or who are already familiar with Salsa. The classes take place in the evenings and can be booked during your holiday.
Join in with olive-picking in late October and November and experience the unique taste of freshly-pressed biological extra virgin olive oil.
Sunflower Retreats can introduce you to local producers with whom you can pick olives and watch the milling process right through to getting your very own fresh extra virgin oil. No fancy labels; just real, genuine, honest produce by small local producers.
Upon request, we can arrange evening apperitivi and Sabina olive oil tasting experiences with local olive producers in the Sabina countryside
Enjoy an art class with us and tap into your creative self in Italy. Watercolor painting lessons are with Giovanna Somai - a local artist and interior decorator who speaks English. Casperia is rich in history and the beauty of nature, the Sabina area being an ideal setting to learn about water color painting. The classes are held outdoors, in Casperia's streets or the beautiful countryside surrounding the village.
We offer grammar and conversional Italian classes with a fully bilingual mother-tongue Italian teacher. Prices are from 15 EUR-per-student for 1-hour group lessons for two or more people or 35 EUR/hour for private lessons.
The instructor is Moira Egan, a widely published and award-winning poet, essayist, and translator. She has been teaching for more than twenty years, and many of her students have gone on to publish and to win various prizes.
Treatments are conducted in a warm, safe, healing environment in the historic village and natural location of Casperia. The rooms are cleansed by saging regularly, invoking the four major elements of earth, air, fire and water.
Our treatment rooms have a special energy - earthy, rustic, and bohemian with a touch of chic. The treatment area has a very grounding energy amplified by crystals, aromatherapy oils, eagle, buzzard and peacock feathers, books on healing and spiritual knowledge, and jewellery from India and Asia. Other healing objects complement the energy flow of purity, light and healing.
Sports & Deep Tissue Massage
Indian Head Massage
La Stone treatments
Sunflower's original freshly picked organic Aloe Vera skin treatments
Hopi Ear Candles
Sunflower's Ultimate Healing Treatment
Take the Grande Raccordo Annulare ring-road (also known as the 'GRA') following signs for Firenze A1.
Take the A1 motorway north for 40 km.
Exit at the Ponzano Romano junction - a small toll is payable.
Follow the signs to Cantalupo in Sabina (12 km), then to Casperia (5 km)
Our guests prefer to book their own flights; usually to either of Rome's two airports. Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (sometimes known as 'Fiumicino') is used by the 'flag-carriers' and by EasyJet. Ciampino Airport is used by low cost carriers, including Ryanair, which offer some great deals. For more information please contact Sunflower Retreats Holiday.
Trains run frequently from Fiumicino Airport to Orte. Alight at Poggio Mirteto Scalo and take the bus to Casperia. If you fly to Ciampino airport (used by the low-cost airlines), take a bus to Termini station in the centre of Rome and connect to Tiburtina station by Metro, then take the Orte train, getting off at Poggio Mirteto Scalo, as before.
Casperia is located about 90 minutes from Rome's airports. The cheapest and easiest way to reach us from Fiumicino Airport is by the frequent train service to Poggio Mirteto Scalo station.
You can take trains which terminate at either Poggio Mirteto Scalo or Orte.
The train fare is 11 EUR. Your ticket entitles you to use the local bus service from Poggio Mirteto Scalo station to Casperia.
Please be quick as you leave the train, to avoid missing the bus
The last train from Fiumicino airport to Orte via Poggio Mirteto station is around 10 p.m.
"Charlotte and I had an amazing time in Casperia. Casa Latini is such a wonderful house with stunning views in an idyllic village. We really loved Jessie's classes. Francesca's treatments were great too! We have come back with tons of photos and incredible souvenirs."
"My daughter and I chose this yoga retreat for its location and we were not disappointed in the least. We flew from Gatwick to Rome, then followed the excellent instructions from Sunflower regarding the train from the airport to local station Poggio Mirteto and then public bus to Casperia where we were met and shown to our accommodation (first floor flat, en suite with shared kitchen). Our yoga teacher was Lise, a very pleasant Canadian lady who gave classes from 8:00 till 9:30 a.m., and extra lessons in the afternoon (for a fee). It was primarily Hatha yoga which suited me, but my daughter who practices Ashtanga found it less challenging. However, the spa treatments for her (full body massage and facial) were to her liking, and the peace and quiet of the place were wonderful. There were only five others that week but we all got on remarkably well, sharing my birthday dinner at the local restaurant, and exchanging contact numbers at the end of our break. The excursion to the thermal pool near Viterbo was great fun and highly recommended. Also the Sunday hike with local guide Alessandro was interesting as we walked along a wooded valley to an ancient shrine (eight century) in a cave used by the friars of the area. All in all, it was a wonderful experience in a beautiful part of Italy that has little tourism. I would go back anytime!"
TripAdvisor website, edited
"I chose this retreat as I was living in Rome this summer, its very close to Rome, so it was easy to travel too. The Yoga classes were for all levels the Yoga teacher gave perfect examples of different postures from beginner variations to more advanced positions,and encouraged us to listen to our bodies and not to be competitive with ourselves. I class myself a beginner of Yoga as for me its not just about the physical postures, its also about learning to relax and unwind and the meditation and visualization techniques in the classes helped me unwind and destress. There are different accommodation options for all budgets and most rooms are en suite , when looking for a retreat close to Rome I found private room options difficult to find so this was one of the reasons i booked the retreat in the first place. The Spa treatments on offer were excellent and very healing and relaxing too. All the food I was experienced was great, i also cooked at my accommodation option Casa Latini some nights with other guests staying on the retreat. Would highly recommend Sunflower and had a special time."
Trip Advisor website, edited
"I had the most wonderful week with Sunflower Retreats in Casperia. It was the perfect combination of yoga, food, free time, and of course a drop of wine in the Italian countryside. I would certainly recommend this tour to anyone looking for a week of reflection with like-minded individuals and would come again! Thank you again for hosting me!"
"I really enjoyed this holiday. Lovely accommodation in a beautiful village. It was well organised and I would recommend this to anyone."
"The week at Sunflower Retreats Casperia was wonderful, and it was a very restoring week. Alan was a great host. Julie was a very calm and accommodating yoga teacher, and I loved the opportunities for play! Ciara's massages were something else. I loved the painting session with Giovanna and now feel inspired to do more! Addie made the whole week run smoothly and always with a smile. The breakfasts were delicious! And the accommodation was lovely and homely. I will be back - there was so much I didn't do. Thank you all so much."
"Great location, stunning landscape and very quiet. I wish more yoga classes were included in the retreat but overall great experience very friendly and professional staff."
"My yoga holiday in Sunflower Retreats in Casperia was from 16th to 22nd July 2015. The whole environment of Casperia was part of the experience. Let's start at the arrival. Very specific instructions were given as to how to reach Casperia from Rome Airport. My flight arrived into Fiumicino Airport and there was a train station just below the airport. I got the train directly to the designated station, Poggio Mirteto, which took about an hour and half. I was picked up by the Sunflower driver and brought to Casperia. Unfortunately in my case, it was late and I had missed the first night buffet dinner available to guests to meet and greet each other and the Sunflower representative. However, they did save me a platter of food and I was glad to have it as I hadn't eaten much that day. Casperia is a traffic-free ancient hilltop village in a beautiful setting, which must be navigated via the many steps and winding streets. My accommodation was at the top of the village which was a steep climb. One of my housemates said there were 500 steps from the bottom to our house at the top of the village. I believe it, although I didn't count them myself. I stayed in village house number one which is at the top of the village beside the church where the bell tolls every morning at 07:00 a.m. This was a good wake up call to prepare for the 08:00 a.m. morning yoga session. I had originally booked a single room and shared bathroom but was upgraded by Sunflower Retreats free of charge to a single en suite room for my stay, as I would have been the only occupier in the other village house. This worked out very well for me and was an unexpected bonus. My room was clean and spacious and my bathroom was tiny. The house had five guests and we shared the kitchen. The kitchen was well equipped with utensils and a fridge cooker and kettle. All the guests in the house, and indeed the whole group, got on very well and we were good friends by the end of the week. I met people from all over Europe and the USA. Our yoga teacher, Paola, was excellent and ensured we all had a memorable yoga journey. I am not a regular yoga practitioner and the group was of mixed yoga experience. In fact, some of our group had never done yoga before. Each day she added a bit more and always challenged us gently. She also held workshops in the afternoon which covered a variety of themes. I attended just one which was a guided yoga Nidra and total relaxation. I felt the benefit for days afterwards. The yoga rooms were serene and cool and the yoga deck where we practiced each morning was a lovely space. Breakfast was very good and offered a great variety of food. The dining room was very pleasant. We had an opportunity at this time each day to book some of the holistic treatments which were also offered by Sunflower Retreats. Ciara, the holistic therapist, was very helpful and friendly. There were other types of activities on offer which we could book at this time. I didn't participate in any daytime excursions but those who did enjoyed their experiences. Other guests went to the Sulphur Springs, guided walking in the hills and horse riding. Some also went to a local Agri Turismo for dinner on the second night. The week I stayed was during a heatwave with temperatures of 38 degrees centigrade every day. Even the Italians found it too hot! I booked one holistic treatment with Ciara, the crystal reflexology treatment I opted for was both relaxing and informative. It consisted of a reflexology massage and a scan of my chakras to see which were open and which were closed. Areas which were closed were given special attention during the massage. Chakras were checked again at the end of the treatment and in my case all were open. Afterwards, I felt totally peaceful and relaxed. Ciara has a genuine gift for this type of treatment. Ten out of ten for the treatment alone. Thank you Ciara."
"As the weather was so hot, I went to the swimming pool most days which was about a mile away. We walked there and back the first day but got a lift with the Sunflower driver every day thereafter. The pool is in a beautiful private setting, overlooking the undulating hills and fields of fruit trees. It is privately owned and exclusive to Sunflower guests and the representative needed to know we were going to use it in advance so that it was opened for our use. There was plenty of shade and open areas to sunbathe and rest. Sunbeds were also provided. There are no facilities laid on but there is a fridge provided and guests can bring drinks and food if they choose. We ate a couple of times at La Vigna, the only cafe bar within the walls of the village. We always stopped there for a drink on the way back from the swimming pool. It was a hub of activity as it was one of just two Wi-Fi areas within the village. The other was at the Sunflower Retreats office. There was one other Wi-Fi area at a bar just outside the walls opposite the supermarket. The food at La Vigna was far from spectacular but its location on a terrace overlooking the hills and capturing the stunning sunsets made it worthwhile. It was a great place to people watch and experience life in Casperia as the locals all gathered there too. I availed of one excursion to a restaurant in a neighboring hilltop village where the food was homegrown, home-prepared and the portions very generous. The hospitality, food, wine, and company were great but, as we were sitting outside, the mosquitoes were very busy. So too were the scavenging cats. It wasn't until a group arrived with two dogs in tow that the cats left us alone. Aside from those nuisances, it was a lovely evening. On the final night, the house guests at Casa Latini kindly invited the rest of us to eat at their place and experience the spectacular views from their balcony. We all brought and prepared something. It was a wonderful way to finish off a great week. I scored this holiday 8 out of 10 because I found it expensive. As a solo traveler, holidays are generally more expensive. The initial outlay is a given, but in this case, I found running a tab, as it is done here, makes the total run up quickly. I personally find it easier to manage my budget paying as I go. I also found the prices in La Vigna for mediocre food very expensive. I understand this is probably outside of the control of Sunflower Retreats, but it was an intrinsic part of my experience. The price charged for the first and final night buffets is also expensive although, in my own case, I did not have to pay in full for the first night and we all went to Casa Latini on the final night. The whole holiday, the location, the staff, the yoga, treatments, and the company, made for a really memorable experience. If I were to return, I would go outside of July or August so as to avail of the various opportunities to explore the surrounding area and take part in other activities. The extremely high temperatures during my stay put me off on this occasion. Casperia truly is a retreat, far away from the noise and distraction of traffic, crowds and social media, leaving time and space to just be. This was the best part of the holiday for me. Even getting lost in the winding streets, as happened with me regularly, was a sensory experience, which I mostly enjoyed. I was only rescued once because I was late for yoga class! Thank you Addie, for finding me and guiding me to the yoga deck. Thank you Sunflower Retreats for an extraordinary experience."
"I just came back from spending a week in Casperia at the Sunflower Retreat. It is located in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It is absolutely magical. I found that everything was well-organized and the people at Sunflower are very helpful and friendly. I was first a little worried if I could keep up with the yoga class not knowing what to expect. The yoga teacher was great, teaching yoga to all different levels. I made some new friends, ate some delicious Italian food and enjoyed great wine. Casperia was good for my body and especially my soul. I will be back!"
"Sunflower Retreat was a relaxing haven, having never done yoga before I really enjoyed the physical challenge and mental relaxation Jess provided. The massage was heavenly too! Addy was also fantastic organizing everything and being very hospitable!"
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"Really wonderful stay, genuinely fantastic break. Beautiful house and gorgeous village, helpful and friendly staff, easy to book other treatments, idyllic setting, and lovely yoga and sauna facilities. Really great yoga teacher when I was there (Jess Cover, inspirational lady) and wonderful sessions where you really felt you were getting your money's worth. There was only me and one other girl there when I went, and it felt like we were getting really personal coaching. Thank you for not cancelling the week due to only two of us being there - it was so special to have the place nearly to ourselves! I highly recommend small groups! "
"I have just had the most amazing six-night yoga retreat in Casperia. The website doesn't do it justice as you really can't capture the beauty and atmosphere of the place on pictures. The staff were so helpful and friendly and went out of their way to make our stay is a very enjoyable one. We went cycling, walking, and had a day at the hot springs. We also attended an Italian cookery class which was amazing, painting, and extra yoga classes. You could do as much or as little as you liked. We had an hour and half of yoga before breakfast every morning. Our yoga teacher was excellent. You could also book treatments if you wished. They were also very good. I can't praise the place and the people highly enough and would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to go on a yoga retreat."
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"The flat in first floor in Casa Latini, amazing, Kitchen in next floor With an amazing terrace, sunset in a chair with a book, wine or only look at the sky. Peace for body and soul. Yoga, Qigong,etc and making Italian food with a chef, a mountain guided walk, visit restaurants.Met people from many places, we were 10 People, 2 English, 2 Australian, 1 Irish, 1 Scottish and 2 Norwegian.. You can do different things every day, or you can relax and enjoy the little village, sit down look at people and be a part of the silent and kindly village.Sunflower is a good choice to chose if you want an other holiday, do something different. We love the place, the staff and it is a very good price for the stay. Thank you"
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"The Sperlonga Retreat in May 2014 was amazing with Sunflower Retreats, the hilltop village of Sperlonga has breath taking views,the food was great everywhere we ate , our Yoga instructor who was from Canada was a great teacher and the Spa treatments offered are a must too, Lise taught a variety of classes and I joined a couple of the afternoon meditation classes too, I must say practicing Yoga on the Trulli Tower was unforgettable."
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"Perfect and just what I needed during a very stressful time at work! I needed time off and I had a time that was very easy-going, relaxing, and joyfully indulgent. There was plenty to do (chill yoga classes, treatments, massages, walking, hiking, painting, and more). I was with other solo yogis and it was fun dining with them every night and in general hanging out, which added to the positive experience. Casperia is breathtaking, the food delicious, the views inspiring, and the locals sweet and easy-going too. The village is somewhat overrun with stray cats but they're equally relaxed and keep to themselves so that didn't bother me in the least. I met a few Italians who were visiting from Rome and had holiday homes in this perfect hilltop village (one of many scattered around the area) and it seems to be a well-kept secret archetypal Roman village. Every corner of every cobbled street and stairway could easily be used in a filming location for a beautiful movie!I most certainly plan on coming back in the future!"
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"Had a wonderful time on the four days yoga retreat. Lisa's teaching was excellent, the village is beautiful and peaceful. Breakfast was brilliant each morning with a wide variety of bread, cereals, fruit, eggs, and cheese to choose from. Would definitely go again and stay for longer next time."
"The room on the first floor of Casa Latini is amazing. The kitchen is on the next floor. It has an amazing terrace. At sunset you can sit on a chair with a book, a glass of wine, or only look at the sky. Peace for the body and soul. Many activities such as yoga, qigong, cooking Italian food with a chef, mountain tour, and visiting restaurants. I met people from many places. There were 10 peoples; two English, two Australians, one Irish, one Scottish, and two Norwegians."
"You can do different things every day, or you can relax and enjoy the little village, sit down and look at people passing by, and be a part of the silent and kind village. Sunflower is a good choice to choose from if you want another holiday to do something different. We love the place, the staff and it is a very good price for the stay."
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"I visited the Sunflower Retreats in Casperia for a six-night yoga retreat and I was blown away. Casperia is a truly beautiful place, lovely little cobbled streets and views that take your breath away. I traveled to Casperia by myself and stayed at the village house and it is ideally set up for solo travelers, it is a shared house so is perfect for meeting other people but also for having the privacy of your own room (great room too), most people were solo travelers. On the first night, we had the option of a welcome buffet which everyone on the trip attended and it was a really good chance to get to know everyone over lovely food and wine overlooking the gardens. Each day started with an hour and a half of yoga followed by a lovely breakfast after which we had the opportunity to book activities for the rest of the day. What's lovely is that you can do as much or as little as you like. If you like your activities, then you'll be spoiled for choice. These included among others; extra yoga, guided walks, cycling, horse riding, the swimming pool, treatments, or just relaxing on the terrace in the sunshine. Some of these are free, others you pay for at the end of the holiday, but what I liked was that there was never a hard sell on activities, the whole atmosphere of the place is relaxed and for most activities you don't need to decide until the day if you want to do them. I would definitely recommend the pool. Even if you don't like to swim, it's worth going for the view. I also really enjoyed the yoga, I did a little bit of yoga at home before the trip but I felt so good by the end of the trip from doing yoga daily that I have kept this up back at home. To anyone not sure about yoga, I would say don't let that put you off. The group that I was in had a range of experience. Some people had done very little yoga and someone was a trainee yoga teacher but everyone seemed to enjoy it. Our yoga teacher was fab. We had a warm welcome from all of the staff. Adi looked after us all week and was always on hand if we had any questions or needed any help with anything. The locals are friendly, there a couple of lovely local bars with good wine and food. This was an all round amazing holiday. I met some fantastic people and had a great time. It is a trip that I would recommend to anyone."
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"Loved the location, great people!"
"I'm a yoga novice and thought going on a holiday would be a nice way to learn more and at the same time get some sunshine. When I was here there were 14 people in total and everyone had traveled independently from various locations. The first night everyone ate together and got to know one another - the entire group got on well. Aside from the yoga which is easy going there's activities offered at morning breakfast, I would highly recommend the cooking class which comes with dinner and the swimming pool. Although I have no idea what I'm doing with yoga it would have been nice if some of the sessions were a bit tougher as things were a bit lethargic for someone that's relatively fit however I understand it's difficult to appeal to everyone with a broad demographic. The staff here are super friendly and helpful - I would definitely recommend and I'd consider coming back or going to one of their other locations."
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"Had a wonderful weekend in Casperia. Really enjoyed the yoga suited to my ability levels. Shared the experience with lovely people. Beautiful and peaceful setting. A great destination to take time out and reflect and recharge batteries."
"Loved it! And loved that it was a group of people between the ages of around 30 and 55 (usually those sorts of single or groups holidays are much younger or much older). Would definitely do this holiday again!"
"Many thanks to Michelle for the wonderful holistic therapy sessions and the personal attention given. Claire, my first yoga teacher, I hope to find a teacher in Amsterdam like you! I didn't know if I take to yoga, but I hoped I would. Now I'm hooked thanks to the wonderful classes I was so lucky to be a part of. Thank you both Claire and Michelle for helping me to get back to my normal self again. It was hard work but with your help I did it. Alessandro and Addie, thank you for your kind help making me feel at home in the mesmerizing village of Casperia. Sunflower Retreats was a lovely yoga holiday all in all. Except the mattress in my room did my back in, time for a new one?"
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"My yoga holidays trip to Sunflower Retreats as a fantastic experience."
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"I have just got back from a yoga holiday at Sunflower Retreats and it was fantastic! I fell in love with the little village of Casperia from the moment I saw it on the hilltop (yes, there are quite a few stairs to navigate but keep an eye out for the two lifts!). The instructions to get from Rome airport were spot on - about two hours in total on the train and bus (10 EUR). I had booked the single loft skylight apartment at Casa Latini which was very cozy and perfect for me. There were only four of us which was unusual apparently and we got on really well, spending the right amount of time together and giving good space. There was a nice rhythm to the retreat - yoga for 90 minutes in the morning, a healthy and filling breakfast, then a trip to the thermal spa or a walk or a cycle or an holistic treatment, then optional afternoon yoga, and dinner. We were blessed with nice weather, and only one day of light rain. We found the fresh pasta shop just down the hill and the patisserie and the supermarket, and cooked three course meals for each other in the kitchen at Casa Latini on three nights, watching the sun set over the hills. Do try the gelato from Cafe Friends which is actually made in Casperia! So most of the time we ate for about 8 EUR each per night, although it was about the food not the money! We also ate at Gusto's (five courses of amazingly fresh and beautifully cooked food - definitely do this!) and got takeaway pizza on another. I must have got through about five books on my kindle, reading out on the balcony, enjoying the fresh air and the sunshine. One of our group did the watercolor class and came back after two hours with a fantastic piece of art. I slept brilliantly and the church bells at 7:00 a.m. every morning were my alarm clock for 8:00 a.m. yoga. A lovely way to wake up. Oh yes, and the yoga instruction by Liza was high quality with all of us progressing well through the week. Chrystal was super friendly and kept us well informed and organised, and Tina was a great therapist. I would recommend the one hour reflexology. Everyone was so helpful. This is a holiday that will definitely leave you feeling rejuvenated and balanced. A definite recommendation!"
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"I spent a week in Casperia with the sunflower retreat family. The yoga was awesome, breakfast lovely - the accommodation was gorgeous too. All in all it was heaven - I recommend the holistic treatments and the free mountain walk."
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