PUGLIA, ITALY

About This Event

VILLA

Our home for the week will be at the fabulous new ultra-chic boutique hotel Ottolire:

Deep in the heart of Puglia’s rolling, romantic Valle d’Itria, the conical whitewashed buildings of the famous trulli houses pierce the velvety blue sky. Hewn from the dry stone of the valley and topped with a handmade pinnacle – a signature from the stonemason – these former farm dwellings have become fashionable places to stay for travellers seeking quirky lodgings in the sun-beaten south. The once-derelict trulli houses of Ottolire Resort captured the attention of a local couple in 1973, and after a family affair of painstaking reconstruction, their children have transformed the settlement into a tranquil resort.

Made of smooth, honeyed stone, the trulli and cummerse now enjoy a new lease of life as a fleet of suites, with modern furniture and luxury touches. Sleep under the grand arches of the ancient buildings, wake to a Bacchanalian-style breakfast of Italian cakes and pastries, slip into the cool waters of the swimming pool and inhale the scent of summer in the Valle d’Itria. There’s a restaurant where you can sample traditional Apulian cuisine and bikes to hire for exploring the local area. —SecretEscapes

Located in the Valle d’Itria, which is one of the prettiest areas of Puglia, (the sun-splashed heel of the Italian boot), this villa is surrounded by olive groves, ancient fortified farms and whitewashed towns spilling down the rolling hills towards vineyards and orchards. Outside are terraces encircled by chestnut and olive trees, a pool that’s large enough for laps, and an organic garden where fruit and vegetables are grown for the restaurant. It’s a stylish slice of rural Italian life, a place to savor simple delights: dappled sunlight on your skin, a poolside siesta in the shade of a prickly-pear tree, a glass of local wine at sunset, and the chatter of birds from the hotel’s surrounding estate.

SURROUNDING AREA

Our day trips will allow us to experience the many unique landscapes and activities that this area has to offer. We will take a tour through Puglia's famous "trulli" (white, cone-shaped houses) in the town of Alberobello, a UNESCO heritage site where the main concentration of these trulli still stand. We'll enjoy a walk around town and a meal at an award-winning restaurant with a tasting menu + wine pairing. Next, we will visit a unique cheese farm for a tasting in the area before heading to another cultural site. One day will include a winery visit with a tour and tasting, and yet another day with a visit to one of the area’s most picturesque towns with plenty of photo-worthy vistas and blue waters, followed by an amazing unique meal in a "grotto" overlooking the cliffs by the sea in Polignano al Mare. We will round out the week with massage treatments and plenty of time to relax at our home-away-from-home, with it’s beautiful pool, walking trails, and more.

CUISINE

Healthful, vegetarian food is part of the retreat experience, including breakfast and dinner daily, as well as selected lunches. We've carefully chosen delicious and fresh meals from renowned restaurants and chefs, which will give guests an expansive experience of the cuisine. Our dinners will include a few multi-course tasting menus, as well as tastings throughout the week , which could include regional specialities such as wine, cheese, and olive oil. While on-site, we'll dine in the restaurant which offers a modern take on the local food, based on traditional cooking methods and full creativity of the chef. A cooking class is in store for us, as well as a meal in the world-famous Grotta, which is said to be one of the most beautiful restaurant settings in the world.

YOGA

Daily meditation and yoga classes will be offered in a way to relax, stimulate, and help guests grow in their own personal practice. Classes are open to all levels, beginner to practiced, and can range from gentle, restorative, and more vigorous vinyasa flow and ashtanga styles.* Style and class levels will be determined and moulded to fit participating students' needs, and with a small intimate retreat class size, students will be able to get personalized attention and comfortability to deeply explore their practice. Depending on each retreat location, classes will be held in a dedicated indoor yoga space and some also offer outdoor options as well for us to use if the weather is agreeable. Classes are generally held twice daily, one morning class which is more of a general vinyasa flow, and a shorter evening class that is more restorative or themed (such as hip-openers, yoga nidra, yin, etc)

This retreat will be led by our collaborator, Mindy Johnstone. Having began her practice 20 years ago, Mindy's style of teaching is rooted in the Ashtanga tradition. A love for the fluidity is deepened with Vinyasa Flow and the more restorative Yin & iRest Yoga Nidra. On retreat, prepare to be inspired and nurtured, as her strength lies in the ability to cater to groups and individuals needs. The yoga community offers a family in all parts of the globe, and Mindy is grateful for the guidance and shared wisdom she receives from students and teachers. She looks forward to inspiring people to see the delight in travel and where we can feel at 'OM with the world.'

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