Guest Post by Caitlin Kelly, Yoga Instructor & Lifelong Italy Admirer
The perfect pairing for Tuscany? You.
As women, we’re notoriously good at taking care of others, pouring ourselves into family and friends, and putting everyone else first. It makes us warm, caring, and loving people. But, there’s someone you haven’t cared for, poured into, or loved well enough lately.
That person is you.
Realizing that self care isn’t frivolous is a journey. Developing new friendships, being kind to your body and mind, and taking time to recharge? That’s quite a journey, too. (I’ve been on it for years!)
That’s why I’m so enamored by our Tuscany Yoga & Vineyard Retreat, which is coming up October 13-19, 2019. Every detail of this trip is crafted with your longterm health in mind. We bring together a group of amazing and inspiring women (like you) and guide you through a week of yoga, healthy eating, meditation, wine tasting, and Italian-style R&R.
“Equal parts activity and rejuvenation, focus on deepening your yoga practice, replenishing your mind and spirit, and nourishing your body with gourmet fare under the Tuscan sun.”
Whether you’re already signed up or still pondering (#justbookit), I wanted to share some nuggets of wisdom for this adventure.
Go Early & Stay Late
Plan a few days before or after retreat to explore one (or a few) different Italian towns. Each one is unique, beautiful, and so different from the next. Trenitalia, the train system is easy to navigate, is always on time (WHAT?) and is a great way to get around the country.
(Just make sure to get on the right train, or you might have to jump off when you realize you’re about to go to the wrong city… and leave your beautiful new Italian boots on the luggage rack. #oops #stillinmourning)
Eat Alone (Without Your Phone)
We Americans have trouble slowing down, being still, and staying quiet. Sometimes when I’ve eaten alone, I felt like I had to have my phone or laptop out to make myself look busy or like I was “working.” Anche tu?
Put the phone away, go sit in a restaurant or outdoor cafe (they are the cutest ever), and order a glass of wine and a cheese plate. Relax, SEE and taste your food, and people watch. It’s calming, beautiful and delicious.
(This was one of my favorite things to do in the few days before and after the retreat when I was traveling by myself.)
Go to the Farmacia
If you happen to get to Florence a day (or even a few hours) early, stop at the Officina Profumo di Santa Maria Novella. It started in the year 1221 when Domenican friars arrived in Florence.
They started studying the herbs around their monastery, and created balms, elixirs and medicines. To this day, you can buy the elixirs in the store. They also have the most amazing assortment of skincare, perfume, lotions, and home scents. Each item is packaged in bottles so beautiful you won’t even want to open them. (You will though, because everything smells and feels amazing.)
Even if you don’t buy anything, go into the museum-like building, read about the history, and smell all the smells!
Order the House Wine
It seems that in America, the “house wine” is simply known as the cheapest option on the list, the most “blah” tasting. But, we still get it because “who cares?”
In Italy, ordering the house wine is an honor to whoever is serving it. It comes from the family farms, the vineyards outside the restaurants, and the utmost care is put into creating it.
Italians are so proud of their wine, and for good reason. (Trust me, order it.)
Embrace the afternoon rest
The first time I went to Italy, I “needed” to pick something up at the grocery store in the afternoon. When I arrived to the store in town, it was closed. (It was 1pm on a weekday, what???)
I then noticed that most places in town were closed…from 1-3 or 1-4pm…for lunch. Italians take their meals very seriously, and I realized the beauty of taking time out of the day to sit, relax, eat, and refresh before going back to your day.
It will make you think twice about scarfing down a salad in 10 minutes at your desk because there’s “no time.”
(Also, I would like to request a 3 hour lunch at work from now on, please.)
“Ensconced in the rolling Tuscan countryside, I truly felt a world away from the stresses of everyday life.” – Jeanette
Order a double mocha latte with 2 pumps vanilla, one stevia, extra hot with no straw
When it Italia, order a single (or double) espresso. Trust me. You’ll never want to go back to regular coffee again.
Get caught up in your “food rules”
Eat the bread, eat the pasta, eat a full meal — don’t just order a salad. Food and eating are different in Italy. I have learned so much about myself, the way I eat, and the way I see food by traveling and eating in Italy.
The food is FRESH, local, made and prepared with love, and your body will feel amazing afterward. I’ve never heard an Italian say that they’re “not eating carbs” or that there’s “too much fat” in the cheese.
I know it’s hard. But, for the time you’re there, release your food rules. It might change you forever.
Forget to look up
Italy is old, beautiful, unique, and amazing. Take time to put down your phone, take in the scenery, the people and the atmosphere.
Don’t spend the whole trip looking at the sights through your iPhone camera.
Go to Italy just once
There is so much to see, do, eat, experience, and enjoy. Go back, stay longer, see different towns.
If you go once, I promise you’ll be back 🙂
About Our “Bootique” Approach
We believe all women are powerful. We believe all women are beautiful. We believe all women contribute to the world. We believe all women are nurturing. We believe all women deserve to be nurtured, too.
That’s why every one of our “Bootique” retreats, like Yoga & Vineyard Tuscany, feature small groups, inspiring community, outdoor experiences, and safe spaces where you can be your authentic self—whether you’re on a yoga mat, horse, or hiking trail.