Italy Frequently Asked Questions

Passports, Pasta, & More

Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Wondering about where we’re going and what we’re doing?
Check out our frequently asked questions to learn everything you need to know before booking our Yoga & Vineyard Italy retreat.

Check our General FAQs for info on payments, policies and packing.

Still can’t find the answer to your question?

Italy Frequently Asked Questions

What’s included in the Yoga and Vineyard Tuscany retreat?

  • Bus transportation between designated location in Florence and our Villa (on both arrival and departure days).
  • 6 nights at the historical Villa Il Leccio, including breakfast each day.
  • Tour of our historical Villa.
  • 4 sit-down dinners at the Villa, plus an interactive, pizza making dinner as well. Local wine is included.
  • 1 wine tasting dinner at Chianti wine maker Tenuta Torciano.
  • Historical wine estate and castle tour at Ricasoli/Castello Brolio Estates, followed by an elegant wine tasting. The oldest winery in Italy, and where Chainti was invented!
  • Olive oil maker tour, followed by olive oil tasting and food pairing with lunch at Pruneti.
  • Farm tour and hands-on gnocchi making with la nonna for lunch at Podere Paugnano.
  • Daily yoga classes at our Villa and other unique traditionally Tuscan locations. Outdoor yoga is weather dependent.
  • Luggage porterage at Villa arrival and departure.
  • Daily housekeeping service.
  • Free wifi.
  • Gratuity for our fabulous bus driver.

What's not included?

  • International airfare.
  • Ground transportation to and from our designated pick up/drop off spot in Florence on arrival and departure days.
  • 3 lunches (on the days we will be visiting small towns).
  • Wine before dinner at the Villa (there is no official “happy hour”, but there will be plenty of opportunity to buy your own for this if you so desire!).
  • Horseback rides: highly recommended, at additional cost.
  • Reiki sessions with Caitlin: highly recommended, at additional cost. ($30/30 minutes.)
  • Guide and Villa staff gratuities.

Where exactly are we going in Tuscany?

We will be exploring the Chianti region near Firenze, with the opportunity to visit many places that are “off the beaten path” for a more authentic Italian experience. Our Villa is located in Strada in Chianti, and we will visit Greve in Chianti, Castellina, Colle Val d’Elsa and other small towns in this area. We’ll be surrounded by rolling Tuscan hills, medieval history, vineyards and olive groves!

What airport should I fly into?

It depends on what you want to do before or after the retreat. If you’re coming all the way to Italy and your schedule and budget allow, take advantage of it and plan some time in another part of the country. We recommend some time in Firenze (Florence), which is the closest city to fly into. Rome is less than two hours by train from Firenze. Flights are often cheaper into Milan, and that is only a few hours by train as well. Ask us, we are happy to help with suggestions and travel advice.

What travel documents do I need?

US citizens need a passport, with at least six months validity beyond your departure date. U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days for tourist purposes without a visa.

What will the weather be like?

Tuscany in the fall is a weather dream come true; daytime temperatures are usually in the 60s and 70s, and nights and early mornings tend to be cool. Check Strada in Chianti, Italy on for the 10 day forecast before departure.

Wait. Wine, pasta, and yoga???

Yes! You can have it all…as in, a wellness retreat and an indulgent foodie vacation combined into one. We believe that food is a beautiful part of life, and we appreciate the Italian food philosophy. We also believe that being active and practicing yoga is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Eating good food, drinking wine, and being healthy are not mutually exclusive. We will kick off our retreat with a led discussion on eating and drinking mindfully. On to the next question to learn more…

What is Agriturismo?

Agriturismo, a combination of the Italian words for “agriculture” and “tourism,” is a style of vacationing in scenic rural farm areas. Italians are particularly proud of their agricultural traditions, especially cheese, wine and olive making, and we’ll teach you about the history and production of these delights, while tasting everything local, organic and purely Italian. It’s a foodie and nature lover’s heaven!

 *Read What is Agriturismo? on Trip Savvy.

How is Agriturismo different from a more “typical” tour?

Agriturismo is food, wine, and farm oriented. The big sightseeing checklist of churches and works of art are not on our agenda; this is an authentic travel experience designed to show you where all the amazing Italian food and wine comes from. We will taste our way through Chianti, and learn about the history and traditions of a more rural Italian way of life. There aren’t any long lines to wait in, tickets to buy, or crowds to navigate. We can slow down and truly feel a connection to our stunning surroundings. Plus, we get to add yoga to all this! Laying your mat out at a Tuscan fattoria and focusing your drishti on rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves? Priceless, if you ask us.

Who are our guides?

Our lovely, knowledgeable and energetic Italian guide Paola Roselli leads multiple trips every year in Tuscany, Sicily and other parts of Europe. Many of her trips are for food and wine professionals. She runs an alpaca farm and her Travel Your Way biz in Portland, Oregon.

Margaret Burns Vap from Big Sky Yoga Retreats will be your US trip leader and yoga teacher. She also leads international yoga retreats in Costa Rica and Patagonia.

Caitlin Kelly from Big Sky Yoga Retreats will teach yoga and offer Reiki sessions.

Where are we staying?

Our retreat hOMe for the week is the stunning Villa Il Leccio in Strada in Chianti.

The story of this villa is also the story of the Landi family that has lived there for as many as nine generations. With the Old Medieval Tower House dating from the 1200s, “Il Leccio” was transformed by the Landi family into a Villa in the eighteenth century, and used as a country residence where they gathered during the summer. It became a prosperous farm during the nineteenth century under Emilio, and was finally converted into a beautiful country resort by his daughter, Maria Luisa.

The recent restoration has brought back the original splendor of the halls; almost all have frescoes, making the atmosphere sophisticated but at the same time warm and familiar. A restoration with the most modern technology gives guests the opportunity to experience a piece of history with all the comforts of the present.

The owner’s love for the property makes the hospitality at the Villa Il Leccio a rare find.

What is the difference between the all the room types?

Remember, this is an historical family villa. Each room/suite is very unique, and each has a special name.

Camera degli Sposi – $5,195 per person – SOLD OUT 2019
This room is located in the central manor. It’s airy and bright, and overlooks the Tuscan hills. Big double canopy bed. This is a Single with private bath for 1 person.

Camera della Torre – $5,195 per person
This room is located in the central manor and overlooks the inner courtyard of the medieval well, very quiet and intimate. This is a Single with private bath for 1 person.

Camera dei Padroni – $4,995 per person
The original Masters of the Villa’s bedroom, spacious, very bright with its large windows overlooking the Tuscan hills. It has a large bathroom with dressing room, equipped with Jacuzzi bath and shower, and is located in the main part of the Villa, reached by the 16th century main stone staircase. This is a Deluxe Double with private bath, for 2 people to share. (Please note the photo shows one bed, it will have two separate beds for our retreat.)

Camera Verde – $4,995 and $4,895 per person
The “Green Room”, located in the central manor. Spacious and comfortable, overlooking the shaded oak trees which surround the Villa. This suite has two separate bedrooms; a double canopy bed in the main room, and a French day bed in the smaller room. This is a Double Suite with a private bath, for 2 people to share.

Camera Azzurra – $4,995 and $4,895 per person
The sky-blue room, located in the central manor, overlooks the Tuscan hills. This suite has two separate bedrooms; a double bed in the main room, and a French day bed in the smaller room. This is a Double Suite with a private bath, for 2 people to share.

Camera Rossa – $4,895 and $4,795 per person
This room is located up from the small 19th century chapel. Spacious and comfortable, overlooking the shaded oak trees which surrounds the Villa. This room consist of two separate bedrooms; a double bed in the main room, and two single beds in the smaller room. This is a Triple Suite with a private bath, for 3 people to share.

Camera Salottino della Corte – $4,895 per person
This room is located in the central manor and overlooks the inner courtyard of the medieval well, very quiet and intimate. This is a Standard Double room with a private bath, for 2 people to share. (Please note the photo shows one bed, it will have two separate beds for our retreat.)

Why aren’t there more single rooms? I’m not sure I want to share.

The set up of the Villa guest rooms offers multiple suites with large spaces, that are best suited for more than one person (like many of our guest ranches in Montana!). Many women are concerned about sharing, and end up enjoying the experience as much as the rest of the retreat. You already have so much in common with the other people signing up to share this adventure, you might be surprised how quickly you feel at home together. The rooms are as spacious as they are luxurious. We will put you in touch with your roommate, should you opt for one, so you can connect prior to the retreat. If you crave a little time to yourself, there are plenty of cozy spots around the Villa and its grounds to savor some solo moments.

What does a typical day look like?

Each day will have a different agriturismo focus and visit. We will start every day with an early morning yoga practice, and some days we will have a second practice later in the day. The days will be full of activity, but there will be a nice flow to everything to avoid feeling rushed. We’ll sit down for dinner together at the end of the day to enjoy each other’s company, the amazing food and wine, and the relaxed experience of a traditional Italian meal.

Why are the horseback rides at additional cost?

While we think that riding through Tuscan vineyards is a dream come true, we recognize that riding may not be for everyone. If you don’t want to ride, you can enjoy the stunning scenery, practice some al fresco yoga, and sample the locally produced products from the farm. Cost estimate per ride is 50 euros (subject to change). We will ride at Il Vecchio Maneggio and Fattoria Tegoni. If you are interested in all-day riding after the retreat, we highly recommend Fattoria Voltrona with Icelandic horses, near San Gimignano – they book far in advance so contact them early. We’re happy to tell you more about it, and suggest places to stay!

What’s the yoga like?

We often get asked what kind of yoga, how many times a day, what if I haven’t practiced in awhile – all valid questions. You will be fine. We offer straight up vinyasa flow, with a twist of restorative. We accommodate all levels of yoginis, but highly recommend some pre-retreat yoga experience, even if you start a practice with the retreat in mind. Some days will have one yoga practice, some will have two. We promise to get in as much yoga as we can, and balance it with our other activities. Most mornings will begin with yoga (after coffee, but before breakfast!) to start the day off right, on the yoga mat.

What if I come by myself?

The majority of our retreaters come by themselves. Although you may come alone, you will leave the retreat with new, lifelong friends. We have many women who meet on retreat come back on others together.

What’s the average age on your retreats?

We have a wide age range on all our retreats, from women in their 20s all the up to 60s and 70s. Each retreat will vary.

Do I have to participate in everything on the schedule?

You do not need to participate in everything; you can pace yourself to find the perfect amount of activity for you. We support you in doing as much or as little as is right for you, depending on how you are feeling. However: remember this is an active vacation, and we are giving you as much as we can of what you signed up for! (Personally, we wouldn’t want to miss a thing.) The schedule gives you a sense of the flow of each day. It’s always subject to change, depending upon the needs of the group, weather, etc.

What if I’ve never been to Italy?

Embrace the opportunity to experience a new place! And remember: there are many things that are not like in the US. Some of it will push your comfort zone, most of it will expand your worldview. We don’t travel to have things be just like at home. We encourage you to do your “homework” – that’s part of the fun. Read about the history, the culture, the most recommended places to see and things to do. Learn a few Italian phrases. We will share lots of resources with you as well.

Recommended reads:

Away & Aware: A Field Guide to Mindful Travel

Lessons from the road: what travel taught me about love

Destination Earth: A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler 

Women Are Becoming More Adventurous Travelers – and Doing It Alone

Bon Appétit’s Highly Subjective but Very Smart Guide to Traveling

How can I connect with other women on my retreat?

We set up a private Facebook group for everyone on this retreat. Yes, that means you have to be on Facebook. Trust us, it’s worth it just for this. It’s a great way to discuss travel plans, share links to articles, and for us to keep you updated on all trip info. And it’s much easier and faster than email.

Upcoming Retreats

Check out our calendar to see when your desired retreats are running—and reserve your spot. Retreats typically sell out, often several months in advance. So, stake your claim now!