Sicily 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 Sicily retreat.

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

Still can’t find the answer to your question?

Sicily Frequently Asked Questions

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

  • Bus transportation between designated location in Palermo and our accommodation venues (on both arrival and departure days).
  • 2 nights at the Hotel Carmine in Marsala, and 4 nights at the Agriturismo olive farm Case di Latomie, including breakfast each day.
  • 5 sit-down dinners. Local wine is included.
  • 1 wine tasting dinner, apericena, at a local vineyard.
  • 2 lunches, one at a winery and one at a sheep farm, where we will assist in cheese making for cannoli. (Please note that 3 lunches are on your own, during our small town visits. Many people use this opportunity to eat lighter, to complement the sit-down meals and wine tasting we enjoy.)
  • Visit to Selinunte and Segesta archeological sites.
  • Salt field museum visit in Trapani.
  • Daily yoga classes at our venues and other unique locations. Outdoor yoga is weather dependent.
  • Daily housekeeping service.
  • Free wifi.
  • Tons of pre-retreat assistance with travel planning, including suggestions for travel in the area on your own. *Please note that much of this is provided via our private Facebook group, see last question below.

What's not included?

  • International airfare.
  • Ground transportation to and from our pick up/drop off spot (Palermo airport) on arrival and departure days.
  • Wine before dinner (there is no official “happy hour”, but there will be plenty of opportunity to buy your own for this if you so desire!).
  • Guide and hotel staff gratuities. Please prioritize our amazing bus driver, Liborio; he is the heart and soul of this trip!
  • 3 lunches, during our small town visits. Many people use this opportunity to eat lighter, to complement the sit-down meals and wine tasting we enjoy.

Where exactly are we going in Sicily?

We will be exploring the western coastal regions of Sicily, with the opportunity to visit many places that are “off the beaten path” for a more authentic Sicilian experience. Our two unique accommodations include an historical former monastery in Marsala (2 nights), and an Agriturismo olive farm in Castelvetrano (4 nights).

We will have private tours of the archeological sites Selinunte and Segesta, and will also visit the Marsala Salt Pans, the medieval town of Erice, and have lunch by the sea in Castellammare del Golfo.

There will be a few surprises too!

What airport should I fly into?

Our transportation to and from the retreat will be from the Palermo Airport. 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. If your flight itinerary from the US does not take you all the way through to Palermo easily (for example, if you are flying from Montana, like us), we recommend spending the night in Rome close to the airport, and booking a separate ticket on the Italian airline (directly with ITA or via a website like Travelocity) from Rome to Palermo (and vice versa). Ask us, we are happy to help with suggestions and travel advice.

Please note for booking flights in and out of Palermo: there will only be one pick up shuttle from the airport on arrival day at 2 pm, and one departure shuttle from our retreat venue on our final morning at 10 am. If you arrive after the pick up shuttle time or need to be at the airport earlier than our departure shuttle can get you there, you will be responsible for the cost and arrangement of your ground transportation to and from our retreat location. It is about an hour from the airport, and not an easy place for taxis or other convenient ground transportation. Please plan accordingly. 

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.

At this time (January 2024), proof of Covid vaccination is not required to enter the European Union. As that is always subject to change, we suggest bringing your vaccination record with your passport.

Should I get travel insurance?

SI. A retreat is an investment in your well-being—but it’s also a financial investment. No one books a retreat with the intention of cancelling, but unexpected life events do occur. If we could make it mandatory, we would. It’s a lot of $ to lose if something happens – and something always seems to happen. That’s travel, and that’s life. We cannot offer refunds or credits of any kind, given the small boutique scope of our business. *TRAVEL INSURANCE WORKS* if you have to cancel!

We HIGHLY RECOMMEND purchasing your own travel/trip cancellation insurance so your trip fees will be covered in case you have to cancel your retreat. Trip insurance should also be purchased to cover medical expenses, in the event you have an accident while on the retreat. 

True story: one of our international retreaters missed two days of the trip due to bad weather that forced airline cancelations. Through her travel insurance, she was able to get reimbursed for not only the missed days, but her travel expenses as well!

Another true story, from our 2022 France retreat: one retreater tested positive for Covid the day before the retreat started; she was already in Europe. She got everything covered, including a week in a hotel in Switzerland.

You can usually add insurance to your airfare when booking flights. While we don’t have a specific recommendation for the retreat portion, you should start by checking with your credit card company. There are lots of options out there. Check out this continuously updated Best Travel Insurance Companies, by FORBES.

Another option to explore is AIG Travel Guard.

What will the weather be like?

Sicily in the spring is a weather dream come true; daytime temperatures are usually in the 70s, and nights and early mornings in the mid 50s. Check Marsala, Trapani, Italy and Castelvetrano 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 western Sicily, 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 under the Sicilian sun 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 trip leader and yoga teacher. She also leads yoga retreats in Argentina, France and Montana.

Caitlin Kelly from Big Sky Yoga Retreats will co-lead the retreat and teach yoga. She also co-leads our yoga retreats in France and Montana.

What does a typical day look like?

Each day will have a different 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.

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 cappuccino, 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, which can get stuck in spam, deleted, and forgotten. Bonus: it’s really fun to post retreat pics!

And no, it’s not a requirement and we can’t make you get on Facebook. We know some people are strongly anti-FB (we’ve gotten more than one earful). The FB group is intended to help, not challenge your social media values. While we promise we’ll get you all the info you need for your retreat via email…we can’t promise you won’t miss out on the fun of the group. #yourcall

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!