Yoga Harvest Tour 2015 Itinerary

Day 0 - Monday, October 26, 2014

When traveling to Italy from the United States, plan on arriving the next day. As you make your travel arrangements, this is a time to consider traveling in advance of, or just after, the tour to explore another area of Italy or Europe on your own time.

Day 1 – Tuesday, October 27, 2014 
Benvenuti in Toscana! Welcome to beautiful Tuscany and Villa Le Vigne 

Daily Yoga Theme: Ground
Arrive at the Florence International Airport Aeroporto di Firenze (aka "Amerigo Vespucci Airport") or Central Train Station in Florence in Tuscany, Italy where a Spirit of Italy Tours travel specialist will greet you and escort you to Villa Le Vigne about 40 minutes south of the airport in the town of Caposelvi-Montevarchi, minutes outside the charming town of Montevarchi in the heart of the Valdarno region of Tuscany. Spirit of Italy Tours will offer one pick-up time. (Specific time TBD based on guest arrival times.) 

The tour begins with time to settle into your apartments at Le Vigne, home base where we will be spending the week practicing yoga and getting acquainted with the sights, culture and incredible landscapes the region offers.

Serena Crociani and Andrea Romei, the proprietors of Le Vigne, will welcome guests and give us a tour of the property. A light welcome lunch (beverages, panini, and sweets) will await you after your long journey. Le Vigne is personally managed by its owners and produces fine wines and enjoys a rich history. You can take time to explore the Le Vigne property that is surrounded by lush green hillsides, vineyards and wide-open spaces, or just take time to relax. You’re on Italian time now, no need to rush.

In the evening, we will come together in the yoga space for a grounding meditation and a short restorative practice to recharge from the long day of travel, firmly root us in our new surroundings, and prepare us for the 7 wonderful days to come. 

Harvest Italia tour guests are invited to enjoy a sumptuous welcome dinner by the Le Vigne owners at their nearby restaurant La Vasca in Montevarchi. Our meal will include seasonal fare. Dinner will give us the chance to become acquainted and discuss the itinerary for the week.

Meals – light lunch and dinner

Day 2 – Wednesday, October 28, 2014
Olive picking at Casa Falcioni

Daily Yoga Theme: Growth
Buon giorno! We start each day of the tour with an energizing yoga practice to connect with our community, our hearts, and to prepare for the day ahead. Today’s yoga theme is centered around growth, as we head to the olive groves to celebrate nature’s bounty and harvest ripened olives from their branches. This morning’s yoga practice will explore the concept of “growth” through core strengthening and strong standing postures.

An Italian-style breakfast buffet featuring bread, pastries and biscotti, jams, pecorino cheese, cereals, coffee, milk, tea, juice, and more will also be provided each morning.

After breakfast we will be transported by minivan over to the exquisite Casa Falcioni property nestled in the nearby medieval town of Cavriglia for a full day of olive picking. At Casa Falcioni, guests will be greeted by Silvano and Tanya Falcioni, the proprietors of the olive grove comprised of 600 olive trees. An overview of the olive picking process, olive rakes and gloves will be provided. A warm lunch featuring seasonal, hearty autumn fare (pasta/lasagna/salad/bread and Chianti wine) will be served on the premises.

In the late afternoon we will head over to Montevarchi to the Coop an Italian style supermarket and department store. (Think Target meets Costco Italian style). There you can stock up on any groceries, browse for clothing or enjoy homemade gelato and more.

We will then head back to Le Vigne where Noell will lead a guided meditation and pranayama practice in the yoga space.

Following our group practice, guests can dine on an authentic Tuscan meal in Montevarchi at the fabulous local trattoria Daniele & Ricardo

Meals – breakfast and lunch 

Day 3 – Thursday, October 29, 2014
Visit to Local Olive Press and the medieval town of Radda in Chianti

Daily Yoga Theme: Embracing Change
Today our morning yoga practice centers around change; our resistance to it, and our ability to use “acceptance of what is” as a powerful tool to help us move through the world with more grace and ease.

Following breakfast, we will head to a local olive press in the Chianti region where you will have the opportunity to see your self- picked olives pressed into beautiful, fragrant, and delicious extra virgin olive oil. The Falcioni’s will accompany us to explain the olive oil making process and the requirements for obtaining the high quality extra virgin olive oil label. This promises to be an especially memorable occasion knowing that you were involved in the collection process. As a thank you gift, the Falcioni’s will provide each guest with a complimentary 375 ml bottle of your self-picked olive oil.

The Falcioni's will also host tour guests to a picnic lunch just outside the olive press in the breathtaking Chianti. We will spend the rest of the afternoon driving through the region with a stop in the quaint medieval hilltop town of Radda in Chianti where you will have time to stroll, sightsee, visit the one-of-a kind local boutiques, or simply relax over a cappuccino. In the evening we will head to a restaurant on the way back to Le Vigne. (Restaurant TBD closer to start of tour).

Upon our return, we gather in the yoga space for a restorative yoga nidra meditation led by Noell.

Meals – breakfast and lunch

Day 4 – Friday, October 30, 2014
Firenze – the crown jewel of the Renaissance

Daily Yoga Theme: Finding Beauty
Yoga this morning connects us to finding the remarkable beauty in our breath and our movements. Through backbends we will sweep away the veils that cloak our hearts, and keep us from truly seeing the abundant beauty in our everyday lives.

Following breakfast, we will depart to the historic center of Firenze (Florence), considered one of the most important cities in Italy and one of the crown jewels of the Renaissance. You will have the full day to explore and wander at your leisure. Firenze is a small city and is a veritable feast for the eyes. There is history at every turn and it is home to several of Italy’s best museums and landmarks —The Uffizi Gallery, The Academia (home to Michelangelo’s David), The Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, which crosses over the picturesque Arno River. 

Florence is also a shopper’s paradise. There are gorgeous high fashion (alta moda) shops selling luxury goods, department stores and the bustling outdoor markets selling everything from souvenirs to quality leather items. The city also boasts many of the finest restaurants and gelato in the country. The city center is best traveled on foot and allows you to easily reach all the significant points of interest.

Spirit of Italy Tours will provide guests with a suggested itinerary so that you can navigate on your own as well as offer tour and restaurant suggestions to optimize your sightseeing and dining experience. Round trip transport is provided.

After a long day, we will head back to Le Vigne to enjoy a home cooked Tuscan meal on the premises.

After dinner there will be an optional guided mediation and reflection on found beauty in the day

Meals – breakfast, dinner 

Day 5 – Saturday, October 31, 2014  (Happy Halloween!)
Cortona, Wine tasting and San Giovanni Val D’Arno

Daily Yoga Theme: Share in Community
Our asana practice this morning is centered around sharing in community. Through partner poses we will explore trust, friendship, and surrender.

After breakfast we head out for another full day. We begin by visiting Cortona, one of the oldest towns in Tuscany surrounded by Etruscan walls, around 3000 years old; a town made famous by Francis Mayes in her book Under the Tuscan Sun.

We will dine in Cortona for lunch and then drive back to Le Vigne where Serena and Andrea will take us on a personal winery tour of their vineyards and inform us about the wine making process. There will be ample time to taste a selection of the varietal wines produced on the estate. 

In the evening, we will head to the charming town of San Giovanni Valdarno for dinner at Osteria dell’ Angelo. The town has a beautiful piazza and many side streets with shops and restaurants and is perfect for an evening stroll. 

Following dinner, we head back to Le Vigne to gather for an evening meditation. 

Meals – breakfast

Day 6 – Sunday, November 1, 2014 
Fiera Antiquaria di Arezzo and Cooking Demo

Daily Yoga Theme: Appreciating Abundance
Practicing yoga attunes us to the abundance present in our lives. It opens our bodies, our minds, and our spirits so that we may walk through life with gratitude for the treasures that each day brings. In this morning’s practice we will cultivate a deep sense of gratitude for life’s abundance through breath, mudra and movement.

After breakfast, we head out to the Tuscan city of Arezzo. Arezzo is an important small medieval Tuscan city steeped in history and provides the chance to see extraordinary monuments and art. Famous names such as Piero della Francesca, Giorgio Vasari, and Beato Angelico lived here and have made great artistic contributions.

We will spend the morning visiting one of the most prominent and longest running antique markets in Italy, the Fiera Antiquaria di Arezzo. In progress since 1968, more than 500 exhibitors come from all over Italy on the first weekend of the month offering a wide range of goods from valuable antique furniture, jewelry, books and prints, and works of art to inexpensive curios and knick knacks. Tourists are welcome and bargaining is an acceptable practice. This delightful event takes place in the Piazza Grande in the historical center of town where Roberto Benigni’s Academy Award-winning film, “Life is Beautiful” was shot. The market spills out and winds its way into the narrow streets and alleys of the city amidst restaurants and beautiful shops. This is a town where strolling and people watching takes on real meaning. For lunch we will dine at a local trattoria. 

In the afternoon, we will head back to Le Vigne for some personal relaxation time. In the evening, Silvano Falcioni, food and wine connoisseur, will conduct a cooking demonstration at Le Vigne. He will prepare authentic harvest-inspired Tuscan dishes. Guests will have the chance to prepare their own cantucci, a traditional almond biscotti perfect for dipping in vinsanto or a cappuccino. 

In the evening, we will gather in the yoga space for a gratitude circle and metta (loving kindness) meditation.

Meals – breakfast, dinner

Day 7 – Monday, November 2, 2014
Guest options

Daily Yoga Theme: A Sense of Renewal 
Through mindfulness, coming together in community, and immersion in a new culture, we have found a sense of renewal. How do we bring the experiences that we have had here, and the tools that we have learned and integrate them into our daily lives, so that each day we carry this renewal close to our hearts? In this morning’s yoga practice we will dive deep into intention setting, as we prepare to return homes to our families, occupations, and responsibilities.

Following breakfast guests can decide to spend time at Le Vigne hiking the lush countryside surrounding the property on their own time, or decide to do nothing at all. Guests may also opt to shop at the one of the local outlet malls for designer brand discounts in nearby Montevarchi for shopping, strolling or sightseeing. 

A casual lunch will be provided at Le Vigne for those that opt to stay on premises.

In the evening we will enjoy a farewell meal together at Ristorante Il Paguro in the town of Bucine where we will reflect on the experiences we enjoyed during the week and the new friendships made.

Following dinner, we will gather in the yoga space for a closing meditation, and blessing cord ceremony. Blessing cord ceremonies come from the Buddhist tradition, and are a way of celebrating community and committing to mindful intentions. 

Meal – breakfast, light lunch  

Day 8 – Tuesday, November 3, 2014
Guests departure - Arrivederci

After breakfast, transportation will be provided to the Florence Airport or central train station in Florence.

Meal - breakfast