Italy - The Sabina Hills
Hathayoga in the heart of Italy
Relax with Hathayoga in a medieval village in sunny Italy. The retreat´s philosophy is built on health, relaxation, good food, Italian culture, eco tourism and nature. British Lucy and Alan who run the retreat work with a ethical and ecologic conviction and they carefully retrieve what nature has to offer as well as the local cultural heritage. The retreat was started in 1998 and was the first of its kind in Italy. There are different housing options, "the village house" is a little bit simpler and the others are more lavish.
The village, situated in the heart of the Sabina mountains, is totally pedestrianised, with fewer than 350 inhabitants, and is one of the last villages of Italy untouched by mass tourism. The medieval structure and atmosphere of the village give you a unique feeling of being in a historic place in time-gone-by. A place of natural beauty surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and forest-covered mountains, this is a hilltop village where you can watch the changing scenery from every angle. The night sky is a star-covered phenomenon not to be missed!
The village is surrounded by large fields of sunflowers from late June to early August, therefore, the sunflower has become its symbol. In Italy the sunflower is also a symbol of luck and health.
The retreat is a truly unforgettable experience, a real retreat, a break that will allow you to unwind, relax, and physically, mentally and spiritually recharge. Your holiday, based inside the meandering stone walls of the pedestrianised medieval village, will be a chance to immerse yourself in the Italian way of life and admire the spectacular panoramic views of the countryside. You can choose to simply relax or select from the many options - excursions, treatments and activities - which we offer. Whether you take part is up to you.
On your Retreat Holiday you can choose to:
- Practice yoga daily and tune-in to yourself within the harmony and peaceful atmosphere of this superb location
- Spend the day revitalising your body and mind at open-air roman baths and wild hot springs
- Relax and recharge mind, body and soul by choosing from a large selection of holistic therapies
- Enjoy our sauna, created exclusively for our guests in the village of Casperia
- Enjoy the friendly and social atmosphere during meals in excellent Italian restaurants
- See the beautiful Sabina countryside on horseback
- Swim at the local pools, or discover unspoilt mountain streams where you can spend hot afternoons bathing and resting in the beauty of nature
- Relax with a good cappuccino or an afternoon tea in local village cafes
- Take a walk across the mountains or valleys, or visit other neighbouring medieval villages and stop to enjoy the local cuisine
- Cycle on panoramic country roads, discovering the area and stop for a dip in a stream
- Spend an exciting day in Rome, visiting world famous monuments or shopping in the world-class shops
What the yoga holidays cover
The classes taught cover the physical teachings of Hatha yoga with emphasis on the spiritual and holistic aspects of the yoga tradition in general.
Your yoga class includes:
• Asanas (Physical Movements)
• Pranayama (Breathing practices)
• Meditation(Stilling and calming of the mind & inner self)
• Relaxation (Complete mind, body relaxation)
The yoga classes are suitable for beginners as well as more practiced yogis.
The practise is Friday through Tuesday each morning before breakfast, with some yoga classes throughout the week outdoors in spectacular surroundings when the weather is suitable.
The morning Hatha yoga classes each last 90 minutes. Yoga mats are provided.
Optional Extra Yoga Classes
For those who would like the opportunity to practice more yoga, extra classes of Hatha yoga or meditation are available throughout the week. The yoga classes on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday afternoons are of one hour and cost 10 EUR per person
We also offer a two-hour workshop on the last afternoon of each holiday week, in yoga, meditation and other related subjects. The Tuesday workshop costs €20 per person
Yoga mats are provided.
Outdoor yoga classes take place on our platform which is located in an oasis of green inside the village walls. It's a beautiful and serene environment, with dappled sunlight and the sound of birdsong all around.
The yoga studio
When we choose to practise yoga indoors, we use our own professionally designed and restored 40 square metre studio, which has a wooden floor, a fresh water spring and an ancient cave as a bathroom. It has full central heating for use in the cooler months.
We offer you the choice of three elegant Italian residences within the village of Casperia, a two minute walk from one another:
A. Village House: a traditionally furnished medieval guest house.
B. Casa Latini: a lovingly renovated 13th-century house furnished in a boutique Latin style.
Option 'A': Village House accommodation
Accommodation in characteristic a traditionally-furnished medieval village house used exclusively by Sunflower Retreats Holidays' guests. The houses have breathtaking panoramic views and are in supreme locations in the village of Casperia. Each house has a small terrace where you can have your meals, read or sunbathe. Kitchens are shared, with facilities that are characteristic of a traditional Italian village house. The village shops, which include an organic health food store, stock a large range of food and drinks if you would like to cook at home.
Bathrooms are normally shared, but we also have 2 village house rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Single travellers choosing this option will be accommodated in twin rooms with another guest of the same gender. They may also opt to pay a supplement to have a twin or double room to themselves.
- Option 'B': Casa Latini
Casa Latini is a lovingly renovated 13th century building for the exclusive use of Sunflower Retreats Holidays' guests and is elegantly furnished in boutique style with Latin and Eastern influence. One level boasts a thousand-year-old cave which we have converted into an unusual bathroom.
There are two private levels: each level has a twin-bedroom, private lounge and en-suite bathroom.
There is a small Single Loft Room en-suite with skylights and another small Twin Loft Room en-suite with skylights and panoramic views. Please note that the Twin Loft Room has limited headroom for tall people and can get hot in mid-summer.
A spiral staircase on each level leads to the terrace area, where you can enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the rolling valleys and mountains of Sabina, and experience the wonderful sunset each evening over Casperia. There is also a communal lounge and dining area with a kitchen for self-catering. The village shops include an organic health food store and stock a large range of food and drinks.
A buffet breakfast using local organic products and fresh fruit and vegetable juices from a juicing machine is served each morning in the stylish 'Dopolavoro' Lounge-Café which is run by people from the village. Our staff will be there each morning to help you plan your day and book activities.
Guests usually prepare their own meals at home, or can take lunch in one of Casperia's restaurants. Each of our accommodation options has a terrace or balcony, so you can enjoy a delicious lunch of Italian food in the sunshine and fresh air.
- Evening meals
Full meals, snacks and pizza are available in local cafés, bars and restaurants. The village shops have a range of local food and drinks for guests who wish to prepare meals at home.
We also organise transport to authentic local Italian restaurants and folklore festivals in neighbouring hill-top villages or the countryside, where delicious traditional specialities of vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes can be enjoyed. A small fee is charged for transport to and from these venues and remember, all our accommodations have fully equipped kitchens for those who want to sample some home cooking at any time.
Holistic treatments are a major feature and complement the yoga. A brochure describing these relaxing, healing and rejuvenating therapies, which are given by our own onsite practitioner and other qualified practitioners, will be given to you when you arrive and treatments can be booked each day at breakfast time.
Thermal baths and wild hot springs
Each week we organise a visit to the open-air pool at Viterbo and the nearby wild springs, where you can bathe in sulphur-rich mud.
- The Terme dei Papi centre
Viterbo's hot sulphurous spring water has been used since Roman times to draw impurities out of the skin, to stimulate skin cells to secrete natural oils and to reduce blood pressure and rheumatism.
The huge pool has sun-loungers, palm trees and a bar and the water has different depths and temperature zones.
- The wild springs
We also visit the local wild hot springs, situated in their natural environment in open fields. Here you can bathe in the sulphur-rich organic mud used in rehabilitative treatments, beauty masks and wraps.
Both the thermal baths and the hot springs are quiet, perfect places to relax, unwind and feel the tension, toxins, aches and pains being released from your body.
The all-day excursion to the thermal baths and wild hot sulphur springs costs from 40 EUR per person (minimum 3 people) including the entrance fee to spa, visit to the springs, and transport.
Please remember to pack flip-flops and a towel, or towelling dressing gown, for this excursion.
Other activities and excursions
Make your yoga holiday into an activity holiday by enjoying one or more of the many activity options available e.g. horse riding, swimming, trekking, cycling, climbing, salsa, skiing, Italian classes, olive picking, excursions. On your arrival a full weekly program is given with a list of optional activities available.
The ethical business eco-tourism philosophy
The retreat supports the rural community of the Sabina Hills economically by bringing groups to Italy who, by living and spending in the community, benefit the local businesses, from craft shops to farmers. They renovate and use village houses for the accommodation, create local employment and work with the community in order to enhance the village's economy and integrate the concept of eco-tourism into the culture of Sabina. They also contribute part of the profits to support local festivals and functions each year.
They aim to continue to promote eco-tourism and protection of nature by keeping the groups small and focusing on relaxation and eco-tourism. To promote ethical tourism and traditional organic methods of farming, they work with environmental organisations protecting the fauna and flora of the Sabina mountains, Italy and the world.
In the Sabina area, there is a variety of good restaurants offering delicious Italian atmosphere, good food and good wines.