Why Return to Italy?

ITALY
I return to Italy year after year to:
1. Reconnect to simplicity. Eating simple meals, & for entertainment watching the sunset & moon rise.
2. Remind myself of what’s important.
3. Relearn my priorities.  
4. Release to the earth my fear and worries.
5. Replenish my spirit by washing away any hurts that have hung on.
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Join me:
June 10-17, 2017 Heart & Soul #Amalfi yoga retreat
June 25-July 2, 2017 #Tuscany #yogaretreat
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*$300 OFF Double or $350 OFF Single with deposit by MAY 30*
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https://alchemytours.com/amalfi-yoga-retreat/
OR
https://alchemytours.com/tuscany-vino-and-vinyasa-yoga-ret…/
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#travel #adventure #lovetravel #italy #italia #wanderlust #italian_trips #passionpassport

Are You Dreaming of Italy?

A truth of the heart: The transformation that happens on a #yogaretreat is a quantum leap. It is not fully describable with words. But if your heart feels the call, and #Italy keeps popping up in your dreams then come with us!
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June 25-July 1, 2017 #Tuscany #YogaRetreat
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Looking for a female roommate to complete a double $250 OFF to make it easy for you 
Retreat size limited to 14 guests. Last 2 spots!
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https://alchemytours.com/tuscany-itinerary/
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Let’s talk about making your dreams come true 1-206-886-5743

ITINERARY 2017

Day 1

Morning:
10:30am Meet in the lobby of the Hotel Palazzo Vecchio (via Cennini 4, 50123, Florence, Italy)
Walking tour of Historic Center of Florence

Afternoon:
1:30pm Lunch in Santo Spirito Plaza, Welcome!
2:45pm Visit Piazzale Michelangelo and Giardino delle Rose
Tour Basilica San Miniato del Monte
5:00pm Pool time

Evening:
6:00pm Welcome Yoga Practice
7:30pm Sunset Aperitivo
8:00pm Dinner and Brief Logistics Talk

Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden) houses a collection of roses, lemons, and other plants, as well as a Japanese garden. It contains about 400 varieties of roses for a total of about 1,200 plants.The garden was created in 1865 by Giuseppe Poggi, who also designed the piazzale, on behalf of the City of Florence in anticipation of moving the capital of Italy from Turin. It covers about one hectare of land which offers a panoramic view of the city, sandwiched between viale Poggi, via di San Salvatore and via dei Bastioni.

Piazzale Michelangelo offers panoramic views of Florence and the Arno valley.The Piazzale Michelangelo is dedicated to the city’s most famous Renaissance artist Michelangelo Buonarroti. At the center of the square stands a replica of his most famous statue, the David. The bronze statue is set on a large pedestal, decorated with replicas of allegorical statues depicting day, night, dusk and dawn.

San Miniato standing atop one of the highest points in the city of Florence is one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany and one of the most scenic churches in Italy. There is an adjoining Olivetti monastery to the basilica where the monks sell herbal teas and special honey elixirs. The mosaics and frescoes inside the church are incredible.

Church complex

 The Cemetery from the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte by Hans von Bartels. Adjacent to the church is the cloister, planned as early as 1426 and built from 1443 to mid-1450s. It was designed by Bernardo and Antonio Rosselino. The whole complex is surrounded by defensive walls, originally built hastily by Michelangelo during the siege and in 1553 expanded into a true fortress (fortezza) by Cosimo I de’ Medici. The walls now enclose a beautiful large cemetery, the Porte Sante, laid out in 1854.

Day 2

Morning:
8:00am Yoga Practice
9:30am Breakfast
10:30am Depart for Monteriggioni
11:30am Castle Tour & Shopping
1:00pm Picnic Lunch in Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni is, without doubt, one of the most classical and best known Italian walled town. Since the Middle Age its fame was so big that also the great poet Dante Alighieri makes sign to his ’round enclosure’ in the Divine Comedy (Hell, chant XXXI vv. 40-41). Recently a part of the wall walk of the town walls has been restored and made accessible. From the top of the walled circuit, it is possible to admire the surrounding countryside towards Chianti and the Valdelsa and to enjoy a unique view of the town and its fortifications.

Afternoon:
2:30pm Siena
6:00pm Aperitivo on Il Campo (At Bar Il Palio), Siena

Siena preserves its medieval character to a remarkable degree, and has been largely unspoilt by new buildings. In fact Siena retains a ward-centric culture from medieval times. Each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal or mascot, and has its own boundary and distinct identity. Ward rivalries are most rampant during the annual horse race (Palio) in the Piazza del Campo.

Evening:
8:00pm Dinner
9:00pm Restorative Yoga Practice

Day 3 

Morning:
8:00am Yoga Practice
9:00am Breakfast

Afternoon:
12:30pm Lunch at the Borgo
1:30pm Depart for Radda in Chianti
2:30pm Radda in Chianti walking tour and wine tasting

Radda in Chianti is situated on a hill covered with woods and extensive vineyards forming the watershed between the Pesa and Arbia valleys. The structure of the medieval village is still intact; it grew up elliptically around the church of San Nicolò, of 14th century origin and the Palazzo Pretorio. Built about 1415, its facade is adorned with the coats of arms of the podestà (chief magistrates), the latter is now the seat of the municipality.

Just outside the village, in the Vignale farm, are the headquarters of the Chianti Classico consortium (its symbol is the black-cockerel, the former emblem of the League of Chianti), and the Centro di Studi Chiantigiani (Centre for Chianti Studies), founded in 1984, with a small library and an archive devoted to the history of Chianti and its agriculture. The Montevertine farm, near the village, houses the small Museo del Chianti, with displays relating to the farming community.

Evening:
6:30pm Yoga Practice
8:00pm Dinner at the Borgo

Day 4 

Morning:
8:00am Breakfast
9:30am Yoga Practice

Afternoon:
12pm Lunch at the Borgo
1:00pm Depart for Volterra
1:30pm Walking Tour of Volterra
2:30pm Free Time & Shopping in Volterra

Volterra “is situated in the middle of the triangle formed by the cities of Pisa, Siena and Florence. On clear days you can easily see the sea, with the islands of Capraia and Corsica on the horizon. Far from heavily-trafficked roads and industrial areas, Volterra is surrounded by rolling patchwork hills with fields of grain and woodlands. In Summer, as the spring rains slow their trickle, the green fields turn to gold as wheat is harvested and sunflowers raise, and then bow, their proud heads. Volterra is one of the most important towns in Tuscany: its unique position and its ancient history leaves everyone enchanted.” From our friends at Tuscan Tour.

Evening
4:30pm Depart for the Borgo
5:30pm Yoga Practice
6:30pm Dinner at Borgo
7:30pm Explore Casole D’Elsa after dinner

Casole d’Elsa is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 50 km southwest of Florence and about 25 km west of Siena. It is a charming medieval hilltop town situated in wonderful countryside around Siena. It is situated 70km from Florence and 35km from the town of Siena.

Originally it was a domain of the Bishop of Volterra but in the middle of the 13th century it passed under the control of Siena. The Sienese strengthened the fortifications because of its strategical position. In 1554 Casole surrended, after strenuous resistance, to the imperial and Florentine armies during the war against Siena. The dualism between Siena and Volterra still survives in the daily life of Casole for political purposes it is in the Province of Siena, whereas it falls under the Diocese of Volterra for religious matters. Verrocchio Art School Tuscany Italy.

Day 5

Morning:
7:00am Breakfast
7:30am Depart for Beach Day on the Mediterranean!

Afternoon:
11:00am Arrive Fonteblanda
12:00pm Catered lunch at Beach Club
1:30pm Depart for Petriolo Natural Hot Springs & Spa

At the Petriolo, you can indulge at the brand new spa center by the natural hot pools, which offers massage, beauty and health treatments, or you can enjoy the hot springs (43°C), open to the public free of charge, where you can relax in the pools along the banks of the river Farma.

The spas at the Petriolo are open from May to October. The Petriolo’s thermal baths are very ancient. The Romans knew and appreciated them. It is very likely that these are the baths mentioned by the orator Marco Tullio Cicero in his pro Marco Caelio.

Of the original baths, composed by four groined vaulted rooms, only one room still exists. It opens onto the river Farma with arches built on octagonal pillars.

Evening:
7:00pm Restorative Yoga Practice
8:30pm Dinner

Day 6

Morning:
8:00am Yoga Practice
9:30am Breakfast
10:30am Depart for Wine Tasting Tour and Explore San Gimignano

‘San Gimignano delle belle Torri’ served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.

The People’s Palace is one of the most important monuments of San Gimignano, being both the home of the Civic Museum and rich in paintings by the Florentine and Sienese schools (dating from the 13th century) such as the “Crucifix”, painted by Coppo di Marcovaldo, the triptyches by Niccolò Tegliacci and Taddeo di Bartolo dating from the 14th century, and other important works of art dating from the 15th century painted by Domenico Michelino, Pinturicchio and Filippino Lippi.

Afternoon:
2:00pm Lunch at Borgo (Post lunch: Optional Massages)
2:30pm Pool time, R&R, Nap

Evening:
6:30pm Yoga Practice
8:00pm Bruschetta making class & Closing Dinner at Borgo

Day 7 

Morning:
8:00am Closing Yoga Practice
10:00am Brunch
12:00am Departures – Ciao for now!
1:00pm Arrive Florence

Time is Elastic Every Day is New By Jim Beckwith

My mind stops me from doing a lot of things that might be worth doing.

How many times have you been pulled out of your tendency to stay, to not move to not go out into the world to experience something new. Every day is new. Every time you take that body out for a spin is a new experience. I once had a friend who’s motto was “good things happen when you leave the house”. You have to step out of your comfort zone a bit to experience life.

There is always some part of me that dreads getting on a plane to go somewhere. Dealing with everything that goes along with getting to and from and through the airport just to get to the point of getting on that plane.

Invariably, though, I’m glad I did. 

I worry about time. I worry about energy. But in my human experience, I don’t really feel like I’m living unless I’m doing something, and doing something different in some way.

I resist. Then sometimes it’s my most favorite thing ever! Like the flight to Bali. I was just there recently for the first time ever. Did I have resistance to the travel part? Yes. Who wants to think about 24 hours of travel? Don’t think about it. Because every moment is another moment of breath and consciousness. You can choose how you use it. And honestly, the Trans-ocean flight experience is so comfortable these days, much better than domestic flights. You can sleep a bunch, eat a bunch and watch movies! Sounds like a rain day at home on a day off. Who doesn’t want that?

P1080463In the end it was really easy. And if you have a layover you get to see some of the nicest airports in the world that don’t seem so much like airports. They are more like nice mall, and I don’t like malls either, but they usually offer some way to get away to a quiet space also. I’ve heard the one in Singapore actually has a pool!

Then you get to your destination and life is new again. In a different place and culture we must experience every moment more fully because everything is new, unexpected. We can’t take what we are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting for granted. Time is elastic. One week can seem more like a month.

You want to experience life as a child again?

Travel.

 

Jim sipping coconutBy Jim Beckwith

Find him at http://www.jimbeckwith.com

Travel with him to Bali March 27 – April 3, 2016

 

Travel Destinations that Teach!

 

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We are learning all the time. Whether it’s behaviors, activities, or yoga poses, we subconsciously absorb information from the world around us. When we travel, we expand our world view and gain new knowledge, make new friends, and broaden our perspective on life.

Please enjoy our brief list of destinations that will give you the education of your life!

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Bali. Learn about a new culture. 95% of the population of Bali practices Hinduism and there are over 20,000 intricately designed temples that require traditional dress. As in many ancient religions, Hindu and Balinese holidays are based on the cycle of nature. They mark the change of seasons and celebrate the birth and death of all things.

IMG_1322 Italy. Learn about history. We are lucky to have places so well preserved that give us insights into our past. The Aragonese Castle in Ischia, for example, was built around 474 BC and still stands today after pirate raids and countless wreckages and rebuilds.

 

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Iceland. Learn about the value of silence. Iceland clocks in at just over three hundred and twenty thousand people (for scale- the state of new york has 8.3 million). It has just one city considered a ‘major city,’ where about a third of the population lives. This means the rest of the country is lava fields and stretches of green grass, punctuated by horse and sheep farms. This lets you experience the complete, eerie silence, literally being miles from another human.

 

Tenorio Waterfall, Costa Rica

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Costa Rica. Learn about happiness. U.K.-based New Economics Foundation’s new “Happy Planet Index” rated 151 nations by measuring ecological sustainability against well-being and life expectancy. Costa Rica topped the list as the worlds happiest country. Not, evidently, because they are the wealthiest or most advanced country, but because of the loving nature of the people towards others and their home.

 Join us on retreat for your own personal growth and education!

Prana Del Mar (Baja, Mexico) November 29-December 6
Bali October 3-10 2015
Thailand October 11-18 2015
Costa Rica Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training August 1-22 2015
Lumeria Maui February 14-19 2015
Tuscany June 21-28 2015
…and MORE!

3 Reasons to Go On a Yoga Retreat

If you’re looking for a fulfilling, fun, healthful, nurturing way to spend a week of your precious vacation time, you’re in the right place. We specialize in relaxing, adventurous and purposeful yoga retreats.

Over the last 5 years yoga retreats have ballooned! And with more retreats, comes increased confusion for all of us looking to book a retreat, me included.

Truth be told, I try to attend a retreat as a client every year! It is my dharma and what I commit myself to full-time. My intention is to serve you through transformational travel and spiritual adventure. Are you are wondering what makes my Alchemy Tours Retreats unique?

Here are 3 Reasons to Go On A #YogaRetreat with Alchemy Tours.

1. Yoga & Relaxation = grounding / pampering / rejuvenation / stress-relief
2. Yoga & Adventure = fun / exploration / culture / play / art
3. Yoga & Purpose = clarity / inspiration / manifestation / transformation / vitality

All of our trips are based in one of three offerings: Relaxation, Adventure, Purpose.

If you are looking for Adventure then choose from:
Tuscany June 21-28, 2014 Art of Adventure: La Dolce Vita
Ischia Amalfi June 29-July 6, 2014 Art of Adventure: Soulful Exploration
Thailand Sept 2014 Art of Adventure: Cultural Exploration

If you are looking for Relaxation then choose from:
Bali Sept 13-20, 2014 Art of Relaxation: Cultural Bliss
Maui Oct 11-16, 2014 Art of Relaxation: Luxury Bliss
Greece 2015 Art of Relaxation: Creating Positive Change

If you are looking for Purpose then choose from:
Xinalani Mexico Mar 29-Apr 5, 2014 Embrace Your Purpose: Transform Your Life
Haramara Mexico July 12-19, 2014 Embrace Your Purpose: Live Your Bliss
Costa Rica RYT200 Teacher Training Aug 9-30 Embrace Your Purpose: Live Your Happiness
Prana del Mar Mexico Nov 29-Dec 6, 2014 Embrace Your Purpose: Manifestation Yoga Retreat

Take a look at http://www.alchemytours.com and pick exactly what you need. Your vacation time is valuable and it’s important that you choose a retreat that meets your expectations. Don’t leave it to chance. Choose wisely.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life!

Silvia Mordini & Jacob Young, Co-Founders Alchemy Tours

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Traveling Teaches Surrender

Every time I go on vacation I begin meditating a lot about surrender. Traveling is more graceful when we practice letting go, Ishvara Pranidhana. We cannot control the timings of our arrivals or departures, traffic, when we get served a meal or receive water, or keepcalmtraveloneven the seats we are assigned.

We want it to go perfectly yet it really can only be what it will be and nothing more. Therefore my travel mantra is “I feel my heart opening as the weight of my life lifts off my shoulders.”

On the yoga mat we can treat challenging yoga poses as microcosms of life’s difficulties, and therefore great opportunities to practice the art of surrender. What’s brilliant is that the more we practice recognizing tension in a pose as an early warning sign, we can then offer our tension back to the Source, emptying and surrendering again. Realizing we don’t have to do this by ourselves and that there is an energy bigger than us that knows what’s it’s doing.

As a result, we experience a shift: A deepening of our breath and expansion of our inner strength in even the most difficult of situations. As you prepare for your next holiday, may you open your heart to surrender to the moment and be present for all the lessons that travel offers you.

When you surrender to what is
and so become fully present,
the past ceases to have any power.
The realm of being, which had been obscured
by the mind, then opens up.
Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you,
An unfathomable sense of peace.
And within that peace, there is great joy.
And within that joy, there is love.
And at the innermost core, there is the sacred,
The immeasurable. That which cannot be named.

–Eckhart Tolle, Practicing the Power of Now

Why Travel is Like Yoga

Remember when you first started yoga? How all the poses seemed so separate from one another? Then at some point, the transformation happened and you started to feel the poses in relationship to each other. This feeling of union within yourself eventually grows to include everyone in the room. “Yoga exists in the world because everything is linked,” Desikachar writes. In that moment of self-acceptance, the diversity of shapes, bodies, breath, and histories all link together as one.

Yoga embraces diversity just like travel does. And in the words of Mark Twain travel (like yoga) “is the enemy of prejudice.”

When you change the ecology of your mind by visiting other places you realize how much we all have in common. At the same time you learn to appreciate those ways we might be unique – food, wine, spices, dress. You come to see strength in this union of relationship between our commonalities and differences. As a result, you are forever changed. Your ability to accept others like you do yourself changes everything. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
lovetravelhearts