Grounding Retreat at Sicilian Historical Manor Farm

Commenda di San Calogero, Sicily, Italy

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from £1218pp
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We love it for

Salt-water swimming pool, beekeeping farm, Sicilian sunshine

Overview

In a nod to the serene surfaces overlooking 110 acres of lush green fields, this spring join Balance Holidays on a specially curated retreat to energise, ground and heal the body, mind and soul at the country home of Commenda di San Calogero. Dating back to the 17th century, sitting humbly beside the San Calogero River on the outskirts of the Iblean plateau, the inescapable first impression of this Sicilian country home is lost to the captivating floral garden landscapes, serving as the backdrop for daily outdoor activities beginning with morning yoga to evening sessions of restorative Jiriki.

Greet the rising Sicilian sun as you kick-start each day outside with guided meditation and energising yoga practice with Vittoria, mixing both dynamic and slow-flow Vinyasa, elements of functional movement and conditional exercises to improve body strength all the while challenging the mind. Vittoria’s classes are centred on the relationship between feeling, support and trust, encouraging students to learn and understand that only when we truly and fully support our body will we be able to let go and relax.

Activities to further explore the soul of this region of Italy is included as part of this exclusive programme. From historical-archaeological treasure hike, the visit of Syracuse and the island of Ortigia to ending with a guided tour of the San Calegero garden, tasting homegrown produce such as vegetable marmalade, honey and extra virgin olive oil. This programme also includes a cooking workshop of traditional plant-based Sicilian recipes as well as a workshop on Yoga Philosophy.

Each day will end with a session of Jiriki by the luminous setting sun led by Marie, daughter of the founder of the practice, Yu Yagami. Jiriki, the Japanese Buddhist term for self-power, is movement therapy aimed at preventing and curing chronic disorder and pain. The practice of jiriki reinstates the free-flowing of Chi through the body and learning to listen to the body to find pains, imbalance, misalignments and tension, to improve the body’s natural power of healing. Relax the mind and help the body heal in each Jiriki class before retreating to a luxurious suite for a replenishing sound night’s sleep.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are inclusive and will be prepared daily using organic ingredients grown in the estate’s gardens, meticulously prepared by resident chefs implementing traditional Sicilian culinary concepts to offer a plate of pure delight.

Enjoy me-time, where the only distraction during the course of the stay will be the alluring of this ancient Sicilian white-limestone property and its cultural landscapes overlooking valleys and mountains. With plenty of opportunities to indulge in relaxation, deepen your practise and stick your feet in the air, this retreat with Commenda di San Calogero will be a truly unforgettable trip, surpassing all expectations.

What's included

  • all meals
  • accommodation
  • pool access
  • archaeological excursion
  • yoga/ meditation
  • cooking lesson
  • workshops
  • trekking
  • yoga mats

The Experts

Vittoria Recchi

With a playful character and relaxed demeanour, Vittoria is a professional and passionate yoga teacher specialising in Vinyasa Flow. Her classes are focused on showing students how to enjoy yoga all the while learning to test their limits on the mat without the need of being too serious or too formal. Having experienced first-hand the fast-paced autonomy of city-life in London, Vittoria discovered yoga in her early 20s as an avenue to channel spiritual and mental release as well as a form of discipline to strengthen her physical body. Following the aftermaths of a serious surgery in her early teenage years, Vittoria was able to strike the perfect combination between dynamic and challenging, mindful and controlled movement which she was unable to find in other sports. Over the years, Vittoria has accumulated a broad knowledge of different practices and styles of yoga including Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and Yin, during her travels across cities and continents in the likes of London, New York, Bali and Italy. In 2017, Vittoria decided to convert her passion of yoga into a form of contribution to share with others so she completed an RYS 250hr Vinyasa Flow YTT at Stretch London, which was led by two of her favourite and most inspirational teachers, Calli Popham and Carl Faure. Under their guidance, Vittoria deepened her knowledge on philosophy, anatomy, pranayama and meditation. Each of Vittoria’s classes is centralised on the relationship between feeling, support and trust. Her dynamic yet slow movements invite students to focus on the connection with the ground to understand the concept that only when we fully and truly support our body are we able to let go and relax. Students are constantly reminded to feel through poses, to explore and modify them better to suit their anatomical needs, to reconnect with their body with each fluid and spacious movement while learning to listen to its innate wisdom. At all times throughout each class, there is a strong emphasis placed on breath, a powerful connector between mind and body. An attentive, caring and encouraging teacher with a contagious passion for discipline, Vittoria makes students feel welcome, no matter the level of practice. Get ready to be challenged throughout her classes, always with a hint of playfulness during the exploration of personal limits and buckets of self-care opportunities.

Marie Yagami

Born to yoga teacher parents in a yoga Ashram in Japan, Marie Yagami is daughter to the creator of Jiriki Seitai, a self-healing body movement, which combines Yoga, Shiatsu Massage and Chiropractic treatment. Now as an accomplished Jiriki Seitai teacher, a Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher and a Performance designer, Marie’s Jiriki movement classes focuses on body and mind awareness, creativity, breathing and healing. Each class teaches and encourages students to be confident in confronting their innate ability in being able to heal our body, mind and soul independently. During her early 20s, Marie was constricted in the fast-tempo city life as a designer and director of Performing Arts in New York City and London. To cope, Marie discovered Yoga and Jiriki and after sharing this coping tool with colleagues, friends and other students in her class, she soon came to realise her mission in life was to share the method of Jiriki Seitai, developed and run by her family in Japan. Soon, she realised the importance of learning to listen to and understand our bodies with regards to physical and mental illnesses or simply staying healthy rather than depending on therapists, nutritionists and doctors. After completing an RYS 250-hour Vinyasa Flow YTT at Stretch London, Marie has deepened her knowledge on philosophy, anatomy, pranayama and meditation and has since applied the vital components into her Jiriki teaching. With renewed and humble ardour, Marie continues to learn different concepts and philosophies of body, mind, health and wellbeing through other yoga anatomy teachers, dance teachers and most importantly, from her father to combine with her Eastern and Western Medicine knowledge to share with her students and others who are seeking an antidote to modern life. The main objective of Marie’s Jiriki classes is to reconnect and heal our bodies by learning to listen to our bodies for chronical pains, imbalance, misalignments and tension. Through her detailed and attentive guidance, students will be able to find a personal relationship with their body and learn how to treat them unaided in the absence of a therapist or medical professional. In addition, learn to let go and relax the body to release tension from the joints and muscles, discover acupuncture points to massage on your own, realign spine using props, exercise inner and core muscle to heal the body thoroughly, inside and out. Be immersed in an eye-opening experience with Marie’s Jiriki Seitai practice, the first teacher to bring forward this body healing methodology to Europe straight from Japan.

Venue

Located in a beautiful region of Italy, admired by the community far and wide, come and explore a former feudal estate circled by lush greenery, blooming meadows in a spectrum of colours and peaceful lakes and rivers in Sicily at Commenda di San Calogero. To offer invaluable insight into its pastime, each room is furnished with precious antiques to portray unique character and rustic charm that has been preserved to provide a magical setting to relax and unwind. Luxury is only item on the agenda as each suite includes a private bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. Located on the outskirts of the Iblean plateau, north of Syracuse, Sicily looking out towards mount Etna, Commenda di San Calogero is the best-preserved traditional Sicilian country estate home with a history dating back to the 16th century.

Room Types

Guest Quarters

Furnished to reflect the historic pastime, guests will be staying in an intimate space at the Commenda di San Calogero. To display unique character, each room is in a distinctive colour, adorned with hand-selected vintage pieces of décor to complement as well as wide glass windows and glass panelled doors looking out towards freshly manicured lawns and a courtyard of fresh blooms. To offer a complete experience, each room carries valuable antiques to offer guests a truly authentic experience of an ancient Sicilian dwelling. Every room has a private bathroom with an elegant bathtub and shower, satellite television, mini fridge and a safe to secure all your personal belongings.

Shared spaces

Enjoy the company of others in a range of luxurious facilities open to guests during their stay with Commenda di San Calogero. After a day of exploring on a bike trail or an archaeological hike, relax and unwind in the saltwater swimming pool or at the Jacuzzi to let the stress bubble away. A spa and sauna room made from Istanbul marble is also available to guests to offer ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation in an oasis within an oasis. Massages are available upon request.

Food and cuisine

Get the full Sicilian experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as each meal is meticulously prepared daily using organic ingredients grown in the estate’s gardens. Implementing traditional Sicilian culinary concepts, each dish is a true taste of Sicily to help re-energise the body and to take away home to maintain a healthy and happy psychophysical balance.

The ambience

Tucked away in a cosy corner of Sicily, wake up gently in a luxurious and traditional countryside suite to the soothing whistles of the wind passing through the pristine gardens, awakening the fresh blooms and surrounding wildlife in their natural habitats. The ancient yet ample spaces are footsteps away from organic citrus groves and medicinal herb gardens, infused together into a unique and aromatic experience of ultimate wellbeing and relaxation.

Location

Situated in southern Italy, enjoy the warm Mediterranean Sea at your feet at Commenda di San Calogero this spring and soak up on Sicilian sunshine during your stay at the captivating country home grounds imbued in rustic beauty and charm. A short driving distance from Le Saie, an exquisite golf club and Siracusa for a tour of Port of Ortigia, Commenda di San Calogero is one of the oldest and renowned farms in Sicily, producing aromatic jams, honey and olive oils.

Practical Info

How to get there

Commenda di San Calogero is a short drive from Catania International Airport, Sicily, Italy. Book a taxi from the airport and quote the below address or driving directions and GPS indications to bring you straight to the farm estate. If local traffic conditions permit, the total journey time should last approximately 30 minutes.

Commenda di San Calogero
Contrada S. Calogero,
96011
Augusta
SR, Italy

Directions: From Catania airport, take the Catania-Siracusa highway, exit at Lentini/Carlentini and continue towards Ss.114; Ss.194 Catania/Siracusa to the right for Siracusa; drive 5km on the Ss.114; turn right at the Lentini/Carlentini/Brucoli fork; at the Stop sign toward Carlentini and after 50m to the right you will find signs leading you to the San Calogero Farm.

GPS Coordinates: 37.292927 – 15.112864

 

What to pack

For those wishing to access the swimming pool and Jacuzzi facilities, it would be advisable to bring a bathing suit as well as comfortable work-out clothes for yoga classes, hikes and treks.