When you make the choice to join Sadie’s yoga retreat in Tuscany this year, you will not just be signing up for a week of focused practice with one of the world’s most sought after instructors: you are also choosing to spend a week in a thriving medieval village and wine growing community that has beguiled foreigners and Italians alike for many centuries.
Surrounded by breathtaking vistas which have been the backdrop to many films and countless true tales of bravery and romance, there is no better way to experience the idyllic images that the mere mention of Tuscany brings to mind. Not just a week in the heart of this enchanted land, but a week of experiences crafted to give you a unique insight into the history and culture of a proud and durable people who have until recent times had very little exposure to the outside world. Times are changing and modern conveniences may abound, but the mindset and devotion to tradition remains much as it was 500 years ago. From the Palio horse race in Siena’s Piazza del Campo to the competition to find the best among the expert archers of Montalcino, history lives through the continued recounting of events in ‘festas’ throughout the year. These traditions are as strong as they were in the days of Lorenzo di Medici, and even the resentments created during the sieges of the 16th century linger to this day between the different provinces united under the banner of the rich and powerful Florentines.
History also expresses itself in the kitchen and the wine cellar, with recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation with ingredients that peasants have managed to grow in the soil or gather from the woods, hunting small game and wild boar, and reflect a tradition of cooking that informs not only the Italian table, but inspired the haute cuisine of France. Montalcino’s wines are considered among the finest available anywhere in the world and no wine lover misses the chance to visit the home of the “Brunello” wines which are more like a love potion than mere wine.
After your yoga class, choose to visit the local medieval museum, visit nearby thermal baths once enjoyed by Roman patricians on their way to the northern provinces, hike the perimeter of the ancient defensive walls, rent a mountain bike for a back road adventure through vineyards, spend an afternoon at a wine tasting or sampling local specialties in the bakery and artisanal groceries. The local pottery and crafts are unique not only to the province but often to the town, including the handmade local pasta – pinci – and locally made pecorino cheeses from nearby Pienza
After six days in Montalcino you will feel like you truly know the place and the surrounding areas, and come home with the sense of having almost become ‘a local’ through the doors that we can open for you. All you have to do is step through.