Here are some of the excursions on offer while you are in Villa Collecimino:
1. Full day in the Appenine mountains - starting at 8am we will drive up to Campo Imperatore - the Tibet of Italy - a large plateau high up in the mountains, enjoying the scenery on the way. We will have a short walk along a high ridge followed by a group meditation. Then we will make our way to Santo Stefano - a restored hilltop medieval town where we will have a bite of lunch. Then onto Rocca Calascio - a medieval hilltop town with a castle that has dramatic and panoramic views before making our way back to San Giorgio. (This trip is included in the Retreat package).
2. A half day afternoon trip to the sandy beaches of the Adriatic - in particular Pineto where the beach is fringed with pine trees. The beaches are sandy, clean and the water is warm and shallow and very safe for bathing. Later we will drive back via the medieval hilltop town of Atri famed for its 'Duomo' and its 13th century frescoes where there will be time to enjoy a cappucino or a gelato. (This trip is included in the Retreat package).
Optional excursions (at extra charge)
3. A half day afternoon trip to the gorgeous medieval hilltop town of Castelli, in a stunning location high up in the mountains. Castelli is famed across Italy for its beautiful ceramic artisan pottery. You will be able to see the artists at work and buy some ceramic pottery to take home with you if you wish. Or just enjoy walking around the village enjoying the views.
4. A half day afternoon 'pilgrimage' to our local town - Castiglione Messer Raimondo. Every year on the 7th of August - the feast day of San Donato - the locals of our village, San Giorgio, set off at 6am to walk to the church at Castiglione Messer Raimondo (CMR). We joined them this year - it's a good walk! They follow a well worn path stopping for a quick espresso at the local bar - before reaching the church at CMR 2 hours later. Traditionally they all attend mass at the church but we will head off to La Lanterna - the local bar/cafe and have coffee and pastries and sit outside on their terrace enjoying the wonderful views of the mountains before either walking back or coming back by bus.
5. Fancy a spot of shopping in an Italian shopping mall? A half day trip to Centro Commerciale at Pescara Nord - our nearest shopping mall might be just up your street. There you will find an enormous hyper-market selling just about everything, as well as shops selling the latest fashions, shoes, jewellery, handbags, sportswear etc. Or if you prefer you can just chill out and sit in one of the numerous bars and cafes and enjoy a cappucino, a gelato or perhaps a slice of pizza and do some people watching?
6. Another one for the walkers amongst you - we have several beautiful circular walks near the villa. One of our favourites is the Bozzano circular walk. It takes 2 hours (at a steady pace) and is fairly hilly - some ups and some downs - but you don't need to be especially fit to do this walk and the walk is all on an easy surface. The views are spectacular!!
7. A half-day afternoon trip to the 'Lourdes of Abruzzo' - the Sanctuary of San Gabriele at Isola del Gran Sasso. The Shrine of St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows receives on average 2 million visitors per year and is one of the 15 most visited sanctuaries in the world. Around 1215, St. Francis of Assisi founded a convent for his Franciscan order in the municipality of Isola del Gran Sasso, which remained there until the time of the Napoleonic suppressions. This monastery is the present Sanctuary of St. Gabriele.
8. Lunch at an 'agriturismo'. Agriturismos are very popular in Italy and nowhere more so than in Abruzzo. They are restaurants where much of the food served has been produced - usually organically - on the owner's land and cooked by the owner and their family. We are lucky enough to have an agriturismo in San Giorgio run by Franca. There is no menu - you are served whatever the 'day's special' is and you usually have 3 courses with wine included. (Vegan, gluten and dairy free can be catered for). Cost 25 euros per person.
9. Dinner at Greenland Pizzeria in Castilenti. This is our excellent local pizzeria/restaurant. There are two evenings when we will not be catering for Retreat participants so we will be eating here on one night during the Retreat (not included in the price of the Retreat).
(Vegan, gluten and dairy free can be catered for).
10. Dinner at Luna Nel Pozzo - another excellent local restaurant in Madonna degli Angeli.
There are two evenings when we will not be catering for Retreat participants so we will be eating here on one night during the Retreat (not included in the price of the Retreat).
(Vegan, gluten and dairy free can be catered for). If you like ice-cream, there is a great gelateria opposite for the dessert!
11. Full day excursion to the Frasassi Caves - the most beautiful caves in the world! This is what a friend of ours, a keen cave explorer, told us, and he was right.