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‘Divino Amore’ Yoga and Culture Retreat, Sicily

July 22 - July 29

€630 – €850
'Divino Amore' Yoga and Culture Retreat, Sicily. 2023

Want to experience the vibrant and colourful island of Sicily in this European summer?

Ready for a dose of ‘divino amore’?

Join me this July for a deep dive into yoga, meditation and music (mantras), in the exquisitely beautiful ancient city of Siracusa, which is actually on a small island. This island of Ortigia is about just a few kilometres squared, but this small space is one of the most vibrant cultural and archeological meccas in Sicily. Each morning we will practice yoga outdoors in front of the sea, and the rest of the day will be devoted to exploring the nooks and crannies of this stunning and fascinating town.
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FYI: This is the first time I am running this event, that’s why I don’t have any pics with groups! It’s not that I want to post only me, but if you join this inaugural retreat, I’ll be able to put your smiling face in here (with your permission of course!) for the next event!

Ortigia, Siracusa
The ‘Diana’ Fountain Sculpture in the Piazza Archimede, Ortigia, by Giulio Moschetti

History, Culture, Art, Sea, Yoga!

Ortigia, being a small island – is surrounded by sea! There is a lovely small beach at one end of the island, and a ‘piattaforma’ swimming platform just nearby. Both are great for wiling away a few hours in the afternoon, chatting to locals and tourists in between swims.
If you are feeling more active, each day there will be afternoon activities including guided tours of the city, of the market, as well as a Sicilian cooking class! Siracusa and particularly Ortigia has a fascinating history, starting out as one of the most important cities of the Ancient Greek civilisation.
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The Temple of Apollo right next to the market in Ortigia – just over the bridge on entering the town, dates back to the the 6th century BC. The Temple of Athena – which is now the Cathedral of Saint Lucia in the centre of the island, dates back to the 5th century BC. Under the city is a network of catacombs that criss crosses the whole island, and connects with the lower levels of the church of Saint Fillipo the Apostle, home to a Jewish ritual bath (dating from when this was a synagogue), which is found 3 levels below street level, down a series of stone staircases. On one level above the Jewish baths are the catacombs (caves / tunnels) where there are drawings made by Italian soldiers hiding there during bombing raids in the second world war. The Romans built these tunnels as a defence structure for the island when under attack. And a whole other level under the church of Saint Filippo are the fascinating Jewish ritual baths. 

Castello Maniace, Ortigia, Siracusa, Sicily
Michelle at a special art exhibition at Castello Maniace, Ortigia, Sicily. 2022

Afternoon City Tours/Activities*

*optional and not included in the retreat cost

Each afternoon there will be a suggested tour itinerary to explore the island. This is optional and you are also free of course to just relax with the locals on either the Cala Rossa beach or the popular piattaforma (swimming platform).

These tours will help you discover a deeper layer of the fascinating history of this island city.

Most of these tours will be less that 20 euros and some are free or by donation, with either Michelle (no extra fee) or local tour operators.

  • The Castello Maniace (Fortress at the far point of the island built in the 13th Century) (Entry price 15 euros)
  • The Temple of Apollo (free)
  • The Temple of Athena / Cathedral of Santa Lucia (donation)
  • The Jewish Ritual Baths under the Church of St Filippo the Apostle (donation)
  • A circumnavigation of the Island on the Love Boat (about 25 euros)
  • The Fountain of Aretusa (either free or with a guided tour)
  • The ancient Greek Amphitheatre (just 5 kms outside of Siracusa town)
  • A Sicilian Cooking Class with a local chef
Evening excursions will include the annual Ortigia documentary film festival, an outdoor festival in a beautiful small piazza in the Giudecca (Jewish quarter) of the city.

Street at night. Ortigia, Sicily
Street at night. Ortigia, Sicily

Sample Daily Program

Morning
7am: Wake up.
7:30am – 9am: Meditation and Yoga outdoors in front of the sea
9:15 am: Delicious breakfast of fresh fruits, muesli, yogurt and a selection of delicious Italian pastries!
10am – 12pm: Workshop (Self-Love / Pranayama Breathing Practices / Mantra Chanting)
1pm: Lunch
Afternoon
3pm – 5pm: Optional city tour for the afternoon + 1 x Sicilian Cooking Class on one afternoon
Or, you may like to relax and swim at the swimming platform or the Cala Rossa beach
Dinner: You are free to go for dinner to any of the nearby amazing restaurants on offer (that cater to a wide range of budgets!) except the last night where we will go to dinner together!
Evening Activities will include
  • Ortigia Film Festival – a fantastic documentary film festival offered every summer in a few different piazzas in Ortigia. Films are free and are shown every night in 3 different outdoor venues in the city.
  • Watching concerts / street performers in the Piazza Del Duomo
  • Mantra Singing / Drumming Workshop (Last night of our retreat)
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La Cucina! Il Cibo ~ Our Food

Images of the Daily Market in Ortigia, Sicily, sourced from The Guardian and ILoveItaly.com
Breakfast and Lunch will be lacto vegetarian (also with vegan options) provided by a local Sicilian chef, using the incredible range of fruit and veggies, olives (and yes, some Italian Formaggios for those who like cheeses) available fresh each day, (almost all of them grown and sourced in Sicily) from the local market in Ortigia.

Investment

For Single Occupancy, investment is 850 Euros (Early bird rate: 780 paid in full before Feb 28th).

For Double Occupancy (shared with one other), investment is 700 Euros (Early bird rate: 630 paid in full by Feb 28th).

Price includes:

  • 3 Star Hotel Accomodation in Ortigia
  • Breakfast and Lunch x 6 days
  • All yoga and meditation classes
  • All morning workshops
  • Mantra Singing / Drumming Workshop on the last night of our retreat

Price doesn’t include:

  • Dinners
  • Afternoon Tours / Sicilian Cooking Class
  • Snacks etc. throughout the day
  • Any Evening events (not the last night’s Mantra / Drumming workshop)
  • Transportation to or from Catania airport (this can be arranged for an extra fee)

Getting There

Siracusa is easily accessible from Catania Airport. You can either take a bus to Siracusa direct from the airport, or you can get a bus to the train station, and get a train from Catania central to Siracusa. Price for a bus from the airport to Siracusa is about 15 euros.

Alternatively, we can easily arrange for a private taxi to pick you up (fee is 80 euros).


Accomodation

Our 3 star hotel is located in a beautiful 18th century Palazzo one street back from the sea on the sunrise side of the island on the street Via Veneto. Rooms have a double bed, and many of them also have a small kitchen with fridge included (for midnight snacks!). If you want to share a room with a friend, just let me know their name when you are booking.

Pics coming soon!


PLACES AVAILABLE: 10 / 12 people

So if you would like to join us, get in quick as places are offered on a first come, first served basis.


Entry to one of the homes in the Maestranza Street, Ortigia.

About your Host and Teacher

Michelle Taffe in Sicily, July 2022
Michelle ‘Akasha Love’ Taffe, in Ortigia, July 2022. Pic: Martin Krammer.

 

Michelle Taffe aka Akasha Love is a global yogi, healer, artist, musician and an experienced yoga and meditation teacher who’s been running her own retreats (and teaching at other people’s retreats) for five years now. She has a daily Ashtanga yoga practice, and is a dedicated and passionate yogi, very excited to share this practice that has transformed her life. She’s had a personal yoga and meditation practice since she took her first class with her teacher Rene while living in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 2005. In November 2018, after she’d already been teaching for some years, she completed her RTA 200 Hours Yoga Teaching Certification at Samma Karuna in Koh Phangan, Thailand. She’s also an experienced and qualified meditation and mindfulness teacher and has facilitated at many Vipassana retreats in Thailand.

A passionate traveller, who fell in love with the island of Ortigia on her first visit to Siracusa, Sicily, in 2014, she’s been returning to the island, and particularly to Ortigia, ever since. She speaks basic conversational Italian, and knows many of the interesting personalities on the island, as well as the iconic and the less well known sites of cultural and historical significance on the island, and will be delighted to introduce them to you (the historic sites, and the personalities, should we bump into them in our afternoon walks around the island).

She also loves talking about herself in third person (not!). Find out more about her here.


Book Now

Terms and Conditions: Refunds are available with an administration fee of 100 euros, up until June 22nd. The fee will be waived if you find someone to fill your spot on the retreat. After June 22nd (a month prior to the event), no refund will be made.

Details

Start:
July 22
End:
July 29
Cost:
€630 – €850
Event Category:
Event Tags:
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Venue

Ortigia
Ortigia, Siracusa Italy + Google Map