‘Divino Amore’ Retreat, Sicily
July 22 - July 28€630 – €850
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, pranayama 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, and also a place with a strong healing energy. 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 enchanting
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!
Yoga Every Morning, in Front of the Sea
Every morning we will do our yoga, meditation and pranayama practice on the fort in front of the sea, next to the piattaforma. The sun heats up quickly in the morning so we will finish by about 9am.
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.
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 back to the 14th century.
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 (shown on left).
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
Sample Daily Program
7am: Wake up
7:30-9: Yoga and Meditation in front of the sea
9:15: Delicious breakfast of fresh fruits, muesli and Italian pastries
10-12pm: Self Love Workshop
3-5pm: Optional city tour / relax at the swimming piattaforma 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 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)
Monday 24th: 10am – 12pm | Channeling your Inner Goddess
n the ancient days of this city of Siracusa, before Italy existed, and before the Roman Empire, it was a Greek city state, settled by the Corinthians in 734BC.
In this workshop we will look at the purpose of Gods and Goddesses in ancient Greek culture, and how it can be helpful to us, as women, to work on embodying the qualities of Goddess like Athena.
Thursday 27th 10am – 12pm: Free Your Voice, Open Your Heart with Mantra Chanting
This will be a guided workshop in Mantra Singing // Kirtan.
There will be percussion instruments for you to play along with if you like and the words to all the songs will be provided.
Wednesday 26th 10am – 12pm: Pranayama Breathwork Meditation
How does the depth of our breathing impact our emotions and our emotional processing?
In this workshop we will look at – and practice a variety of different Pranayama (pranic breathing practices), before going on a guided breath journey (lying down) with music, for emotional release and healing.
La Cucina! Il Cibo ~ Our Food
Images by 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, tapanades (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.
Kind Words from Past Retreatants
Inner Freedom Meditation Retreat, Happy Buddha, NSW, Feb 2020
Answers to the Question: What did you enjoy most about the retreat?
“Everything! Nothing was less significant than the other part. Although it was exactly as Michelle described – good for mental development, so it was also challenging – very! Michelle is an amazing teacher, her sense of peace, strength and inner joy is all that I aspire to have.”
“Any of the guided meditations. I also really liked the meditation on self and non-self, something really interesting to think about, and allowed me to reflect more deeply.”
And from the Bali Radical Self Love Retreats
“The self love classes caused me to really dig deep and be honest with myself. It is time to accept who I am, flaws and all. Be proud of who I am and where I am at in my life. Hold my head up high and live life to the fullest. Create the life for myself that I deserve. Deal with that ‘negative voice’ in my head rationally and importantly, don’t take life too seriously; roll with the punches. Be present each day, stop planning for 2, 5, 15 years time. Enjoy each day, relax, take time to just be. Give myself permission to enjoy life and do the things that I love to do….
I came home very relaxed and determined to continue my new way of life. I can thoroughly recommend attending. I can’t wait for Michelle to schedule a retreat in India.”
Jenny, RSL, Bali, August 2019
Michelle is also a great yoga and meditation teacher; she is patient, communicates very well, and demonstrates yoga practice and meditation on both spiritual and physical platforms, in a connected, calming, supportive and inspiring way. I would really encourage individuals who wish to explore and develop self love, as well as to enhance their yoga and meditation techniques, to attend one of Michelle’s RSL retreats. Apart from the fact that she chooses great locations in which to open up an ambient space for RSL exploration!”
Kim, RSL, Bali, April 2019
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).
- 3 Star Hotel Accomodation in Ortigia
- Breakfast and Lunch x 6 days
- All yoga and meditation classes
- All morning workshops
- Mantra Singing / Drumming Event on the last night of our retreat
Price doesn’t include:
- Afternoon Tours / Sicilian Cooking Class
- Snacks etc. throughout the day
- Any public (in the city) Evening events
- Transportation to or from Catania airport (this can be arranged for an extra fee)
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).
Our 3 star hotel (above, the Residence Dei Baroni) 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 are spacious and beautiful and have a double bed, and many a small balcony. Many of them also have a small kitchen with kitchen table and a 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.
PLACES AVAILABLE: 8 spaces
Places are already booking up for this retreat so get in early to ensure your place.
Early bird discount of 70 Euros for anyone who books and pays by Feb 28th, 2023.
***Update – Early Bird extended for one week from March 16th until March 23rd.
About your Host and Teacher
Michelle ‘Akasha Love’ Taffe 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 in Ortigia, as well as the iconic and the less well known sites of cultural and historical significance on the island. She 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.