Tuscany Italy Retreat: A Return to Fattoria del Colle
Last May I returned to Italy for two weeks.
and afterwards I returned to a place in Tuscany that I’d been to once before.
As I came up over the last hill, and glimpsed the familiar vineyards,
my eyes filled with tears.
Because even though I had only been to Fattoria del Colle once before,
it felt a bit like coming home.
As soon as I arrived,
one of the waiters found me a seat at a celebration meal that was already in motion.
It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been invited,
or that I wasn’t expected,
just that I was there.
Here you go. Here’s a plate. And cutlery.
Family style plates were passed down to me.
Everything smelled delicious.
I had arrived in the middle of the second or third course and around me people were laughing and talking, enjoying the slow pace of a well-prepared lunch.
At some point,
it was mentioned that I was a vegetarian,
and a special dish of vegetables was immediately prepared and delivered to my seat.
I turned to Jane, at whose invitation I was there, and laughed that I was not even hungry.
She had arrived before me and experienced a similar welcome.
We were early for her retreat that was going to start in a couple of days,
and we had come in upon a lunch that was being served in honor of the bishop’s presence.
I had missed his presiding over mass earlier in the small family chapel that is part of the estate of Fattoria del Colle, the vineyard and agriturismo that is run by the regal Donatella. (I believe that she is the only female wine master in Italy.)
It was Donatella’s estate that I was returning to, and in her rooms that I would be sleeping for the following week. And her presence fills the whole place. Everyone there exudes her same hospitality. They make you feel at home.
Jane runs several retreats in Italy every year, and we were celebrating the release of her book at this one. She was offering yoga and massage, and had invited an astrology teacher. We were expecting a large group from all over the world.
But first we had a couple of days to adjust and settle in.
This time I stayed in a room on the edge of this courtyard garden.
From my windows, I could see the lemon trees.
It was as dreamy as I had remembered,
and newly magical.
This regal bedroom is where my precious friend Cherrie stayed, who came to offer massage on Jane’s retreat.
The retreat staff got to eat together and hang out for a day or so before guests arrived.
We wandered the nearby town, Trequanda.
And of course dreamed of what it would be like to live all year long on the sweet pace at which life rolls in Tuscany.
Cherrie and I went on a drive through the countryside to a nearby vineyard.
Spring was in full bloom everywhere. Such a perfect time to be in Italy!
I had time to watch the sunset (and rise!) from a hidden courtyard.
And of course plenty of time for coffee and homemade Italian biscuits.
When the guests arrived, our days were filled with yoga and teaching and long visits around the table.
We also made a group day trip to nearby Siena.
It was my first time to Siena, and though it was a bit cold and rainy, we made the most of it.
I took lots of photos of classic Italian town corners, doors and alleys.
I love all the colors.
And leather of course! Cherrie and I finished up all our souvenir shopping in Siena.
It was impossible to find a time when everyone was together, but this is a good portion of our group of retreaters before we completely scattered over Siena.
When I got up early on my last morning in Italy to drive to the airport, I said a sad goodbye to these Tuscan hills as I drove.
But I always promise to return as I fly away. From my very first trip to Italy many years ago, I knew I would come back again and again.
Knowing I will return frees me to enjoy the days in slow motion, not having to see everything at once.
On each trip I take in just a little bit more of the beauty of Italy, a new town or two. A new walk in an old town. And then I also return to familiar and well-loved places.
Looking at these photos makes me super grateful that I’ve already got Italy on the calendar again for 2020.
Want to go to Fattoria del Colle with me on a Radiant Jane Tuscany Italy Retreat?
I’ll be heading back in April! Details here. I would LOVE to have you come along to experience dreamy days in Tuscany with me!