||Pisa and Siena Provinces, Italy
||5 - 12
May 30, 2020 - Jun 6, 2020
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
Few regions conjure up more romantic and serene images than Tuscany, with its gentle landscapes of rolling fields, vineyards, and olive groves punctuated by rustic medieval hill towns. Civilizations and cultures have flourished here since at least the eighth century BCE. The Etruscan, Roman, and Renaissance periods have left behind an unequaled richness of art and architecture, and Tuscany's iconic fertile fields continue to yield the wines and cuisine for which the area is renowned. What better place for us to spend a week exploring local villages, unearthing the Etruscan treasures, meandering through the countryside, and enjoying daily yoga practice?
Our base for this 8-day trip will be the Villa Palagione, located seven kilometers east of the village of Volterra, on the southern slope of Monte Voltraio. The summit of Monte Voltraio was once occupied by the fortress of “Kastell Monte Voltraio,” first noted in 967 BCE, and at its foot rested a densely-populated village. A thriving township until the 13th century, it was eventually destroyed by a progression of military conflicts.
On this trip, part of each day will be devoted to the practice of Hatha Yoga, including time for meditation. The other part of the day will be spent exploring the Tuscan countryside on foot, discovering the historic centers of San Gimignano and Siena, or just soaking up the relaxing environs of Villa Palagione.
The focus of our yoga sessions for the week will be opening our energy pathways, or Chakras. Through the practice of Hatha Yoga, each day we will concentrate on one of the seven main Chakras.
This is a wonderful stand-alone trip, and would also be a great follow-up trip to one of our more strenuous offerings. Either way, you’re bound to finish our Yoga and Hiking in Tuscany trip feeling leaner, stronger, and healthier…a wonderful combination.
Day 1: Arrive Florence Airport - Transfer to Villa Palagione
Rendezvous at 1:00 pm at the Florence Airport. Group transfer to the Villa Palagione, near the village of Volterra, about an hour-and-a-half drive. the scenery along the way is a beautiful welcome and introduction to the trip and our amazing accommodation. We will take time to introduce the program, get to know each other, and settle in before our first yoga session in the late afternoon. Dinner will be on the spectacular grounds of Villa Palagione.
The Villa itself dates back to the 1500s, the height of the Medici Family influence, and was built by Girolamo Minucci, a knight and attendant to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The Minucci family continued to represent the interests of the Medici family down through the centuries. The Villa underwent various transformations following the trends of successive generations until it was eventually abandoned at the turn of the 20th century.
The current owners purchased the dilapidated property in 1986 and over a period of ten years, with the generous help of artists, architects, and craftspeople, transformed the estate into a vibrant, internationally-recognized center for culture and study. At the same time, they took great care in preserving historical details by using traditional techniques to reconstruct the vaulted ceilings, frescoes, and gates. They accomplished many infrastructure updates with an eye toward accessibility and environmental sustainability. Beautifully restored, with incredible gardens and a very inviting swimming pool, the Villa Palagione provides for a perfect trip base. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 2: Morning yoga session – Afternoon hike of Monte Voltraio.
Following breakfast, our second yoga session will be mid-morning. After a delicious lunch at Palagione, we will embark on an orientation hike through the Tuscan countryside to the walled village to Volterra. Once an important Etruscan trading center, Volterra is one of the oldest towns in Italy. An abundance of various minerals, including alabaster, has contributed to the importance of the area down through the ages. Its extensive and well-preserved ramparts, archeological sites, and medieval buildings offer testimony to this. We’ll have time to explore Volterra’s Etruscan and Roman ruins, and wander its narrow streets and open piazzas before setting down at a local restaurant for dinner.
Day 3: Morning hike in the area of Casole d' Elsa - Afternoon yoga session
After breakfast, a short transfer will bring us to the beautiful hilltop village of Casole d' Elsa. A circular hike will take us through the Tuscan countryside, ambling across fields and alongside vineyards before finishing at this idyllic village for lunch at a local restaurant. A late-afternoon yoga session at our villa will be followed by dinner at Palagione.
Day 4: Morning yoga session - Afternoon hike to San Gimignano
An early morning yoga class before breakfast energizes us for the day. We'll then have the morning free to relax, perhaps take a swim, and enjoy the gardens. After lunch at Palagione we'll transfer to a trailhead and hike into San Gimignano, famed for its 14 towers, once the symbol of power and wealth. Beautifully set amidst classic Tuscany countryside, San Gimignano is one of Italy's best-preserved medieval hilltop towns. Encircled by 13th-century walls, the center of the village is Piazza della Cisterna, a triangular square lined with medieval houses. With plenty of time to explore the small streets and artisan shops, we'll visit the 12th-century church Duomo di San Gimignano, with frescoes by Ghirlandaio, before having dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 5: Morning in Siena - Afternoon yoga session
After breakfast we transfer to another amazing walled city, Sienna, famed for its Palio horse race. Twice a year each contrada, or district of the city, puts forward their best horse and rider. Held in the Piazza del Campo, a thick layer of dirt is laid. On bareback and wearing the colors of their contrada, riders make three laps around the piazza. Often taking less than 90 seconds, this is an exhilarating race. Once in the city, we'll enjoy a guided tour, with more time to explore the town before dining in a local restaurant. Returning to Palagione by mid-afternoon, we undertake our daily yoga session before dinner at the Villa.
Day 6: Pre-breakfast hike - Free day - Late afternoon yoga session
A pre-breakfast hike up to the top of Monte Voltraio is scheduled. There we complete a meditation in the crisp morning air before returning to our villa for a leisurely breakfast.
Three kilometers to the East of Volterra, Monte Voltraio's pyramidal outline is unmistakable. Its geological composition of sand and limestone differs from the surrounding clay landscape. Given its natural characteristics, as evidenced by rock face on its eastern side, it's easy to see why this low hill (458 m) became a fortified settlement that controlled the area's transit roads. With the footpath leading directly from our villa, this is a great morning hike.
Today is a free day with independent lunch, giving you the chance to relax, read, swim, and perhaps undertake your own explorations. We come together again in the late afternoon for our yoga session and have the opportunity to enjoy a wine tasting before dinner.
Day 7: Morning yoga session - Afternoon hike into Volterra
After breakfast, we enjoy our final yoga session with an extended practice to bring together our Chakra journey. After an enjoyable lunch in the grounds of the villa, we have a free afternoon before hiking into Volterra for a wonderful farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 8: Depart for Florence Airport
Our trip will end after breakfast with a transfer back to the Florence Airport, arriving around 10:30 am.
There is a single supplement charge of $450. If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If a roommate is not available, we will not charge extra for this “forced single.”
- All accommodations with private baths
- All breakfasts
- All lunches except for two
- All dinners
- Wine tasting and dinner in Volterra
- Dinner in San Gimignano
- Daily yoga sessions – yoga equipment including mats, etc., will be provided
- All group transfers as per the itinerary
- Guided walking tour of Siena
- Group transfer from the Florence Airport to the Villa Palagione on Day 1 and group transfer back to the Florence Airport on Day 8
- Great walking and lasting memories!
Airfare, optional/individual transfers or individual excursions, items not on set dinner menus, beverages, insurance, tips to guides, items of a personal nature.
Our luggage will be transported along with us from the airport to our accommodations and back again. For our day hikes, you will only need to carry a daypack with those items you will need during the walk. See our sample packing list. You will receive a more detailed packing list, specific to this trip, upon registration.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FACILITIES
Our accommodations for the week will be at the Villa Palagione, parts of which date back to the 14th century. The villa is in a quiet setting with beautiful gardens and swimming pool. Carefully restored, each room has its own unique character, almost all featuring murals, vaulted ceilings, and terracotta floors. All rooms are double occupancy with private bathrooms.
All breakfasts, some lunches, and most dinners will be taken at the Villa Pagalione. Breakfasts are buffet-style and typically consist of bread, cereals, fruit yogurt, and eggs. Lunches at the Villa may include a main dish of pasta or risotto, panini, and salad. Dinners are a set menu, generally four courses, featuring regional specialties. With advance notice, most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. One night we will eat in San Gimignono.
Tanya Perret will be our trip leader and Yoga instructor for this trip. A dedicated mountaineer and Yoga practitioner, Tanya has been guiding people in the mountains of Europe and Nepal for the past 20 years. She holds her UIMLA International Mountain Leader certification and completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in the Himalayan town of Darjeeling. Tanya brings with her an enthusiasm and passion for facilitating experiences that promote genuine connections through active engagement with some of the worlds most compellingly beautiful landscapes and the cultures that inhabit them.
Included in the trip cost is a group transfer from the Florence Airport on Day 1 and back to the Florence Airport on Day 8. For this reason, it’s easiest to fly into Florence. However, it is also possible to fly into Pisa or Rome, just be sure to allow for extra travel time.
The trip will begin with a group pickup at Florence Airport in early afternoon on Day 1.
The trip will end with a morning group transfer back to Florence Airport, arriving around 10:30 am.
Please contact us for a more detailed itinerary, for more information, or to register. We're also happy to supply a list of past participants willing to share honest insights into this guided Yoga and Hiking in Tuscany experience.
Reserving This Trip
A deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept
MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one
of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the
area provided when completing your registration forms.
The balance is due 60 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 60 days prior to
departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit and registrations, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information
pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form,
medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment, you will receive trip
rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.