Frequently Asked Questions
Is this travel experience right for you?
Who is this for?
- You want to unplug.
- You’d like a local expert to show you Italy.
- You’d like a vacation where you don’t have to plan.
- You want an adventure.
- You are open to connecting with other people.
- You are interested in Italian culture, cuisine and traditions.
- You love to learn new things.
Who this is NOT for
This is NOT for you if:
- You want to tour Italy on your own.
- You like rushing around.
- You aren’t willing to be a part of the group.
- You aren’t willing to participate in most activities planned.
- You aren’t physically active or willing to walk long distances (we walk A LOT in Italy).
- You don’t like Italian food.
1). Who is organizing these cultural travel experiences?
Katie Portanova has been traveling and living in Italy since 2002. She will be teaching all the yoga, meditation and workshops. Katie has been in LOVE with Florence since she first set foot on the cobblestone streets when she was a study abroad student living in Fiesole.
Our travel experiences will be small, intimate with people who love to travel and learn new things off the beaten path.
2). What is included in the price?
Each retreat has different activities included. For more details, click below:
3). What is NOT included in the price?
Your Airfare is not included in the retreat price. We can assist you in travel destinations and also provide you with train travel information on how to arrive to our venues.
A private transfer to/from airports is not included but we can arrange a private transfer if needed for an extra charge.
All our meals at our venue are included. Breakfast will be provided on all retreats. When we are out on excursions those meals will not be included.
The restaurants we will dine at as a group will not be extravagant or incredibly expensive. We love finding and eating at authentic restaurants that create dishes with heart and soul.
4). Where will we be staying?
Each week we will be staying at different apartments, villas, and hamlets.
Florence Retreat -TBD
Tuscany Retreat – We are staying in a Hamlet called Camporsevoli from the 5th century owned by the Grossi family. There are two apartments where we will be staying. Casa del Fattore sleeps 4 and La Canonica sleeps 5.
Puglia Retreat -TBD
5). Should I arrive early to explore Italy?
If this is your first time visiting Italy then I say YES. There are many places we can recommend on where to visit that isn’t too far from our destination. You can always travel after the retreat, maybe meet up with a friend and make it a longer trip. Just an idea.
6). What if I don’t speak Italian?
Non ti preoccupare! No worries AT ALL.
Katie’s been fluent in Italian for many years and since moving back to the states she’s kept up her language skills.
One of the perks of coming on a cultural retreat with Katie, is that there’s an option to learn a bit of Italian with her in a workshop.
Italians, in most major cities, speak a little English. Hotels, restaurants and some stores are pretty easy to communicate with.
There are apps you can download like Duolingo and Google Translate is one that helped my parents communicate with my in-laws, no joke.
You can find Italian language movies on Netflix (yes, they are there) and watch it with subtitles. That was one of the first things I did when I started learning Italian.
7). What activities will we be doing for the week?
Each retreat will be filled with a variety of activities (depending on location) such as walking tours, pasta-making classes, beach days, yoga practices, meditations and plenty of culture and FOOD.
For more detailed activities click page below:
8). Do I have to participate in all activities? (i.e. yoga, meditation, workshops.)
No you don’t. However, before you book, I invite you to look at who these travel experiences are for (scroll to the top) and make sure you are signing up for a something that will benefit you.
Also note that we will be walking A LOT on these retreats. If you are not physically able to walk for long periods of time, this isn’t a travel experience for you.
9). What’s within walking distance?
Tuscany Retreat – There is a small town below Camporsevoli you can walk to. But nothing exciting to visit in Piazze. There are hiking trails around the property which you’re free to roam.
Florence Retreat – What isn’t within walking distance??!! We’re smack dab in the city center on this retreat. You can get to all major attractions, churches, museums from where our apartment is. You can’t be more central than that! I’ll be taking you on walking tours as well, where I’ll show you my favorite sites and hidden treasures.
Puglia Retreat – TBD
10). I’ve never meditated before, is there something I can do to improve my meditation skills?
No problem if you haven’t meditated before. It’s a skill that not a lot of people can keep going at a consistent rate. I’m continuing doing the work every day.
I suggest practicing by sitting in a quiet space, breathing and observing your thoughts, only for 2 minutes. The key to meditation is to be present and aware of your thoughts.
11). Will we visit neighboring towns?
Yes of course! Each retreat will have its fair share of day trips to nearby towns, beaches, vineyards, etc.
12). Can I come alone? Do I need to book with someone? Are men allowed to come?
Yes, Yes and Yes. Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, couples, anyone who is interested in traveling through Italy with an insider is encouraged to come.
13). Where should I fly into?
That depends on which travel experience you decide to go on. We’ll be honest, Rome is usually the cheapest out of all the airports to fly into from the US. But again that depends on where you are located.
Florence retreat – TBD- We recommed flying into Florence airport
More details to come on specific flights to Brindisi.
14). Do you offer payment plans?
OF COURSE! Message Katie and discuss your options for payment plans. We want this to be an affordable and reasonable expense for you.
15). Is my deposit refundable?
No. Deposit is $500 for all travel experiences.
16). Do you offer discounts?
Not at this time.