Excursions

Photo Lynne

    
Bryan Photo

How Your Thoughts can

Transform Your Life

Tuscany, Italy

with Lynne McTaggart & Bryan Hubbard

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May of 2018 (specific dates will be announced soon)

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Overview /   Accommodations-Cost   /   Excursions   /   About Us   /   Getting There   /   Register

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EXCURSIONS

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We have some great excursions planned for this retreat. We have found that starting with a general schedule and then focusing in on specific outings as our time together unfolds creates a more powerful offering.  Below are some of the areas we will be exploring together.

As you arrive into the Tuscany region, you are greeted by the amazing landscapes of rolling hills covered by vineyards, olive groves and scattered villages throughout the region. After you settle in, you will have time to relax, explore the area, sip some mineral water or wine and breathe in the fragrance of the countryside. You will stay at the villa for the next seven days, so get comfortable and enjoy the splendor. Each morning we will offer a yoga and meditation session to start the day followed by breakfast. Lynne and Bryan will be offering sessions in the morning or sometime during the day and you will be exploring some fascinating areas and sites in Tuscany. Please note…we know there are a multitude of ways that people wish to enjoy seeing a new place. Given all the individual desires, we do not give guided tours or walk around with an umbrella herding you to different places. We give you general information and support you in having an experience that works for you. If you wish to have a guided tour, we are happy to assist you in finding one that works at an additional cost. Here is a little information on these excursions:


A GENERAL Schedule for the week

Day 1 – A day of arrival and settling in. A delicious dinner will be provided for you as you are introduced to the scope of the program. D

Day 2 – Lynne and Bryan will offer sessions all day with appropriate breaks so you may enjoy the beauty and graciousness of your surroundings. Lunch and Dinner will be provided for you. Go to Accommodations for more information about Villa Cornacchi. BLD

Day 3 – An expansive day of exploration as you visit San Gimignano, Siena and a wine tasting/lunch experience that will be provided for you. Scroll down to learn more about San Gimignano and Siena. BL

Day 4 –  After breakfast Lynne and Bryan will present for two hours.  You will then be driven into the heart of the Brunello Region and visit Montepulciano where you will have lunch. After exploring this historic town we will begin to head back towards the villa and have dinner at a local Tuscan restaurant. Scroll down to learn more about Montepulciano. B

Day 5 – After breakfast and a session with Lynne and Bryan, you’ll explore Assisi and have lunch there at one of the many local restaurants. Toward evening we’ll head back towards the villa, stopping along the way to indulge in another Tuscan dinner. Scroll down to learn more about Assisi. B

Day 6 – A full day experiencing one of the most amazing cities in Tuscany…Florence. You’ll have lunch on your own as you meander the streets of this historical marvel and dinner will be served at the top of a Tuscan Hill that overlooks valleys and Florence. Scroll down to learn more about this incredible city. B

Day 7 – On our last full day together, Lynne and Bryan will offer sessions and you’ll have lunch and dinner at the villa, which is included. A closing session will wrap up the retreat. BLD

B – Breakfast is included

L – Lunch is included

D – Dinner is included


FLORENCE…A CITY OF STONE

Duomo Florence ItalyFlorence is an amazing city situated in the Arno valley. It’s historic importance and artistic contributions make it a city that is a must to visit. At the heart of the city is the Fountain of Neptune, which is a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the terminus of a still functioning Roman aqueduct. The Arno river, which cuts through the old part of the city, is as much a character in Florentine history as many of the men who lived there. Historically, the locals have had a love-hate relationship with the Arno — which alternated from nourishing the city with commerce, and destroying it by flood. Many of the bridges across the Arno were built by the Romans.

One of the bridges in particular, however, stands out as being unique — The Ponte Vecchio, whose most striking feature is the multitude of shops built upon its edges, held up by stilts. First constructed by the Etruscans in ancient times, this bridge is the only one in the city to have survived World War II intact.The most famous palace in the city is San Lorenzo, which has become a monument to the Medici family who were one of the most powerful families in Florence during the 15th century. Nearby is the Uffizi Gallery, one of the finest art galleries in the world.


CHIANTI REGION…

exc3It is a vast geographic area from the hilly landscape placed at the center of the Tuscan region, between Siena and Florence, whose limits are distinguished at the North in the Ombrone river; at the East in the Monti of  the Chianti, at the South in the Arno and at the West in the valley of Elsa.Its hills, crossed by a rich network of short rivers, those of the Pesa, the Elsa, the Greve, the Ombrone and the Arbia, are everywhere famous for the incomparable naturalistic beauty and as an example of harmonious union between environment and human activity, which is reftected by the orderly cultivation of vines and olive trees and by the golden expanse of grain.

The rural reality of the Chianti region is not however monotonous, it also presents, in fact, woodland areas composed essentially of oak and chestnut trees of coppices that cover the slopes of the surfaces. The fascination of this territory lies in the perfect equilibrium between the soft forms of slopes and the thousand nuances of color and crowded woods, populated by ancient castles, secular parishes, pleasant villas and large Jarms, in which the tradition well mixes with the most modern criteria of organization and production.

A region, so to say, with a primarily agrarian vocation, whose roots go back to a very remote past, as it is shown by it’s name, “Chianti, ” that according to some scholars would derive from the Latin clangor which stands far “sound of the trumpet”: referring to the noise produced by the instrument anciently used during the hunting parties in this territory; according to others, from Clante, the name of etruscan families who lived here between the VII and the VIII centuries BC and to whom the introduction of the vine and it cultivation in Thscany is attributed.The term appears far the first time in 790 in a manuscript drafted by a monk in the Badia of San Bartolomeo a Ripoli, even though the description that he gave of the territory does not seem to correspond, since the monk describes it as a very humid zone as opposed to the mountainous and dry characteristics of the Chianti region. Later, in documents of the XIII century, the term comes to refer to the Monti of the Chianti (which in reality, in spire of their name, are little more than high hills).

Already around the year 1000, these lands began to appear among the possessions of  the marquis Ugo of  Tuscany and of his successor Bonifacio, who donated ampie portions of  them to the Fiorentine abbey. An approximate division of  the territory between rural earldoms and the great abbeys of Passignano, Montemurlo and Coltibuono dates back to the same age: an equaI partition between civil and religious power.This is the period of  maximum expansion of a demolished domain that covers the region with a great number of castles spread for the most part on little hills, in militarily strategic positions. Among them are those of Cintoia, Lamole, Montefili, Montefioralle, Panzano, Verrazzano, Uzzano, Vicchiomaggio, Cacchiano, Brolio, Meleto, Tornano, Vertine, and Aiola.In this time originates the long easting contrast between Guelph Florence and Ghibelline Siena for the supremacy on a such a vast and rich area.

A curious legend narrates an episode which illuminates us on the grade of existing rivalry, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, between the two republics for the attribution of their boundaries. The argument was centered on a competition of speed between two horsemen, who were to depart, one from Florence and the other from Siena, and meet at a point which would then delineate the limits of their respective territories. The hour of departure was fixed at the first calI of the rooster: The Florentines, astutely would use as an alarm clock a young black rooster which, kept without food, launched his calI much earlier than dawn. It was in this way that the florentine horseman, departing earlier could cover a greater distance than his rival, conquering more land for his republic. The place in which the two horsemen met still carries the name of Croce Fiorentina.


SIENA… A MEDIEVAL WONDER

Italia Siena San DomenicoSurrounded by olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti, Siena is one of the most beautiful cities of Tuscany. Set on three hills, the city is drawn together by winding alleyways and steep steps, whilst the Piazza del Campo stands at its heart, and the Duomo and St Maria della Scala serve as additional cultural landmarks. Famed for the “Palio”, the annual historic horse-races that take place on July 2nd and August 16th, it is also home to one of the oldest Universities in Europe, which ensures a vibrant Italian student atmosphere throughout the academic year.

There are so many great things you will see in Siena. It has uniquely preserved medieval architecture, and you can walk from tiny piazzas shared by you and a couple of pigeons to stately 14th and 15th century buildings. There is always something to notice and admire as you explore this unique city. Limited traffic within the city centre enhances your experience and adds to the feeling of stepping back in time into a medieval world.

Here’s a bit of history about Siena and links to find out more about this enchanting place. Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the provincial capital of Siena province.The historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Siena, like many other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900 BC to 400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina.The Etruscans were anSiena_Duomo_bell_tower advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously un-farmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in heavily armored hill-forts.

It has been argued that their Pagan society which practiced matrilineal inheritance, and was devoted to their goddesses was one of the reasons why Roman Goddesses such as Diana and, with the arrival of Christianity, the Virgin Mary came to be of such importance to the people of the Italian peninsula. If this is true, it suggests that the Cult of the Virgin which is omnipresent in the fabric of Siena’s ancient stones has an origin which is older still.

What we can say for certain is that the Romans founded a town called Saenna Julia on the site of a pre-existing Etruscan settlement, and from this has grown modern Siena. Siena may then have been under the control of invading Gaulish forces – who are known to have sacked Rome in 390 BC. Some archaeologists assert it was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Saenones.The Roman origin accounts for the town’s emblem – a she-wolf suckling the infants’ Romulus and Remus. According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, who was in turn the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Statues and other artwork depicting a she-wolf suckling the young twins Romulus and Remus can be seen all over the city of Siena. Other etymologies derive the name from the Etruscan family name “Saina”, the Roman family name of the “Saenii”, or the Latin word “senex” (“old”) or the derived form “seneo”, “to be old”.


SAN GIMIGNANO…LA CITTA DELLE BELLE TORRI

San-Gimignano-and-sunflowers-e1429838370376Perched on a hill with its towers thrown into sharp relief by the deep green mountains behind it, San Gimignano looks like a town plucked from a fairy tale and set into the Tuscan countryside. Of course, it’s not. Nor has it always been the sleepy little town it is today: In the late middle ages it was one of Central Tuscany’s most important trading centers, strategically perched astride the intersection between the main highway from Rome to the Alpine passes, and the road connecting the Tuscan heartland to the maritime republic of Pisa and the coast.

We will spend a half day or so visiting this ancient village that affords wonderful opportunities for unique photography and marvel at the beauty and spirit of its structures. Here’s a little more information about this charming town. San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill-top town in Tuscany, Italy, about a 35 minute drive north-west of Siena and about the same distance southwest of Florence. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers. In Tuscan medieval walled towns, rich families competed in the erection of high towers, that served as lodgings, fortresses and prestige symbols.

Because San Gimignano sits atop a hill the skyline can be seen for several miles outside the town. In medieval and Renaissance times it was a stopping point for pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican. While in other cities like Bologna or Florence, most or all of the towers have been brought down due to wars, catastrophes or urban renewal, San Gimignano managed to conserve about 15 towers of varying height. The modern town has extended some kilometers out and is no longer affected by this race.

San Gimignano is also famous for its Torture museum, with a display of instruments and devices for torture in various times and places, complete with multi-lingual descriptions of their use.There are many churches in the town: the two main ones are the Collegiata and Sant’Agostino.The town is also known for the white wine grown in the area, Vernaccia di San Gimignano. A fictionalized version of San Gimignano features in E.M. Forster’s 1905 novel Where Angels Fear to Tread as Monteriano.


ASSISI…KNOWN FOR THE SACREDNESS OF ITS ARCHITECTURE

assisi-photo

After an early breakfast, we’ll go to Assisi a small Umbrian town in central Italy, located 12 miles (19 km) east of Perugia at an elevation of 1,300 feet (400 meters). Assisi is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi — patron saint of Italy, founder of the Franciscan order, and one of the most popular Catholic saints in history. Assisi’s main attraction is the 13th-century Basilica di San Francesco, which contains the sacred relics of Francis and beautiful frescoes of his life. And there are at least seven other churches well worth visiting for their history, beauty, and connection with Francis or his friend Clare. The town of Assisi, with its Roman ruins, winding medieval streets and sacred shrines, has been a major Catholic pilgrimage destination for centuries and is today one of the most popular destinations in Italy. And several sites outside of the city walls remain quiet and frequented mainly by pilgrims. The town is dominated by two medieval castles. The larger, called Rocca Maggiore, is a massive reconstruction by Cardinal Albornoz (1366) and expanded by popes Pius II (polygonal tower, 1458) and Paul III (the cylindrical bastion near the entrance, 1535-1538). The smaller of the two was built in Roman era: it has been only partially reserved, a small portion and three towers being open to the public. Now the site of many a pilgrimage, Assisi is linked in legend with its native son, St. Francis. The gentle saint founded the Franciscan order and shares honors with St. Catherine of Siena as the patron saint of Italy. He is remembered by many, even non-Christians, as a lover of nature (his preaching to an audience of birds is one of the legends of his life).


 

MONTEPULCIANO…IN THE HEART OF THE BRUNELLO REGION

montepulciano-photoBrunello di Montalcino is one Italy’s most famous and prestigious wines. In Tuscany, its homeland, it shares the top spot with only the highly-prized Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and of course the ubiquitous Chianti.

All Brunello di Montalcino wine is made exclusively from Sangiovese grapes grown on the slopes around Montalcino, a classic Tuscan hilltop village 20 miles (30km) south of Siena. The word Brunello translates roughly as ‘little dark one’, and is the local vernacular name for Sangiovese Grosso, the large-berried form of Sangiovese which grows in the area.

Montepulciano, located in the Val di Chiana of Tuscany, Italy, within easy reach of the Val d’Orcia, is one of the most attractive hills towns in Tuscany. It is built on a ridge of Monte Poliziano in the province of Sienna in Tuscany. It is the ancient Etruscan city of Nocera Alfaterna, which in 308 B.C. made an alliance with Rome against the Samnites. In the Middle Ages it was under the control of Florence, but was conquered by Sienna in 1260. The main street of Montepulciano stretches for 11.5 kilometers from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza Grande at the top of the hill. The cathedral was built in 1619, from plans by Scalzo and until the 18 C it held the tomb of Bartolomeo Arragazzi, secretary of Pope Martin V, a work of Michelozzo. The church of the Madonna di San Biagio was planned by Antonio da Sangallo (1518-37).

The façades of the church of Saint Agostino and of the Oratorio della Misericordia are worth seeing. Notable among the civic buildings are the Tarugi palace, like the Mercato, a work of Pignola, the Contucci palace designed by Sangallo and the fourteenth-century Palazzo Municipale, which contains a small gallery of Sienese and of Umbrian art. The most famous men of Montepulciano are Cardinal Bellarmine, Pope Marcellus II, Cervini, Angelo Ambrogini, better known as Poliziano (1454-1494), and the humanist Bartolomeo of Montepulciano. St. Agnes of Montepulciano died in 1137.

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Resources

Testimonials from various past global journeys

I want to take a moment to thank you again for a wonderful, wonderful time. I felt each place, the people, it was all an amazing feast. Even though I have been to most of these places long ago it felt like I was seeing them for the first time.
I have been continuing to hold onto the joy I felt at seeing the amazing creations in each town and the scenery. It was a treat to see you both do what you do so well. You are masters at creating group cohesion and serving as best one can the needs of a diverse group. You really got it all.

Erica

The Retreat of a lifetime!! What a journey! From the moment we decided to do it, it was the easiest trip we have ever been on and truly the most enjoyable. Every detail was taken care of and considered before I even knew to think about it... from the packing list to the airport pick up, from the hotel staff to the daily events. I walked stress-free through the most amazing week in my life, to date! Because of that, I will highly recommend Global Journeys to others but I will also be looking forward to joining you again.
The sessions were ‘mind-blowing’ to say the least. He has such amazing information to share and his meditations took me to places I did not know existed. I was inspired and motivated to change my life and excited to take some major steps. My life is forever changed because of his work.
Sugar Beach is a little piece of heaven. The setting of a small private resort was so relaxing. The staff was incredible helpful, happy to help at every turn. The beach was gorgeous, the sunsets were nothing short of incredible and the natural setting of the resort made you feel that you were in the middle of nowhere with beautiful people or just for yourself.

Heather

Words cannot describe the gratitude I have for you for organizing such a beautiful retreat that truly changed my life forever. Your prompt and courtesy responses to inquiries, attention to detail, and tireless efforts are evident in your presentations, as well as support before, during, and after the retreat. Moreover, the choice of Sugar Beach resort on the beautiful coast of Costa Rica is a testament to your global expertise as the service, meals, accommodation, beach, excursions, and even proximity to the airport and other local spots was first class in every detail. Finally, I cannot emphasize enough how this retreat truly changed my life.
Not only would I strongly recommend doing business with Global Journeys to others, I am actively trying to recruit people to join me for your next adventure
I will never forget this experience, so I graciously thank you so very much from my heart.

Michael

This was the most awesome thing I have ever done. I made good friends, saw tons of wildlife, learned how to surf, ate great food, met great people and feel really grateful for what I have.

John

I was completely stunned by degree to which my trip with Global Journeys would change my life. A true before-after moment. I county myself fortunate to have experienced it. I can't wait to live the rest of my life! Thank you Global Journeys!

Chris

I wake up every morning and think of you all. I cannot even express how much I love and miss you. Thank you for such an amazing experience together. Ever since the retreat, I have felt so open and happy and enough, which is such an incredible gift. That was easily one of the best weeks of my life, and continues to make every day wonderful.
Much, much love

Alex

There simply isn't another Costa Rica trip in the current market of eco-adventure trips for the active traveler that matches Franco Marini's Costa Rica Trip package. Franco has put together a package that enables the traveler to enjoy and explore the country on a very intimate level.
Some the opportunities are truly unique to this trip and quite simply won't be found anywhere else! This is a trip that will inspire your teen in ways they may not even realize now. It may be seeing and touching a tree that's over a thousand years old will inspire a future botanist, a future filmmaker, or a future writer. It could be learning about the marine life and wildlife first hand in this part of the world, or visiting the different forests and developing a sense of value for this diverse ecosystem, or overcoming their fears and emotions in some very personal way that will impact your teen, and plant some seed of inspiration. They may simply fall in love with this beautiful country and wish to come back again some day. This is truly a world-class trip at a school-trip cost!

Brenda

I can't say enough good things about having chosen to go to Costa Rica for our trip with Global Journeys! It was such a relief to have two experienced leaders and teachers with us who knew the country, the retreat center, and the available activities so intimately. When I chose to travel with Franco and Kay and Global Journeys, I had been researching retreat centers and opportunities, and their program was the most comprehensive and easy because they not only guide you and help with promoting the retreat, but they handled questions, concerns, and registrations, making the whole process so easy and seamless for us as the teachers. They helped us determine what we would offer and when, and which local activities and excursions we should do, then put all the plans in motion.

And that is just the logistics.The retreat itself was beyond my wildest imaginings! When we first arrived at the center and stood on the deck to absorb the view, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Franco and Kay for creating an amazing adventure. We look forward to our next adventure with you.

Mara

I can say, with complete honesty, that this retreat in Costa Rica is one of the best things I have ever done. And I have participated in some extra uber spectacular experiences. I have come away a different human being, and thoughts, conversations, words and images from this experience continue to roll over me in waves as I walk through my Life. I have been so utterly moved by the experiences of daily yoga and meditation, that I have committed to making both of those things part of my daily practice. Interestingly enough, when we got home to our small, rural town in North Carolina, a new yoga studio had opened up that had escaped my awareness prior. I have since joined on an unlimited pass, and have only missed one day since being home. Doug and I continue to prioritize meditation in our day as well, utilizing some of the great audios that I purchased from Dr. Joe's selections, and I continue to be able to sink deeper and deeper into the great void, and deeper understanding of myself and how it all works.

Truly life changing. I have already been witness to some enormous changes in myself and how I perceive what have heretofore been challenging situations in my work and with my associates. My refractory periods of heightened emotions are dramatically shortened, and sometimes not even existent! I am beginning to look at myself in the mirror now and the person I see looking back at me is someone I haven't seen in years! It's great to make her re-acquaintance!

Jennifer

The Retreat of a lifetime!! What a journey! From the moment we decided to do it, it was the easiest trip we have ever been on and truly the most enjoyable. Every detail was taken care of and considered before I even knew to think about it... from the packing list to the airport pick up, from the hotel staff to the daily events. I walked stress-free through the most amazing week in my life, to date! Because of that, I will highly recommend Global Journeys to others but I will also be looking forward to joining you again.
The sessions were ‘mind-blowing’ to say the least. He has such amazing information to share and his meditations took me to places I did not know existed. I was inspired and motivated to change my life and excited to take some major steps. My life is forever changed because of his work.
Sugar Beach is a little piece of heaven. The setting of a small private resort was so relaxing. The staff was incredible helpful, happy to help at every turn. The beach was gorgeous, the sunsets were nothing short of incredible and the natural setting of the resort made you feel that you were in the middle of nowhere with beautiful people or just for yourself.

Juanita

To make the decision to take this journey is an accomplishment in itself… but to then dive into a world of the most beautiful surroundings , with beautiful people who share amazing stories is something you will cherish for years to come. Adding different styles of yoga and meditation with one of the best presenters makes it an experience of a lifetime! Thank you for sharing such amazing time in my life .

Jeannene

This retreat was the most amazing experience of my life. I never imagined that I could be loved without pretense or aggression- this realization completely changed my life. Furthermore I made 14 close friends on that trip; I can't imagine life without them. They are my family, really. I gained a true sense of love for the universe. Our retreat was based in a forested area. It was absolutely perfect- we camped together and ate every meal together. All of the workshops taught me something different.
I've actually recommended this sort of retreat to my mom. I believe she would truly benefit from this sort of experience. Everyone deserves to feel this sort of love at least once in their life!
You're awesome, Franco. I miss you already!

Krista