Awaken the Heart
Yoga Retreat with Vicky Gray-Clark
Wednesday, October 28 -- Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Autumn in Italy is a feast for the eyes and the palette. Breathtaking fall colors can be seen from vineyards to olive groves to the mountains, and the weather is mild. The Awaken the Heart yoga and sightseeing retreat is a 7-night/8 day tour to Tuscany, Italy, October 28 – November 4, 2020. The retreat is open to 8 guests.
The cornerstone of Awaken the Heart will be beautifully energizing and restorative yoga classes lead each day by Vicky Gray-Clark, RYT 200 Yoga Alliance instructor.
Awaken the Heart is also an immersive travel opportunity highlighted by activities connected to the fall harvest in Tuscany that inspire beauty, energizes the body and uplifts the spirit.
Villa Poggio di Gaville, about 35 miles southeast of Florence, will serve as a tranquil home base for the seven-night duration of the tour. Restored in 2004 to its original splendor, the 18th-century villa lies deep in the hills just outside the charming town of Figline Valdarno, in the Chianti and is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.
The villa offers indoor and outdoor spaces for yoga practice. Guests will stay in beautifully appointed private rooms with bath featuring terracotta floors and exposed wood beams and free Wi-Fi. The locale offers an ideal point of departure for day trips to explore the rich ambiance of nearby hill towns and cultural centers, shop or to enjoy great country walks.
We’ll eat the majority of our meals at the Poggio di Gaville restaurant (open only to retreat guests) with food prepared by proprietor and award-winning international chef Jamal Amin. The cuisine offers both traditional Tuscany cuisine as well as creative Mediterranean dishes and an extensive selection of wines. The retreat will also offer opportunities to explore local cuisine.
The Practice: The Awaken the Heart retreat is designed around two daily practices, a morning, energizing Hatha vinyasa-style yoga practice and evening meditation and/or restorative practice.
Leisurely paced, the Awaken the Heart itinerary encourages guests to foster an intimate connection with the Tuscany landscape and people with time to savor the food and wine, and discover the sights, language, culture and indescribable beauty of the region during harvest season.
Small tour group, limited to 8 guests. This intimate group size will allow us to move more freely and experience the Tuscan region in a more authentic way.
Seven nights accommodation at Villa Poggio di Gaville just outside of Figline Valdarno (35 minutes from Florence) featuring private, beautifully appointed apartments with private bathroom, furnished in updated Tuscan country-style furnishings. Guests can leisurely enjoy the natural surroundings including walking paths and trails and to nearby Lake Santa Barbara.
Yoga class each morning of the retreat and a late afternoon or evening yoga or meditation session led by certified yoga instructor Vicky Gray-Clark. (all levels of yoga practitioners are welcome on the tour!)
Italian buffet breakfast served each morning at the villa.
Four lunches served at the villa, one lunch provided off-site.
Four dinners served at the villa, including one cooking class. Guests will learn to cook a traditional Tuscan-style dinner dish with Villa di Gaville proprietor and internationally acclaimed chef, Jamal Amin, that will emphasize seasonal ingredients culminating in an authentic style harvest dinner shared by guests. (dietary restrictions considered)
A day to tour the Firenze historic center (centro storico), the exquisite capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, and home of Renaissance art and architecture. Spirit of Italy Tours will provide a suggested itinerary so that guests can explore the city at their own pace. Mainly closed to commercial traffic, this is a compact city easily explored by foot.
Winery tour and tasting at Cantalici Winery in the heart of the Chianti.
Olive picking at Casa Falcioni. Guests will collect olives by hand in the heart of Tuscany on the breathtaking 10-acre Casa Falcioni olive grove in Cavriglia (guests take home olive oil from hand-picked olives). Lunch and hospitality provided by the Falcioni family featuring typical Tuscan fare, and local wine. [Note: the Falcioni family's extra virgin olive oil was recently voted third best in the region!]
Special evening yoga class at the Shanti Marg ashtanga yoga studio in Figline Valdarno.
A visit to the historic town of Arezzo known for its museums, monuments, and churches to enjoy its monthly open-air antique/flea market, considered one of Italy’s oldest, and finest.
All ground transport – including round trip group transport to/from Florence airport on October 30 and return to Florence airport on November 6. Group transportation will be provided in a comfortable minibus with a local and experienced driver. Transport is provided to the sightseeing and activities listed in the itinerary within the Valdarno region of Tuscany to explore towns including Firenze, Cavriglia, Montevarchi, Arezzo, Gaiole in Chianti, Figline Valdarno, San Giovanni Valdarno, and others.
Full-time services of Vicky Gray-Clark who will facilitate yoga and meditation classes and along with local Italian hospitality professionals will help guests cultivate an authentic and safe travel experience.
TOTAL TOUR COST: $2450.00 USD per person
Pricing does not include:
International airfare to and from Italy
Airport departure taxes, if applicable driver (suggested, not mandatory)
Two (2) additional lunches and three (3) additional dinners on certain days when we will be out meandering and sightseeing.
Wine with meals at Villa Poggio di Gaville is an extra cost
Gratuities for driver, optional.
Note: This tour outline is tentative. There may be some changes made to the itinerary based on weather (for example, it is not possible to pick olives in the rain), and to take advantage of local recommendations and events we hear about closer to the dates of travel that would make the tour even more spectacular! Please contact Vicky Gray-Clark, Spirit of Italy Tours to register at or 408-318-1980.
Terms & Conditions
Spirit of Italy Tours (SOIT) is the tour operator for the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat 2019 taking place October 30 – November 6, 2019. Invoices pertaining to the tour are issued by Vicky Gray-Clark, founder of Spirit of Italy Tours.
Spirit of Italy Tours is responsible to the tour participants for supplying the services and accommodations offered to the participants as stated herein.
Reservations and Deposits
To reserve a space on the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat, send an e-mail to , or call us at 408-318-1980 for a registration form. A receipt of a deposit fee of $500.00, and signed contract (electronic signature or hand-signed) is required to hold your reservation. The balance of $1900.00 is due by June 30, 2019. Payments can be made by certified bank check or by credit card using PayPal.
Spirit of Italy Tours is providing a land package that includes lodging fees, minivan ground transport, planned sightseeing and activities and meals as stated the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat itinerary and is not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time. Tour participants agree that Spirit of Italy Tours has no responsibility or liability of any nature whatsoever for loss, damage, or injury to property or person resulting from the provision of minivan transportation or ancillary train travel.
The cost of segments of the tour lost due to missing a scheduled departure due to a flight or transfer by motor coach or train is the responsibility of the participant who is responsible to make arrangements for and to pay the cost of rejoining the group.
The planned excursions, activities and restaurants listed in the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat online itinerary will be adhered to if at all possible. On dates including, but not limited to religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed or undergoing renovation. On these occasions, the sequence of the tour may be amended, even after arrival. If circumstances force Spirit of Italy Tours to change an advertised venue, we reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary and will replace it with one of equal or better quality.
Spirit of Italy Tours has selected Villa Poggio di Gaville as the lodging establishment for the duration of the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat. The property features individually appointed rooms with private bathroom.
Room selection is at the discretion of the property's management and is on a first come, first-served basis. All Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat rates are based on Spirit of Italy Tours agreements with the proprietor and are not negotiable.
As specified in the itinerary, meals that are included in the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat are based on each establishment's set menu. In general, wine beverages are not included, unless specifically stated. Although Spirit of Italy Tours cannot make guarantees, every effort will be made to honor special dietary requests submitted in writing on the reservation form.
Ground transport/airport pickup
Minivan ground transport is being provided as indicated in the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat itinerary. Arrival pickup on October 30, 2019 will be provided at the Florence International Airport in Italy). Pickup time is guaranteed for up to 90 minutes from the scheduled pick up time designated by Spirit of Italy Tours in order to compensate for minor delays. Spirit of Italy Tours will not be responsible for flight delays, for any reason, beyond 90 minutes from this originally scheduled arrival time. In case of a delay, it will be tour participant responsibility to make other transfer arrangements such as by taxi or train to Villa Poggio di Gaville. Transfer costs are not refundable and any additional expenses will be the responsibility of the tour participant.
Awaken the Heart Yoga retreat prices are based on current exchange rates as of January 2019 with the US dollar costing $.867 Euro currency and are subject to change without notice. If the US Dollar devalues by 5% or more, Spirit of Italy Tours reserves the right to increase prices accordingly in accordance with exchange rate fluctuation. We will send tour guests written notice of the difference of the adjustment. Accounts fully paid within 30 days of reservation will not be subject to currency fluctuations. In case of human or computer error, Spirit of Italy Tours reserves the right to re-invoice for the correct price or service.
It is the sole responsibility of each passenger to obtain the necessary documents for travel. A valid passport is normally the only requirement for U.S. citizens to enter Italy. Entry laws differ with respect to travelers’ citizenship. Please check with the Italian consulate office/embassy for further information as Spirit of Italy Tours is not responsible for providing this information or documentation.
Spirit of Italy Tours strongly suggests tour guests obtain travel insurance to cover any unforeseen events as a means of protection. Baggage, travel and emergency medical insurance are also recommended. Spirit of Italy Tours is not responsible or liable for loss, damage or theft of luggage and/or personal belongings, or for personal injury, accident and/or illness.
However, as to all services furnished as listed in the itinerary, including minivan transportation, on absence of their negligence, Spirit of Italy Tours its agents and cooperating organizations, expressly disclaim all responsibility or liability of any nature for loss, damage or injury to property or person due to any cause whatsoever occurring during a tour under their management.
We encourage travelers to bring no more than one suitcase and one carry-on bag due to limited space in the minivan.
Yoga classes will be offered each day of the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat, which is an optional activity. For tour participants interested in taking class, we ask that you consult your physician before embarking on the tour. If you have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing. Spirit of Italy Tours assumes no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques.
In addition, the pace of the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat may require mild but extended periods of walking and we respectfully request that participants be in good physical and mental health. While Spirit of Italy Tours encourages participation of disabled passengers, some itineraries and sites may not be accessible by wheelchair or motorized scooter. When reserving space on the retreat, please inform us of any physical disabilities and limitations so that we can help determine the appropriateness of the itinerary. If such limitations cause you to require additional assistance, Spirit of Italy Tours asks that you plan to travel with a companion that can provide aid.
Please be aware that during the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat certain risks and dangers may arise beyond the tour operator’s control including, but not limited to, automobile, or other means of transportation; the forces of nature, political instability or civil disturbances, and accident or illness in regions without means of rapid evacuation or medical facilities. Astour operator we will not have liability regarding provision of medical care or the adequacy of any care that may be rendered. It is understood that we will, however, use our very best efforts to ensure that adequate measures are taken.
Furthermore, Spirit of Italy Tours and its representatives abroad act only as independent contractors acting on behalf of neither the customer nor the suppliers and principals. Spirit of Italy Tours does not own nor operate the lodging establishment,minvan, olive grove property, or any other service providers, which comprise the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat. Spirit of Italy Tours shall not be in any way liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity in any vehicle or through the act of default of any company, or person engaged n conveying passengers, or any other person otherwise in connection therewith.
Although Spirit of Italy Tours has made every effort to insure high quality standards for every aspect of the Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat, the operators shall not assume responsibility for standards of quality, hygiene, cuisine, sanitation, diseases or viruses contracted during the tour.
Spirit of Italy Tours shall be held harmless from any and all liability in connection with the foregoing.
Pricing and Registration
The cost for the Spirit of Italy ToursAwaken the Heart Yoga Retreat is $2400.00 USD. A $500.00 deposit fee is required to secure a position on the tour. The total tour fees are required by June 30, 2019. Please contact Vicky Gray-Clark at Spirit of Italy Tours at for a registration form or call/text 408-318-1980.
Tour Changes/Cancellation Policy
Spirit of Italy Tours will make every effort to operate as planned. Spirit of Italy Tours reserves the right to cancel the tour due to lack of sufficient participation or other unforeseen circumstances.
The Awaken the Heart Yoga Retreat is based on 8 paying participants by June 30, 2019. If the group falls below 8 participants the tour may be subject to cancellation or an increase in price may be requested of remaining participants. In the event that we cancel a trip, you will receive notification by email/phone at least 120 days prior to the tour’s departure and a full refund of all deposits and payments will be issued within 10 days of notification.
Spirit of Italy Tours does not give refunds of deposits or final payments for tours that commence as scheduled, except as follows below.
In the event tour participant must cancel the land tour reservation, the cancellation will become effective upon receipt of written cancellation. Cancellation charges are based on the number of days from the time Spirit of Italy Tours is notified of your cancellation, to the start of the services provided according to the following schedule:
-- 4 months prior (June 30, 2019) -- $500 per person cancellation fee
-- 3 months prior (July 31, 2019) – 25% of total travel services per person
-- 2 months prior (August 31, 2019) – 50% of total travel services per person
-- 1 month prior (September 30, 2019 – 75% of total travel services per person
-- 14 days or less (October 16, 2019) – 100 % of total travel services per person
No refund will be made for any unused portions of the trip.
Spirit of Italy Tours will not be held responsible for any costs relating to the issuance and/or cancellation of airline tickets or visa fees. Voluntary cancellations due to political instability, acts of terrorism or government intervention will be subject to the above fees, provided the program is deemed by Spirit of Italy Tours to continue.