Tuscany Retreat, September 22-27, Creative Writing & Yoga with Tara Stiles & Ann Garvin

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Join Tara Stiles and Ann Garvin for a restorative and creative retreat in the Tuscan countryside September 22-27, 2024. In our private boutique villa you will be surrounded with breathtaking views, mesmerizing sunsets, and a wonderful sense of peace – the perfect setting to nurture yourself and your creative spirit. Set your body at ease to let your mind flow with ideas – as we enjoy la dolce vita together, with just the right dose of local cuisine, culture, creativity and wellness.

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Located on the border of the regions of Tuscany and Umbria, Porsenna Hotel & Spa is a grand country house resort hotel amid the fields and rolling hills of the countryside and a short distance from Lake Chiusi and Lake Trasimeno. Our group will enjoy an exclusive stay and private book-out of the hotel during our week together. The hotel boasts spacious and salubrious guest rooms, the newly opened on-site restaurant, an outdoor pool, as well as massage rooms. Beautiful gardens surround the buildings with various areas for us to meet, conduct our creative writing workshops, as well as stretch out in the daily yoga classes offered to guests. Here, we are surrounded by historic and ancient Etruscan towns, hilltop villages, and storybook scenery. It gives us a perfect home base to explore the area on our day trips and see what this green heart of Italy is all about!


Our day trips will allow us to experience the many unique landscapes and activities that this area has to offer. We will begin our week with a visit to the nearby Etruscan hilltop town of Chiusi, where we’ll enjoy a walking tour and a stop for lunch. Later that day, we’ll head to another beautiful village and an award-winning design hotel for an olive oil tasting, learning from an olive oil sommelier about the nuances and profiles of this elixir. We will perhaps (as this will fall near harvest season) get to taste some of the brand new oil for the year. The next day, we’ll venture a little further afield towards the Val d’Orcia and its iconic rolling Sienese hills to a cheese farm in the area of Pienza where the famed pecorino cheese is made. We’ll explore by the hill town of Montepulciano and enjoy an Italian coffee tasting in one of the historic cafes. By the middle of the week, we will recharge with spa treatments on site and down time before heading out that evening to explore a beautiful Umbrian town and have a cozy dinner out.

We will also fit in a visit to the town of Cortona, famed from Under the Tuscan Sun, and have time to enjoy some time in the town for shopping and gelato. We’ll round out the week with a wine tasting visit and lunch – how can we be in this part of Italy without partaking in its sacred potion? Finally, we’ll partake in a cooking class to prepare our final dinner together.


Healthful food is part of the retreat, drawing on the in-season harvests from the local area. Daily breakfast is prepared on-site, and the itinerary includes most dinner and lunches as well, many incorporating a visit or experience in the nearby area. We’ve carefully chosen delicious and fresh meals from renowned restaurants and chefs that will give guests an expansive experience of the cuisine. Throughout the week, we will get to sample several of the regional specialties like olive oil, coffee, wine, pecorino cheese, maybe some truffle or porcini if we are lucky!  We’ll relish in a range of local eateries, like cantinas, family osterias, and award-winning chefs, and we’ll have hands-on experiences with an Italian cooking class.

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TARA STILES is the co-founder of Strala Yoga, best-selling author and wellness expert. Tara revolutionized yoga for millions, away from dogma and rigidity toward moving with ease, through a yoga practice that supports your life and feels like you. Her podcast, Feel Better with Tara Stiles, is a deep dive on topics and issues we all move through in life like health, purpose, family, relationships and career. Strala Yoga is practiced in more than 100 countries, and thousands of Guides are leading Strala classes daily around the globe. Tara leads daily yoga with thousands of people on the Strala Yoga app. She has been profiled by The New York Times, Times of India, The Times (UK), and featured in most major national and international magazines.

ANN GARVIN Ph.D. is the USA Today Bestselling author of five funny and sad novels. She writes about people who do too much in a world that asks too much from them. Ann worked as an RN and after receiving her Ph.D. taught Exercise Physiology, Sport Psychology Nutrition, Stress Management, and Global Health for thirty years in the University of Wisconsin system. She currently teaches creative writing at Drexel University in their low residency Masters of Fine Arts program and has held positions at Miami University and Southern New Hampshire in their Masters of Fine Arts Creative Writing programs.

Ann is the founder of the multiple award-winning Tall Poppy Writers where she is committed to helping women writers succeed. She is a sought-after speaker on writing, leadership and health and has taught extensively in NY, San Francisco, LA, Boston, and at festivals across the country and in Europe.

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