Montepulicanol Italy Florence Italy Florence Italy
Laos / Vietnam



Itinerary May 18-31, 2015

We begin our visit in Florence, the perfect example of a romantic Italian city. The warm red-gold roofs nestling in the bowl of hills, the silver ribbon of the Arno river winding gracefully through, the enormous cathedral presiding majestically over its flock, the stern tower of the Palazzo Vecchio soaring above as guardian—all these come together harmoniously to make an enchanting picture.

We spend our mornings in Florence visiting its most famed sites with a local guide, leaving afternoons free for you to visit (or revisit) other famed museums or architectural gems, and in the evening gorge in esteemed cafes. We stay at a lovely small hotel on the banks of the Arno, walking distance to the historic center.

We travel to our next stop by train with views of the verdant Tuscan countryside, to Montepulciano, known as the “perfect Renaissance city,” and the site for many films, including Much Ado About Nothing, Midsummer Nights Dream, and most recently, the Twilight Saga. Montepulciano’s chief attraction is architectural, with a number of small palaces, and also the number of excellent wineries. Besides our yoga classes, we will make treks into the countryside to farms and wineries, and a day trip to the medieval towns of Pienza and Siena. We stay in the old town at a converted 16th century convent.

For our final destination, we leave Tuscany for the neighboring district of Umbria, and an exquisite Yoga retreat center in the countryside. In the heart of verdant Umbria, in Castel Giorgio, only hills and nature surround the Locanda della Quercia Calante, a charming holiday farm in an old stone house, renovated according to natural architectural principles. Eighteen kilometers from Orvieto, in the province of Terni, it is the ideal spot for those who want a fully natural yoga vacation, in an environmentally friendly atmosphere at a natural pace of life. Energizing pool, holistic spa center with indoor and outdoor yoga rooms, and kitchen with local and vegetarian cuisine. We enjoy 2 classes a day with Stacey, three included meals a day, and optional afternoon visits to local sites and villages.


Stacey Millner Collins


Monday May 18, Day 1: Depart USA from Columbia

Tuesday May 19 Day 2: Florence Arrive by air in Florence Italy where you are met by your trip organizers and transferred to our hotel on the banks of the Arno River. Time to wander before dinner at one of Florence's tasty, nearby restaurants.

Wed. May 20 Day 3: Florence Morning Yoga at our hotel. Breakfast, then a guided walking tour of city, including the most important sights: Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo and Baptistry, culminating at lunch at a typical Trattoria. Afternoon walk to San Miniato Al Monte, arguably the prettiest church in Florence. Take in the panorama of the city and the surrounding hills, before admiring the Romanesque architecture, the frescoes and art treasures within. We’ll hear the monks sing vespers in Gregorian chants beforedeparting. Next we stop at the adjoining cemetery to take in the wonderful collection of Italian funerary art, then visit the small shop run by the monks that sells medicinal elixirs and tasty liquors. Dinner at another of Florence fine restaurants

Thur. May 21 Day 4: Florence Morning Yoga at our hotel before breakfast. Spend the morning with Michelangelo, visiting his family home, Casabuonarroti, then feasting on his visual work including the sculpture of David at the Academia, and sculptures at the Bargello. Afternoon free to visit the Uffizi or other sights. Evening feast of Florentine delicacies.

Fri. May 22 Day 5: Montepulciano Morning free to visit one of Florence's fascinating flea market, churches or museums. Midday depart by train to Chiusi, where we transfer by taxi to the exquisite medieval town of Montepulciano. Check into our charming hotel, a beautifully converted convent. We have a class in basic Italian at the local language school, then Happy Hour gathering before beginning a series of fabulous dinners.

Sat. May 23 Day 6: Montepulciano Morning yoga at the local theatre followed by breakfast. Guided walking tour of the town, and a talk on Montepulciano’s history, arts and crafts, and agriculture. Afternoon at leisure. Late afternoon wine-tasting at one of Montepulciano’s many famed “Cantina’s.”

Sun. May 24 Day 7: Montepulciano Morning yoga at the local theatre followed by breakfast. Walk through vineyards, orchards, and farms to Fattorino Pulcino, a delightful monastery-turned-farm-plus-restaurant for lunch and to shop for local food products. Walk back, or return by public bus. Late afternoon wine tasting continues at another local winery.

Mon. May 25 Day 8: Montepulciano Morning Yoga and breakfast. Day trip through scenic countryside by public bus (75 minutes each way) to visit the art and architectural gems in the town of Siena: the famed Duomo (Cathedral) and the Pinoteca Nazionale (Museum of Art) with commentary by Brad. On return, an opportunity for another wine tasting at one of Montepulciano’s famed Cantinas.

Tues. May 26 Day 9: Montepulciano Morning Yoga and breakfast. Then we take a public bus to The neighboring “perfect Medieval town” of Pienza to wander the charming streets and visit the local cathedral. Bus back to Montepulciano. Late afternoon visit another of the local Cantinas, and farewell dinner at our favorite local cafe.

Wed. May 27 Day 10: Umbria Breakfast at our hotel before departing for the train station, and transferring to our Yoga villa in Umbria. Check in, down time and first Yoga class. All of our meals are included during our stay and this will be the first of four memorable dinners together.

Thur. May 28-Sat. May 30 Days 11-13: Umbria On these days we indulge in our yoga intensive, with classes with Stacey in the mornings and afternoons. It is also possible to organize guided visits to the beautiful surroundings, including the art-filled towns of Orvieto, Siena, and Todi, and Etruscan sites from the Middle Ages, Bolsena Lake, with its many thermal springs, cooking classes, and wine and oil tastings and massages.

Sun. May 31 Day 14: Transfer to Rome. Transfer by private motor coach to the Rome international airport, or stay on and extend your visit to Italy.


Trip Package Includes:
  • RT Air from Charleston
  • Taxi transfers to Hotel
  • 3 nights at Hotel Silla Florence
  • Entrance fees: Duomo, Palazzzo Vecchio, & Baptistry, Casa Buenoroti, Bargallo and Academia in Florence
  • Entrance fees to the Pinoteca and Duomo in Siena
  • Professional Local Guide in Florence
  • Taxi to train station
  • Train Floreence to Chiusi and Taxi to Il Marzocco
  • 5 nights Albergo Marzocco
  • Local guided tour Monteculciano
  • Day trips to Siena, Fattoria Pulciano, and Pienza by local bus
  • Private bus transfer to Umbria
  • 4 nights at Locanda della Quercia Calante Retreat Center with three meals a day
  • Private Bus to Rome airport
  • Yoga classes most every day with Stacey, twice a day in Umbria
  • Pre-trip information package
  • Services of Made Surya and Judy Slattum, Trip organizers.

Not Included:
• Most meals (breakfast included at all hotels)
• Tips, Laundry, extra excursions.

$4940.00 includes RT air from Columbia or Charlotte. Ground only deduct $1500.00. Based on two people sharing a twin-bedded room. Single supplement: $535.00

Passport and Visa: A passport, valid six months from date of entry to Greece. Visa is not required for citizens of the USA. No health requirements.

Roommates: Single people may sign up for accommodations desired on a share basis and will be assigned a roommate as circumstances permit. If a roommate is unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a single supplement: $535.00

Deposit: A $350.00 check deposit made out to Danu Enterprises, is required to make a booking. Deposit, minus $75.00 cancellation fee until Dec. 1 2014, when a $350.00 penalty fee will become attached to all cancellations received in writing. Final payments are due March 15, 2015. after which cancellations will be charged 50% of final payments. There will be no refunds one month before departure. Changes in exchange rate or rise of petrol taxes may affect the tour price. Trip is limited to 16 people with a minimum of 12.

Accommodations: Generally rooms have two single beds or double with modern facilities. All accommodations are locally owned, clean and comfortable.

Food: In recent published reports, the Mediterranean diet was judged to be the healthiest in western countries, with its emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, light oils, low-fat dairy products, protein rich olives, and light use of meats.

Weather: May is a beautiful month to visit Italy. Some wild flowers are still in bloom, and it's warm but not yet hot.

Tour Organizer/ Leader: Judy Slattum MFA is a professional tour organizer and University Instructor who has been leading study tours to Italy since 1995.

Stacey Millner CollinsYoga Instructor:
Stacey Millner-Collins, E-RYT 500

Stacey has cultivated a thriving yoga community in Columbia, South Carolina at her studio, City Yoga ( which she opened in 2003. She has been a spiritual seeker for her entire adult life and has tasted the beauty of many traditions. Her passion is to unite various spiritual traditions in a way that celebrates the joy of living a fully embodied existence. Described as a teacher who combines soulful inspiration with precise biomechanical instruction, Stacey believes that the practice of Yoga is deeply transformational because, as Rumi wrote, “Only from the heart can you touch the sky.” She began her yoga practice in 1994 and shortly thereafter lived and studied yoga for several months in Varanasi, India, accompanied by her husband and two young daughters. Upon her return in 1998, Stacey began teaching full time. She began her studies with John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga, in 2001. She was certified in the Anusara method in 2006. Stacey has also had the great fortune to study extensively with the renowned Hindu Tantric scholars Drs. Douglas Brooks, Bill Mahony, and Paul Muller-Ortega.

Bradford R. Collins: Professor Collins received his B.A. in American Studies from Amherst College in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Art History from Yale University in 1980. Before arriving at the University of South Carolina in 1988 he taught at the University of British Columbia and Florida State University. The culmination of his training and early work in 19th century French painting was an anthology devoted to Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies Bergère, “12 Views of Manet’s ‘Bar’ (Princeton, 1996), which has become a standard text for methodology classes. Over the past twenty years, however, his focus has gradually shifted to American art and criticism of the postwar period. His research topics have ranged widely from Clement Greenberg and Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art, particularly Andy Warhol, the subject of his current book project. In 2012 two of his books were published, Mark Rothko, the Decisive Decade: 1940-1950 (Rizzoli) and Pop Art: The Independent Group to Neo Pop, 1952-1990 (Phaidon). Dr. Collins was also honored that year by his inclusion in the Princeton Review’s The 300 Best Professors (Random House).

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