Sacred Feminine Art + Yoga Retreat in Tuscany
May 13-20th 2022 – REGISTRATION FULL
with Sarah Brokke & Mary Bue
“Embracing your curiosity and creativity is key to the magic” ―
Follow the spark of your craving to the enchanting quality of light at dusk, the night sky growing bright in its waxing towards fullness, igniting the spark of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt + the Moon. Sink into the undulating hills ripe with vines and olive groves, the abundance of Ceres, Great Mother Goddess of Agriculture. Open & expand your consciousness to receive the “greatest concentration of universally renowned works of art in the world” according to Unesco.
Follow the seduction … Allow for your senses to be delighted with sweetness, curiosity, elegance, exploration, and delight, blooming into the archetype of Venus. Spellbinding, magnificent vistas await as we traverse the urban and rural landscapes from the city to the vineyards, the air tinged with lush sea mist.
Follow the curiosity … What will Fortuna reveal? What will the Fates decide (as there is limited space to join us – what rare combination of gatherers will it be)?! Tuscany hosts a wealth of galleries, ancient sites, museums, winding cobblestone streets, cafes, enotecas (wine bars) … equally enticing are the rolling hills to softly contemplate while enjoying a book by the villa’s pool or dipping warm crusty bread into fresh olive oil. We’ll traverse through “historic towns and cities, most of which are medieval and Renaissance time capsules magically transported to the modern day.” – Lonely Planet
Everything is optional
This experience is for YOU to sense into your sparks, senses, curiosity. We honor and celebrate your agency and choice. If you need to stay at the villa and chill by the pool for a day, or take a nap during yoga, or choose another adventure other than our itinerary, YES! DO IT! We would love for you to take the greatest care of yourself, rest, rejuvenate, luxuriate. Everything is optional.
Please note that it is not required to know how to speak Italian! However, it is always courteous and very welcome to know a few words of this beautiful language.
Per favore. Please.
Grazie. Thank you.
Prego. You’re welcome.
Mi scusi. Excuse me.
Mi dispiace. I am sorry.
Buon giorno. Good morning.
Buona sera. Good evening.
Buona notte. Good night.
Piacere. I am pleased to meet you.
Ti Amo. I LOVE YOU!
Sei Bello. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Sei Una Dea. YOU ARE A GODDESS!
We will share a few more helpful phrases in the months to come and there are many apps (like Duo Lingo) that are fun for learning language!
We are grateful to partner with Undiscovered Tuscany for this adventure!
With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality business, Gianni, with the help of his family, started Undiscovered Tuscany, LLC offering customizable tours to travelers looking to get to know the Italian way of life. Gianni realized back then that there had to be a better way to explore Tuscany beyond the mega tour busses and crowds. Undiscovered Tuscany thus began as a way to view Italy at a slower, easier pace.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to call this ‘work’. Every day, I get to see Italy through the eyes of someone who has never experienced it before, and it brings me joy to know that I can share my passion with them. We welcome you to join us on our journey. A presto!”
Gianni Vanni Founder and Owner Undiscovered Tuscany, LLC
Experience Italy through art history, creativity, and explorations of the sacred feminine with Sarah Brokke. Grounding ourselves in the Tuscan countryside, we will spend the first few days of our time together through lectures and experiential learning, which will include creative journaling and drawing prompts drawing from sensory experiences.
We will spend time soaking in the inspiration of Florence, visiting museums like the Uffizi, where we will see work from the Baroque artist Artemisia Gentilischi, to cathedrals like Santa Croce where we will see a monument by artist Fèlicie de Fauveau.
Yoga’s many limbs will be offered as options to explore, guided lovingly by musician & yoga instructor Mary Bue’s warm, down-to-earth teaching style. We will practice aspects of yoga (yoga is loosely translated to “yoke” or “unite”) including asana (postures & flowing sequences), pranayama (conscious breath practice), meditation, self-reflection (svadhyaya), mantra & sacred sound (manas loosely means “mind” & tra means “tool / technique” or “protection”).
Mary will weave in themes of the Sacred Feminine to our daily practices with visualizations, music, meditations, poetry, and ritual, and will also facilitate our welcoming, full moon, and closing ceremonies.
We are also grateful to be graced by Mary’s friend and master teacher Tara Cindy Sherman for her other-worldly gift of guiding Yoga Nidra during the Full Moon evening events!
Start where you are; no previous yoga experience required. Everything is optional. We celebrate your safety, comfort, and agency.
Everything is optional! You can always choose to rest, join, or find another adventure within this itinerary. This schedule is subject to change. Please note that our excursions include walking (often on ancient, uneven cobblestone streets) and stairs.
Friday, May 13th:
Creating Sacred Space
Gentle Movement / Yoga Nidra / Guided Relaxation
Saturday, May 14th:
Yoga asana (posture practices) + meditation
Creating space in your body for creativity
Engaging the creative impulse
Responding to nature through your senses with drawing
Historical grounding in Italy
Sunday, May 15th:
Yoga asana + meditation
Tuscany exploration through travel journaling and experiential drawing
Afternoon sacred rest/reflection
Evening lecture/conversation about artists we will see in Florence
Monday, May I6th:
Florence Day 1: Duomo, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella
Lunch in Florence
Evening gentle yoga asana / Full Moon Ceremony
+ Yoga Nidra with Guest Presenter Tara Cindy Sherman
Tuesday, May 17th:
Florence Day 2: Art History!
Early day. 8:15 am: Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Michelangelo
Lunch in Florence
After dinner Concert by Mary
Wednesday, May 18th:
Florence Day 3 – Choose your own adventure:
Morning sketching for an hour or two at the Accademie
Visit the David
And/or go shopping
Florence is your oyster!
Lunch in Florence
Thursday, May 19th:
Day of soaking in time in the Tuscan Countryside
Gentle Yoga + Yoga Nidra
Friday, May 20th:
We will be taking three day trips (morning to afternoon) to Florence (Firenze), exploring the art, museums, historic sites, cafes, winding streets, and wherever our fancy may take us (the last day is a “choose your own adventure).” Please note there are stairs and uneven cobblestone streets for some of these excursions – alternatives can be arranged. This itinerary is subject to change.
Florence Visit Descriptions
These are among the sites we are currently planning to visit, but you will also have the opportunity to visit more.
FLORENCE DAY ONE
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
The “Duomo”, as the Cathedral is called, is the most important religious building in Florence since 1296 when its construction started. The beautiful green, white and pink exterior draw visitors into the beautiful mosaics of the interior floors. Upon its completion, the cathedral was the largest Christian church in the world before the building of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. Known specifically for its dome, designed by the Architect Filippo Brunelleschi in 1420 is the greatest masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and still the biggest masonry dome in the world. We will spend some of our time at the Duomo with the sculpture on the facade of Santa Reparata.
Basilica of Santa Croce
A 10 minute walk through the winding streets of Florence, will lead us to the Basilica of Santa Croce. This Franciscan church with Gothic architecture was built at the end of the 1200’s and it is known as the “Temple of Italian Glories”, where very important Italians are buried such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini and many others. Paintings, frescoes and stained glass windows adorn the interior, and we will focus, in particular, on a monument by sculptor Fèlicie de Fauveau. Also of note, within the ancient convent, the oldest leather workshop of Florence where items are still handmade by skilled artisans.
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella
On our way to this Basilica, we will stop for lunch at the Mercato Centrale. Built on the western side of Florence by the Dominican monks at the end of the 13th century, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella has a stunning Renaissance facade in white and green marble designed by Leon Battista Alberti. Important art masterpieces by Masaccio, Giotto, Ghirlandaio, Brunelleschi are housed within, and we will plan to spend time with a painting by Paultilla Nelli, considered to be Florence’s first female artist. In addition, in the ancient convent you will find the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, a perfumery and herbalist shop which since 1612 makes lotions, soaps, body and home fragrances as well as natural medicines following the ancient recipes of the monks.
FLORENCE DAY TWO
We will arrive early to the Uffizi, with the plan of starting the day with some incredible art! The Gallery entirely occupies the first and second floors of the large building constructed between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Giorgio Vasari with the building’s original intent to be a legal and administrative office building for the city of Florence (uffizi means offices!). The collections of paintings from the 14th-century and Renaissance period include incredible masterpieces, and the inspiration can be a bit overwhelming. We can plan to see the work of Artemisia Gentileschi, Sophonisba Anguisciola, and Lavinia Fontana, as well as works by Sandro Boticelli, Caravaggio and Raphael.
After our time at the Uffizi, we will stroll across the Ponte Vecchio towards lunch. Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, (meaning ‘Old Bridge’), was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks. You will see many artisans selling their jewelry as we cross the Arno.
Following lunch (and maybe some gelato!), we’ll walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo for an incredible view of Florence. Built on the hills in 1869, located south Florence’s historic center following the design of the architect Giuseppe Poggi.
San Miniato al Monte
Further up, we will take our time walking to San Miniato al Monte, also called San Miniato, completed in 1062, and the facade was finished in the 12th century. It is considered one of the finest examples of the Tuscan Romanesque style of architecture. It is located above Piazza Michelangelo, and hosts a beautiful cemetery on its grounds, and has stunning views. We will spend some time taking in the exquisite details in this final Basilica of our time together, and enjoy the view!
FLORENCE DAY THREE … is up to you!
There is so much to see, we wanted to leave time for you to explore. Suggested itineraries will be provided!
(Much of the above information can be found and expanded upon at visitflorence.com and https://www.timeout.com/florence/things-to-do/best-things-to-do-in-florence)
Our Villa at Varramista “is a timeless place where intellectuals of every era, famous people from the international and Italian artistic, cultural and business world have stayed. An earthly paradise surrounded by nature. An estate just for its guests.
“A symbol of style and quality throughout the world, appreciated by the Italian and international public for its fine wines, tastings and events. Living in contact with nature, surrounded by 400 hectares of parkland.
We will be residing in the Frasca Farmhouse Villa. Furnished in Tuscan style, the rooms have been designed to give a traditional feel and are fully equipped with all mod-cons, from satellite TV to Wi-Fi internet, air conditioning, heating, telephone, fax, and stereo. Bathrooms are provided with hairdryer. The washing machine and dryer are in a communal laundry room. Each apartment has its own outdoor area with garden table and chairs and sunshade.
The swimming pool is provided with loungers, beach umbrellas, deck chairs and tables
The Villa has a fabulous history you can read about on their site and is currently owned by the founders of Vespa scooters!
Please enjoy a scroll through the slideshow below for images of the villa and a few photos of rooms & toilets.
*The Farmhouse Villa is from the 1400’s and has not yet been updated to offer accessible toilets. Please do reach out with any questions about accessibility, and we also ask for information on the registration forms.
- Art + Yoga instruction
- Transport to-from the airport (at pre-arranged times)
- Lodging (variable rates based on occupancy)
- Transport on excursions
- All meals while at Villa (breakfast & dinner, some lunches – mostly plant-based / all vegetarian)
- Wine, coffee & tea
- Art supplies
- Yoga mats (feel free to bring your own)
- Admission / entrance fees to Duomo, Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, The Uffizi
- Optional instruction with Sarah in Florence
- Private concert at Villa by Mary
- Full moon ceremony
- Food/bevvies outside of the villa
- Travel insurance (Mary highly recommends AIG Travel Guard)
- Medical care
- international phone / internet fees your provider may have
- Passport or visa fees if you plan to stay longer
We will have a few arranged pick up times for your convenience both arriving and departing from our villa from Florence’s airport and possibly Pisa’s, as well as the train station(s). We will be in close contact about your arrival and departure plans to coordinate.
Arrival to Italy by plane (www.alitalia.it , www.expedia.it, www.volagratis.it)
The “Galileo Galilei” International Airport in Pisa and the “Amerigo Vespucci” Airport in Florence are little less than thirty minutes by car and they are both linked to the main European cities with daily flights.
Some people may enjoy arriving in Italy early and exploring. You might fly into Rome and take the train to Florence …
Arrival to Florence by train ( www.trenitalia.it )
The Pontedera and San Romano-Montopoli-Santa Croce stations are nearby and ensure frequent links between the estate and the main Tuscan cities.
I’ve been a practicing and exhibiting visual artist for over 20 years, 17 of which have been devoted to teaching at a collegiate level. Few experiences are more powerful and enriching than combining travel and education, which I’ve had the great fortune to do with my students over the years. I could not be more thrilled to share a place so deeply inspiring and instrumental in the path of my work, having attended graduate school in Florence for the first year of my MFA. We’ll explore and stretch our creativity together through the lens of the sacred feminine. Whether you are an experienced, practicing artist, or don’t have any formal training or experience in visual art, this retreat will enrich your creative practice, and is designed to advance and enliven your artistic path. All we ask is that you come to this retreat with curiosity and an open, inquisitive mind. Any questions? Happy to answer any you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out my most recent work on Instagram @sarahbrokke
I am a lifelong musician, traveler, poet, journal writer, vegan, Nada Yogi, adventure seeker, retreat guide, solitude craver, and yoga instructor of 11+ years. I’m based out of Minneapolis, roaming this beautiful world as much as possible. I am grateful to be named “Best Songwriter” of 2020 by City Pages and have been writing music and performing since 1998, with 8 albums out now! I believe deeply in the richness of a creative life that is ever unfolding. One doesn’t have to play an instrument, write a novel, paint like Frida, or write like Mary Oliver to live a creative life. Every moment that unfolds offers opportunities to make something beautiful. While this may seem like a lot of pressure, rest in knowing that potential is ever unfolding, even in the silent and restorative times (like sleeping!). I look forward to sharing this beautiful & inspiring place with you in 2022. Please let me know if you have ANY questions. I am pretty much an open book (most of which can be discovered in this website or listening to my music!). Contact me via the contact link here or at marybue @ gmail.com
We are blown away and SO grateful for your interest in joining us– the response has been incredible! In our attempt to make this registration as fair as possible, Sarah and I have decided to do a “Registration Lottery,” leaving it up to the sacred hands of Goddess Fortuna to determine this once-in-a-lifetime collection of retreat-goers.
Fortuna holds the cornucopia (horn of plenty), from which all good things flowed in abundance, with the ability to bestow prosperity … She also holds a ship’s rudder which indicates her power to control fate … Sometimes she sits enthroned with a wheel built into her royal chair to represent the turning of fate and of fortune.
We will release registration information to all of those who expressed interest via Google Form on Thursday, March 25th and open the registration to the general public on Friday, March 26th.
On Sunday, March 28th, under the full moon in Libra (sign of balance and justice), all who have filled out our registration form with intent to pay the deposit (linked below) will be assigned a number and entered into the lottery with a random number generator. We will then contact you directly with the news and share payment options.
- Determine if you are willing to pay a $600 non-refundable deposit within 24 hours after our lottery drawing on March 28th.
- Complete the REGISTRATION FORM below anytime between now and Sunday, March 28th at 9am CST.
- The REGISTRATION FORM contains questions about accessibility, allergies, and room + roommate preferences. We will do our very best to accommodate!
- We will pick the first lottery “winners” on the late morning of Sunday, March 28th and you’ll be notified via email.
- If you should decide after being chosen that would like to decline and not pay $600 deposit within 24 hours to reserve your place, simply let us know and we’ll move onto the next number drawn (through a random number generator).
Retreat size is limited to 10-14 guests (depending on room configurations).
$2,500 – Shared room (two twin beds or sharing one double bed)
$2,800 – Single room
$600 Deposit due within 24 hours of our first lottery drawing on March 28th (or within any subsequent drawings as we fill the rooms). If you are mailing a check, we will allow for a little extra time. Checks can also be dropped off with Sarah in Duluth, or Mary in Minneapolis.
We will share how to pay after your name has been drawn: Please note that preferred payment options are check, Apple Pay, or Zelle. A small fee will be added for PayPal or Venmo due to their admin charges.
Full payment is due by January 15th, 2022.
As the retreat approaches, you will receive an information packet (PDF, sent to email) with more information about Italy, getting there, what to pack, cultural etiquette, and some helpful Italian language phrases. You’ll also receive a waiver of liability to sign, knowing that you choosing to participate in this experience at your own risk.
Full refund (minus deposit) before August 31st 2021*
50% refund (minus deposit) between Sept 1st to January 15th, 2022*
No refunds after January 15th, 2022*
*In the case of a 4th wave of the pandemic, catastrophic world events, or Italy not allowing foreign tourism in May 2022, your deposit / payments will be refunded less a small administration fee OR, if you choose, pushed forward to a determined rescheduled date.
** Foreign travel may require vaccinations for COVID-19. Please take into consideration before registering for this retreat that there will be no refunds for anyone who doesn’t get the potentially required vaccination for foreign air travel.
*** In case of extreme personal circumstances, we will consider full refunds less small administration fee on a case by case basis if your spot can be filled.