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8 Days Tai Chi and Qi Gong Retreat in Abruzzo, Italy

  • Valcocchiara Retreat, Via Pio XII, Montenero Val Cocchiara 86080, Isernia, Italy

8 Days Tai Chi and Qi Gong Retreat in Abruzzo, Italy

  • Valcocchiara Retreat, Via Pio XII, Montenero Val Cocchiara 86080, Isernia, Italy

Hiking and Martial Arts Retreat italy

Enjoy a retreat of relaxation, sports, wellness, and nutritious food in the beautiful setting of the national park of Abruzzo and Molise. During this retreat, you will practice Tai Chi, Qigong, and hiking. You will have two wonderful hikes to the peaks of the Mainarde mountain range which measures more than 2,000 meters high, ride on horseback through the beautiful marsh valley (Pantano), relax in the retreat’s spa, and enjoy unforgettable landscapes.

Highlights

  • Horseback riding sessions
  • Tai Chi and Qigong classes
  • A visit of the village and ancient water mill
  • Hiking and trekking in the Mainarde mountains
  • Water, fruits, and snack available all day long
  • Pick up from the bus or train station
  • 3 daily delicious organic meals
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 8 days with instruction
  • Italian, Spanish, English
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Your cozy dwelling - completely surrounded by nature - is an ideal center for retreats and residential seminars. It is a place suitable for travelers and groups that wish to reconnect with the purity of nature. The locale is rustic, but with every comfort where you can discover the simple pleasures of life, engage in outdoor activities, take long walks, and get in tune with the rhythms of nature.

When you cross the retreat’s threshold, you’ll soon sense that you’re becoming part of a big family. When the time comes when you eventually depart, you’ll

leave invigorated with an uncluttered mind. Thanks to the overall excellence of design, the retreat’s atmosphere is extremely enjoyable and relaxed. All activities are facilitated by the arrangement of the interior and exterior spaces of the house, specifically designed to put guests at ease during their stay.

Morning breakfasts are unforgettable (with cakes and homemade jams), not to mention having cocktails in the garden. You will have lunch and dinner in the communal lounge, where you’ll savor succulent meals made with local ingredients. In this room, there is a large stone fireplace where one can chat with other guests, have a homemade sip of liquor, or read a good book.

The lack of dividing walls between the kitchen and living room encourages a sense of authentic sharing that’s hard to forget.

The house is an ideal starting point for wonderful hikes in the park, be they short or long: there’s trekking suitable for all levels of hikers. Walkers will be in their element.

The farmstead, built taking shape from a skilfully restored old ruin, maintaining as architectural reference, the portals and beautiful stone houses of the nearby village of Montenero Val Cocchiara, offers breathtaking views of the Mainarde mountains. Anywhere, space and time to dedicate to oneself. It all meets around the central house, where meals are eaten; one can enjoy the large fireplace or relax in the small indoor spa.

The main host is the stone, skillfully and lovingly chiseled, and the wood, natural elements used in accordance with the fundamentals of sustainability. The interior decor is simple, but charming, carefully chosen and favoring recycled materials and old furniture.

You sleep in warm rooms, plain and comfortable/cozy, each one different the other and all created with passion and love for details. You may also enjoy the pool and outdoor drinking trough totally submerged in the green of the hill and then laze in the sun on beautiful summer days. Seasonal hammocks invite you to long naps in the afternoon hours.

It’s a must, in winter when the snowfall is abundant, to relax in the indoor spa, equipped with a large sauna, colored sofas, and a small natural resin pool with hot 38 degrees Celsius water, hydromassage, and cervical waterfall.

From the picture window, you can admire the colorful sight offered by the alternating seasons, a fascinating and ever-changing show: the deep green summer, autumn pastels, the snow-covered peaks. The bright room where the courses are held has a huge sliding glass door which opens directly onto the mountains, and is enriched by a fireplace made of local stone and an old cast iron stove.

The property has two large outdoor terraces, completely immersed in the green environment, where you can do yoga, meditation, or simply relish the sunsets which move even the most stolid minds. In summer, a tarpaulin made of natural elements shields the sun from one of the two terraces fires blaze in the braziers scattered on the lawn. In the garden, there are many places to find tranquility and also enjoy a bit of healthy solitude.

Day 1 - Friday

  • Welcoming guests to the retreat center and check-in to rooms
  • 17:30 Visit the facility and get familiar with the week’s schedule
  • 18:00 Tai Chi or Qigong
  • 19:30 Welcome drink on the outdoor terrace and then dinner inside

Day 2 - Saturday

  • 07:30 Tai chi or Qigong
  • 09:00 Breakfast
  • 11:00 Visit the local area, Montenero village, and take a short hike
  • 13:30 Lunch and leisure time (relax in the swimming pool, spa, etc.)
  • 18:00 Tai Chi or Qigong in the Pantano valley. Relax in the valley with a suggestive drink
  • 20:30 Dinner at home

Day 3 - Sunday

  • 07:00 Breakfast.
  • 09:00 Hiking in the Mainarde mountains, Tai Chi or Qigong in the open air, and afterwards a packed lunch
  • 17:30 Leisure time (relax in swimming pool, spa, etc.)
  • 20:00 Happy hour in the garden followed by dinner

Day 4 - Monday

  • 07:30 Tai Chi or Qigong
  • 09:00 Breakfast
  • 11:00 Leisure (relax in swimming pool, spa, etc.)
  • 13:30 Lunch
  • 16:30 Hiking
  • 20:30 Pizza in country side

Day 5 - Tuesday

  • 07:30 Tai Chi or Qigong
  • 09:00 Breakfast
  • 11:00 Hiking
  • 13:30 Lunch
  • 14:00 Leisure (relax in swimming pool, spa, etc.)
  • 17:00 Horseback riding, Tai Chi or Qigong, and relax in the valley with a suggestive drink
  • 21:00 Dinner at home

Day 6 - Wednesday

  • 07:00 Breakfast.
  • 09:00 Hiking in the Mainarde mountains, Tai Chi or Qigong in the open air, and afterwards a packed lunch
  • 17:00 Leisure (relax in swimming pool, spa, etc.)
  • 20:30 Dinner at home

Day 7 - Thursday

  • 07:30 Tai Chi and Qigong
  • 09:00 Breakfast
  • 11:00 Hiking
  • 13:30 Lunch
  • 17:00 Tai Chi and Qigong
  • 19:00 Dinner, drinks, and smooth jazz to celebrate the last night together

Day 8 - Friday

  • • 07:30 Tai Chi and Qigong
  • • 09:00 Breakfast
  • • 12:00 Farewell

Please note that Tai Chi and Qigong instruction will be adapted according to each individual’s level of experience, from the novice to advanced.

During this retreat, you will hike everyday. You will have two wonderful hikes to the peaks of the Mainarde mountain range which measures more than 2,000 meters high, ride on horseback through the beautiful marsh valley (Pantano), and enjoy unforgettable landscapes.

  • Michael De Marco

    In 1965, DeMarco began studying kuntao-silat, a hybrid of Chinese and Indonesian arts in the Willem Reeders lineage. Mike balanced his study of martial arts with academic pursuits and employment that nurtured his familiarity with Asian cultures and their martial traditions. Mike utilized his martial art training, academic studies, and travel experience when writing for various periodicals and books. He wrote more than 75 articles for martial art periodicals. In addition to publishing and writing, Mike consulted and appeared in a few national television documentaries about martial arts.

Montenero Val Cocchiara is a village of just 450 souls, a little gem hidden in the far north of Molise and the national park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise. From Valcocchiara Retreat, you can reach the ancient village with a pleasant five-minute walk. Here you can wander among the cobblestones of the old town, admire the beautiful stone houses, or eat a pizza in the only tiny trattoria. In the village, there is also a pharmacy and some cafès.

Economy is characterized for the horse and cattle farms, activities that combine well with the unpolluted environment and the atmosphere of the places which make it a destination of naturalistic tourism.

Until a few years ago, the town was known throughout Italy for a particular event which takes place every year in August: the Pentro Rodeo. A competition which revoked the American West competitions with wild horses (Pentro horse, pertaining to this area) ridden without a saddle in the magnificent setting of the Marsh, now the major tourist attraction of the place.

Nearby places

  • Castel di sangro, 5 kilometers
  • Isernia, 20 kilometers
  • Naples, 130 kilometers - 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Rome, 200 kilometers

During the retreat, you will be served three daily meals. Enjoy memorable morning breakfasts (with cakes and homemade jams) and the aperitifs in the garden and summer moonlight dinners. You will dine together as a group in a common lounge enjoying delicious meals. In the background is a large stone fireplace where one can stop and chat with other guests, sip some homemade tonic liquor, or read a good book.

All good yogi well know how positive the influence of natural environment is on your body and mind. The rest is done by the company, the movement, and the food. The food arrives on your plate straight from the garden and, anyway, Valcocchiara Retreat tries to privilege small local suppliers as well as with cheeses made from cows raised on pasture in Pantano, magnificent grassy area just minutes from home.

You will dine together in a common lounge, enjoying delicious zero kilometer meals; in the background, a large stone fireplace where one can stop and chat with other guests, sip some homemade tonic liquor or read a good book.

During your free time, you may also enjoy the pool or outdoor drinking trough, totally submerged in the green of the hill and then laze in the sun on beautiful summer days. Seasonal hammocks invite you to long naps in the afternoon hours.

You can go out for a walk with the dogs among hazelnut trees and blackberry bushes, on dirt trails just beaten by a pack of wolves or a herd of deer, you can see dogs basking in the sun or diving in the snow. Often, more simply, you can enjoy the comforts of home: the fire from the large stone fireplace, food, friends, and good wine.

Those who intend to engage in more active and less “contemplative” pursuits will have a lot to do and you can bet that, at the end of the day, all you want is a comfortable bed in which to let go until dawn of the following day.

It’s also a must to relax in the indoor spa, equipped with a large sauna, colored sofas, and a small natural resin pool with hot 38 degrees Celsius water, hydromassage, and cervical waterfall.

From the picture window, you can admire the colorful sight offered by the alternating seasons, a fascinating and ever-changing show: the deep green summer, autumn pastels, the snow-covered peaks.

For those looking for something more dynamic, there are many possibilities for a stay full of sports and adventure such as billiard table, birdwatching, cycling, mountain biking, nature trails, off road excursion on two and four wheels, swimming in the lakes, tai chi, and qigong.

  • 1 guided visit of the village and ancient water mill
  • 1 horse riding in the magnificent Pantano Valley
  • 2 guided trekkings
  • 3 daily delicious organic meals
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily guided hiking trips
  • Daily yoga classes
  • Pick up from Castel di Sangro bus station or Isernia train station
  • Water, fruits, and snack available all day long
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Medical insurance
  • Pick up from Rome, Naples, or Pescara

Driving directions from Naples

  • Take the highway A1 direction Roma and exit Caianello.
  • From here, continue for about 70 kilometers following signs for Venafro, Castel Di Sangro, Roccaraso.
  • Five kilometers before Castel di Sangro, immediately before a small level crossing, turn left and follow the signs for “Montenero V.”
  • After five kilometers, you will find a cemetery. Go up right after following the signs “church.”
  • Continue to climb until you find a small church in the top right corner.
  • From here, follow the “Valcocchiara Retreat” signs if you have four-wheel drive.

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) or at Naples International Airport (NAP). From the airport, you could hire a car or take a bus ride to get to the retreat venue.

Arrival by bus

Valcocchiara Retreat highly recommends that you take a bus ride to get to the retreat venue. It's easy, fast, and comfortable. In order to reach Castel di Sangro, there is a daily bus service with mixed schedules, “round trip” for Naples, Rome, or Pescara. From the bus station, Valcocchiara Retreat offers free guest pick up and transport.

Arrival by train

From Rome, take a train service and arrive in Isernia. Valcocchiara Retreat will pick you up from the train station.

  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on departure.

Testimonials

  • Review by Linda Salemme

    "Marvelous !! A place where you can get in touch with nature and allow it to cradle you once again. Oustanding accomodation and organization. The hosts are very friendly and discreet. The food is of excellent, genuine quality. I highly recommend it."

    Valcocchiara Retreat Facebook Page, edited