April 18-22, 2018 - A Springtime Roman Learning Voyage: Renew. Regenerate. Reconnect - a 5 day/4 night Women's Retreat (in English)


Renew. Regenerate. Reconnect.

the program is now full


Join Dorian, several of the Italian faculty of the CIYO: Myriam Ines Giangiacomo, Maria Schiavo, Daniela Mattia, Emanuela, Photographer Artist/Yoga teacher/Essential Oil expert: Nousha Salimi and 12 other women during Springtime in Rome for an English-language revitalizing experience. We will use the lenses of the power and grace of women and the feminine as a way of organizing our exploration and our learning together.

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During our 5 days/4 nights together you will have a range of options:

  • hosted group sessions to test out new ideas, brainstorm on current challenges, or dialogue on topics of shared interest;
  • the precious treat of time to use as you wish: for yourself alone, with other travelers, or meeting up with local friends;
  • the option of a 1:1 coaching session with Dorian Baroni - note: can be accessed before, during or after the trip;
  • curated daily group outing options* that where we will focus on the visible and invisible influence of the feminine in Rome's Art, Architecture, Rituals, Food, History, Fashion, Politics and Business

* Here is a sampling of some of activities on offer to give you some idea of how we will spend our time:

  • a guided walk along the Via Appia Antica also known as Rome's Queen of Roads, where we will walk on roman road pavers worn by millenia of footsteps and transport in and out of the city,
  • a visit to the Villa Borghese to learn more about the life and power of Paolina Borghese, marvel at her statue and consider both the artistic mastery and challenging symbolism of Bernini's Daphne and Apollo or his Pluto and Persephone and then take a leisurely walk through one of Rome's most extensive historic center parks,
  • an optional afternoon tea break in the Chiostro del Bramante museum cafe behind Piazza Navona that has a secret view of some amazing Sibille,
  • a Roman cuisine exploration through a range of unique dinner experiences - from roman pizza to 5-star re-interpretations of traditional dishes to classic springtime Roman treats to Jewish Roman cooking, and onward through gelato, local wines, and more,
  • a walking reflection visit to the unusual Cimitero Acattolico to see the tombs of Shelley, Keats, Gramsci and many other expatriates who came to Rome over the centuries for love or for art,
  • an evening visit (less people, more atmosphere) to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums,
  • we will contribute funds to Casa Africa, a local non-profit set up to integrate recent refugees from Africa and the Middle East into Italian life. Maria Baroni, my cousin and a real live agent of change woman,  has been instrumental in organizing the free Italian language classes aspect of their offerings
  • unique itineraries and recommendations for additional optional visits, shopping expeditions, experiences, special walks will be provided to choose from during the 'open' afternoons - Some examples: ever wondered what a Mythraic altar looks like and why were the rites kept secret and never divulged? (you can find out in the church archeological site right across from our hotel);  in need of a spot of quiet? take a short walk up the hill from our hotel to enter the quiet of a medieval fortress convent of Agostine nuns and get to see early frescos and a secret cloister as a plus; how did the builders of the Pantheon design things just so, so that on April 21st at noon, the sunlight streams through the oculus at just the right angle to illuminate the main entrance and thus mark the birthday of the city (this year marks the city's 2771st birthday)? how did roman patrician women use their money and their influence to shape the architecture of the city? where is the best shoe shop that only Romans in the know know about? where is the best coffee granita with whipped cream in the roman empire, today? who was Lavinia and why did Virgil forget to give her lines to speak?
  • And of course, there will be time and space for lots of gentle unstructured meandering the streets of Rome's historic center for gelato, sightseeing, shopping and people watching, as well as learning and playing together.




Wednesday April 18

Day 0 Theme: Gathering - how we connect to self, others, the location, the habitual and the unusual

Something to consider as we start – why invite a new seeing and journal or sketching or photographing to ‘see’: The mind craves ease; it encourages the senses to recognize symbols, to gloss. It makes maps of our kitchen drawers and neighborhood streets; it fashions a sort of algebra out of life. And this useful, even essential – x is the route to work, y is the heft and feel of a nickel coin between your fingers. With habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us. We’d pass out every time we saw – actually saw – a flower. Imagine if we only got to see cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century; there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs.

A good journal entry – like a good song, or sketch or photography – ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye, the fingers, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry or sketch or photograph ought to be a love letter to the world

We need a habit to get through a day, to get to work, to feed our children. But habit is dangerous too. The act of seeing can quickly become unconscious and automatic…….

Leave home, leave the country, leave the familiar. Only then can routine experience – buying bread, walking through a town, eating food, even saying help – become new all over again.

(from Four Season in Rome by Anthony Doerr)

  • We slowly start to arrive and gather on the 18th
  • Lunch options: L'Asino D'Oro (15/20 minute walk away into Rione Monti - and on the way there or back take a stop and see the Moses by Machiavelli at the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli) or Propaganda Cafe' (10 minute walk away in the immediate neighborhood) or grab a sandwich and a drink and head  over to Parco Celimontana for an impromptu picnic
  • Recommended: load the Moovit app onto your phone for access to easy instructions on walking and bus and tram routes to locations of your choice
  • Close by informal afternoons options:

Note: our hotel is right next to the Colosseum, the Arch of Traiano, the Forum or the Palatine Hill - but although tempting to see it all on your first afternoon, you may want to wait to buy tickets/go see those sites as the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum visit and tickets are part of our plan for April 19th morning walk and see between 10am and 1:30/2pm - unless of course you absolutely want to see things twice or at your own afternoon pace

  • right across the street from the hotel: sweet archeological visit to the Basilica di San Clemente's archeological site to see the beautiful mosaics of the altar area, and the archeological trip down through layers of history: from XII century basilica to the remains of the original basilica from 392 to the roman home of the 1st Century A.D with internal spring water fed system that was restructured in the 2nd Century A.D. as a enter for the cult of the god Mythra (right across from the Hotel) - Open from 3pm to 6pm - 10 Euros.
  • 10 minute walk from the hotel - nature walk to and through Parco Celimontana for your own 360 in nature - free
  • 10 minute walk from the hotel - mindfulness time in Santo Stefano in Rotondo, a beautiful round church that is being restored inside but that still offers a sense of quiet and awe - free
  • 5 minute walk from the hotel - shopping visit to La Ciliegia Rossa, a women's artists cooperative
  • 15 minute walk from the hotel - other very trendy/hip shops in Rione Monti on Via Urbana and Viale Degli Zingari
  • 15 minute walk from the hotel - gelato at Fata Morgana in Rione Monti
  • 10 minute walk from the hotel - exploration of the Santi Quattro Coronati convent from the 4th century up the hill. You can step away from the hustle and bustle of Rome and suddenly be in a medieval fortress. Ring a bell and a nun from the order will open a woden wall, take you 1 euro and let you into a magnificent little chapel for quiet contemplation. Or you can enter their church and knock on a door to the left and you will be let into a medieval cloister.
  • 10 minute walk from the hotel - yoga center Ashtanga - Via Annia, 54 - Apr 18 1:30 and 5:30 (advanced classes), Apr 19 7:30, 5pm, 7:30pm (advanced and guided classes). Nousha Salimi and I will also find out if we can do our own yoga class in the early mornings or afternoons if there is demand.
  • 10 minute walk from the hotel - the terrace of the Hotel Capo D'Africa is a great place for an aperitivo
Basilica di San Clemente - current church

Basilica di San Clemente - current church

Basilica di San Clemente cloister

Basilica di San Clemente cloister

Mythraic altar on San Clemente's  lowest level

Mythraic altar on San Clemente's  lowest level

Via Urbana - Rione Monti

Via Urbana - Rione Monti

Parco Celimontana

Parco Celimontana

Hotel Capo D'Africa Terrace for Aperitivo

Hotel Capo D'Africa Terrace for Aperitivo

  • 5:30pm - Gather at the Hotel for introductions, a presentation by Nousha Salimi on her yoga and essential oils wisdom and coordination of transport to our first evening outing
  • 6:30pm - Cooking Class and then Dinner at the Slow Food inspired Cooking for the Mind school led by Loretta Cavallaro. We may be joined by a young refugee woman from Nigeria who attends Casa Africa and whose dream is to become a working cook. We will learn to make (and then eat! ) fettucin con salsa all'Amatriciana and Ravioli con Asparagi e formaggio Marzolina. And we will have a traditional roman dessert of jewish cooking orgin: a crostata di ricotta and visciole. And of course a good wine. Location: Via Federico Nansen 62, near Piramide. Clicca qui per la mappa  www.scuoladicucinaroma.com
  • Night owls or those too jet lagged to sleep - suggested post-dinner option: Cocktails at Propaganda Cafe' near the hotel or a drink on the terrace of Hotel Capo D'Africa (weather permitting). There is also a local wine bar, Pentagrappolo open till 1:15am.

Thursday April 19

Day 1 Theme: The Fluidity of Water (water, continuity, relationships, sustainability, erosion, reuse, upcycling)

  • 8-9:30 - Breakfast at the hotel - Day's reflection and attention suggestions
  • 10am Group outing
    • Head out to Colosseum and Forum and Palatine Hill (we will have special tickets that will allow us to skip the lines and get going)
    • Head into Historic Center back streets near the Campidoglio through the Portico D'Ottavia to recommended (but optional lunch location at Nonna Betta (1:30pm reservation made) - a Jewish Roman cooking restaurant in the former Jewish quarter (specialties: fried artichokes, spaghetti with chicory or cacio e pepe and other traditional Roman jewish cooking plates)
  • Free Afternoon:
    • Meander options and itineraries provided to "eat, play, learn":
      • A walk to Isola Tiberina and across to Trastevere
      • A walk to Campo dei Fiori and Piazza Farnese and along Via Dei Banchi Vecchi
      • A stop at Roscioli while meandering for some pizza al taglio to take away or at Supplizio for a Roman suppli' snack
      • A visit to the Jewish Museum
  • 6:45pm - Group heads out from the hotel for 5 minute walk to surprise Aperitivo and Dinner location
  • 7pm Aperitivo and Celebration/Fancy Dinner - Location: Surprise!
  • Night owls suggested option: Cocktails at Madre

Friday April 20

Day 2 Theme: Women in Antiquity - Seeing and Being Seen (signs and imagery of women and role of women)

  • 8-9:30 - Breakfast at the hotel - Day's reflection and attention suggestions
  • 10am -  Group outine:
    • Head out via taxi to the start of a guided Via Appia Antica walk (if no rain) or Museo Nazionale where Livia's room is housed (if rain)
    • Lunch options/choices will be available at the end of the more or less 2 miles meander/walk
  • Free Afternoon
    • Meander options provided to "eat, play, learn":
      • Monti district and see Michelangelo's Moses in San Pietro in Vincoli
      • Go over to Fontana di Trevi
      • Piazza di Spagna
      • Near Piazza di Spagna - Decide to have tea the way the 19th century grand tour british visitors did at Babington Tea House near Piazza di Spagna,
      • Near Piazza di Spagna - have a beauty treatment at the  Altacare Spa comes highly recommended
      • Piazza Navona
      • Near Piazza Navona - Chiostro del Bramante for the exhibition and/or a tea/coffee/fruit juice in their very special little cafe
      • Shop or window shop at Via Condotti or Via Frattina
      • Visit some of the other wonderful sights and museums you have discounted access to with your RomaPass
      • Take one of the Centro Storico buses to see some of the sights when tired of walking (your RomaPass give you free access to buses - just pay attention to your purse/valuables as some of the bus routes are famous for their tourist-focused pickpockets)
      • Visit the Pantheon
      • Have a granita di caffe' con panna at Tazza D'Oro
  • 6:30pm Early dinner snacks (Apericena) outing pre-museum options available
  • by 8:45pm - Gather at Vatican Museum entrance for 9pm entryGroup evening tickets: Visit to Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums after hours - a treat!
  • Night owls suggested option: a walk back through the Centro Storico (if weather is beautiful) with stop at Zum for Tiramisu

Saturday April 21 - Rome's Natale*

Day 3 Theme: The Forms of the Feminine - in art, architecture, myth and ......

  • 8-9:30 - Breakfast at the hotel - Day's reflection and attention suggestions
  • 10:00 - Group outing:
    • Gather at hotel to take taxi to Villa Borghese for 10:45am Villa Borghese Museum and Park entry
      • Paolina Borghese's statue and
      • the statues of Daphne and Apollo
      • or Proserpina and Pluto by Bernini
      • and so much more
    • Walk through the park to the top of Piazza di Spagna staircase
  • Recommended lunch options/choices to be shared with you
  • Free Afternoon
    • Optional continued Centro Storico meander to "eat, play, learn":
      • Piazza di Spagna
      • Fontana di Trevi
      • Piazza Navona
      • Chiostro del Bramante for the exhibition and/or a tea/coffee/fruit juice in their very special little cafe
      • Circo Massimo to see the ancient rome re-enactors getting ready for Rome's birthday (2771 years and counting) parade on Sunday April 22nd
      • Visit the Pantheon
      • Have a granita di caffe' con panna at Tazza D'Oro
  • 7pm - Group gathering and sharing of reflections and transport to the dinner location
  • 8pm Group Dinner: Al Duello, Vicolo della Vaccarella, 11, 00186 Roma RM (in Pantheon area)
  • *April 21 is Rome's "Natale"(i.e. Rome's birthday so there may be firework displays at the Campidoglio and along the Tiber)

Sunday April 22

Day 4 Theme: Transformations and the Invisible

  • 8-10am - Breakfast at the hotel - Reflections and attention suggestions
  • Note: activities below may change based on timing of the annual Rome's Birthday parade activities that cordon off the Colosseum area, the Imperial Forum way, and the Circus Maximus, so that you can see and cheer the roman era attired parade participants (i.e. Pontifex, Vestal Priestesses, Roman Troops, Merchants, etc)
  • 10:30am - leave suitcases in hotel and choose where to head out to:
    • Visit to the Mercato di San Teodoro Market by way of the Circo Massimo re-enactment
    • Taxi it and Visit to Cimitero Acattolico in the Testaccio neighborhood around 12noon
    • Watch the Birthday of Rome parade of over 2000 ancient roman impersonators
    • Visit to local museums or sites – Maxxi for modern art, or Palazzo Massimo for Roman art (including the summer palace of Livia) or Mattataio Modern Art space in Testaccio
    • Shopping in downtown shops
    • Visit Trastevere streets
  • 1:30 - Group lunch at Za'atar in Testaccio area
  • 3pm - end of planned activities
  • Later afternoon and evening activities:
    • tbd together based on interests of those who are staying on past 3pm


Our Venue: We will base ourselves at a charming boutique hotel near the Colosseum, the Profumo Maison D'Hotes that we have pre-booked for our exclusive use. (see map below)

Our days will start with breakfast on their terrace and then we'll take off from there.

Join us for a taste of Romans' love of a life, lived fully.

Renew. Regenerate. Reconnect.

Cost: $1500 covers the following costs: your hotel room for 4 nights/5 days, breakfast, aperitivo and dinner daily, farewell lunch, learning reflections introduced daily by the CIYO faculty, a donation to the Casa D'Africa refugee center, planned morning museum tour tickets (Colosseum, Forum, Via Appia Antica and Villa Borghese) and discounts to other sites and museums (each participant will receive a 72-hour Roma Pass)

(not included: airfare or train, local transportation to/from the hotel, lunch costs (with the exception of farewell lunch) and daytime snacks)



The program is full - Registration is now closed





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