Southern Italy Earth & Spirit Tour
From time immemorial its unique geographical position has made this land a natural crossroads for the cultures that developed on the Adriatic, Ionic and Tyrrhenian coasts. The ancient culture of Villanova, Lucanian civilization and the later Greek colonization all met here. In fact this is the very center of ancient Magna Grecia. It is a most amazing and magnificent place!
Our valley was once the central location for Dianic worship in all of Southern Italia. This spiritual tone and sense of reverence for nature and all that she represents still permeates the hills and valleys as well as the lives of the people here. Life, and the sense of the divine, really hasn't changed all that much since ancient times.
"We all loved your village and especially the people. They were all so welcoming!" L. Brainerd
This pristine, magical, and centrally located place is in the region of Campania,(formerly Basilicata until the unification of Italy changed our borders.) and we'll be in the midst of one of the most incredible agricultural areas of the world with a legacy of growing and preparing foods that goes far back into ancient history.
We'll visit several of the world's best preserved archaeological sites and hilltop villages, make pilgrimages to ancient as well as modern shrines and meet many of the earliest Mediterranean Gods and Goddesses as they are still portrayed, though perhaps renamed, in their original locale.
We'll have many opportunities to learn about the lineage of Great Mother, the plants and trees long associated with her, and to understand the depth of her roots in human culture. We'll pay homage to her in her many guises throughout these lands, including offering our prayers before an 11th century Byzantine Black Madonna.
All the while we will be surrounded by the local flora and the mountains will be awash with an amazing array of fall color. The wonder and abundance of a great diversity of wild medicinal herbs, flowers and trees will be all around us and permeating all we do. Plus, the harvest will all be in and there will be amazing fresh foods and beverages available everywhere!
We'll visit the Certosa di San Lorenzo, the second oldest monastery in Italy which took over 400 years to build and holds an extraordinary collection of art and artifacts, many as old as 7,000 years and uncovered right here in our valley. These are world treasures that are virtually unknown and an absolute blessing to behold.
In a nearby village we'll enter an ancient Aslepian Healing and Dreaming temple, in use for many centuries before Christianity, transformed into a Catholic Church and now a remarkable museum.
Next to the Dreaming temple is the Museo d'Herbe which houses a collection of the rich botanical diversity of the region and explanations of their traditional uses. I'm excited to take you there!
We'll also pay a visit to the ancient Baptistery of St. Giovanni, long dedicated to Attis before the Christian era.
You will be awed by the natural wonders of the Amalfi coast, the inland mountains, the Cilento Parco Nationale, the villages that climb into the sky, the olive groves and gardens, as well as the proliferation of magnificent art and architecture everywhere we go.
The people of this area, descendants of the indigenous people of the Apennine mountains, are among the most generous, loving and hospitable people found anywhere in the world. You will have plenty of opportunities to associate with and learn from these inspiring people.
We'll visit a few of their well tended organic gardens, go to a local farm to pick up fresh milk and cacciocavallo, a cheese our valley is famous for, and if the timing is right, will get to watch mozzarella cheese be formed before our eyes by artisans who have been doing this for generations.
Just as they have done for centuries, village women will be on hand to personally guide us through local shrines and share their history and meaning. Our village design and archetecture is outstanding. It was built in the 9th century, but human habitation here goes back at least 50,000 years.
"Your people are so beautiful, and I just wish we had more time to spend with them. I definitely want to go back again" D. Zawalik
"I had such a great time! I especially loved the herb gathering and putting up herbal medicines. I am still enjoying my rosemary oil!" C. Perry
Cost of the entire 10 day tour is $5,400. The fee includes your airfare from Boston to Naples and return, your transportation from Naples to the village and back as well as all transportation while on tour and all lodging. The majority of your meals are also included in your tour fee. Your fee does not include a gratuity for the chefs or our driver, which is appreciated but not expected.
Your dinners, with one exception, are all included in your fee. All dinners will be prepared and graciously served to you by a local family with amazing traditional Mediterranean meal preparation skills, using the freshest, local, and for the most part, organic ingredients, much of it from their own gardens. Our meals are guaranteed to be not only culinary masterpieces of highest quality, but a major highlight of every day. We'll provide some basic ingredients for breakfast to start you off and you'll provide for your own lunches.
There is one occasion when we will eat dinner out in a traditional Italian Trattoria and you will be responsible for the cost of your meal.
It is a great joy for me to lead the Earth and Spirit Tour and introduce you to an area of the world that is stunning for its incredible, ever changing landscapes, diversity of nature, both flora and fauna and its wealth of ancient history and culture, and proudly maintains it's connection to both the land and it's rich spiritual heritage. The village that will host us is my maternal family's ancestral home. I am truly honored to introduce you to it's people and their way of life, which is beyond inspirational. It is simply and deeply soul nourishing.
Because we have ancestral roots here and know it so well, we can bring our guests to amazing places off the beaten tract. Many of the places we visit are virtually unknown to "outsiders." The small size of our group (we limit it to six guests each time) ensures you have a deep and intimate experience, well beyond the scope of a large travel tour.
Note: If you are already in Europe and would like to join us for the tour, we welcome you! Please email us regarding the possibilities and adjustment in tour fee.
We are also willing and able to host private tours for small groups of friends and/or family. Let us know your needs and we will try our best to cater to them.
"I had a wonderful time and congratulate you, Rosa and Adam for your hard work, long hours, and dedication. Everything you did was aimed at our pleasure and you sure hit the mark...this trip was exactly right and I treasure every minute of it." J. Cohen
"You have a magnetic personality and a very calming presence. Your village and its people are absolutely amazing and inspiring. I predict the Earth and Spirit Tour will blossom beautifully. It certainly deserves to! We all had a fabulous time." N. Lovelace
We'll no doubt be joined from time to time by our neighbors: Carmella will give us a tour of her amazing garden, my cousin Anna will pop in occasionally and the fruit man will come by on a daily basis, tooting his horn from a truck laden with the freshest fruits and vegetables imaginable. Maria Rosaria and Michelina are our main chefs, and will not only serve us exquisitely prepared traditional foods and describe their preparation, but will also bless us with their sparkling personalities, stories and unique world view.
The Earth and Spirit Tour is intended to be a secure space where we can come into meaningful contact with our common, ancient spiritual history, culture and inheritance. It is a time to immerse ourselves in and hopefully resonate with the language, art, artifacts and customs of our Old World ancestors, still vibrantly alive and actively celebrated in Southern Italian culture. As the people here are fond of saying, in their deeply generous way: "This is not just Italian culture, this is human culture and belongs to all of us."
Our tour is limited to six participants per year. A $500 non-refundable deposit will hold your place for this once in a life time experience in southern Italia. Full payment for the fall 2017 tour is due on August 1, 2017 - if registering for the spring 2018 tour, your full fee is due by February 1st, 2018. You'll find payment links at the bottom of this page. You may prefer to send a check and that is perfectly fine.