Rising Strong in Tuscany!

Wednesday 23rd September –
Monday 5th October 2020

When we deny our stories, they define us; when we own our stories, we get to write the ending.
— Brené Brown

Next September 2020 I am going back to Tuscany for the first time since meeting my partner there thirty years ago and would so love you to join us on a trip of a lifetime! I am teaming up with Ingrid Gaiotto, my glamorous Italian neighbour here in Castlemaine, and founder of In Giro boutique tours offering authentic, small-group experiences of what she calls “the real Italy,” away from the usual tourist trail. Ingrid shares my passion for nature, beauty, long walks, “slow” time, good food and the conviviality of sharing together around a table. We are creating a unique thirteen-day experience that will combine all these aspects, together with Brené Brown’s transformative Rising Strong Workshop, mindfulness and yoga practice, and two days of Pilgrimage walk along the Way of St Francis, the Italian continuation of the Camino Way. Using the Rising Strong format, we will get to “rumble with” and potentially re-write our own stories, all the while immersing ourselves in nature, beauty, architecture, history, culture, yoga, meditation, pilgrimage, good food, wine and like-minded company.

To get a feeling for what the tour will involve, and to meet Ingrid and hear what she has to say about her other tour to Tuscany, take a look at this video from her website. We will be staying in some of the beautiful and unique accommodations she shows.

Photos: Taken by Ingrid Gaiotto on her recent trip to Tuscany


For participant feedback of their experience of Ingrid’s ‘real Italy’ tour of Piemonte in the north, please also take a look at this video.


In my own life as a partner, mother of three teenage daughters, Couples Therapist, and mindfulness practitioner and teacher, I have found Brené Brown’s work to strike a deep chord especially in helping to understand and work more constructively with the fears that can keep us playing life safe, but small. As much as I love her books and TED talks however, I agree with Brené herself that, like mindfulness, it is only when the theory becomes integrated into practice and our daily lives in practical ways, that it has the power to transform. My passion is sharing how we can do this so that we can live life to the full. Combining this with the wonder, beauty and challenge of an exotic location and an immersive retreat makes for what will hopefully be a trip and memories of a lifetime.

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Tour includes:

  • Rising Strong workshop facilitated by Maggie O’Shea, founder of Mindful Presence specialising in workshops and retreats that combine mindfulness with other transformative work.

  • Escorted by Ingrid Gaiotto. Ingrid is originally from Biella in Piemonte - a welcoming tour guide and host eager to share her intimate knowledge of the area. Ingrid is fluent in both English and Italian.

  • Private transfers from Termini Train station (or a designated hotel) in Rome on the first day of the tour and Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station (or a designated hotel) on the final day, allowing you the opportunity to travel further in Italy before or after the tour. All land transfers within Tuscany are by air-conditioned minibus and private driver

  • Small, personalised and private group (max 12 other participants)

  • 13 days/12 nights accommodation in striking locations in Tuscany, including: 5 nights at the Castello Di Potentino, near Seggiano; 2 nights at Pardini’s Hermitage, on the Island of Giglio; 3 nights at Fattoria Barbialla Nvova, Montaione; 2 nights at Riva Lofts Florence, in Firenze.

  • Meals include breakfast daily, and almost all lunches and dinners (including tips)

  • Drinks: all lunches and dinners provided in the itinerary include wine and water as well as coffee/tea and occasionally liqueurs

  • Aperitivi (as specified in the itinerary)

  • Admission to all historical sites, galleries, museums and thermal baths, undertaken as a group

  • Pilgrimage walk

  • Pre-tour liason and support

  • Optional yoga/mindfulness guided relaxation session most days

  • Free time between planned activities to savour la doce vita…



Early bird (by December 1 2019): $7,990 (twin share)
$8,499 (after December 1 2019)
Payable by instalments.

Single Room Supplement (subject to availability): $1500
Deposit: $1,000 to secure the booking


Photos: Taken by Ingrid Gaiotto on her recent trip to Tuscany

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