The Idler Retreat 2018
Sunday 14th October to Sunday 21st October 2018
Spend a week idling, learning the secrets of Eastern philosophy, wandering around the great churches and artworks of Umbria and feasting in good company.
Our second Idler Retreat takes place at the wonderful Villa Pia on the Umbria/Tuscany border. Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson and Academy director Victoria Hull will be your hosts.
Our tutors will be novelist Tim Lott and author and art historian Tim Richardson, the Idler‘s art critic. There will be a foraging walk in the Umbrian hills and optional yoga.
The Idler Retreat is an opportunity to take a break from the hurly-burly to work out how you want to live your life while rambling around beautiful countryside, living the good life and taking in the scenery and art.
You’ll go home with new enthusiasm and great ideas for living.
Our first Idler Retreat in 2017 was a great success, with one retreater commenting: “I don’t think I have spent so much time in the company of so many warm, easygoing souls. Thank you very much for organising this marvellous week. You are both the best of hosts.”
Prices are from £939 per person, including all food, drink and classes. Secure your place now with a £500 deposit.
Location: We’ll be staying at beautiful Villa Pia, which sits on the border of Tuscany and Umbria on the edge of the medieval village Lippiano. The villa has a swimming pool and tennis court with gorgeous views over the Umbrian hills, table tennis, yoga studio and extensive gardens in which to rest and read. During the day we shall go on trips, take classes, go for walks and take naps. The evenings are for feasting.
Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson will lead sessions on philosophy and the meaning of the good life
In his classes Tom will teach the history of idling and the principal schools of ancient philosophy. We’ll be applying these ideas to our own lives and investigating the good life. This is all about learning how to be free.
Tom is the author of seven books including How to be Idle, How to be Free and a history of the ukulele. He founded the Idler in 1993.
Tim Lott will teach the secrets of Eastern philosophy
“Buddhism, Zen and Taoism, aren’t what you think they are,” says Tim. “They don’t have to involve meditation, vegetarianism or even pacifism. They are a way of looking at the world that is almost the opposite to the way we see things in the West.
“Understanding what thinkers like The Buddha, Lao Tse and D.T. Suzuki were getting at when they talked about ‘no mind’ or ‘detachment’ or ‘wu-wei’ (non striving) or the Five Noble Truths, is not only a fascinating intellectual journey but a new way of finding happiness, acceptance and peace of mind. And it embraces the principle of ‘Yugen’ which might be described as the ‘Idler Principle – elevated purposelessness’.”
Tim’s easy guide to Eastern ways of thinking will take you into uncharted territory – buried within which is much treasure for your own life plan.
Tim is a novelist and teacher. His memoir The Scent of Dried Roses won the PEN/Ackerley Prize for Autobiography and is now published as a Penguin Classic. He teaches creative writing at the Faber Academy and with the Idler.
Tim Richardson will guide us round the treasures of medieval city, Perugia
On the Idler Retreat we’ll visit the beautiful medieval city of Perugia, the home city of Perugino, Raphael’s master. Tim Richardson will give a preview talk the day before and everyone will be given a printed digest of the highlights to look out for, so we can either walk around together or go off on our own.
Highlights include Perugino’s fresco cycle in the Collegio del Cambio, the gallery of Umbrian art, the sculpted facade of San Bernadino, and the fountain (1278) in the main square. We will also seek out the unique fresco in San Severo, a collaboration between Raphael and Perugino, and generally wander the streets.
The plan is to do all our sightseeing in the morning and then repair to a local restaurant for an excellent late lunch, safe in the knowledge that our tourist tasks for the day are complete…
Almost complete: on the way home we will drop in to Ipogeo dei Volumni, arguably the greatest surviving Etruscan tomb, which dates to the 2nd century BC.)
Tim Richardson is a long-time Idler contributor who specialises in gardens and art — and the point where they intersect. He is the author of a number of books on garden and landscape subjects as well as a volume of poetry and a world history of sweets and confectionery (!) He writes about art for Country Life, the Daily Telegraph and Apollo. He is the founder and director of the Chelsea Fringe Festival.
Claire will lead a yoga session most days including meditation and yoga philosophy. Claire plans three morning practises of invigorating yoga “embracing a sense of positivity and vitality, working mindfully through the poses using the breath”, and two or three evening restorative yoga practices, “All mat based where poses are held for longer to allow the body to totally relax and release any muscular or deeper tensions, allowing the body’s natural healing mechanisms to switch on and leaving you feeling rested and restored and deeply relaxed”.
Claire has been practising yoga for 25 years and trained as a teacher at Yoga Campus. With an interest in the therapeutic qualities of yoga, she emphasises that the physical benefits of asana are only a small part of the joy of yoga and teaches how the combined use of body, breath and mind help us discover who we really our and our path in life. Clare weaves meditation and yoga philosophy into her classes.
Nothing to do
The retreat at Villa Pia is all inclusive. You’ll have nothing to do except learn, eat, drink, rest and read. We’ll be providing breakfast, lunch and dinner and you’ll be free to help yourself to fresh fruit, coffee, tea, alcohol and soft drinks at any time of day or night.
Villa Pia’s chefs prepare delicious local Italian cuisine with the care and attention to detail that Italians are known for. All of their ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible.
• Trip to Perugia.
• Visit to the greatest surviving Etruscan tomb.
• Foraging Walk: rambling through the Umbrian countryside with a local expert we’ll pick and identify wild local food including mushrooms, berries and many wild salad plants and herbs. We will use all the edible finds to make various homemade pasta dishes the following day .
• Trip to the medieval town of Monterchi, where we’ll see the Madonna del Parto, the radical painting of a pregnant Madonna held up as an icon of feminism, by Piero della Francesca. Let us know if you’d rather not walk. Monterchi is a beautiful couple of miles from Villa Pia.
Cooking Class. Villa Pia’s cooks are local women who learned to cook from their grandmothers. They’ll be teaching you to make pasta the traditional way or to make a dish that you have enjoyed during your stay. We’ll finish the class with Prosecco. Price around 20 Euro.
Truffle Hunting. This was exceptionally popular in 2017. Spend a morning ambling in the woods with a local truffler and his dogs and bring back truffles for dinner. Price around 30 Euro depending on numbers.
£939 per person if sharing a bedroom (with one other person), and a bathroom (shared with one other room)
£989 per person sharing a bedroom with ensuite bathroom
£1359 per person, single occupancy if sharing a bathroom
£1399 per person, single occupancy with en-suite bathroom
A non-refundable deposit of £500 is payable now, the remainder is due on July 10th, three months before the retreat. Call us on 0203 176 7907 for more info and to pay over the phone. Or click on the button at the top of this page. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries and to tell us which type of room you would like to book.
All tuition, talks, lectures and trips.
Dinner for six nights out of the seven including wine. This leaves one evening free to explore as there are wonderful places to eat and drink nearby in Monterchi and Lippiano.
All breakfasts and lunches plus fruit, coffee, tea, alcohol and soft drinks at any time of the day or night.
Flights and transport to Villa Pia. Where possible group transport can be arranged.
Tickets to galleries.
Massage, pilates, and beauty treatments which you can book before or once you have arrived.
Numbers will be restricted to the number of rooms. Villa Pia has a total of 24 bedrooms: 12 ensuite and 12 with a shared bathroom between 2 rooms. There are also 6 ensuite rooms in the castle available.
For more information about any part of the holiday please call Cathleen on 0203 176 7907.
We recommend the following flights for which we will arrange transport between Perugia and Villa Pia:
Sunday 14th October 2018:
Ryanair flight FR4952, London Stansted 7.30am to Perugia. Arrival 11.05am
Sunday 21st October 2018:
Ryanair flight FR4953, Perugia 11.30am to London Stansted. Arrival 1pm
Transport between Perugia and Villa Pia will cost around £20 each way per person depending on our numbers. We’ll let you know when numbers are confirmed. Your ticket fare will be collected on the bus.
There are also flights to Florence, Pisa and Bologna. The journey to Villa Pia is longer but there is more choice of departure airports and flights.
You can also travel under your own steam and get to Arezzo by train. This is only 20 mins from Villa Pia and there are plenty of taxis outside the station, cost approx 50€.
Terms and Conditions:
• If your booking is cancelled less than 8 weeks before the start of your holiday 100% of the total price is forfeited. Please ensure that your travel insurance is arranged at the time of booking.
• Holiday Insurance: It is a condition of accepting your booking that you have personal travel insurance, including cancellation insurance for medical reasons, redundancy, jury service etc. for all members of your party. Please note that the use of Villa Pia, its facilities, grounds, and swimming pool are entirely at the user’s risk.