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“Step back in time”

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Sunflower Retreats Holidays
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Step back in time”
Reviewed October 27, 2012

After a week’s yoga retreat in Casperia returned home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Quite literally just what the Dr ordered. A ‘Name of the rose’(esque) Italian town, with enough holistic treats and trips to transport you a little closer to heaven on earth.

I stayed in Casa Latini, which offers a magnificent terrace view of the daily differing, dreamy sunset. Comical Cristian, accompanied by energetic Alessandro, patiently attended to the individual and group’s requests and needs. The lovely Vanessa’s daily yoga was a joy to wake up to. Graceful Hannah and Simona’s treatments a glorious, personally tailored indulgence. The wholesome organic fare as healthy as you wished and consistently tasty. All wrapped up in the inspired, and inspiring, company of well travelled crazy fellow guests, (crazy as in the good kind of mad). The local people welcoming and friendly as the valley resounded to the laughter of strangers.

So glad I chose ‘Sunflower’: fabulous relaxing, authentic Italian holiday experience. Don’t hesitate, try it for yourself!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank P C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2012 via mobile

I just returned from two weeks in Casperia. I loved all of it. The old medieval village is charming and inspiring, I like the lack of signs, you can't get lost for long as it's really not that big.

I stayed in the village house and would strongly recommend booking one of the two top floor rooms, the views are beautiful in the morning.

Casa Latini is very close by and has an amazing terrace to watch sunset, the rooms on the mid level and bottom here would be my recommendation.

I can't speak highly enough of our rep Cristian who went out of his way to make sure every request was dealt with, he made the whole experience easy so I could kick back and relax. He also introduced me to some real Italian family life that I am really grateful for.

Alessandro is another top man who was always there with a smile driving us about and helping out. And his wife Giovanna is a great art teacher who helped me out with some lessons whilst I was there.

All in all I was really impressed. You are living in amongst these families in an inspirational place.

Enjoy!

  • Stayed October 2012
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Helpful?
4 Thank Mtlreilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina, United States
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2012

I facilitated a workshop applying The Feldenkrais Method to the arts at Sunflower, so I am speaking as a renter instead of as a participant in their yoga retreats. My students were housed in the Forani Palace, with classes in the yoga studio.

The restored rooms at Forani were spacious, simple and charming, with a couple of generous downstairs living room/kitchen areas for gathering and cooking meals. The rooms in the “original” Forani Palace were large, a couple opening out to a grand terrace overlooking a spectacular vista. The décor was an opulent 18th to 19th century faded elegance complete with gilded bed posts and art everywhere. The Forani owners graciously hosted a “Happy Hour” one evening where we all got a tour of the amazing building with its frescoes, suits of armor and museum quality furniture.

The yoga studio also had a spectacular view out the large windows, but the jute mat on the floor made doing Awareness Through Movement lessons challenging. I’m sure it’s fine for yoga, and when we return, I’ll make sure we have different blankets.

Breakfasts at Sunflower are generous, with everything one could wish for, although oddly, the staff seemed challenged by our group’s need for good coffee. Hopefully that will be worked out.

The staff was small, but as helpful as possible, trying to accommodate the diverse needs of our group, which ranged from rides to tour guides. They did their utmost to provide everything from last minute copies to taxi service. They also included a vigorous hike to the ruins of an ancient cave/hermitage in nearby Rocca Antic a.

Casperia itself is a beautiful relic of the Middle Ages. Cobblestone streets meander in a labyrinth of tiny dwellings. There was no signage in the village; not for Sunflower’s various buildings and very few street signs. The rooms, yoga studio, breakfast building and office were scattered throughout the village, so that people were often lost. A proper map of the village with the buildings clearly marked would have been helpful, or some kind of code on Sunflower’s buildings would help. The view from the wall of the surrounding hills and valleys is breathtaking. If you are looking for a quiet getaway from the crowds, this serene village is a dream. It’s a place to unplug – almost literally. The wifi only works at the office and many people’s cellphones got no reception.

Sunflower offers many activities and services. Here are some reviews from my students.

The massages and spa treatments: Excellent
The Watercolor painting class: Wonderful
Horseback riding: Fun but a bit challenging as the guide spoke no English
Viterbo Hot Springs: Amazing
The Private Swimming Pool: The pool was much further than implied and difficult to find, although spectacular.
Local hikes: The map implies that the hikes are a short distance from the village, when actually many begin almost a mile away, so that by the time we got to the trail, we had to turn back for class. However, we did drive to the trailhead for the hike to the convent on top of “next hill,” which was awe inspiring – both the grounds and the vistas.

I enjoyed walking up and down the hills to class and the supermarket, but this is not a place for people who have bad knees or trouble walking. The lack of walking distance restaurants was a surprise. The staff did their best to make sure everyone had places to go for dinner, but with a large group, it was occasionally a logistical challenge.

Sunflower Retreats offers a serene respite from the crowded tourist attractions of most Italian cities (indeed, we were practically the only tourists there!). It would be a wonderful place to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the simple amenities.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank Lavinia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2012

I usually run Pilates retreats in Cyprus but decided to run something a little closer to home. Having visited earlier this year for a weekend break and met the owners of Sunflower retreats, Lucy and Alan are a joy and delight. We were put in Casa Latini. We did stay in the loft and yes its small but the kitchen and other rooms are more than spacious and beautifully presented.
The care and attention we received that weekend lead me to hire The Forani Palace as a perfect choice for my Pilates group earlier this month. This is an old village with virtually no noise and lots of steps (and cats), you will get fitter here, both physically and mentally.
After arriving by train from Rome all my guests were collected (each arriving at different times) by the wonderful Alessandro for the short drive to Casperia. You are then met by the charming Cristian, organized does not describe adequately enough just how good he is at his job. Usually on retreats I have to take care of many of my students queries, on this trip Cristian always had it covered before I had even heard about it making my job as the teacher so much easier. My students had painting classes, treatments, therapies and did the excursions (all via sunflower) including the guided walk in the hills. I have never seen them look so well. I rode horses every day again organized through Cristian and again a completely seamless experience.
Sunflower is breathing and living eco tourism, this town is old, the buildings are old so if your looking for flawless, contrived luxury then this isn't your retreat but if your looking for unparalleled natural beauty, exceptional staff and service I cant see how you would beat this retreat destination. We had gorgeous breakfasts and dinners (provided by Sunflower) as well as trip to a local restaurant and to cap it all my room looked out over the most beautiful landscape ever. I cant wait to bring more students back next year!
So If your contemplating starting a love affair with Italy, Casperia is your perfect destination.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Maureen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2012

Where do I start. Casperia is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The breathtaking views from the highest point of the village are something to cherish.
Sunflower Retreats provide an unrivaled retreat experience, from the accommodation Casa Latini to the extremely helpful and friendly staff on hand to assist, everything was idyllic.
I highly recommend a visit to the natural hot springs, it's not every day you get to roll around like a pig in mud. The olive oil tasting evening was a fantastic experience, and is a must do.
Thank you Summer Retreats for a stunning and relaxing stay, I will certainly be back in the future.
Keep up the good work!

  • Stayed August 2012
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Helpful?
2 Thank Deanostock1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2012

A stay at Sunflower Retreats is a memorable experience not to be missed. Both the idyllic location and the superb team made this a truly rejuvenating break.

The hilltop village of Casperia with it’s cobbled steps is car free and completely untouched by tourism making it the perfect setting to relax.

The team in Casperia could not have done more to cater to our every request. Alessandro’s warm welcome at the train station in Poggio Mirteto was mirrored in everyone I met throughout the week. As a newcomer to yoga I found Vanessa’s classes uplifting and informative as every pose was carefully explained while Hannah’s caring nature and healing treatments further added to the cosseted atmosphere at Sunflower Retreats. Cristian’s calm disposition and amusing persona when responding to every request (and there were many) ensured we had the perfect environment to unwind.

Some treats not to be missed included dinner on the final night at La Vecchia Querci and our Sunday trek in the woods near Roccantica.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank Margaret_Eire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham UK
Level 4 Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2012

We have been practicing for 2 years now and had researched yoga retreats for our main holiday in 2012. After ruling out India and then Ibiza/Formentera (on costs) we decided upon Sunflower.

We were scared and excited, as to what to expect... an hour and a half north of Rome in a remote walled town, without cars in the Sabina mountains. Our yoga teacher said that we would be eating only organic grass and spring water! (Hardly!)

We were in a small group of 8 yogis: 1 American, 2 Canadians, 1 Polish and 2 from Oslo all women apart from us, from the UK.

On holiday, our group had a discussion about reviews of Sunflower on Tripadvisor and said that it is the detail which tells more than the generic comments.

Ok people...here is the detail...


The transport from Poggio Merteto station from Alesandro was efficient in the Mercedes van. As we drove to Casperia, the views became more and more incredible.

You will notice that there are no people in most of the photographs of Casperia - it is an incredible town that really is like those photographs, we saw more cats and and dogs than people in the week that we were there.

Casperia is an amazing chill - you will relax and experience traditional Italian hospitality - there are only 2 bars (and one of them is at the petrol station on the roundabout!). We dont speak Italian but the locals really do make you feel welcome.

Our group really made the holiday, a great international mix of personalities and the Sunflower staff were amazing.

As for the Sunflower experience, we have stories. That said, if Sunflower did not have the charming and enigmatic Cristian, our holiday would have been a complete disaster! He went out of his way to ensure that despite the challenges (and now great memories of our holiday) that we had the best time on our holiday that was possible.

Here goes... we got to our accommodation and it had a sofabed, we thought that we had more space and as we had not done a yoga retreat before we unsure as to what to expect.

The posts about the church bells cannot prepare you for the reality on morning #1!
Very loud from the village house.

We asked to move accommodation because of the sofa bed and problems with hot water. Cristian responded immediately and bought the owner to meet us as we changed rooms. Sunflower were very responsive and attentive and wanted to respond to feedback.


The breakfasts were amazing and again, Cristian responded to me being vegetarian, by sourcing ricotta cheese from a local farmer!!! This was enjoyed by the whole group - not just me!!! (you know who you are !!!)

The only downside to the retreat was the yoga practice - on reflection, with a mixed-group, it is perhaps a challenge. We expected however a teacher to respond to the needs of the group and to adapt the weeks practice to their needs.

On day 1 you get asked to fill out a form for what you want from the week - i did not expect that the response on day 2 would be, “we wont be doing that in this group, but you could opt for private tuition”...oh yes, pay to develop my practice, I thought that is why I was on retreat?

We did a workshop mid-week which delivered benefits but was an easy €100 with 4 positions in the hour.

The teacher, who was very good and technical, seemed disconnected from the group - I asked could we do class outside on the deck as we don't get to do that in the UK. Initially were told the “as the weather is bad, we will see tomorrow”...it was 20C! Out of the week’s retreat we did class outside only once - an opportunity missed.

The group discussed the teacher - we all thought it was us, it wasn't - the group had 6 people on the workshop and two others opted for 1 additional class throughout the week - this I think speaks volumes.

Overall this is a brilliant chill. Everyone (apart from me) had treatments by an excellent therapist and the breakfasts and attention to your needs were unprecedented. One group member heard the teacher booking a flight to Goa through her management, perhaps this was a distraction to our weeks practice.

As this was our first retreat I have no comparisons as to the delivery and development of my yoga practice. I would say that we have had an amazing, chilled break and the workshop did move me to some personal development, I dont think that my yoga improved but from telling friends I realised that we did have a great holiday - perhaps I was expecting too much?

Room Tip: speak to the staff about any issues - they are very responsive Pasta Fresca just outside of the t...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank crtrwill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Sunflower Retreats Holidays

Property: Sunflower Retreats Holidays
Address: Via Tazio Tito no 11, 02041 Casperia, Italy
Location: Italy > Lazio > Province of Rieti > Casperia
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Casperia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are firstly a Yoga retreat and Holistic centre as well as being a 'low profit sustainable tourism organisation', a large part of the profit on each booking go towards the rental of rooms of the village houses and accommodation options we use and rent from local people this include our treatment rooms and breakfast lounge and other properties and services, this is part of our sustainable tourism policy as our guests live within the village of Casperia ( not in a privately owned retreat ) Sunflower Retreats guests stay in a village along side the local people therefore contributing to the local economy . All activities including the swimming pool are provided by Local people and a lot of what guests pay for these facilities or activities goes direct to the provider of the service or activity booked at Sunflower Retreats, Sunflower Retreats take only a percentage for booking, advertising and promoting the service or activity for local providers such as . Swimming pool entrance fee, horse riding, wine and oil tasting, cooking classes, italian lessons, cycling tours, painting and creative writing classes .For full details on our Retreats and holistic holiday please read our website. ... more   less 

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