"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, our milk will be delivered fresh by Antoinette, whose brother's farm is up on the mountain 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.
The Spring 2013 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 seven participants per year. A $500 non-refundable deposit will hold your place for this once in a life time experience in southern Italia and is due by December 31, 2012. Full payment is due by March 1st. You'll find payment links at the bottom of this page.
1 - Departure USA - Arrival Italia! You'll probably want to rest and recuperate after all your traveling. We'll feed you a wonderful welcome meal and help you get settled in and ready for bed.
2 – We'll spend most of our first full day getting acclimated to our most amazing Medieval village, walking the cobblestone passageways, meeting village people, visiting gardens and shrines, hiking to the lookout where we'll enjoy a picnic lunch, and then take a short drive to the Baptistery of St. Giovanni, an ancient sacred spring, for your welcome and baptism into our sacred lands. Rosary and mass at Sant Giacomo church for those who choose in the evening, dinner at home with Rosa and Adam.
3 - Paestum archeological site and museum where we'll see over 2,000 year old amazingly well preserved temples, walk the temple grounds and examine close up original Goddess images in stone and fresco. This is the home of Hera and Ceres. A visit to an ancient temple outside the Paestum walls, now an active Catholic Church. Dinner at home with Rosa and Adam.
4 - Day of rest – This is your free day to do some exploring on your own. You may choose to wander the village, photographing the amazing art, architecture, gardens and people, take a day hike up the mountain, just stay in bed or hangout on the balcony if you desire! Rosa will be spending the day in the kitchen preparing a traditional pasta dinner. You are welcome to join her for a day of learning to make fresh pasta and a traditional tomato sauce, Italian Rustica style. We’ll all enjoy the feast together in the evening.
5 – Drive along the Amalfi Coast where we will enjoy the most incredible vistas imaginable and visit Vietri Sul Mare, a village known the world over for its beautiful ceramics - walk the cobblestone passageways of Positano, a haven for artists and intellectuals for thousands of years and where the shops are bursting with the very latest fashions, most of them hand made. It is here that we will visit and make offerings to the Black Madonna in the evening. We'll have the opportunity to browse the shops and we’ll eat a fresh and fabulous dinner here too.
6 – We’ll visit Padula and the Certosa Monastery & Museum, which holds an outstanding collection of 5-7th century BCE artifacts uncovered from our immediate area. We’ll then go over to Teggiano to visit both the ancient Aslepian Dream Temple with its incredible collection of frescos and sculptures as well as the Museo d'Herbe which holds a complete ethnobotanical collection and is laid out as a medieval apothecary. Here we’ll learn about traditional Italian folk medicine and the common uses of herbs in the home as well as for magic. Teggiano is called The City of Art and was founded in approximately 600 B.C. It has an incredibly rich history and was once the center of Dianic worship for all of Southern Italy. Dinner at home with Rosa and Adam.
7 - A visit to the world famous Gardens of Minerva, Europe's first medicinal herb garden, the one from which all others sprang. These historic gardens are located in Salerno, and were originally created as part of the first medical school in all of Europe. There are hundreds of medicinal plants growing here in the terraces that reach high up above the beautiful Gulf of Salerno. We'll have plenty of time to visit and learn about their traditional uses. This will be an amazing adventure for the plant lovers among us! Dinner at home with Rosa and Adam.
8 – We’ll be staying close to home today, traveling up our mother mountain, Mont Cervati. The vistas will be awe inspiring, as will be all the gardens! We’ll do a bit of wildgathering & visit the ancient Grotto de Vallicelli (our local cave with several rooms, including a half round, hand carved seating arrangement the ancients used for councils, carbon dated to at least 60,000 years of habitation.) There are all kinds of carvings on the walls in here, and the better your imagination and background in ancient art, the more you’ll see. We'll stop at our friend Giuseppe's farm and watch his brother creating marvelous cheeses from their fresh raw milk. You'll have the option of buying a ball of caccio cavallo, a cheese our entire valley is famous for, it is that delicious! Medicine making and dinner at home with Rosa and Adam in the evening.
9 - A visit to the Sassi, a prehistoric village in Matera. The Sassi is believed to be one of the world's earliest human settlements, reaching far back into Paleolithic times, continued into the Neolithic and had been in continuous habitation until the 1950's. The entire village is carved out of rock and is most incredible to see! We'll explore the many incredible levels, go inside a traditionally furnished Neolithic cave and view ancient, pre-Christian murals. Tonight we'll have a traditional Italian dinner out at the Rizzo!
10 - Today is our beach day! We'll take a trip to Marina de Camerota, and Palinuro, two of the most beautiful and classic ancient landmarks. Both known for their pristine beauty. Virgil wrote about the protected Gulf of Palinuro, and its incredible arc. We'll gather wild rosemary from the edge of the shore line where it has grown since ancient times among the scrub pines and cedars. Dinner at home with Rosa and Adam.
11 – Our last in the village. You’ll have the entire day to take care of any last minute shopping you want to do, say your good-byes and get yourself together for your departure tomorrow morning. Dinner all together with Rosa and Adam in the evening. We'll most likely be joined by the friends we have made here and our farewell dinner will be somewhat bittersweet. You won’t want to leave this magical land!
12 - Traveling home day. You'll be back in the USA by tonight.
"I had the most incredible, magical, life-altering trip. Thank you!" C. Perry
Here's a link to a photo album of people, places and plants from the village and surrounding areas:
Earth and Spirit Italia photos
Here's a link to description of Paestum and its archaeological treasures, including some photos.
Visit small villages in Southern Italia via this website created by my friend Claudia Cardello in the village.
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