Get your hands and feet dirty. Awaken your senses. Experience beauty and deliciousness. Find your playful and creative side. Restore and relax.

September 11-18, 2017 (or upon request with your group)
Minimum 6 and maximum 10 participants.

For six days, step back in time at Castello di Potentino in a wild and pristine part of Tuscany. Dive into artisan activities that are at the heart of Italian culture: picking grapes in the vineyard, pressing them with your feet, making bread from stone ground wheat, making ricotta and pecorino cheese, tasting wine and olive oil, making pasta and risotto, gathering fresh vegetables from the garden…. Rejuvenate with yoga, massage, dance, meditation, swimming in the river or the pool, walking through the woods on an extinct volcano…. Experience the delicious pleasures of the Italian table. And through these experiences, restore your energy and experiment with your own creativity.

The goal is to let go of goals in favor of fun and pleasure. It is an invitation to experience the earthiness and sensuality of and Italian way of life that dates back for centuries…and to give yourself permission to explore, learn and discover in a place of stunning natural beauty.

Charlotte Horton, who planted the vineyards and has made wine at Castello di Potentino since 2002, owns and runs the castle with her brother, Alexander Greene. They have miraculously transformed what was an abandoned ruin into a vibrant working farm and vineyard.

With Charlotte’s vision and leadership, the castle has become a hub for excellence in wine and olive oil making as well as for perpetuating and celebrating local, artisan practices. In opening her family home to visitors, she offers a uniquely authentic Italian experience: an intersection of elegance and rustic authenticity…of culture and agriculture…and of traditional and modern design.

On the first evening, she will conduct a tasting of her wines and explain how they reflect the unusual characteristics of her vineyards at the foot of the Monte Amiata. The ancient Etruscans, who were eventually wiped out by the Romans, believed that the now extinct volcano that the was home to their gods and goddesses.

Course leader, Eleanor Shannon of Uncorked in Italy, originally came to Italy to teach in an academic honors program for Italian university students. She experienced her own “uncorking” through training to become a certified wine sommelier, meeting organic and biodynamic winegrowers, tasting their wines, starting to write about her experiences, taking courses in yoga, dance and meditation, founding her own blog, and living daily life in Italy.

I was striding along in my goal-oriented way wearing sensible shoes when everything shifted. Wine was my way in. It led me to my senses, to the land, to agricultural traditions going back thousands of years, to artisans, whose practices and values inspired me…and to Castello di Potentino. I’ve discovered that working harder to achieve more and have more is not always better. Learning to live in a more Italian way has brought new rhythms and a lot of positive energy into my life.”

We will begin with wine, learning about its special role in Italian culture and its unique ability to tell a story of terroir (place, people and a moment in time). Eleanor will share stories of artisan winegrowers she has visited while offering organic and biodynamic wines from their vineyards for tastings at meals.

In addition to visiting the Potentino vineyards and cellar, we will visit a nearby Brunello di Montalcino vineyard where the winegrower makes biodynamic wine and find out more about grape growing and wine making methods as well as the alchemy of wine…the unexplained “magic” that is tied to Nature herself.

We will be getting down and dirty…harvesting grapes and pressing them with our feet…in an Etruscan wine basin that Charlotte discovered at Potentino.

We will have a bread making workshop with Rosie, the cook at Potentino, who makes fresh bread weekly from stone ground flour in the castle’s wood fired oven…

We will enjoy fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and herbs from the castle garden…

That Rosie uses to make healthy, buffet style meals including vegetarian and vegan options.

With lunch usually out on the loggia…

Near the castle courtyard…

And dinners in the dining room….

Roberto Rossi, the chef and owner of Il Silene, a nearby Michelin starred restaurant will offer us an unusual opportunity to gather herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers from his organic garden to cook seasonal dishes with him like risotto…

And fresh pasta…in his newly built, state of the art kitchen.

Afterwards, we will enjoy the fruits of our labors, presented in the context of an elegant dinner at Il Silene.

Donata Origo of La Foce will come to Potentino to offer a tasting of her award winning oils made from different cultivars (olive varieties)….

And artisan, local cheesemakers will demonstrate how to make ricotta and pecorino cheese…here, testing to see if the sheep’s milk has solidified.

We will also be tasting different kinds of local, pecorino cheeses…

We will visit the nearby hill town of Montalcino and have lunch at Demetra, an organic farm-to-table restaurant.

In parallel with these artisan activities Nadia Botha Steward will offer yoga and Ayurvedic Yoga Massage and Eleanor will lead dance and meditation sessions.

A native South African, Nadia has traveled and practiced yoga around the world and has lived in Tuscany since 2012. Trained in the Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow traditions, Nadia teaches yoga that is customized for the group and for the moment. Classes will be by the pool at Potentino, weather permitting.

“Teaching is an exhilarating and humbling process requiring both spontaneity and self-discipline, playfulness and mindfulness, passion and compassion. Yoga is an infinitely generous & adaptable practice that works for every body – in ever surprising ways – at all stages of life.”

There will also be quiet time for enjoying Nature, for walking on the mountain and wading or swimming in the river…

For lying on a couch to read or relax…

Or for experimenting with your own creativity if you feel like it. That may be as simple as letting your mind wander while you sit by the river and watch the water flow or actually putting pen to paper to write a poem. Bring materials for anything you’ve been wishing you had time to explore: writing, painting, calligraphy, drawing, photography, music, etc.. (Or not, if you simply want to relax and enjoy.)

(Enjoying the sunshine at a previous course in May, 2017)


Cost varies from xxx to xxx euro/person depending on choice of accommodation in the castle. All activities, meals (including wine) and transfers to and from the Rome airport (2.5 hours) are included. Arrangements can be made to spend the weekend preceding the course in the nearby Val D’Orcia area.

For more information or to register, write Eleanor at


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