F**k It Retreats

live the f**k It Life

holidays on the volcanic island of stromboli, italy

The setting, just above the sea and looking out towards the lighthouse on Strombolicchio, is simply stunning.

The room looked beautiful with antique furniture and en suite shower room.

J.L., England

The location is just sensational and the island wonderful.

Stromboli is basic - that is its charm - so don't expect a resort - but do expect to feel that you are on an extraordinary place.

M.P., Portsmouth, U.K.

The hotel is very tastefully designed, lots of flowers and open pathways.

I.S., Holland

The location is perfect, there is a small beach right in front of the hotel.

E.V., London

holidays on the volcanic island of stromboli, italy

The water - warm and crystal clear. Wish I was still there.

J.L., Germany

THE VOLCANO, STROMBOLI, NEAR SICILY

Yes, we're doing F**k It Retreats on a volcano. Yes, a frickin' volcano.

We were hanging out with a friend, Germana, during a F**k It Week last summer at The Hill That Breathes (where we live). No one knew it, but we were starting to think about giving up the running of The Hill That Breathes, and starting to teach F**k It in other locations in Italy. And Germana said something like "Have you thought about teaching F**k It elsewhere? Because I know this amazing place - Stromboli - you know, the volcanic island, where the energy is astonishing." You see, Germana is heavily into Qigong, the Chinese energy art that we teach on F**k It weeks. "You can feel the ground vibrating beneath you", she said.

By this time we had dropped our forks… "It's an amazing island - the Volcano is active and alive, the place is very simple, no cars, no street lights, it would be great for F**k It", added Germana, who is from Sicily, so knows the islands to the north of Sicily very well. And her dream is to live on Stromboli. And - after she'd waxed lyrical about its charms for the rest of our lunch - we knew we had to teach there as part of our new F**k It Retreats.

So Germana helped us find a great hotel, perfect for us (and you): right on the sea, and right under that volcano.

THE STUNNING ISLAND OF STROMBOLI

This is a place like no other. It is in fact the only constantly active volcano in the world: but active in a way that allows you to live just beneath it and witness the eruptions from many parts of the island, safely.

Proper lava flows are rare (every 10 years or so), and when they happen they are channeled into the ‘Sciara del Fuoco’, a spectacular natural indent on the north side of the island, and fall into the sea.

stromboli the volcano's summit

The ongoing volcanic activity is a small emission of blobs of lava shot a small distance into the air called ‘fire fountains’. This makes for a stunning night spectacle, as you can imagine. You really understand here that everything is alive and connected (that’s the Gaia theory by the way…). If you need to unblock energy in your life, this is the place to be. We all have a volcano of life inside us, but aren’t often able to let that energy out.

Here, you can’t help it. You won’t believe what it’s like to do Qigong (the Chinese energy art) on a vibrating volcano or breathe lying on the ground of the mountain looking up at the volcano.

Well, the island is the volcano: 900 meters high and 12 Km long, the eastern side is ‘untamed, ruggedly green and dotted with small whitewashed houses’ (Lonely Planet), with roads that are more like country tracks only used by walkers or electric carts (no cars are allowed on the island), little squares with restaurants, beaches made of lavic sand and therefore completely black, set against the turquoise transparent sea. There are no lights on the streets at night, so star-watching and eruption-watching is an unimaginable experience.

The spectacular north side is completely black and rocky because of the volcanic activity. It is on this side that the lava flows into the sea.

The island is completely unspoiled. It has just 400 inhabitants and you are in direct touch with raw nature.

The volcano is called by the inhabitants ‘Iddu’, which in Sicilan means ‘Him’, referring to the divine nature of this powerful volcano.

This is without doubt a very powerful and spiritual place.

THE HOTEL

bedroom bananas

The hotel opened in 1949: two months after the filming of ‘Stromboli’ with Ingrid Bergman. It offers a typical Strombolian way of living: with small white buildings dotted around the green gardens, right above a beautiful bay of black volcanic sand and stones, and the blue sea. Bright-flowered trees cover the white walls of the rooms and restaurant. Banana trees remind you that we are rather close to Africa.

The rooms are simple and clean. This is not the luxury of the Estate & Spa of Urbino: this is about a simple, functional space in a spectacular setting.

The centre of the town is a 4 minute walk from the hotel, the port is 10 minutes’, the larger beaches are all close-by, and there are several small coves right beneath the hotel.

THE FOOD

You are in for a treat. Sicilian food is a heavenly thing: Aubergine caponata; local pizza prepared on a thick bread and covered with fresh tomatoes; the famous arancini, crusty balls of rice with melted mozzarella inside; amazing (amazing) seafood and the desserts… cannoli (tubular crusts with creamy ricotta and a sugar filling); cassata (a rich cake with almonds and local crystallized oranges); gelati (ice cream) and granite (sweetened crushed ice in about 20 different natural flavours, like almond, lemon or chocolate). Bet you’re salivating now.

We are half-board at our hotel: Many people will want to go to the beach after the session in the morning, and take a light snack there (well you’ll probably end up with a mozzarella, herbs and tomato calzone and a three-flavoured ice cream, but…).

Others will want to try the different ristoranti and pizzerie on the island.

We’ll mainly have dinner at the hotel, to spend the evening together after the free afternoon. But we’ll occasionally have lunch at the hotel and go out together in the evening to explore some of the restaurants on the island.

THE TERRACE (FOR OUR SESSIONS)

terrace  the beach the sea and volcanic sand

The most spectacular of the terraces at our hotel will be reserved for our sessions. It is high above the hotel buildings on the hill’s slope, looking right onto the volcano on one side and onto the sea on the other. It will be lightly covered to protect us from the strong sun.

This terrace will be the perfect set-up to shake all the tightness and smallness out of our system (you’ll get it here that life is BIG and energy is plentiful) and tap into the explosive F**k It energy available to you.

THE BEACHES

The beaches in Stromboli are striking: unspoiled, pure sparkling black sand or rocks and Caribbean blue water. The vegetation behind the beaches frames this scenario pretty nicely too with cacti, ginestre and wild flowers. There are a few long sandy beaches (black of course) as well a many coves and bays of sand and stone with the lush hillside at your back.

The sea floor is also black, and the sea-life incredible and plentiful: making snorkelling and scuba diving here very special. It is also possible to scuba dive down the lava ridge, which is apparently one mother of an unforgettable experience.

On the South-West side of the island, there is what is said to be the smallest port in the world, Ginostra, with an amazing beach, and only reachable by boat.

Only 50 people live there and it a beauty forgotten by time: with a natural amphitheatre, small houses reachable by steps through the green hillside, black cliffs over the blue sea, and a little church at the top. Going to Ginostra is a must, and we are planning, if the group is up for it, to go there for a day and do our session there.

THE SCHEDULE (SESSIONS AND FREE-TIME)

First of all, there will be no early rising for yoga and chanting.

We’ll simply start our sessions at 9.30am after a leisurely breakfast, and run through 'til lunchtime (1pm) – with a little break of course. There will be sessions every day during your stay (excluding arrival and departure days, so 6 days), though we may well have a shorter session on one day, when you will have the opportunity to have a longer trip (such as a walk up the volcano)… but we’ll see when we’re there.

So your time is your own every day from lunch onwards. Yum yum and double yum.

Getting there early, or staying on

We highly recommend taking a couple or more extra days after or before the F**k It holiday on Stromboli to visit some more of Sicily. We recommend a couple of days in Palermo, for example, or island-hopping in the Eolie (the group of islands Stromboli belongs to) or anywhere on the north coast beneath Stromboli.

You’ll find more info in travel. »

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