Bellevue Club Pilates instructor Jen Serna is hosting a six-night, seven-day luxury wellness retreat designed to help you discover the beautiful Umbria region while deepening your practice and connecting to community. Using her extensive travel experience, she curated an itinerary that is perfect for those who like to take the road less traveled and uncover hidden secrets of new cultures.
The retreat takes place at Castiglione Ugolino on the Murlo Estate in Umbria, Italy. The family-owned estate includes seven villas that date back 10 generations, and it sits among 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of the country’s iconic rolling hills and rivers. From there, guests can hike, visit nearby villages, golf on a beautiful course and much more. “The property is close to the border of Tuscany and Umbria,” Serna says. “It’s centrally located to the major airports and other historical cities as well.” Within the villas, guests will get to choose their rooms. “Every room is different, and every room is beautiful,” Serna says. “They all have a view of the beautiful valley. They are spread out between two different buildings with lots of privacy.”
One of the biggest benefits of immersive experiences like this is you get the opportunity to practice Pilates or yoga every day without the stress of everyday life interfering. “You can slow it down a little,” Serna says. “You have more time with your instructor and get to know each other. You get to sit with [the daily practice], experience a different depth of how the practice works. It’s not just a workout you check off [from] your normal to-do list.”
There are 16 spots available for this retreat, and part of the joy will be getting to know others who share common interests and experience new things together as a community. However, your schedule is ultimately up to you. You can pick and choose how to spend your days. “There are plenty of communal dining and activity options,” Serna says. “And you can hang out with the group as much as you want or not. There’s plenty of space to do whatever you want.”
The Wandering Walks
Another fun feature of the trip is the itinerary of walking and culture tours. Serna’s friend Maria Bünk, an expert walking guide, will join the group to provide tips for exploring the local landscape and unexpected gems. “We will walk every morning through the rolling hills and villages of Umbria and Tuscany,” Serna says. “We have a lot of surprises and truly magical spots that you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise. It’s really for people who like to take the road less traveled, but they don’t have to do the research.”
Alessandra Benassi will be the on-site private chef. Her cooking follows the traditional Mediterranean style but also includes typical Tuscan dishes. You will enjoy specialties such as roasted pork loin with orange or vegetables served with a fondue of pecorino cheese from the Sienese hills and local black truffles. Chef Alessandra will also offer private cooking classes at the villa.
Serna is the trip leader and primary instructor for the retreat. She has been practicing Pilates for more than 20 years and is a seasoned traveler who has been to 80 countries.
“As an instructor, I’m very detailed and patient with people and can work with all kinds of bodies and experience levels,” Serna says. “People can expect to feel stronger immediately. I love talking about anatomy and helping people understand their own bodies. What they learn will permeate through the rest of their lives—they will notice how they stand, sit and even lie in bed.” A local yoga instructor will also be on-site.
May 14–20, 2023