We just finished hosting our first In Touch In Tuscany retreat at the beautiful Villa Il Trebbiolo just outside of Florence. Scott Colglazier led us all through an engaging process of Rediscovering the Fire of Everyday Life. After the retreat concluded, Cheryl and I offered an optional tour of Florence. Of course the tour was followed with a scrumptious celebration dinner at our favorite restaurant Da Quei Ganzi, where Domenico and Matteo surprised us with even more incredible taste treats. It was a fantastic experience for all.
What we rediscovered over the course of the retreat and preparing for the tour, is that our lives are “made up of layers—each one built upon the other.” Of course, Scott helped us all to peel back a few of those layers to release some of the fire that had been blocked, dampened or simply covered over. But, to our surprise, the tour of Florence gave us a tangible reference point for what we had been talking about all week. Let me explain:
Even if you’ve been there before, Florence always offers something new and engaging to consider. The history runs so deep that you can never quite get to the bottom of it no matter how hard you try—there’s always more to excavate. The process of exploring the rich history of a city is not much different than entering into an inner exploration of the soul. Delving into the details gives us new and intriguing glimpses of what’s possible in our lives.
We tried to put together an itinerary of some places and experiences that were off the beaten path—those that could easily be overlooked on a first or even second visit. What we discovered were aspects of the city that we had never seen, dropping below the radar of the countless tour books and guides. The more we explored, in preparation for the event, the more engaged we became in the subtle history of this fascinating place. For example: what about the Palazzo Davanzati—a completely furnished medieval home, or a little-known rooftop terrace overlooking the sea of tile roofs punctuated with loggias and towers?
Perhaps a peek through the back door of the antique pharmacy into the magnificent cloisters of Santa Maria Novella could trigger an unexpected insight or a breathtaking aha! Take a moment to delve into the ancient art of stone mosaics at Scarpelli Mosaici where they’ll demonstrate the ancient art of cutting stone into intricate puzzle pieces with only a wire on an old wooden bow. All of these experiences are waiting just below the regular and well-known attractions of the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, and on and on and on.
Uncovering a few of the hidden gems of this Renaissance Capitol mirrored our process of personal reflection at the Villa. One layer at a time, we opened up glimpses into our own hidden gems—those simple truths covered over by years of neglect and complexity. Thanks to Scott, the 30 seekers who gathered in the Florentine countryside rediscovered some of the underlying aspects of who we are and where we plan to go from here, both figuratively and literally.
Over the year-long process of preparing for the retreat, we notated some aspects of our own journey in story and music that we would like to share. You might have already guessed that we called this latest collection of musical stories Layers. We offer this gift in honor of the community of wonderful people who joined us in the magical Tuscan Hills during the transformative summer solstice of 2011.
Thanks for visiting with us!
Note: You may also enjoy listening to the rest of the music from the CD “Layers.”