LizStyle Fitness Retreat Calabria, Italy

Posted: October 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

It’s been my dream for over 4 years to link my passion for fitness together with my other big passion, travelling. I have been to different fitness retreats in the past, all very different to one another. I took the best of all of them and created my own retreat at the end of last year/ beginning of this year. I chose an amazing villa in the less travelled province of South of Italy, Calabria called Villa Mediterraneo.

Why Calabria? I worked for 3 months in a resort there 15 years ago and although the memories I left with were not great, I believe we all need experiences like that in our lives to teach us about the we see how other people live/work/run businesses. I was only 22 and I went to a Travel Fair in Hungary where I approached an Italian stand and asked if they had any openings in any type of work (bar/restaurant) for the summer. So after finishing uni, my friend and I took a flight to Rome, then a train down to Briatico and the adventure began. Beyond 14h working days and some drama and backstabbing I don’t remember much, the one thing I remember though was the colour of the water, the beauty of this province where mountains meet the sea, where Sicily and Stromboli are around the corner, and most importantly where the food is to die for…

Fast forward 15 years, I started marketing this Retreat with the excitement of spending a week sharing knowledge, common passion for fitness with likeminded people, and then COVID happened with Italy being the worst hit country so I got very disappointed and until the last minute I did not think that it would actually happen. But it did! And I’m so happy with how it all went.

The villa we stayed in, was absolutely stunning. Some pictures of both the interior and exterior below…

We had a timetable that we followed but were also flexible as there were only 4 of us that were able to make it.

Me and Emilie arrived on the 15th and headed to Tropea as soon as we picked up the car to make sure the tours that we planned for Friday were confirmed. Tropea is a stunning city, Calabria’s jewel.

After having spent a few hours here we had to leave to reach our accommodation in Fuscaldo, situated near the villa called Il Cerro Agroturismo. The drive from Tropea to this place was a little more than 2h. When we got close to it, it was already dark..and for obvious reasons (lack of Google map accuracy, no sign posts, pitch black and mountain roads) we got lost. Luckily Francesco the owner found us and got us to the place. Next day when it was light we understood that this place would have been a challenge to find even in daylight! But it was amazing to spend the first 2 nights here.

Next day we visited the villa which blew our minds completely (so much nicer than on the photos when I booked it), then had lunch in town, met our Head Chef, Giovanni who took us round the town to show us the beach (Lungomare) shops and all the essential places. He was so welcoming and nice to us. My Italian was essential as nobody spoke any English. In the evening I went out with Carmelo for dinner, he was the one who found Giovanni for me. He took me to a wonderful place called Borgo Rosso di Sera where Massimo spoilt us with an amazing 7 course dinner.

Day 1.

On the morning of the 17th we checked into the Villa and went to pick up the guests from the airport. They were all tired as it was an early flight but the warm Italian air, the smell of the sea and the excitement of the week ahead made them want to explore already on the first day. Giovanni cooked the first lunch then we went for a walk, had a Yin Yoga class and Daniele prepared for us dinner which was an absolutely beautiful and super tasty octopus starter and fish main.

Day 2.

The next day we had our first big fitness day starting with Power Yoga, then we set some goals for the week and had breakfast. Had a little rest (or the brave ones ventured into the pool) and did a strength class with bands at 11am followed by lunch.

After lunch we went for a stroll on the beach..

After the walk we had an Italian Lottery conditioning class and a gentle yoga session.

Dinner was prepared by Giovanni, shrimps and poached egg with spinach starter.

Day 3.

Yoga to start with, wonderful healthy breakfast and a sprints and core class. In the afternoon we had free time, so visited a nearby town called Diamante, famous for its murals.

Dinner with Giuseppe this time, super engaging and detailed!

Day 4.

5k run at the beach to start with!

Followed by delicious breakfast, then free time for the girls and a strength class before lunch. We used TRX, bands, chair, wall, curb.

Lunch was salmon and salad in a buffet format prepared by Giovanni.

After the siesta we did a Boxing class and a yoga class late afternoon followed by dinner prepared by Simone and a fun table football game boys vs girls!

Day 5. Hiking in Sila National Park!

Started with an early breakfast, drove 1h 40 mins to reach this lovely national park in the mountains and did a 6h hike following the path of Botte Donato.

After a full on day having burnt 3600 calories we decided that we earnt an authentic Calabrian pizza, so upon arrival we scrubbed up and went to Giovanni’s restaurant. ODDIO! The best best pizza EVER!

Day 6.

Full excitement! The day when we had the National Television in our villa in the evening…No idea how this happened, the chefs wanted to share with the nation how to link food and fitness together to create a good balance. But before that we had work to do!

I had a full on day with online PTs in the morning, meanwhile the girls started with Power Yoga, had breakfast and at 11am we did the Italian lottery class where Lisa could luckily join in. Sadly she wasn’t able to be with us but through the online streaming she could enjoy an hour in our lovely villa. Well…enjoy might be a big word. Those of you who know me, also know the card conditioning class!

Lunch was very light, minestrone soup, then we had a boxing class as the last class of the week at 3pm. The girls went to the beach after this and I prepared the villa for the evening. During this TV recording we had the chance to assist Chef Carmelo Fabbricatore in his preparation of the famous Calabrian Risotto with Liquorice. What a night! We had our sommelier matching wine to this fantastic meal, we had our waiters and of course the journalists representing the main channels of Italy. Here is a snippet of the night:

Here is a short video of my interview:

Day 7 Tropea

After an early breakfast we drove to Tropea. When we arrived we strolled through the romantic narrow streets of this wonderfully charming town, home to sandy beaches and red onions that are well-known in Italy. Cipolle di Tropea (“Tropea onions”) have become a synonym in Italy for all red onions.

In the afternoon we did a 3 hour cruise on the beautiful turquoise water with aperitif on board. What a wonderful day to close this week with!

We had a very late dinner, and we had to pack, and also had a little party to say thanks to the chefs for looking after us so much, plus we prepared a little surprise for Usha for her upcoming birthday!

It was time to leave paradise. Saturday morning after a smooth arrival, the departure was everything but smooth..but we only remember the good parts of this trip which was pretty much 90%! Im pretty sure that Tanu and Usha had an amazing time along with Emilie who did an amazing job teaching yoga and creating a calm and serene atmosphere.

If we are at the thank yous, I would like to say massive thanks to Giovanni De Luca for creating a Fitness Menu for us, organising all this local publicity around our event with a variety of incredible chefs and giving his heart and soul into cooking and managing this project, Carmelo Fabbricatore for putting me in touch with Giovanni, Giuliana Antonelli Founder of Wimpole Real Estate in London, without her encouragement and contacts this amazing week would have not happened.

Looking forward to being back to this beautiful place next year, dates will be out soon! Until then…

EAT well,

MOVE daily,

HYDRATE often,

SLEEP lots,

LOVE your body,

REPEAT for life!

Aliz x

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