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Family Retreats In Italy

Yoga, Cooking and Fitness breaks for all the family

 The Guardian Travel 8th July 2011

So when, after 13 months of sleepless nights, the chance of a yogaholiday in Italy specifically designed for mums and babies came up, I jumped at it. I didn't care if it sounded "a bit NCT on tour", as one friend put it. I was sold on it the minute I read the words: "We look after your little ones while you relax," on the website. Run by London-born Italian and mother of one Rita Kobrak, from her Tuscan farmhouse, the Mum-and-Baby Experience offers yoga for grown-ups, rather than babies – another big plus for me. I tried baby yoga when Ossian was younger and was invariably left with an empty mat while he crawled around the room in search of the nearest plug socket. Here, I would be able to practise my downward dogs while Fernanda, a friend of Rita's from the village, kept Ossian entertained. Fernanda had already been dubbed the baby whisperer by previous guests, one of whom had insisted her baby would go to no one else, and was rather surprised when she was not only perfectly happy with Fernanda but cried when she was handed back to mum. My only fear about leaving Ossian with Fernanda was that she wouldn't realise how hyper he was and he'd be up the stone steps and half way to the village before she noticed he was gone. Needless to say, he was fine. In fact, on most days she lived up to her nickname and managed to lull him to sleep – which meant – oh, luxury – a whole hour to read by the pool. Casa Alessia is a couple of minutes' drive up a bumpy track from the sleepy village of Caprese Michelangelo, named after the sculptor and painter, who was born there in 1475. A 300-year old, thick-walled farmhouse, it was home to 12 brothers until the 1960s, who lived in the top half while the downstairs housed their livestock. Inside it is homely, dark and cool with a comfy living room on the first floor and five spacious, tiled-floor bedrooms.But we barely spent any time in the house. Breakfast – fresh smoothies, fruit salad, homemade muesli, cake – was eaten on the terrace, while soaking up the view of Lago di Montedoglio – Italy's largest reservoir – shimmering in the valley below. In the opposite direction the purple-green hills of the Appenines formed a hazy backdrop. Lizards flitted among the old stones, birds sang and a gentle breeze ensured it never felt too hot. The only jarring element in this picture-postcard idyll was the collection of bright plastic toys in the garden, but for half of the guests, of course, these were the cherry on the cake: Ossian spent hours pottering about the garden with his mini watering can or in the Wendy house, where he could indulge his passion for slamming doors to his heart's content.

For the whole review please see

Also featured in

The Daily Telegraph

Stella magazine,

Mother and Baby,

The Gulf News,

Angels and Urchins,,


The vegetarian magazine,

Tuscany magazine,

Wimbledon decoded

and Relax magazine.

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