Looking at the photographs of Lake Garda and the beautiful Locanda San Vigilio on the waterside it’s easy to see why Eliza Guarienti ditched her high pressure job in advertising to help her husband with the family business, welcoming visitors to their impressive lakeside hotel.
A few minutes’ drive from the main complex, the farmhouse overlooking the vineyards has been renovated to include a series of comfortably appointed rooms with private terraces and it’s here that Eliza is planning to welcome new mothers and babies to her ‘MamaBaba’ retreats. The accommodation combines the child-friendly properties of the farmhouse with easy access to the beach club, playground and other facilities of the Locanda San Vigilio.
The arrival of her baby daughter didn’t just prompt a change in her own lifestyle but a desire to share her home in Italy by offering retreats where new mums and babies can enjoy some relaxation time.….or as she describes it ‘a space where Mamas can be pampered and recharge from their hectic lifestyles.’ It’s a chance to rejuvenate and enjoy daily yoga sessions and pampering treatments whilst Montessori trained childminders look after your baby, in a glorious setting close to the shores of Lake Garda.
Eliza has found Italy to be a welcoming environment for small children. She says, ‘Life here is slower, you get to spend more time with your family and be there in the first magical years of your child’s life. I’ve found there is less stress and more help from grandparents and the general community as Italians love children.’
It’s this relaxed pace and enhanced support that she hopes to share with other new mums and pregnant women. Eliza continues: ‘Having my own baby completely influenced my change in lifestyle. My daughter was my inspiration to start MamaBaba. Having been a career women for many years, becoming a mother brought me much happiness but also a small identity crisis. I listened to my body, mind and spirit and understood that this was an opportunity to embrace my passion for well-being and help other mums through the sometimes challenging transformation into becoming a mother.’
The daily yoga sessions are a key aspect of the retreat, with teachers trained in pre and postnatal yoga offering a gentle meditative practice designed to cater for all levels – with small group sizes you can expect plenty of personal support and attention, helping to guide you through some of the specific postnatal challenges you might be facing.
But it’s not all about yoga and meditation. Eliza is hoping that guests will enjoy a real flavour of Italy with delicious, freshly prepared menus making full use of locally sourced and seasonal produce, visits to local restaurants and a pasta making class. And, with a vineyard location, as Eliza says, ‘it would be a waste not sit back with a glass of wine at sunset to finish a perfect day!’
There’s plenty to see and do locally, with Verona only twenty minutes away by car and the beach club at Locanda San Vigilio only 10 minutes distance – although for many guests looking for some relaxation time, it will be tempting to simply enjoy the swimming pool, your own private terrace and the local scenery.
Currently the retreats are just aimed at Mamas and Babas – leaving Papas behind. ‘It’s about meeting like-minded women, sharing similar experiences and being inspired,’ says Eliza, ‘we believe that when women support each other, incredible things happen.’ Although she adds that many new Dads have expressed an interest in taking time out with their new infant and specific family breaks could well be on the agenda next year. There’s also the option to host your own well-being or yoga retreat, or yoga practitioner teaching sessions – contact Eliza for more information.
Retreats available: Sept 15-22nd; Sept 22-28th; Oct 6th-12th; Oct 13-19th