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retreat in apulia


cooking as a mindfulness practice

  • New dates coming soon!

CASINA SETTARTE, Contrada La Chiusa, 72017 Ostuni, Italy
with Maria-Lucrezia, Frank, Francesco and Nico

Our retreat "#Beyond recipes: - awareness in daily practices" moves within the triangle of meditative practice - sustainable lifestyle - the art of Cucina Povera. How does this go together? Through a more conscious and loving approach to ourselves and the world around us!


Our day is often tightly scheduled. Technical devices determine our daily routine and we often lack the time to take a breath. While we are working or focused on tasks, we lose sight of the needs of the body: we don't feel that we are hungry, thirsty or tired. We do not move for hours.

Around us, we meet people who hope for a more relaxed approach to the demands of everyday life, who wish for a more sustainable future and who care about a healthier diet. Often we see how these desires get in conflict with everyday limitations and theory and practice remain separated. This then leads to perplexity and frustration.

This was also our personal experience. Up to a point where we looked at this critical situation with different eyes and recognized it as a challenge, as an opportunity and discovered in it the potential for our growth.


In the conscious turning to our everyday activities - in the "little things of everyday life" - we recognized: everything is already there for a rich and fulfilled happy and contented healthy life.

As soon as we looked inside ourselves and valued the small everyday things anew, we experienced how theory and practice meet in the here and now and what transformation power is released through this.


Consciously preparing food - meditating without a meditation cushion

We learned that in order to achieve effective and lasting change, we should start with what is closest and accessible to us: the first step is to reconnect with our body and our hands. A simple act that immediately brings us into the "here and now" - the only place where action and transformation are possible.


The way we see ourselves, the way we treat ourselves, how deeply we know ourselves - all this determines how we perceive our environment and how we deal with it. We are all connected. Although we sometimes feel separate from the world, we cannot live separate from the world. You can easily see this - try to stop breathing and live without air!

We want to focus on food in our retreat in Puglia because we experience food as the fundamental connection between the inner and outer world.

Food is a holistic system that affects all areas of our lives: each of our daily decisions about what, how, how much and why we eat not only affects our psycho-physical well-being, but also has an impact on the environment, nature and the people who produce our food and dispose of our waste.

Maria Lucrezia, Francesco and Nico grew up with the healthy, sustainable and creative principles of southern Italian cucina povera (poor man's cooking), which is the basis of the famous Mediterranean diet. This tradition has evolved into an art of living that feeds on the need to achieve the best possible for the many with the few resources available.

Cucina Povera not only offers us effective, simple and sustainable techniques for preparing and preserving healthy food with seasonal, fresh, local, mostly vegetarian ingredients and raw materials.


It is based on a daily practice of solidarity, togetherness and zero-waste living habits.

In our retreat we practice these three interrelated elements: Sustainability - Mindfulness - The Art of Cucina Povera.

Being present with all 5 senses!


During the 4 days of our retreat we invite you on a little journey to explore 4 questions:

  • How do I recognize a balanced posture in my body?

  • What aspects build awareness in my body?

  • What is my attention focused on?

  • How do I train to connect mind and body in the here and now?


Francesco helps us with Qi Gong exercises to awaken and consciously perceive the energy (Qi) of the body.

Frank  leads us in different ways to a finer inner perception through silent and dynamic meditations.

Maria-Lucrezia shows us how the preparation of food can be transformed into a practice of awareness.

Nico uses the vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls and gongs to bring us into contact with the vibrations of life energy.


Maria-Lucrezia and Nico, who have lived in Berlin for a long time, are deeply rooted in Apulia, the region where they were born. Apulia is a part of Italy where industrialization came late and people have always remained connected to nature. Although - or perhaps because of? - the fact that this part of the country has always been poor, here you can feel the gratitude for the generosity of nature in an unadulterated way.

Sustainable living has been practiced in Apulia for centuries, without using the word sustainability. We as Pugliesi love our land. Here, the simple preparations such as boiling Passata (strained tomatoes), drying Figs and manufacturing Olive Oil have remained part of everyday life. It is in these activities that we recognize ourselves as Pugliesi, rooting ourselves in both family and nature.

In the CASINA SETTARTE, near Ostuni, we will hold our retreat.

It is a place where the sun reflects on the white roofs of the Trulli, which stand here and there amidst the green of the olive groves.


Preparing and eating meals together, resting and doing good to our bodies and minds are practical steps towards a more conscious life where we learn to be more loving with ourselves and the world.

The pleasant healing sounds of the singing bowl, the captivating scent of fresh herbs and ripe fruit, the taste of a good meal, the feeling of arriving in one's own body and the wide views of the beauty of the Apulian landscape make the retreat an unforgettable sensual experience.

But the retreat is not only a wonderful "time out" from our everyday life, but passionate encouragement to transform this everyday life - into a life that gives us contentment.

casina settarte

We are happy to offer you our retreat in a wonderful place in the middle of the original nature of Puglia;

in the authentic beauty of CASINA SETTARTE!


offers various accommodation options per night/person:

from a simple bungalow for 24 €
to a trullo with bathroom for 29 €
to a cottage with kitchen and bathroom for 64 €

We will be happy to send you more information upon request.

We prepare in our retreat fresh, organic, regional vegetables and seasonal ingredients. We prefer sustainable plant-based recipes that are easy and quick to prepare as well as healthy, tasty and nutritious.
We love to practice the art of  ZERO-WASTE!

partecipation fee

Our value orientation is also expressed in our scaled price model, which we consider to be more comprehensive (inclusive) and solidary. You have the possibility to choose between 3 price levels named after 3 flowers, symbols of gratitude.

Tulpe   560 €

Lilie      630 €

Rose    710  €

We are excited to meet you!
Maria-Lucrezia, Frank, Nico, Francesco, Manuela, Felicia

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