A Mindful Art Retreat in the Heart of Sicily

June 2023

Explore meditation and contemplative art-making in the enchanted landscape of Sicily.

As we step out into the world again, may the magical landscape of Sicily be a guide to our re-awakening; a guide to finding that which endures in us. Let us explore and delight in the enchanted landscapes that surround us; let us build a peaceable home in that celestial landscape within us.

Join us for this signature Art of Being retreat as we explore meditation practice and contemplative art-making in a nurturing and supportive community.

SAVE THE DATE: The next retreat program in Sicily is scheduled for June 24 – July 1, 2023. The program information on this page is only for reference and subject to change. Registration and updated program information will be posted shortly.

Please click the button below to place your name on a waiting list and reserve your place.

Pictureque seaside town of Cefalù

Let us begin in the 17th century labyrinth gardens and surrounding countryside at San Giovanni Sgadari. We will visit the Valley of Temples, the ancient Greek city of Akragas, and the picturesque seaside town of Cefalù. Experience the many layers of Sicily’s history as you explore your own unfolding story and unique place in the world.

Each day you will be guided through mindfulness meditation practices you can take back into your daily life. These practices will be woven together with contemplative art experiences intended to cultivate your innate capacity for artistic expression. No experience in meditation or art required.


  • DAY 1: LANDING | Welcome to San Giovanni Sgadari! Settle in at 5pm for an introduction to mindfulness and an overview of the week ahead as you get to know your co-participants over a welcome dinner.
  • DAY 2: FINDING YOUR LINE | Let go of fear and hesitation as we bring our whole selves to the line on the page in an exploration of mindfulness, line drawing, and mark-making.
  • DAY 3: HARNESSING THE ELEMENTS | The elements of earth, water, air, and fire surround us and flow through us. A variety of meditation and art practices will allow us to tap into each of these elements and give visual expression to our experience of them.
  • DAY 4: A LARGER TAPESTRY | Explore how our lives are woven into a larger tapestry. Our exploration will take us on a day-trip to the Valley of the Temples at Agrigento.
  • DAY 5: PICTURES & WORDS | The beautiful seaside town of Cefalù, with its towering Norman cathedral housing some of the world’s finest Byzantine mosaics, will be the setting for an exploration of contemplative photography and poetry.
  • DAY 6: BEING IN THE WORLD | Everything in nature has a way of being. We will see what nature has to tell us about our own way of being in the world. We will explore our path forward, integrating what we have harvested this week and celebrate with a festive meal.
  • DAY 7: DEPARTURE |Enjoy a full breakfast before departing at 10am.


My connection to Sicily begins on a ship, the S.S. Patria, which left the port of Palermo in October 1914.

As a young child, I used to listen to the stories of my great uncle who told me about crossing the ocean on that ship as a boy. He told me of watching a moving picture on the ship, a flickering film of a horse running. He told me about the village of Vallelunga, where our family worked the land for hundreds of years. Vallelunga stayed in my imagination until the day in 2012, when I stepped off a train there and brought that journey of the S.S. Patria full circle.

Our world is in a state of rapid change, flux, and uncertainty. People are on the move today in search of basic needs, just as the family of my grandparents was swept up in a wave of migration in 1914.

It is important that we find a still point in this turbulent world, that we come to know ourselves and tell our story as only we can tell it. It is important that we come to see our individual lives as an integral piece of a much larger human tapestry. To do so is to become more fully human, more fully our true selves.  – Michael Anderson


Michael Anderson Hi! I have been teaching art for over twenty years, and I am a certified MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) instructor. I’m a longtime student and practitioner of Buddhist meditation. I believe that everyone is an artist, that art is an expression of our authentic selves, and that mindfulness creates a space where authentic art making can arise. I’m happy to chat or answer any questions you may have about joining us in Sicily. I hope to see you there! Please feel free to drop me a message!


The location of a retreat is important, for it is the fertile ground of transformation. Arriving through the meandering country roads into the hamlet of San Giovanni Sgadari will feel like coming home. The Masseria farm estate has been in the hands of Maria Antonietta Sgadari’s family for over 300 years, and she is passionate about sharing her family traditions and welcoming programs like ours into the heart of this special place. There is no better person than her to introduce you to the magic of San Giovanni Sgadari. Enjoy this brief video introduction.

Located in the Madonie Mountain region in the heart of Sicily, the property sits on a secluded

hillside and features a centuries-old labyrinth garden and oak forest with a small river running through it.

The certified organic farm produces virgin olive oil, wheat, vegetables, fruit, and jam, which are used in the preparation of wholesome vegetarian meals.

The perfect location for a country retreat, the Masseria features a large terrace with panoramic views of the valley and surrounding mountains, charming stone cottages, a swimming pool, and large communal spaces for meditation, yoga, dining, and relaxation.

Sicilian Hospitality

Enjoy the warmth of your Sicilian hosts, delight in the authentic atmosphere of the period architecture and furnishings that surround you, be nurtured by the simple, healthy meals provided by our local chef. Many of the natural ingredients come from the farm itself and the surrounding region. Meals are vegetarian with vegan and gluten-free options available. Please let us know of any other dietary restrictions you may have. Rest assured, we will accommodate your needs to ensure your comfort, health, and well-being throughout your stay in Sicily!


The Masseria offers three room categories: The Deluxe Room is a classic private room with en-suite bath in the main farmhouse building. A collection of stone cottages overlooking the valley offer two additional options. Each cottage (maximum of 4 occupants) features a private bedroom and a living room with kitchenette and shared bath. The Superior Cottage Room is a traditional enclosed bedroom with twin or double bed and shared bath. The Standard Cottage Room offers an economic option and features two twin beds in the living room area, partitioned by a thick, floor-to-ceiling curtain for added privacy.

Room CategoryOccupancyRate (per Person)
STANDARD Cottage RoomDouble occupancy, shared bathN/A
STANDARD Cottage RoomSingle occupancy, shared bathN/A
SUPERIOR Cottage RoomDouble occupancy, shared bathN/A
SUPERIOR Cottage RoomSingle occupancy, shared bathN/A
DELUXE RoomDouble occupancy, private bathN/A
DELUXE RoomSingle occupancy, private bathN/A


  • Airport shuttle from/to Catania (CTA) airport on arrival day (3pm) & departure day (10am)
  • 6 nights accommodation, towel, sheets, and 1 room cleaning per week
  • Wholesome vegetarian meals each day
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (juice, tea, coffee) & snacks each day
  • Excursion transport to Agrigento and Cefalù
  • Use of meditation cushions and mats
  • Basic art materials, including dry and wet media, paper, and brushes (please bring any specific materials you wish to work with, as well as a journal or sketchbook)

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Travel insurance