At some point on retreat, either as a group, or on your own, you will want to make use of the darling little trail that runs from Fattoria del Colle to the medieval village of Trequanda. The trail is less than a mile long and you can easily walk it in half an hour. But you might want to take over twice that amount of time because there is a lot to take in. Here is what I suggest.
Leave the property by finding the trail that shoots off just to the left of the chapel near Donatella’s villa. There are signs pointing the way and the clearly marked trail will take you through the forest.
As soon as you reach the forest, you will come across a wonderland that is perfect for a child of almost any age. Take a moment to tap into your own childlike wonder and follow the winding trail through the forest playground. Find the ribbons hanging in a tree, and notice where you might sneak away if you were playing hide and seek. Use your phone to translate some of the Italian phrases on trees encouraging you to dream, to tell stories or to fly.
You might leave the children’s forest reluctantly, but don’t worry. This secret fairyland is so close to Fattoria that you can easily visit again while you are on retreat.
Follow the trail down into the olive grove. Notice the size of the little olive fruits. What season are you in? Olive oil is pressed in autumn in Italy. Are the olives just budding or are they close to harvest?
The olive grove is in the dip in the valley. As you pass through it, you begin to climb up to Trequanda. You can see the village on the hill as you approach and it is steep towards the end. If it is springtime, look for flowers coming up on the right as you reach the town. Wisteria is in bloom along this road in April.
When you reach the town, follow the road that leads left and upwards into the village. Just before you pass through the narrow archway into town, turn around and take in the opposite of the view you’ve been enjoying from Fattoria. You can even make out the barn and the very spot where maybe you were sitting that very morning during a session and looking at the village of Trequanda, where you are now standing.
If you’re tired from the climb up the hill, you can make use of the benches that are perfectly placed for taking in this vista. When you’re ready, you can carry on up the road and through the archway that leads into the village.
On your right as you enter town, notice the side street with potted flowers on the wall. In fact, the whole village of Trequanda seems to be in on a plan to cover their town with gorgeous flowers. You might be tempted to stop and take photos at every corner.
Head on up the hill to the church. There are actually three churches in Trequanda but the most famous one is on the main little square dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Andrew. Pop in and light a candle in the church. Stay a little while or a long time before heading back out to the square.
There is a little bar on the square where you can stop and have a drink or a snack. If it’s a pretty day, you can sit at a table outside and enjoy people watching in the square.
Leave the square by walking to the right of the church to go and see the ancient Castle of Cacciaconti. First you come to a unique Italian garden courtyard. You might sit a minute in the courtyard and look at the castle around you. Sometimes there are children playing or I have even seen artists set up in the garden with their canvases, painting this idyllic Tuscan scene.
Walk through the courtyard and as you leave the castle area and town, notice the majestic cylindric stone tower. You’ll pass the tower on your right as you walk back down to the road where you entered to follow the same trail back to Fattoria.
You might enjoy the walk so much that you find time to do it again during your time on retreat. I usually do it at least once when I go to Tuscany.