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La Via Di Gangivecchio: a retreat to Sicily


La Via Di Gangivecchio  |  retreat to Sicily

Led By:  Giovanna Tornabene, TaraMarie Perri, Michele Drozd and special guests


Choose your week

week 1: Monday, October 7th - Sunday, October 13

week 2: Monday, October 14 - Sunday, October 20

In-Residence Abroad.  Craigardan brings its inter-disciplinary, community-focused creative programming to Sicily in the first of a series of international experiences.  See, taste, hear, and feel the world with philosophical, ecological, and artistic perspective.  Led by international experts, these short-term residencies and retreats weave together site-specific themes of:

Art + Craft, Architectural + Archeological Past, Present and Future

Agricultural + Culinary Traditions, their Preservation and Sustainability

Place-Based + International Crosscurrents and Conversations

Cultural Heritage + the Contemplative Arts


The Way of Gangivecchio.  Retreat to Sicily for a week that slows time as we honor the mission of the 14th century monks who wrote, farmed, and cooked during their lives at Gangivecchio.  

A former Benedictine Monastery, Gangivecchio is a timeworn living museum with a storied past that traces back to the ancient Greeks and flows forward into a tide of cultural and culinary influence that continues on with us today.  Home of the Tornabene family since 1856, Gangivecchio became a celebrated agricultural estate, made famous by Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene’s world-class restaurant and cooking school, Tenuta Gangivecchio.  Their James Beard Award-winning cookbooks and destination Inn brought the world to Sicily and Sicilian-style seasonal cooking to the world. Read a review by The New York Times.

Now closed to the public, Giovanna welcomes us to this magnificent private estate to share in the rich story of Gangivecchio and to welcome a new cultural and educational exchange.


Not at all a typical retreat, guests will live in the rhythms of Sicily, fully immersing in a balanced and guided experience that celebrates the food, community, agricultural practices, history, and stories of place.

We will stay in the Abbey’s comfortable Inn, located within the estate’s stone walls. The Inn retains the charm of its original barn structure with modern amenities including wifi, private bathrooms, and simple yet comfortable spaces.  Here we’ll gather for meals and cooking classes with Giovanna, and spend time swapping stories in the outdoor courtyard over the morning’s espresso and the evening’s glass of wine.  In addition to her family’s culinary secrets, Giovanna will share the history of Gangivecchio as told through its architecture, artifacts and many inhabitants.

Nestled in the base of a mountain, the 140 acre property features terraced gardens, ancient walking paths, and pastoral views which give way to the sounds, smells, and sights of this quintessential Sicilian countryside. We’ll join Salvatore on a morning walk of the pastures for an agricultural overview before learning to make his artisanal cheeses in the afternoon.

Local friends and guests will join us for meals and excursions, opening their lives and lending their expertise.  We’ll also meet Silvia and Bruno from Azienda Agricola Sillitti, producers of the heritage wheat and the fine olive oil we’ll use in our afternoon bread class.

We’ll also explore the town of Gangi, draped over the top of a neighboring mountain.  We’ll meet the town’s archeologist, Santiago, for a visit to the museum which features Greek and Roman treasures found in dig sites at Gangivecchio and surrounding locales.  In the afternoon we’ll join Santi and his horses, who stand ready to take us on a slow-motion tour of the countryside.  

This is Sicily.


Arrive on Monday evening as common travelers for dinner and introductions with time to relax and rest. Depart the following Sunday as family after breakfast and goodbyes.  

Tuesday through Friday: 

Begin and/or end each day with the contemplative arts (no experience required) including gentle Yoga, breathing techniques, and/or meditation with TaraMarie Perri. Pre-breakfast morning and pre-dinner evening sessions will be offered outside as the weather permits or in a beautiful mountainside abbey room.

Daily siesta is honored with a rest period each day after lunch.

Optional morning and afternoon group walks, excursions, or hands-on classes will be offered by local experts including: Cheesemaking / Wine tasting / Horseback riding / site seeing via local trails / Sicilian cooking & baking / Gangi & museum tour / writing, sketching & journaling / Architecture & Archeology

Or, opt-out of group time and enjoy personal time for contemplation, off-property exploration, rest or inspired self-reflection and writing. At any time: follow your own path with mindful walks through Gangi’s local trails or in the gardens.

All meals will be prepared by James Beard Award winning chef Giovanna Tornabene and her wonderful staff.  The food will be inspired, local and seasonal; and will include meats, fish, dairy, grains, fruits and nuts. Please contact us to discuss any dietary restrictions before registering.


  • 6 nights lodging and all meals with wine

  • transportation to/from the Palermo International Airport

  • All day & evening programming for the retreat including excursions

  • Please note: Fee does not include airfare or other long-distance travel costs, which must be arranged and paid separately by the participant.


$4800 for two  |  for double occupancy in private room w/private bath and patio

$4500 for two  |  for double occupancy in private room w/private bath

$2700 per person  |  for single occupancy in private room w/private bath and patio

$2400 per person  |  for single occupancy in private room w/private bath

All bedrooms include 1 queen bed, 1 twin bed, desk and closet, and private bathroom with shower.

** 2 work-exchange scholarships are available for each week. Please email for information.

** Space is limited! Please select your week and Click button below to register


Giovanna Tornabene is the last representative of the Tornabene Family, daughter of chef Wanda Tornabene and our host for the week.  A writer, historian and story-teller with a passion for archeology, Giovanna brings the past alive through her food and her knowledge of Gangivecchio’s many tales.  She is the co-author of three award-winning cookbooks including La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio.  Her Ancestor, Mariano Tornabene, purchased Gangivecchio in 1856, and as Giovanna recalls “the love between the family and the Abbey was immediate, and, in a certain way, endless.”

TaraMarie DVEIGHT-52websized.jpg

TaraMarie Perri is the founder of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and faculty at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. For more than two decades her vocation has been teacher and practitioner of dance, classical Yoga, contemplative arts and sciences, somatic movement therapies, and integrative medicine. She seeks out experiential environments that nurture introspection and connectivity with others and the natural world. TaraMarie's research is inspired by multidisciplinary collaborations with colleagues, performers, artists, and makers in-studio, onstage, and outdoors. She volunteers in health and social services and maintains a private practice in Brooklyn, NY. B.A. Visual Arts History, College of the Holy Cross, MA; M.F.A. Dance, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, NY.


Michele Drozd is an artist with a degree in Ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.  She worked under masters including Petras Vaskys, Laszlo Fekete and Marie Baron studying tilework, design, mold making, and sculpture. After traveling the world and finding her home in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, she became intensely interested in art and entrepreneurialism, the revitalization of small rural towns, food and agriculture, education and historic preservation - and the connections between them. Since 2002 she has worked within these fields in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Michele is now the co-founder and executive director of Craigardan.


Our local guests and guides for the week include Peter Gethers, Janis Donnaud, Salvatore Duca, Santi Consolo, Santino Ferraro, Silvia Sillitti, Bruno Fantauzza, Caterina Mollica, Peppe Bevacqua, Giuseppina Palmeri, and Christian Eche. Pictured here: Salvatore Duca, shepherd and cheesemaker, on a tour of the pastures.

Earlier Event: September 7
Dinner in the Field
Later Event: October 21
Bookgardan: Grow Your Book