BEAUTY & WELLNESS -
Spiritual Retreats in Umbria
A region historically strongly associated with mystic currents and revolutionary religious figures, Umbria has much to offer the tourist in search of a quiet retreat from the world for a few days. A number of religious boarding houses across the region are open to guests, who are free to rest, walk, read or just give themselves over to some much needed contemplation. Generally under the direction of religious institutions, these religious boarding houses offer stays of a minimum of two nights and do require guests to return by closing time – 9pm in winter and 10pm in summer.
Particularly concentrated in the Province of Perugia, at Foligno there are, for example, three religious boarding houses. The Locanda Emmaus was created as lodgings for pilgrims during the 2000 Jubilee Year out of part of the former parish of Maria SS. Assunta in Colfiorito. It has a sleeping capacity of 35, each room with its own bathroom (with disabled access). A common room with a large-screen TV can be used for conferences of up to 50 people and is equipped with a video projector and DVD player. As could be expected of a boarding house of this kind, there is also spiritual assistance for those in need. The Oasi di San Francesco, just 18 kilometres from Assisi, is immersed in the quiet Umbrian countryside at Santa Maria degli Angeli, while the Casa Beata Angelina in Foligno occupies a series of restored 15th century houses in town with the rooms in a wing of the former Sant'Anna monastery, in the upper floor of the studio home of the renowned painter Nicolò Alunno.
At Bevagna the Monastery of the Benedictine Nuns welcomes individuals, families or groups who wish to escape the frantic pace of contemporary living for a few days. The food is simple and plentiful and the rooms are all equipped with their own private bathroom – sleeps 60.
Precisely at the spot where, in 1221, St Francis celebrated his Capitolo delle Stuoie series of guiding principles for his brothers, the Casa di Accoglienza e di Evangelizzazione Le Stuoie in Assisi has 75 rooms and a total sleeping capacity of 190. The entire building was completely refurbished for the 2000 Jubilee Year, each room has its own private bathroom and the bed linen is provided by the boarding house.
Other religious boarding houses in the Province of Perugia include the Centro di Spiritualità Il Carmelo in Nocera Umbra (Via San Paolo) and the Convent of San Fortunato at Turri, near Montefalco.
In the area comprised within the Province of Terni, the Casa Religiosa di Ospitalità Nazareno in Spoleto is a structure that underwent a complete refurbishment in 2003. It welcomes both clergy and lay individuals or groups for a maximum sleeping capacity of 75. All 36 rooms have their own private bathroom with shower, and all have their own telephone line. Given the sizeable refectory, which can cater for up to 100 meals at lunchtime and dinner, it is possible to make half board or full board arrangements. The conference hall with a capacity of 99 seats is ideal for conferences and meetings. The Casa di Accoglienza San Ponziano, also at Spoleto, is a monastery with its own private basilica.
Overlooking the magnificent Terni basin, the Casa di Accoglienza delle Suore di Sant'Anna at Narni boasts a beautiful garden that is just perfect for spending afternoons in silent contemplation. A large terrace overlooks the valley beneath, with views towards the densely forested mountain side covered in ilex and Mediterranean scrub.
At Fabro, just 400 from the motorway exit, the former Madonna delle Grazie institute houses the Casa del Pellegrino directly opposite the sanctuary. The comfortable rooms all have good views of the surrounding countryside, with a bathroom every second room and a total sleeping capacity of 24 spread over a total of 13 rooms. Only one room, with four beds, has its own private bathroom. The boarding house is open all year round and is conducted by a family-run management. A large conference hall able to hold roughly 100 seated is idea for meetings and conferences. Other facilities include a large parking area, a comfortable dining room, grounds, a TV room. The entire space is accessible also for the disabled, with bathrooms on every floor and a lift providing access to all levels.
Right in the old town centre of Orvieto, the Istituto SS. Salvatore offers elegant, clean lodgings in rooms that have recently been restored. This structure is ideal for individuals or small groups, while Villa Mercede is a short walk away from the Duomo.
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