Sunflower Retreats in the Press

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Yoga teacher Vanessa Webb's colourful blog, Letters in Yoga, explores what it really means to follow the practice and philosophical path of yoga. On her Teachers page, she pays tribute to the kindness of teachers who continue the authentic yogic path around the world, including our own teachers in Casperia, where Vanessa has also led retreats.

SurfGirl Magazine's May 2018 edition recommends our Costa Rica Jungle Lodge location on the Pacific coast as a great place to learn to surf, paddleboard and take part in a large range of activities.


The 2018 Om Yoga Travel Guide features Sunflower Retreats two yoga holiday destinations, in Casperia and Costa Rica.

Read our listing here.


January's edition of Health magazine features our yoga holidays saying they're 'a fantastic way to meet new people, explore new destinations and establish a positive routine to kick start 2018'.

letter in yoga

Canadian yoga blog 'Letters in Yoga' profiles Lucy Bremner and Sunflower Retreats saying…

"Lucy has such a wise heart and she truly understands the significance of being able to reflect on what is important in life and what isn’t, then having the courage to make lifestyle choices around that.
This is yoga… dealing with the world is yoga."

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Travel blogger Marta Correale of Learning Escapes writes about our Sperlonga yoga holiday destination.

"This yoga retreat is based in Sperlonga, which is a charming coastal village, half-way between Rome and Naples. It’s one of my favourite seaside town in the whole of Italy. The outdoor yoga with a view of the sea is hard to beat… "

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"This retreat can cater for everyone. I would like to thank Lucy and Alan for being so brilliant with every aspect of the trip and will definitely be returning in the near future."

Gavin King, health and wellbeing coach, blogs about his week at Sunflower Retreats.

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"Casperia offered time out from the hectic pace of travel. I hadn’t anticipated how rewarding my experience would be or how many wonderful connections I would make with the other guests, who had come from all around the world"

World traveller Lee-Ann Walker writes an enchanting post about her week spent at Sunflower Retreats in March 2014 in her travel and photo blog Miss Travelography.

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Eat, Pray, Eat Some More: The Foodie’s Yoga Getaway

Alix O'Neill writing in Yahoo Lifestyle,
19 May 2014

"A month later, the world is alright and I’m a decent enough human being when I take the time to practise what I learnt in Casperia."

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yoga retreat in italy at sunflower retreats

The Yoga Side of Life

helen mcgougan on yoga in casperia italy

Helen McGougan, from her blog 'Hel's Bakehouse' in October 2012.

"Was it life changing? I hope so. I'm still me, but I'm a better version of me."

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Jackie Adams group leader 'Yoga to Go' Canada

We all had an absolutely fantastic time staying at Sunflower Retreats, and I am making plans to return next summer, only this time when the sunflowers are in bloom.

Lucy, you and Alan have created a delightful retreat there in Casperia. Staying at the Palace was extra special. We did get to see some of the other accommodations and they too were very lovely.

We wanted for nothing. The breakfasts were just the perfect start for our day, well after yoga that is, and the yoga studio was so charming.

 It was just such a perfect set-up for us to travel as a group, practice yoga together and then to have the kitchen as well, my we were blessed.

My experience at Sunflower retreats was indeed way better than I imagined, and I think the yogis travelling with me all agree - they are all talking about wanting to return.

Thanks for everything !

My Best Yoga Vacation

Yoga Journal, 2007

For our honeymoon, my husband and I spent a blissful week in a sparsely populated medieval village outside Rome. Our days were full of lazy hikes in the surrounding olive fields and hills, bike rides to other villages, amazing local cuisine, and twice-daily yoga classes held in a converted stable. There were only eight of us in the group that week with Jennifer Hubbard, a contracted yoga instructor from California. She had broad knowledge and worked with us to make sure that yoga suited our preferred styles. My husband and I have been following Forrest yoga recently, and there were Iyengar students in the class as well as some people entirely new to yoga. We were all satisfied. Jennifer also offered classes in other topics – most memorably Yoga Nidra.

Accommodations, classes, and a group breakfast are included in the package; other than that you are free to explore the town’s other options or, if you have a kitchen in your quarters, to make your own food.

Aside from yoga, we spent time on Sunflower bicycles exploring the countryside and other small towns. The owner led a couple of hikes during the week through the surrounding hills, which are full of amazing trees and plants (not to mention truffles and boars) and are also rich in history, which Alan, the owner, was happy to share.

Accommodations, classes, and a group breakfast are included in the package; other than that you are free to explore the town’s other options or, if you have a kitchen in your quarters, to make your own food.

Aside from yoga, we spent time on Sunflower bicycles exploring the countryside and other small towns. The owner led a couple of hikes during the week through the surrounding hills, which are full of amazing trees and plants (not to mention truffles and boars) and are also rich in history, which Alan, the owner, was happy to share.

"Eine Yoga-Anlage, die sich der Nachhaltigkeit verschrieben hat: Praktizieren Sie Ökotourismus, tauchen Sie in die örtliche Kultur ein und schieben Sie zwischendurch etwas Yoga ein."

The Top 10 Yoga Retreats in the World

Yoga Magazine, Germany

"A yoga facility dedicated to sustainability: practice ecotourism, immerse yourself in the local culture and push through some yoga."

Om Magazine, 2011


Pilates Retreats

Silhouette Donna Magazine, 2012


100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go


by Susan Van Allen, winner the Gold Award for Best Travel Book of the Year in the prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.

Featured in the top 10 on ABC News web site, February 2010


'The enchanting medieval village of Casperia, north of Rome, has a time-stands-still ambience. It's the home of Sunflower Retreats, created by Lucy Bremner, a British Hatha Yoga teacher and holistic practitioner, and her husband Alan Scheda, a Casperia native.

The couple has revitalized this hilltop oasis: renovating homes, employing locals, and promoting ecotourism. Sunflower Retreat packages include morning yoga classes and accommodations scattered around the village.

Participants style their retreats any way they wish - choosing to add options such as visits to hot springs, massages, guided walks, cooking or meditation classes. All this plus welcoming natives, wonderful food, and pine-scented air make for a perfect chill-out vacation, Italian style.'

Spirit and Destiny Magazine,

August 2011


'The tranquillity of foreign climes was the setting for the re-emergence from grief of Lisa Quish a charity HR manager from Dublin. The death of her inspiring mother from cancer had engulfed Lisa in a deep depression that affected her emotional, mental and physical health.

It was yoga - a discipline practised by her mother - that attracted Lisa to Sunflower Retreats. She picked Casperia, a hillside village nestling under the Sabina Mountains, its cobbled streets completely pedestrianised. Life in the slow lane of this traditional setting allowed Lisa the time and space to practise yoga, horse riding and healthy cooking, and have holistic treatments like chakra balancing. Lisa has returned since to Casperia and has now trained to teach yoga herself.'

The Examiner, Los Angeles, USA.

March 2012

La Dolce Vita: Italy's Sunflower Retreats

 Lauren Mayer

Lauren Mayer

'There are still corners of the world where time seems to stretch out, where life’s frantic pace slows down. Casperia, Italy is one of these places. Located in the Lazio region about an hour outside of Rome, medieval Casperia sits perched on top of a hill, seemingly above the stresses of daily life. There are no stores or cars inside the old city walls… just old cobblestone streets that seem to breathe with life, stone staircases that lead to more stone staircases, and the quiet pitter patter of Casperia’s many cats running past.


In the mornings, you may find yourself practicing in the open air, surrounded by trees and listening to the sounds of nature. Afternoon classes are often held inside the old stables of a 15th century palace, or in a beautifully appointed yoga room complete with an ancient cave. Retreat participants are housed in various houses throughout the village – many of which have sweeping views of the bucolic countryside.

Sunflower offers a variety of day trips – but also allows each participant the freedom to choose how their own holiday should go. Whether you’d like to laze about in the sun all day, get a massage (or two), take a siesta, visit a local restaurant, or cook in your self-catering apartment – it is up to you. What is encouraged is that you take a step back, enjoy a rest, and allow the beautiful setting to heal you both inside and out.

Yoga & Health Magazine

Interview with Lucy Bremner, 2012

I first practised yoga 25 years ago when my Mum brought me to a class in a local sports centre in London. I remember the Indian teacher was a real inspiration. 

It was not until around 1988, when studying massage and holistic therapies in Bayswater, London, that I began to dive deeper into the yoga tradition and read books on alternative health and healing, yoga and meditation. In the late 80’s early 90’s, when I was in my early 20's, I decided to travel to Nepal and India and other countries in South East Asia, absorbing the richness of their cultures and spiritual philosophies and attending yoga sessions with like-minded travellers. This marked the real beginning of my yoga journey. On my return to the UK, yoga continued to fill my life and my search to find a deeper connection to myself and others led me to the Friends of Yoga Society (`FRYOG’) where I began a structured study programme and undertook teacher training. I chose a course with Kathleen Pepper in 1996 which benefited me in so many ways on a personal, spiritual and physical level.

At the same time, I began teaching in Brighton in a health centre as well as a church hall. Classes were quite large and I was teaching 5 to 6 times per week. I also taught individual classes in Brighton and London for those who wanted to deepen their practice. I learned so much from teaching and was lucky to have the support of FRYOG tutor, Kathleen Pepper, and other course members at the time. 

Yoga had inspired me and helped me so much that I really wanted to pass on this inspiration and experience to others. In 1999, my husband Alan and I began Sunflower Retreats in the medieval village of Casperia, my husband's birthplace. Casperia a hilltop village one hour from Rome, located in the Sabina hills. It has a beautiful natural environment and is a perfect place for people to get away from it all to practise yoga, enjoy treatments and activities and experience the real Italy, alongside an ancient Italian community. 

For the first few years I taught all the yoga classes myself and practised most of the holistic treatments but, as more people attended the centre and after our first child was born, other international yoga teachers and therapists became part of the team. I found that practising yoga while pregnant and using yoga techniques while giving birth made such a difference to how I dealt with the experience. I was very happy to be able to give birth to my both my children without painkillers. This proved to me how beneficial yoga really is.