Join Us in June 2024!

We’re already making plans for next year’s retreat!
If you’re interested in joining us, Contact Us to be put on the list.

Remember that wherever your heart is,
there you will find your treasure.”

~ Paolo Coelho

Each of us is a treasury of stories connected by the power of love. Experiences that matter to us are guarded by memory and tenderness in the heart, and the longing to give them form.
During this weeklong workshop in Italy, you will discover why writing is an exquisite tool for exploring your interior collection of stories. Guided by memoirist and teacher Mark Matousek, The Treasure Within You is an opportunity to explore the narratives that matter to you in an atmosphere of gentle support and good humor, using Mark’s Writing to Awaken method.
~ This Treasure Within You is open to writers and non-writers alike.
~ Memoir writers who are interested in penetrating into the truth of their stories
~ Journal keepers who enjoy self-exploration, and writing as a tool for mindfulness
~ Legacy writers who want to record their experiences for family or preservation
~ Writing enthusiasts who enjoy writing and want to create a writing practice
~ People looking for deeper self-awareness and a connection to their muse

“This retreat was an exquisite balance of discovering myself and discovering some beauties of the world, in harmony with participants who also came with an open heart, ready to share and listen. I will always cherish the memory of the retreat and the light it brought into my life. It also is clear to me now that writing can truly open the mind.”

~ Carole, Montréal, Canada

About Il Borgo Gallinaio

Il Borgo Gallinaio is an estate that extends for 40 hectares and is framed by rows of turkey oaks, holm oaks, and olive trees. Nestled in the Sienese Montagnola, the property borders the renowned Camino Via Francigena, an ancient road and pilgrimage route running from the cathedral city of Canterbury in England, through France and Switzerland, to Rome and then to Apulia, Italy, where there were ports of embarkation for the Holy Land.
The borgo reflects all the charm of old 15th century Tuscan buildings, retaining its original architecture, which has remained intact. With plenty of outdoor areas and a swimming pool immersed in an immense park, it’s an ideal location to reconnect and commune with nature. The property is located less than 2 km from Monteriggioni, a 13th century fortified borgo set on a panoramic hill, dominating the slopes planted with vineyards and olive trees. The borgo is also just a short distance from Siena and the entire Chianti region, dotted with numerous castles transformed into wineries and medieval towns where you will be conquered by splendid landscapes and ancient buildings.
This seven-day writing retreat at Il Borgo Gallinaio is a unique opportunity to work personally with Mark and use his Writing to Awaken method as path of transformation and increased creativity. Nestled in the heart of the magnificent Tuscan countryside, our week together will be spent doing personal writing, practicing self-inquiry within the group, working one-on-one with Mark, and enjoying the cultural and culinary splendors of this historic region.
Whether you’re working on a creative project or prefer to use this time for self-exploration, Writing to Awaken in Italy will leave you – as one attendee put it – “whole and balanced, with lots of things to think about and ways to grow.” We invite you to join us for this enchanting week of inspiration and communion at Il Borgo Gallinaio, to restore your sense of wonder with a small group of like-minded people from around the world.

“This is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Every
single day was beautiful. I can’t wait to come back.”

~ Nikki, New York City

What to Expect

Our goal is to provide you with a nurturing, stress-free, world-class experience so that you can focus on the task at hand – enjoying your time in Italy to the fullest. Once you land, everything is taken care of until we drop you off and say our goodbyes.
ARRIVAL: Saturday, June 15, 2024
By Plane: Fly to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) – Arrival Time: Before 12 pm
By Train: Siena Train Station – Arrival Time: Before 3:15 pm
You will be met at the airport and directed to a nearby hotel where there will be space to gather, rest, eat, wash up. Once all attendees have arrived, we will make the drive to the retreat site together.
For anyone arriving by train, we will provide pick-up the train station in Siena around 3:15 pm. Please have arrived by this time.
After settling in on Saturday, we’ll have a welcome reception and dinner.
During the week, writing sessions take place in the mornings and early afternoon. Late afternoons and evenings are reserved for local excursions, free time, and one-on-one meetings with Mark. All excursions are optional.
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinners are seated as a group. Dietary restrictions are taken into consideration when preparing all meals.
DEPARTURE: The retreat ends after the final morning session on Saturday, June 22. Transportation will be provided to either the Fiumicino Airport in Rome or the Siena train station. All attendees must depart on Saturday. Additional nights at the Borgo are not possible. Guests are free to make their own arrival and departure arrangements at their own expense.
Please contact us with any questions about the retreat.
We are very excited about our return to Borgo Gallinaio and look forward to sharing this unique and beautiful experience with you!


“This workshop has been the most important thing I’ve done for myself in ages. The place was beautiful, magical, the food was so thoughtfully prepared, served and delicious, and most importantly the people inspired such love in me for them and myself. The sessions with Mark made me go deeper than ever. I loved the tours as well. Italy is just magical! This workshop is a MUST for a seeker. I came home a different person. I like her.”
~ Jimmie, USA
“The Return to Wonder retreat at Borgo Gallinaio was an invitation personified from beginning to end. Mark’s outstanding facilitation consistently encouraged and helped the words grow and take on meaning. He also facilitated relationship among the participants, creating a caring and relaxed environment. In addition, David and Kellie extended an ongoing invitation with their continual care and exquisite celebratory dinners. And of course there was the setting, the villa and the grounds extended an invitation to explore, and revel in the beauty that surrounded us. A wonder+full experience!”
~ Mary Ann, USA
“The retreat was an epiphany for me and kept on delivering. Even on the 10 hour drive home more revelations kept coming. I have a clarity I have never known before – my path, my mission, my purpose is now clear. Even if you are not a writer, if you are questioning or seeking Do This Retreat The WRITING is the tool/process, the AWAKENING is the result. Thank you Mark Matousek you have changed my life.”
~ Bill, Australia
“My heart is full. How can I express what this wonderful retreat meant to me in just a few words? It was Fabulous, soul stirring work rest and play, intense but gentle, supportive, funny, sad, thought provoking, eye opening heart-warming. I loved the way we all interacted and gelled as a group. The meditation was a gorgeous start to each day, and individual time with Mark was so supportive a launch pad for the discipline I now intend to bring to my writing life. This retreat has changed my focus – and therefore my life – and I am deeply grateful.”
~ Gill, UK
“My time with Mark Matousek was adventurous, joyful, regenerative, and truly life altering. In this intimate setting, his visceral and experiential teaching tactics are sublime. Anyone can easily feel how deeply honored he is to help people from all walks of life catalyze their own creative process. Travel with him to the absolute edge of your best self and I promise that your creative life will never be the same!”
~ Mickaela, USA




Via Francigena