The Eremo di Ronzano Retreat

The Contemplative Group Dynamics Eremo di Ronzano Retreat provides a week-long occasion to practice mindfulness in silence complemented by periods using speech to describe in real time one’s experience. One’s description then intersects with that of other members so that attention is extended from subjective toward intersubjective experiencing, from the private to the shared.   

23-30 June 2023

The view from Eremo

The practice of both silence and speech is structured using the four foundations of mindfulness. Thus the sharing of observations serves to ground attention in presence and reduce wandering mind. The retreat will include:

A. Talks and discussion on how the following apply to contemplative group practice: the four foundations of mindfulness, affective resonance, the role of language and speech, the nature of dream, and the eight collections of consciousness.

B. Individual interviews to support and clarify participants’ practice

C. Yoga and walking meditation will be integrated into the schedule.

D. An experienced massage therapist will be available for those who may benefit (€40 cost not included)

Contemplative Group Dynamics explores, in real time, the communication exchanges among members based on the four foundations or abidings of mindfulness. Individually and as a group using speech we ground our attention and presence by starting with the basic level of body sensation. We then sequentially proceed to feeling, mental events and experience. This gradual approach helps integrate the use of speech to describe moment to moment experience whilst not getting taken by story or narrative: individual, social, or cultural. 

Contemplative Group Dynamics practice facilitates a loosening or release from self-centered attention enabling real time insight into:

  • the transient and contextually determined nature of experience 
  • how others share the same embodiment and world and hold similar aspirations 
  • how we co-create a mindful group

In this way we practice deepening our compassionate apprehension of the interdependence of self, other, and lived-world. We will inquire as to how the group serves as an immediate relational field where interdependence and compassion operate.

More information on


Criteria for entry into the retreat would be at least one day or equivalent of the training groups, and an interview. 

The setting of our retreat is Eremo di Ronzano on one of the hills commanding the city of Bologna and with a magnificent view of the Basilica of San Luca which tops another of the hills. 

Both structures date back to 12th century and both were initially female retreat centres. The church at Ronzano was built in 1209. Set within olive groves and walnut, chestnut, and cypress trees, there is also cultivation of vine, kiwis and beekeeping. The Eremo is reached along a winding road taking only 10 minutes by taxi from the city centre. It can also be reached by walking through park of Villa Ghigi, an old aristocratic stately home which is now a communal park and one can walk through the grounds to climb unto the Eremo by foot a journey taking 45- 60 minutes from the city. In the square outside the church at Eremo, on a plaque, the words of Giosuè Carducci stand out:

The hill of Ronzano, standing out from the foothills of the Apennines almost as a lookout “of the gentle plain that from Vercelli to Marcabò dichina”, seems to have been designated by nature as a meteorological observatory for inquisitive intellects or as a refuge for spirits who in the silences of ‘a great aspect of earth and sky’ seek the ideal and perhaps find rest.

The programme will include a talk and guided tour of the Eremo and its buildings and church. There will be free time to enable exploration of the hills or one’s own silent practice or reading. 

After arrival on the Friday afternoon ( 23rd ) and settling into the rooms the retreat will start Friday evening  with a welcome talk and orientation to the week. During the days that follow we will practice in silence and speech (contemplative group practice). Departure will be on the 30th after breakfast. 

 8.00  –  9.00   Breakfast 

 9.00  -12.00  Morning practice 

12.00 -15.00  Lunch and rest 

15.00 -16.30  Practice

16.30- 17.00  Tea/ coffee  break

17.00- 18.30  Practice

18.30- 20.00  Dinner break 

20.00- 21.30  Evening practice and talk 

The accommodationis at the hermitage in rooms with antique furniture on two sides of a courtyard. These were the rooms used by the brothers and now made available for community contemplative events such as ours. There are a small number of single  rooms and others have a shared bathroom between two or three. Please indicate if you have a strong preference for a private room at time of booking which will be allocated on first come first served basis. 


There will be three meals prepared by our cook on site. You can indicate dietary restrictions when booking.


Please let us know if you would like a massage at time of booking. The fee of 40 Euros is paid directly in cash to Inge the massage therapist. 

The Cost

Early bird fees until March 31st 2023 ( includes 7 days of accommodation and full board )

700 Euros ( 770 for single room )

760 USD  ( 835 for single room )

620 GBP ( 682 for single room )

Fees after 31 March 2023

805 Euros ( 875 for single room )

875 USD  ( 945 for single room )

715 GBP ( 785 for single room )

Refunds 100 % until 22nd May, none thereafter as we will have already committed to cover the cost of the setting. 

How to get there

Bologna airport is very well served by international flights. The Eremo is accessible by taxi from the airport in 25 minutes at a cost of around 20-25 Euros.  

Alternatively the railway station is Bologna Centrale, very well connected to other parts of Italy and Europe. The Eremo is accessible by taxi from the station. The journey takes 10 minutes and cost around 10-15 Euros. 

Please aim to arrive Friday afternoon. 


Please email to book your place.