Start your healing journey with a complimentary sound bath session


Start your healing journey with a complimentary sound bath session


Start your healing journey with a complimentary sound bath session



Meditation comes in many forms, each unique and valid. Whether sitting, lying down, walking, swimming, cooking, or fishing, there’s no right or wrong way to practice. What matters most is presence and awareness. It’s about being in the here and now.

Born and bred a traveler, this year led me to Northern Italy. When I’m home, I maintain a structured meditation practice, but while traveling, I delight in breaking routine. This trip was no different. Join me as I share my numerous meditation experiences from this journey and discover insights into Italian culture along the way.

First Stop: Scenic Views of Cinque Terre

The first stop was Cinque Terre. Known locally as the five towns, it is a cluster of five ancient fishing villages nestled along the Italian Riviera just south of Genoa in Northwest Italy that charms visitors with its scenic beauty. The tiny villages can be accessed by boat, train, or foot and each village outshines the next with its picturesque beauty. For me, exploring by foot really allowed me to take in the dramatic views.

One of the most memorable hikes, shown here, was from Vernazza to Corniglia. It’s typically a ninety-minute journey that I leisurely stretched out to over two hours so that I could fully immerse myself in the surroundings. It’s a perfect blend of meditation and exploration, where every step offers a new discovery amidst breathtaking landscapes.

Stop 2: Byron’s Cove Portovenere

Next, I traded foot travel for a boat and set off for Byron’s Cove Porto Venere. From the stunning Ligurian coast of Italy in the province of La Spezia, I was able to see Cinque Terre from a new perspective. We voyaged past Porto Venere, a sight of unparalleled beauty that encompasses the renowned Byron sea cave. Filled with caves and creeks, Byron’s cove was named after the English Poet George Gordon Byron, who found inspiration and meditation for his literary works there.

Stop 3: Cliffs in Santuario Madonna Della Corona

Perched over 2,000 feet above sea level on a vertical cliff face of Italy’s Mount Baldo, the Santuario Madonna della Corona (Sanctuary of the Lady of the Crown) appears almost suspended in mid-air.

The church does not actually hang on the cliff face but instead sits on a thin rock shelf that can only be reached by a tiny path from below or a street from above. Originally the secluded shelf was home to a hermitage where holy men would come for silent reflection, completely removed from the rest of the world. The actual church was built in the early 1500s and the site became a chapel for anyone wanting to pay pilgrimage and contemplate the nature of God in peace.

This remarkable church, built in 1522 in honor of the holy virgin, is truly jaw-dropping. When I wandered in, I had the unexpected pleasure of witnessing a church service. Despite being Jewish, I felt compelled to participate in the service and sat quietly in the pews. It struck me that all religions share common ground in prayer and meditation, differing only in the God they worship. In my personal journey in Alcoholics Anonymous, I recognize my higher power as God. While this God is more spiritual than religious for me, I do find that praying and meditating in a religious place of worship only makes this relationship more powerful.

Stop Four: Monks and Sunsets in Sirmione

Next, I found myself on a breathtaking walk during a Sirmione sunset. I truly marvel at sunrises and sunsets. The wonder of this earth and its nature never ceases to amaze me. I watch them as often as I can, and never tire of the beauty of the colors. I am endlessly captivated by the vivid colors and peaceful atmosphere they bring.

Back at home, I often engage in silent meditation as the sun rises and sets. It’s a profound experience for me to synchronize my thoughts with the rising and setting of the sun. I’m sure these monks would usually agree with me – but on this particular day it seems something else captivated their attention. Maybe they were writing their own blogs? Hey, I guess monks are people too!

Stop 5: A small church in Sirmione , Lake Garda

Next on the journey was Sirmione , Lake Garda, where I found myself at a small church called Santa Maria del Ponte (Saint Mary of the Bridge). Built in the middle of the 14th century, it was dedicated to Saint Anne of the Rock and initially served the small community around the castle.

I was walking in this ancient town one evening and I was feeling a little out of sorts.  That’s when I stumbled upon this quaint, centuries-old church and I just knew I had to pay a visit. Stepping through its doors I realized I was the only one there. Seeking a deeper connection with my higher power, I opened up my AA app so I could recite the prayers associated with each of the 12 steps. I read each one silently in this 14th century church. In the stillness of this sanctuary, I felt a profound sense of fulfillment—a perfect setting to practice the 11th step of AA: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Stop 6: Making Parmesan in Parma

The sixth stop was definitely the tastiest. In Parma, I had the privilege of observing the meticulous process of making Parmesan cheese. Who would have imagined that witnessing such a detailed, arduous, and skillful process could be so meditative? Yet, it truly was.

Just like the peaceful Sirmione sunset stroll and the Santa Maria del Ponte church prayer, this experience induced its own meditative state, prompting deep reflection and enriching my journey in unexpected ways.

Stop 7: Violins in Cremona

Next up was Cremona, which has its own defining feature – violins. Its love affair with the fiddle dates back to the early 18th century and the travels of the legendary Antonio Stradivari, who meticulously crafted countless instruments over an impressive 80-year career. He is credited with producing over 1,100 instruments, with at least 650 still in existence today.

Today, Cremona has more than 100 violin-making workshops, continuing a legacy that began in the 18th century. Craftsmen here follow in the footsteps of masters like Antonio Stradivari and Niccolò Amati, contributing to Cremona’s status as a unique hub of violin craftsmanship.

Watching this master craftsman diligently create these violins was not only meditative but mesmerizing – the intentful strokes of the paint and the meticulous sculpting evoked a feeling of tranquility.

Stop 8: Opera in Milan

While Parma won best taste, this next spot took the cake – no pun intended – for best sound. While in Milan I found my way to La Scala Theater, a historic opera house that dates back to 1778. The name ‘Scala’ simply translates to ‘staircase’ in Italian. The theater occupies the former site of the church of Santa Maria, where legend has it that a sick child was miraculously cured after its mother placed a statue of the Virgin Mary on the landing.

What could be more meditative than experiencing an opera performance in this majestic venue?

Finale: The Last Supper

While I was sad for the trip to come to an end, it felt only right that this journey end with a bang. And so, I made sure to secure tickets to the highly coveted 15-minute viewing  of “The Last Supper” painting. To sit and observe this masterpiece in silence was an experience of a lifetime, and a perfect end to my meditative travel journey.

“The Last Supper,” one of the world’s most renowned artworks, was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci in the late 1400s for the Dominican Monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan. The painting depicts the dramatic scene described in the Gospels where Jesus reveals that one of his apostles will betray him. Guided by Leonardo’s belief that posture, gesture, and expression should manifest the inner workings of the mind, each disciple reacts in a manner that Leonardo considered fit for the man’s personality. The result is a complex study of varied human emotion in a deceptively simple composition

My trip through Italy has been a testament to the diverse ways meditation can intertwine with travel. From the tranquil sunsets of Sirmione to the profound moments in ancient churches, each experience has deepened my connection to both myself and the rich culture of Italy. I hope you enjoyed gaining a glimpse into this journey and that it inspires you to explore meditative practices of your own, wherever your travels may take you.