Alchemy School of Healing Arts

Eco-retreat village & community centre

A Tuscan Renaissance ~ Regeneration & Renewal

Alchemy School of Healing Arts


Alchemy School of Healing Arts - ASHA - is a retreat and community centre just outside Castell’Azzara, a medieval village in Southern Tuscany. ASHA was born as a result of the Alchemy online community seeking a way to meet in person, and it coincides with a 10-year search for the ideal place to plant a seed for a new vision to grow. Of course, “ideal’ is a very ambitious word, and one of our first learnings has been that to catalyse a gathering of people in a physical location is very different than doing so online! Nonetheless, the seed has been planted, the learnings have been many, and the first sprouts can now be seen. 

Fortunately, as Alchemy has chosen Asha as a location to host its retreats, many people will be introduced to the area’s beauty that has remained largely undiscovered. Most people consider Florence and Chianti as the heart of Tuscany. Castell’Azzara is very different, untouched by many aspects of modern life. It has been spared the degradation of mass tourism, the land remains pristine, the water is clean, and the fresh, clean air is to be savoured.

Our purpose is to host members of Alchemy’s online community - and others - to this beautiful part of the world, either to visit or to consider joining the initiative to integrate with the local community respectfully, to appreciate the folkloristic wisdom of the local people and to support the regeneration of the area as a whole.

When will we open?

ASHA’s soft opening in the Fall of 2020 was a heart-warming and motivating experience. After 5,000 volunteer hours from our incredible on-site team, we were finally ready to welcome 20 guests for a 10-day BreathCamp in September. We were humbled by the outpouring of love and support we received and look forward to beginning this next chapter together as a community. Our goal is to be fully open to the public in the Spring of 2021.

Follow us on Facebook to join the ASHA community and learn more about future retreats and programs.

When can you come?

Although we are not fully launched yet, the Centre is currently open for community use only. Members have begun hosting meditations, breathwork sessions, yoga classes, ceremonies, and group talks in our Dharma Den.

If you are interested in visiting our Retreat & Community Centre or if you are local and want to get involved, please reach out by emailing us.

The Vision

We envision a new culture and paradigm — the co-creation of a holistic and sustainable path for living in harmony with nature and each other.

ASHA’s Village Project in Tuscany is our conscious experiment in connecting, collaborating, and co-creating a way forward that meets the needs of today. The first purchase of land and buildings provides the venue for retreats and a portal to the experiment of regeneration, revival and a return to the values of generations that have lived here in the past. 

Since our first move here, there has been a community hub and website community hub, as well as 25 people, some of whom came here four years ago to contribute to a haven dedicated to ethically, environmentally, and socially responsible living, commerce, and business.

The Village

What used to be a bustling mining town with 4000 inhabitants, many shops, and 18 restaurants is now very different. The mines were closed thirty years (CHECK) ago, and many of the younger generation left for the cities to find new careers. The core inhabitants of the area now number less than 600, many of the houses are empty, and there is only one restaurant, La Tana Dell’Orso, open all year. A second, La Rosa Dei Venti, is open on weekend evenings and in August. Already, the 25 people that have moved here have impacted the area, and it is essential that the integration continues to be careful and caring, lest we fall into the trap of thinking “we know best” or that we are here to “solve a problem”. 

The local people carry the wisdom of centuries in their bones, and we are here to learn from them and partner with them in ways we can to preserve and revitalise their town to the level it deserves. It doesn’t take much to notice there are about 3400 fewer people here than there used to be. But our goal is not to fill those spaces with foreigners but equally to encourage the younger generations that have left the area to consider returning to the town and contributing to its restoration. 

The fledgling foreign community has already established a co-working space, a Whats App Community Group, and a website (LINK). One member has opened an ice-cream shop, and another is opening a laundromat in the coming months. There are special interest groups that enjoy archery, music collaborations, and there is even a fully functioning music studio ready to produce. 

There are challenges, too. Services have become more sparse in a small town with virtually no industry for 30 years. Finding builders, plumbers, and electricians is difficult. Even though we have collated information on almost 100 houses for sale or rent in the area to help newcomers settle in, we don’t yet have the resources to show them or provide advice or support for new arrivals. These are all aspects the community is working on, yet it is understandably a slow process.

Those who want to create a new life in this fantastic place need to have a pioneer spirit!

The Community

Our vision for the community is founded on selfless service and integrating a complimentary economy that interweaves with existing cultural heritage. With the understanding and commitment that creating a new community is an inside-out job, we seek members who are stable and self-sufficient, and who share a common ethos dedicated to co-creativity and inspired living. Our community culture is guided by the teachings of the 10 Co-Commitments.

In the future, we aim to develop leadership and business programs, apprenticeships and scholarships, a children’s school, elder mentorship and outreach programs, hospice care, and a digital centre for the creation and broadcast of teaching initiatives with global outreach.

The Centre

We see the Retreat Centre as the nexus of this opportunity. As Asha becomes a productive farm, it will provide employment and attract international attention to the area. So far, 7-800 people have visited, and many have said they would like to move here, at least part-time. Whilst we are enthusiastic to welcome everyone, we are also aware that there is little infrastructure to accommodate a large influx of people. In the meantime, with the support of Alchemy’s retreats and Breathcamps happening at Asha, we will continue to do what we do best, which is, to provide a benign environment for people who seek to create transformation in their lives. 

We see Asha as a centre for all the healing arts, including dance, theatre, music, and many other modalities. So far we have increased the accommodations from about 24 people up to 34 in houses on the property, and we have a glamping village that can take up to another 30. Over the next 2-years, we should reach a capacity of 88-100, and we are envisioning festivals and other cultural events that will honour the local population and welcome newbies. 

We now have a fully operative Solar Farm that is producing 25KW of energy, we are installing a charging point for EVs and electric bicycles, and we are planning a 6 acre lavender farm, plus an organic veggie garden to feed our guests.


Through regeneration, innovation, education, art, and healing, ASHA aims to build a scalable blueprint for land-based Conscious Communities.

ASHA seeks to play its part in providing an alternative to the global crisis we face, supporting sustainable solutions for a holistic culture. The pilot project in Italy is an experiment in transforming the concept of an online community into one that is land-based.

Our mission is to support the regeneration of a thriving economy attractive to conscious investment. We plan to achieve this by introducing give-back programs and green business initiatives, providing business consulting and financing services, and contributing to sustainable community programs founded on education, outreach, and support.

12 Co-Commitments

1. I commit to feeling all my feelings.

2. I commit to telling the "microscopic" truth.

3. I commit to keeping my agreements.

4. I commit myself to full closeness, and to clearing up anything within me that stands in the way.

5. I commit myself to my own complete development as an individual.

6. I commit myself to the full empowerment of people around me.

7. I commit to revealing myself fully in the relationship and not to concealing myself.

8. I commit myself to acting from the awareness that I am 100 percent the source of my reality.

9. I commit myself to having a good time in my close relationships.

10. I commit to asking myself what my outer world reflects to me about my own being and my own inner leadership.

11. I commit to seeing myself and others as complete, resourceful, and whole.

12. I commit to the awareness that I may screw up the co-commitments and need to keep (re)learning them.


The first word of ASHA’s name is “alchemy”, and if there was ever a moment for alchemy to be here, then this is it. With most of the world wishing for positive change alongside us, can we look deep inside ourselves to see what we can do to become the change we wish to see outside us? Our community is founded on practices and activities (individual and collective) aimed at creating self-awareness, emotional intelligence, empathic dialogue, deep listening and conscious conflict resolution. We are committed to doing the work within ourselves so that we can thrive together in harmony and co-creativity.


We recognize that sustainability is a philosophy which extends far beyond carbon footprint. Community can provide the reflection and support we need to further ourselves towards our highest self-value. This quality of support is based on supporting the strength in each of us, rather than indulging the weakness. If each member of the community is willing to bring more than they need to take, there will be abundance. This abundance can then spread from the individual to others, and from our human community to serve the land and environment in which we live. It can be applied to everything we do, including our approach to ethical, zero-impact business, and sustaining a virtuous circle that does not weigh on the world, but rather serves its interest.


With the right tools at our disposal, each of us has the power to heal ourselves. Every healing journey is complex and challenging, and it is our responsibility to seek the teachers and lessons we need to live our life in a healthy and fulfilling way. The foundation of our community is a belief in the power of holistic education, performing arts and storytelling to create the understanding, comfort, and support we all need to navigate change and personal growth. Through coming together in expression, presence and love, we will heal each other.


Our community is built around openness and a willingness to show up and be present. We come to the table with the courage to confront and work through whatever stories, patterns, and judgments are no longer serving us. We seek to foster an environment of harmony, communication, collaboration and creative awareness within the community and its surroundings.


Trust is the gateway to connection and growth. Our community is called to trust in ourselves and our personal journeys of inner work and healing, as well as in each other and the power of co-creation. We are called to trust community elders and teachers, the stewards of knowledge and truth. We trust those who came before us and the ancient wisdom of our ancestors. We believe that by trusting the universe and our power within it, we can become the conscious creators of our lives.


Every one of us has a personal journey and struggle, but we choose how to respond to life. We are in control of whether we are held back by our past or choose to alchemise pain into growth. We can benefit from the power of the collective, and offer our own support to it too, in order to harvest all that has held us back, has weighed upon us or triggered us, and to consciously transform it into the fuel we need to step into leadership and example.


Our community embraces the other and has a profound respect for all people - their differences, opinions, origins, backgrounds, life experiences and problems - and all forms of life. We have respect for each other and for ourselves, for mother nature and her resources, and for the many communities we are a part of (and those we are not). We respect local customs and cultures around the world. We respect the many different paths to spiritual awareness and truth, and the many different approaches to healing and wellness.


Anthony Abbagnano and Amy Rachelle

Anthony and Amy had been looking for the right property to bring their community, colleagues, friends, and family after leaving Bali in 2015. Finally, in 2020, they acquired Asha on the eve of the Covid-19 pandemic. Delayed several months due to lockdowns, they eventually took possession on June 11th 2020. Since Alchemy of Breath sought a land-based retreat centre for its international members and students to gather, they took out a lease of care and custodianship of the property.

Get Involved

There are many ways you can get involved with our village project:

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