Luxury Health Retreat in the Italian Alps


Escape with us to a luxury retreat, hidden away in a charming mountain hamlet in the Italian alps.

Rest, de-stress and heal, while enjoying the traditional culture and foods of Italy.

Experience the power of “food as medicine,” with a balanced approach to improving gut health.

Coronavirus Update

Due to the Coronavirus and subsequent travel restrictions, this retreat will be postponed to June 2021. If you would like to be kept updated, please fill in the ‘Register Your Interest’ form above. Thank you.

When it comes to living a long, happy and healthy life, we know that nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle. The healthiest people on earth have a solid purpose in life, they have strong family and community values, they move their body daily, and they focus on the simple joys in life. Meals are enjoyed together with laughter, relaxation, and connection. They are not rushing around madly every day, eating breakfast on the way to work, saying yes to things they can’t fit in, and just living for the weekend (which is gradually becoming one day rather than two), or a far-off retirement!

What if you could immerse yourself in that nurturing lifestyle for a little while? How would it feel to escape your busy life and take some time to fully relax and focus on your health and wellbeing?

This is your chance to hit the pause button for a few days. Come and hide away from the world with us, in a charming hamlet in the heart of the Italian alps. Take the time to rest, de-stress, and heal, with the help and support of an experienced team of nutrition, exercise, culinary medicine, and whole food cooking experts, hosted by a building biologist and interior designer with a vision for creating homes that are sanctuaries from the world.

Escape, de-stress, and heal.

An intimate, healing retreat.

We invite you to join us in the heart of the Italian alps, where you will experience the traditional foods and culture of Italy while learning how to improve your health naturally. At this intimate retreat (max. 10 guests), you will:

* Experience the power of culinary medicine, with meals designed to reduce inflammation, optimise gut health, rebalance the microbiome, improve the gut-brain connection, and revitalise your health

* Forage for medicinal herbs, shop at the village markets, and help gather and prepare ingredients for the daily meals

* Visit local producers such as cheese makers and bee keepers, to learn about traditional foods

* Cook alongside Australian recipe developer and food writer Jo Whitton of Quirky Cooking and local chef Bianca, creating delicious, nutrient-dense food inspired by traditional diets, using organic, biodynamic, whole food ingredients

* Learn from Integrative Nutritionist Elyse Comerford how to optimise your longevity with a balanced approach to health, focusing on the areas of gut health, stress reduction, natural movement, sleep, and emotional wellbeing

* Get the help you need to understand your individual health journey, and your personal blueprint to vibrant health

* Learn by doing, and take home important tools to nourish and nurture yourself and your family going forward

* Relax and breathe, and let yourself be looked after by a team of experienced chefs and practitioners, so that you can de-stress, reenergise, and refocus, without the distractions of everyday life.

The retreat will be hosted in the stunning luxury ski lodge ‘Baita 1697’ located in Piedmont, in the heart of the Italian alps. Baita 1697 (baita meaning ‘ancient alpine home’, and 1697 being the year it was built) is an exquisitely designed chalet which has been featured in Architectural Digest and Forbes magazine, and comes with unbeatable celebrity credentials. Jamie Oliver has stayed and said it was his “best chalet experience ever”! 

Baita 1697 has been purposefully designed to benefit the health of guests, by owner and internationally acclaimed interior designer and building biologist, Lucie McCullough. When renovating the lodge, Lucie worked with local architect Daniele Ronchail to create a stunning blend of traditional and modern. The open plan living and dining area sits under exposed 17th century stone vaults, divided by a glass staircase with a giant waterfall of lights descending from the second floor. Each room is individually created by local carpenters to be a world of its own. 

Lucie and Daniele have successfully mixed traditional construction with global interior design to create a space that is in keeping with nature. The design is soothing and beautiful, nothing too harsh on the eye – the perfect place to escape from busy city lives to quiet, cosy comfort surrounded by nature. Lucie is proud to offer a clean, non-toxic environment perfect for a healing retreat, as Baita 1697 is designed with completely natural materials (wool, cotton, linen, wood, stone), with natural ventilation, regulated humidity, and subfloor natural air circulation.

“The use of natural materials has a positive impact on visitors. Guests often remark on how well they sleep in the lodge… When McCullough studied [building biology] in Santa Fe in the U.S., she was happily surprised to see how architect Ronchail had already adopted many of these principles into Baita 1697.” Forbes magazine

The retreat will feature home cooked meals using traditional, whole food ingredients – recipes developed with local, biodynamic and organic ingredients, designed to reduce inflammation, optimise gut health, rebalance the microbiome, and revitalise your health.

Guests can watch meals being cooked and join in the preparation, learning by ‘doing’, alongside Jo Whitton, and local chef Bianca.

This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your other half to a healing diet, and learn about stress-reducing lifestyle changes in a comfortable, luxury setting. Enjoy amazing food, spend time in nature amidst gorgeous scenery, forage for medicinal herbs, and visit local producers such as cheesemakers, bee-keepers, local growers, and markets. For those with time to explore before or after the retreat, your hosts are happy to recommend local tours such as biodynamic wineries, mountain treks, and much more.

Join us for an unforgettable five day retreat, and receive personalised help to get your health on track and reduce the overload on your system. You will return home re-energised, refreshed, and better equipped for your journey to good health!

The alpine chalet - Baita 1697

Baita 1697 is an emblem of a different time, when mountain villages were cut off for months at a time, and the people relied on what they could forage from, and cultivate on, the land.  The building was converted from its original use as farmhouse, with stables under the vaults of the ground floor, a barn and storage space above, and small, rudimentary living quarters on one side.  

The area still holds an attachment to the land, and to the farming traditions of the mountains – dairy farming in the summer produces fabulous, raw cheese; the honey and potatoes from Pragelato, the commune where Baita 1697 is located, are famous throughout Italy.  Throughout the summer, there are constant reminders of the agricultural self-reliance of this region, and the corresponding pleasure of enjoying local, fresh, artisanal produce.

Luxury Health Retreat, Italy

What Is Included?

Transport from Turin to the chalet in Pragelato (arrive Sunday for a Monday morning start)

5 star accomodation and all meals, from arrival Sunday through to departure Friday afternoon, or Saturday morning if needed depending on flights (5 nights, 6 days, or 6 nights if needed); transport back to Turin 

Luxury gift pack on your arrival

All workshops, masterclasses, activities and outings from Monday to Friday

Meals and masterclasses catered to your specific needs, and personalised help to get you on track with your health (let us know your dietary needs and health challenges)

Take-home information from Jo and Elyse, as well as free access to their GAPS group coaching and Jo’s online gut health program (combined value of over $500)

Price Guide


Single Occupancy
  • Single occupancy of a King En-suite room for 5 nights, 6 days.
    Early Bird Price: 4,950.


Double Occupancy
  • Double occupancy of a King En-suite room for 5 nights, 6 days.
    Early Bird Price: 7,200.


Single Occupancy
$ 9,000
  • Single occupancy of a King En-suite room for 5 nights, 6 days.
    Early Bird Price: $8,100


Double Occupancy
$ 13,000
  • Double occupancy of a King En-suite room for 5 nights, 6 days.
    Early Bird Price: $11,700

Meet the Team

Jo Whitton, Quirky Cooking

Jo Whitton

Jo Whitton is the founder of Quirky Cooking – an online hub for the vibrant community she nurtures with her deliciously wholesome recipes, her down-to-earth advice on healthy living, and her contagious passion for “food as medicine”.

Jo lives in Far North Queensland, Australia, where she works mostly from home (when she’s not travelling), and enjoys the country life. Due to chronic health issues in her family, Jo began researching ways to improve their diet from the time her kids were very young. Her son’s struggles with OCD and anxiety led her to research the link between gut and brain health, and how healing the gut reduces inflammation and improves physical and mental health issues. She began to focus on traditional, nourishing, whole foods, using the principles of the GAPS diet to successfully help her son and family to heal.

Her experience of working through chronic health issues in her own family resulted in her work helping families reduce physical and mental stress caused by inflammatory foods, guiding them towards simple diet and lifestyle changes that will heal and nourish the body and mind.

Jo is the author of two best-selling cookbooks (with another on the way), and is the host of a podcast called “A Quirky Journey” which shares her own and others stories of the journey to good health, and the many paths that can take.

Jo runs seminars, gut health retreats, cooking classes and workshops around Australia and overseas; facilitates an online program to support people working through healing with food; is always developing creative new recipes; and loves sharing her tips and how-to videos of simple, whole food cooking via social media.

You can find Jo at Quirky Cooking (the blog), on Facebook, Instagram, the Podcast, and her Gut Health Program. Jo’s cookbooks are available in her online store.

Jo Whitton, Quirky Cooking
Elyse Comerford, Integrative Nutritionist

Elyse Comerford

Elyse Comerford lives on a property in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia (right near Byron Bay!) where she practices as an Integrative Nutritionist specialising in gut health. She has been on a journey with her health since childhood, with symptoms which at the time were not too concerning, but worsened as she moved into teenage years and adulthood. Elyse spent a lot of time (and money!) looking for the right answers, and soon discovered that food was the key element to healing her body. 

Elyse began changing her diet step by step, focusing more on whole foods, removing dairy and gluten. Things were improving but there was still something missing, that is when gut health came into the picture for her. She began madly researching and trying everything she could to improve her gut health, and in the process began telling anyone who would listen about what she was discovering. She had completed a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, and with her obvious passion lying in Nutrition, went on to study a Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition, and completed her Certified GAPS Practitioner training. 

Elyse and her incredible team now help clients from all over the world heal using food. She is also the practitioner on Jo Whitton’s “Quirky Cooking for Gut Health Program”, she features on many of “A Quirky Journey” podcast episodes, and runs health seminars around Australia. Elyse is also the host of a podcast called “Flourish”, where real people share their healing journey, and Elyse shares some tips to help you on your own journey. 

You can find Elyse at, and on Facebook, Instagram, and her Podcast

Lucie McCullough

Since founding Lucie McCullough Ltd, Lucie has generated a strong following throughout Europe, Asia and the United States for her concentrated approach to the future of living. With broad experience in both home interiors and other design-related services, Lucie’s inimitable style and knowledge has attracted clients across the globe. Her successes have been featured in Architectural Digest and most recently one of her projects as the top 20 sexiest chalets by the British Times.

Her signature design combines elements from a world of luxury with her strong sensibility and taste after working in the style capitals New York, London, Rome and Milan. With stints at the great fashion houses of Valentino, Ralph Lauren, as well as time spent at British Vogue, Lucie went on to study Building Biology, being one in a small group of those in the world to study this art of natural non-toxic design and construction.

Her portfolio to date is as varied as it is unique, ranging from full-blown spatial reconfigurations to designing interiors of townhouses in London and luxury penthouse apartments in Hong Kong. More unusual projects include the complete transformation of Baita 1697 – a 17th century farmhouse, nestled in an old mountain village in the Italian Alps, into a first class luxury ski lodge. Combining her refined eye for aesthetics in interior design, along with a unique focus to ensure a healthy living environment – she turns homes into sanctuaries.

Lucie McCullough, Interior Designer & Building Biologist
Bianca & Pietro, Baita 1697, Italy

Bianca & Pietro

This dynamic duo, Bianca and Pietro, are a permanent fixture in the village and at Baita 1697. They have been serving meals for the guests at Baita for several years now, including the likes of Jamie Oliver, who gave them a standing ovation every night and said it was “the best and most honest chalet food he had ever tasted”.

Bianca and Pietro grew up in the mountains of Romania and learnt the traditional ways of eating – cooking ‘head to tail’ (including the nutritional powerhouse that is organ meat), fermenting vegetables, sourcing produce locally – and they brought this pride in real food and a connection to the land when they moved to Italy. They source foods such as cheeses, herbs, honey, boar and deer locally from the valley’s farmers, hunters, foragers and artisans. Over the past five years, they have been learning about gut health and are excited to support Jo and Elyse in the preparation of traditional, healing foods for the guests at the retreat.

What our guests say