Luxury Health Retreat in the Italian Alps

Next retreat TBA

Escape 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 community life in an Italian village.

Experience the power of “food as medicine,” with nutrient-dense meals and a focus on gut health.

Learn how to create delicious, nourishing dishes from traditional ingredients, as we shop, forage and cook together.

Next Retreat - June / July 2025 (TBA)

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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 support of gut-healthy cooking and low-tox living experts, Jo Whitton and Lucie McCullough.

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, 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, cheese makers and local markets, and learn about traditional Italian foods

* Cook alongside Australian recipe developer and food writer Jo Whitton of Quirky Cooking

* Learn by doing as you cook together, creating delicious, nutrient-dense, gut-healing meals, inspired by traditional diets and using local, organic, biodynamic, whole-food ingredients

* Learn 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 begin implementing gut-healing diet and lifestyle changes into your everyday life, in a way that suits your unique family and stage of life

* Take home important tools to nourish and nurture yourself and your family going forward

* Relax and breathe. Take some time out for yourself to de-stress, re-energise, 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 created 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 gut-healthy cooking expert, Jo Whitton. Jo has extensive experience with cooking for the GAPS Nutritional Protocol and other healing diets.

This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your other half to ‘food as medicine’, 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, four-night retreat, and enjoy a calming, nourishing, ‘nervous system reset’. You will return home re-energised, refreshed, and better equipped for your journey to good health!

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The alpine chalet - Baita 1697


The retreat (and most of the accommodation) will take place at the luxury chalet, Baita 1697. This chalet 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 a 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.

Quirky Cooking Retreat, Italy - Foraging

What Is Included?


  • Transport from Turin to the chalet in Pragelato, morning of June 5th
  • Luxury accommodation and all meals, from arrival at the retreat Wednesday lunchtime, through to departure Sunday afternoon
  • Transport back to Turin, afternoon of June 9th
  • All workshops, cooking classes, activities and outings from Wednesday to Sunday
  • Meals and cooking classes catered to your specific needs
  • A special ‘goodie bag’ on arrival filled with gifts from local producers 
  • An online portal with information and resources to help you continue your health journey when you get back home

Would you like to be kept in the loop about future Quirky Cooking retreats ?

Enter your details below and we will let you know when bookings are open for the next retreat.

*Please note: You'll need to confirm your subscription first. Check your inbox once you've filled in the form to confirm you'd like us to email you.

Meet Your Hosts

Jo Whitton, Quirky Cooking

Jo Whitton

Jo Whitton is the founder of Quirky Cooking – an online hub for the vibrant community she has nurtured since 2008 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 Nutritional Protocol 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 three best-selling cookbooks, and is the host of podcast “Quirky Cooking Chats” where she 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 (both online and in person); facilitates online programs 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 learn more about Jo at  Quirky Cooking, and you can find her cookbooks in her online store.

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.

You can follow Lucie’s adventures on Instagram at @luciemcculloughinteriors, @baita1697 and @villageforestschool.

Lucie McCullough

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