• Home

Pian dei Ciliegi Association

LogoPDCPian Dei Ciliegi Meditation Centre started in 1996, to host retreats and workshops inspired by Buddhist principles. In time its activities became more oriented towards the practice of Insight Meditation, within the Theravada Tradition. It now organizes silent retreats of Satipatthana Vipassana and Metta.

The retreat house is situated in Bulla di Monte Santo, near the small town of Ponte dell’Olio, about 30 miles south of from Piacenza, in the north of Italy. It’s surrounded by oak woods in a peaceful and silent environment at 600m a.s.l., in the Appenine foothills, just below a higher hill called Monte Santo. 

The Center is open mainly during scheduled retreat periods, but also hosts experienced practitioners for individual retreats. Access to the Center is reserved only for people who wish to devote themselves to the practice, and it must be agreed with the managers. People who attend the Center are required to follow the internal regulations and to respect the dimension of silence - an extremely rare opportunity in modern society - or at least practice right speech.

Vipassana and Metta retreats are intensive, and all the time is dedicated to the practice of mindfulness, following the indicated timetable and respecting the noble silence.

The types of offered retreats are:

Formal Vipassana retreat: it is the classic retreat of at least a week, open to all (also beginners), with a Dhamma talk every evening and daily conversation with the teacher. The formal retreat can also be shorter, for example a weekend.

Private Vipassana retreat: some teachers who come to the Center for their personal retreats allow a certain number of people to practice with them (subject to their consent) for more or less long periods, taking charge of instructing them in the practice. During these retreats the Dhamma talks are given at the discretion of the teacher, the timetable is more flexible and the observance of the rules of the retreat is left to everyone's sense of responsibility.

Intensive Metta Retreats: Have the same characteristics as formal retreats, with the difference that loving-kindness (Metta) is cultivated throughout sitting, walking and daily activities.

Study and practice retreats: in these retreats the study of some texts of the Pali Canon (Abhidhamma or Sutta) is proposed, alternating study with formal practice.

Self-managed retreats: small groups of practitioners meet at the Center to practice without a teacher for more or less long periods; recorded Dhamma talks or readings can be used. Usually the Center admit only expert meditators who can deal with their own practice alone and meditators that we already know, especially for long-term retreat.

How to subscribe become a member

Signing up for a retreat

As some of you know, we are changing our procedures for membership to the association and for retreat bookings, to make things easier and more functional. This operation is more complicated than we expected for those of you who are already members because, even if you have been accepted by the Board, you will have to apply again through the new system.You will not be new members but, in order to sign up on-line with the new procedures, you have to  “renew” your membership, so the system will recognize you as members of Pian dei Ciliegi and let you book a retreat on-lineTo apply for membership, whether you’re already a member or you’re applying for the first time, it’s necessary to:


  1. Register at our website, if you haven’t done so already 
  2. Log into our website with your username and password
  3. In the Home page, (on your right) you will find a User Menu, with the option Apply for Membership
  4. At this point please follow the procedure as required, it will take only a few minutes. The membership fee (15 euros)  can be paid on arrival at the Centre (cash or check) or by Bank transfer.

As for our 2017 retreat bookings, we will start accepting applications from January 9th 2017 and, except for a few special cases (agreed upon), they will have to be done on-line through our website, following the procedure that we will communicate shortly.

In any case, to join a retreat in Pian dei Ciliegi, it is necessary to register at our website and apply for membership, and these preliminary operations can be done as of now.

Cancellation and refund

If a member cancels his/her participation to a retreat by Feb. 9th, the association will refund 95% of the amount that has been paid. If one cancels at least 30 days prior to the beginning of a retreat he/she will be granted a refund of 80% of the amount paid. If one cancels in the period that goes from 30 days to 48 hours prior to the retreat he/she will be granted a refund of 50% of the amount paid. If you cancel within the 48 hours before the beginning of a retreat, there willl be no refund. If the retreat fee is not more than 100 euros there will be no refund. However one can still apply for a refund in the case of serious reasons for cancelling, but this is left to the complete discretion of the manager and/or secretary. If the minimum number of 12 participants is not reached, the retreat will be cancelled, and the entire amount paid refunded.