A SWINDON yoga instructor is set to launch an exclusive retreat in the dazzling grandeur of a world-renowned 18th century Sicilian palace.

Bianca Polizzi, 25, was handed the chance to combine the three loves of her life – yoga, teaching and Sicily – by the Duchess of Palma di Montechiaro, Nicoletta Polo, and is establishing an unforgettable five-day experience in partnership with Butera 28 Apartments.

The Elite Yoga Escape founder said: “It’s an absolutely glorious location and I feel so privileged to be able to teach here. The apartments are fabulous and the yoga studio is beyond beautiful. The energy of the palace itself is indescribable, you can really feel there’s something very special here.

“This practice changed my life, and there’s nothing I love more than sharing it as a blissful way to achieve and maintain a healthy mind, spirit and body.”

Bianca has travelled around the world to learn more about the practice as well as enhancing her techniques along the way – she is qualified as a 200H certified instructor at the respected Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre in Goa, India.

She and the Duchess first met in Bianca’s third year of university in 2016, when she applied for a placement of a year abroad. She spotted a posting for the role of personal assistant and the pair have remained great friends ever since.

“Nicoletta and I became really close over my extended nine months working for her, as I would often spend 13 hours a day with her,” said Bianca. “She was really my only company in Sicily and we became best friends.

This opportunity means a lot to the teacher and the Italian island has a sentimental value to her.

She added: “Palermo in Sicily is actually where my father’s family originates from and since first arriving here I have felt particularly close to the city and I have fallen in love with it.”

The classes will be taught in the historic Kalsa quarter, overlooking the glittering Bay of Palermo, which also features a magnificent yoga studio with marble floors and a breathtaking frescoed ceiling for maximum ambience – in addition to this there will be guided excursions in and around Palermo.

The getaway, Bianca adds, will provide new insights and inspiration for absolute beginners and advanced yogis alike.

“The reason a lot of people are put off trying yoga is that they think it’s too physically demanding,” said Bianca. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. Done properly, yoga is a slow and steady progression, gradually ushering in the next level of physical ability – all the while promoting an increased sense of inner peace.

“We all started out having to learn the most basic stretches and poses. Nobody will be pushed beyond their own definition of their limits.

“I love giving guidance and witnessing how quickly a beginner gains confidence and feels the immediate benefits of the simplest movements. When you add Pranayama yoga breathing and meditation, there’s this alchemy. It is a magical moment.

“And everyone will appreciate the profound beauty and atmosphere of our surroundings.

“If you’ve been here before, you will know there’s no place on earth quite like it.”

Elite Yoga Escape will this year host two exclusive yoga retreats which will be between August 31 to September 4 and October 19-23.

The package includes a four-night stay with twice daily group yoga classes, breathing and meditation practice, four continental breakfasts, 24/7 translation assistance and more.

For more information and to book, visit EliteYogaEscape.com