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What could be better than gazing out over the ocean in Malibu, knowing that you’re working towards a happier you? How ‘bout gazing out over hills just outside of Rome? Alex Glasscock, co-founder of lauded California well-being retreat, The Ranch, shares the details of their new Italian program.

My name is: Alex Glasscock.

My stomping ground is: Malibu, California and Rowayton, Connecticut.

I’m known for being: CEO and co-founder of The Ranch Malibu.

I'm talking about: The Ranch Italy at Palazzo Fiuggi.

You can find it at: Palazzo Fiuggi, Italy—operating 52 weeks of the year!

Before I started this retreat work, I was: I earned my bachelor’s degree in business and finance from the University of Texas at Austin and worked in commercial mortgage banking in Texas for several years before moving to Los Angeles. I was a young vice president at Union Bank in their Commercial Mortgage Banking division. In 1992, I founded an investment company that had a residential mortgage banking subsidiary and sold it in 2000. I then began development in luxury beachfront estates in Malibu with my wife, Sue.

My interest was sparked when: 

My wife, Sue, and I started The Ranch together in 2010 because of our passion to help improve the quality of one’s health and longevity. It was inspired by our combined passions of health, wellness, nature and design.

The Ranch has been long overdue in expanding to another region, and our guests have been eager to travel to new Ranch locations, globally, so we opened The Ranch Italy. Palazzo Fiuggi was the perfect place for our program. It’s a private sanctuary, with world-class spa and fitness amenities, and has easy access to spectacular mountain hiking trails.

How it works is:

Similar to Malibu, hikes are done for time (four hours) rather than distance, with varied trails each day. Guests will sometimes scale elevations over 2,000 meters as they hike the Apennine Mountains, surrounded by beautiful scenery like tree canopies, open meadows, verdant valleys, year-round running streams, hilltop hamlets, medieval villages and even ancient monasteries. There will also be afternoon fitness (core and strength training) and restorative yoga classes, held in a private section of Palazzo Fiuggi with dramatic scenic views for our guests.

Like the program in Malibu, the schedule is all complemented by a nutritionally-dense, plant-based menu, but with an Italian flair. The menu is created by our Ranch executive culinary team and meticulously executed by Palazzo Fiuggi’s 3-star Michelin chef, Heinz Beck, and his world-class culinary team. The Ranch Italy also offers guests the opportunity to undergo diagnostic and blood testing with a consultation with respected physicians.

Palazzo Fiuggi is an extraordinary property and optimal private environment for our program. Over eight days and seven nights, guests are surrounded by nature on a knoll with tranquil valley views. There is a rich history of healing in this village. Palazzo Fiuggi’s five-star service also mirrors what is offered at The Ranch, as guests stay in private accommodations with views overlooking the mountains, valleys and the historic old town. They spend their days enjoying daily guided hikes, fitness and exercise classes, massages, diagnostic testing, blood panels, medical consultation, spa access, plant-based meals, as well as swims in the panoramic indoor and outdoor pools.

What makes it different is:  

There is nothing quite like our results-oriented program in the European market. Our guests partake in a no-options bootcamp that is intimate, immersive and transformative, generating measurable results including fat loss and muscle gain, while offering a complete picture of their overall health and longevity. They leave with a greater sense of self, rested, rejuvenated and with the infamous “Ranch glow”!

My favorite lesser-known detail is:

The group huddle—it’s always been my favorite! Before each hike, the group huddles and we share an inspirational quote. It sets your intention and makes everyone feel bonded together.

I hope the guests walk away feeling:

Our absolute desire is to make an everlasting positive impact on each guest who participates in The Ranch programs. We want their time with us to be a life-changing experience and hope they are able to apply the skills and lessons learned during their stay to their daily lives. We are so proud of the thousands of amazing people who have been impacted, for the better, through their effort and enthusiasm, while with us. It is truly rewarding and inspiring to be able to witness the change, growth and determination during our guests’ time.

Retreating is so important because:

It’s important to make time for oneself, to unplug and re-center—it is a cornerstone of wellness.

The words I live by are:

As Emerson said (I paraphrase, as it’s my favorite quote): May my actions speak so loudly, you can’t hear the words that I say.

One essential truth is:

All of life’s worthwhile endeavors take effort., persistence and conscious reflective thoughtfulness.

Striving for a truly splendid and special life, one need only look in the mirror and work on oneself.

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