Monthly Archives: December 2009

3. Where are we?

The convent and its spaces

ediThe word convent derives from the Latin con-venire (to get together). It simply refers to a meeting place. From their origins convents reserved therefore a space to accommodate travellers and for long time they were considered a safe haven for asylum seekers. A convent is indeed the ideal place of rest for modern pilgrims, those searching for meaning and those tired of all challenges.  With its sober means of hospitality, the Convent of St. Thomas helps individuals and groups restore peace within themselves. Our thanks go to the Franciscan Order (Frati Minori, Region of Lombardy) for making the Convent of St. Thomas in Gargnano available to us. We conceived it to meet everybody’s need for time –so mysteriously difficult to manage in our contradictory pace of life. We offer it as a place that promotes peace and offers a pause for personal synthesis and a chance to regenerate oneself (ressourcement in French). Well aware of the myth of an earth without evil, our humble dream is simply to share, informally, tranquillity and silence, to offer the personal opportunity of a pleasant experience of retreat, a chance to listen, to think, and to find that rare word of wisdom. In our written words of Welcome  (Benvenuto-En),  we invite guests to help us in maintaining this atmosphere and adopting the style of living that makes a convent different from a hotel or a resort. As we have no financial support, besides that of guests and some friends, we ask for your help directed toward maintaining this structure for the time to come, for everybody and future generations. Internal features 20 rooms (10 single, 9 double, 1 for three persons) all with a toilet attached. With the exception of 5 rooms, showers and bathrooms are shared.
Common rooms include a conference room for about 50 people.
a meeting/seminar room for 20
a library/reading room
a room for meditation and prayer
a dining room and a kitchen, which is equipped for cooking meals independently.
The convent has special displays of antique collections of working instruments, measuring tools, and tiles, especially those of the liberty style.

External features The land associated with the convent includes an olive orchard and three large terraces where one can enjoy nature, the exceptional colours of Lake Garda below us, and the diverse patterns of the roofs of the suburb of Villa di Gargnano. In the summer these external spaces can also be used for meetings, discussion groups and training sessions. gargnano.jpg

How to go there ?

mappa-2.gifGargnano is located half way on the western shores of the Lake Garda
map on-line for Italy
For Europe
For other informations over Gargnano.


By car On the motorway Milano-Venezia, exit at Brescia Est or Desenzano (according to the direction of travelling) and follow the signs to Salò –Riva del Garda. On the road from Brennero, follow the signs Riva del Garda –Salò. The national road gardesana occidentale (SS 45 bis) travels through Gargnano. Coming from Salò and after Toscolano-Maderno, note the top sign Gargnano, cross the locality Boliaco with its large Villa Bettoni along the road, enter the locality Villa and keep an eye for the small yellow tourist sign “Chiesa di San Tommaso” on your right that sends you into a side road on the left. Follow this short, climbing road and its sharp right curve until its end in front of the church. Coming from Riva and after Campione, note the sign Gargnano and continue until the locality Villa, where the (now) right turn described above is after a petrol station. The European Centre is located inside the Convent St Thomas, which is besides of the church.

By public transports
If flying, select one of the following airports (in order of convenience): Bergamo, Verona, Milano Linate, Milano Malpensa, Treviso-Venezia. Each one has frequent buses connecting to a railway station. By rail reach the destinations of Brescia or Desenzano. For timetables and train tickets consult As you exit the railway station of Brescia, turn left and find the bus station of SIA, from where frequent buses takes you to Gargnano (1 hour 43 min trip). Ask the driver to drop you off at Villa di Gargnano. In front of the stop there is the small road that goes up towards the Center. For timetables consult or call +39 030 3774237. Be carful that the buses don’t run at all in August 15.
From Desenzano buses are less frequent, but you have the choice of a ferry to Gargnano. For timetables consult or call the green number 800 551801.t or write to porto-2.jpg


With its churches, palaces, villas (Feltrinelli and Bettoni) and limonaie (winter shelters for lemon trees), Gargnano is a charming tourist destination in itself.
Nearby attractions are: -* picturesque lakeside townships such as Sirmione, Malcesine, Riva, Toscolano, Gardone, and Salo’. -* mountain walks inside the National Park of the Alto Garda Bresciano and, on the east shores, on the popular Mount Baldo. -* historical and artistic cities such as Brescia, Mantova, Bergamo, Cremona, Verona with the Arena exhibitions, Vicenza, Padova and Venice. -* the leisure parks : water, mouvies and the famous Gardaland.
For further information:

From doing to being and viceversa

ediThe Centre européen de rencontre et de ressourcement, located in the Convent of St. Thomas, is intended as a ‘second-level agency’ that is, a resource for any association, especially those with a social and cultural aim. Thanks to the skills of its members and the network of European experts at its disposal, our Centre initiates and/or accompanies projects, supports international partnerships, promotes permanent activities for education, training and information. Continue reading From doing to being and viceversa


Welcome in the web site of the Centre européen de Rencontre et de Ressourcement.

With the closure of the Convent of San Tommaso (December 2020), the activities and hospitality that were placed here were also suspended. As there is no new project in sight for now, we can’t even tell you what will become of this beloved place.

This web site, which we want to keep available for now, will therefore be above all a site of memories, like a photo album to browse when you feel the need.

We thank all the people who shared time, effort and hope with us. As our Bruno would say, “grammar does not accredit it, but to hope is the present infinitive of the verb to live“. Good memories then become fertile ground for continuing to believe because we “have seen and can testify that a world of” peace and good “can exist and thrive”.

If you want to have a look about our first 10 years of life (2001-2011), please watch this video.



Program 2020

3 to 5 April

The  heart’s prayer :   Silent spirtual retreat
   with fhater Fiorenzo Reati, maximum 8 persons
For info: + 39-0365-71104 or
   Presentazione del ritiro

 24 to 26 April

Workshop about Hildegarde von Bingen with Maria Sonia Baldoni, founder of Casa delle Erbe and  Vivere con gioia –
For Info  : Jennifer Bonera <>

 15 to 17 May
Sen Shin (Purificazione del Cuore) by Akiko Tamura, 2017
Sen Shin by Akiko Tamura, 2017

Zen Meditation Practice Days managed by  Delfina Lusiardi- Center Durchkeim- and Akiko Tamura (Shodo Masteress) .
For informations :mail to Delfina Lusiardi or phone (++ 39 – 333.1551487

Program Zen 2020
Scheda di iscrizione – Enregistration form



Saturday 23 May from 9.30 to 12.30

MORNING OF SUFI SONG & DANCE with Glenn Unmana (in  English and Italian)
See more in:
Participation : 25€, concessions available
​Minimum 8 participants

5 July at 9.15
In Sint Thomas Church, Holy Mass in honor of the feast of the patron St. Thomas, with Andrea Zanini and his violoncello
 San Tommaso
Thursday 2-9-16-23-30 in July
Thursday 6-13-20-27 in August
from 9 to 10 yoga practice (option) with Silvana Panciera
from 10 to 12.30 prayer and presentation of these hight holiness figures
12.30 community diner (option)

Thursday 2 July         Theillard de Chardin                      p. Bruno Ducoli
Thursday 9 July          Hildegarde Von Bingen                Martina Bugada
Thursday 16 July        Pavlev Florenski                             p. Fiorenzo Reati
Thursday 23 July       
Marguerite Porete                       Silvana Panciera
Thursday 30 July        Papa Paolo VI                                   p. Bruno Ducoli
Thursday 6 August         Edhit Stein                                       p. Fiorenzo Reati
Thursday 13 August       Chiara d’Assisi                               Cristiana Santambrogio
Thursday 20 August       Maria Skobrova                               p. Fiorenzo Reati
Thursday 27 August      Dietrich Bonhoeffer                    p. Bruno Ducoli

28 to 30 August

Mantra and prayeryoga work shop with Antonia Tronti
Program session yoga


20 September at 5 pm

In Saint Thomas Convent’s Cluster,  Concert managed by  Associazione culturale In Musica Limes
DUO SYRINX Antonio Amenduni, Flute -Alberto Mesirca, Guitar

3 October 8.30 pm

S. Francesco by Petra HabensteinFranciscan Liturgy remembergin the Sint Francis passage to other life, by p. Bruno Ducoli, OFM  in the Saint François Church in Gargnano



31 December 11 pm
(the Convent will be open since 10.30pm)

Vigil prayer in the Saint Thomas Convent, animated by  gong of Franca Ghia.
After that, a toast in the Convent to welcome 2021 .

If no other indication, all the activities take place in theS Centro Europeo – Convento San Tommaso, via Poggio degli Ulivi, 6 – 25084 Gargnano – tél. 0365-71104

If you select the red texte, you will get the programme of the mentioned activity or the Web site of the mentioned person.



Broad horizons

On the basis of the skills of our members, resources are offered in the following fields:

An intercultural society : resources and contacts with associations to strengthen projects and methodologies to build a culturally pluralist society.
Contact : Bruno Ducoli –

A nonviolent society : cultural projects promoting nonviolent solutions of conflicts of interest through a knowledge of human nature.
Contact: Piero Giorgi –
To open his web site

Harmony in everyday life : collection of beautiful and interesting objects belonging to the world of (instruments of work, instruments of measurement,laces and fabrics, tiles…)for exhibitions.
Roberto has donated his collections – about 9,000 ceramic tiles collected in 30 years – to the Fondation Roi Baudouin, a prestigious Belgian national institution, so that they may be preserved and exhibited in Belgian museums. The Fondation has created a dedicated web site ( where you can find almost all the pictures of the tiles and where each of them will have a technical card. The site is in 4 languages, English, French, Dutch and German, the languages ​​of the major tiled collectors. You can admire the beautiful tiles by selecting them either by manufacturer or by country.
We refer with delight and satisfaction to the words of Mario Baeck, a leading Belgian tiles specialist, who evaluated Roberto’s collections when he says: “Roberto is a born collector who, besides the search for technique, production methods and functionality, was first attracted by the beauty and intelligence contained in those productions.
Photographic views of the daily beauty
Contact: Roberto Pozzo –

The Europe of citizens : action and cultural projects to improve knowledge, motivation, and participation among citizens concerning the creation of Europe.
Contact: Silvana Panciera –