Poland & All Italian Shrines21 days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 2 nights: Radisson Blu Centrum, Warsaw, Poland
- ~ 1 night: Mercure Patria, Czestochowa, Poland
- ~ 4 nights: Radisson Blu, Krakow, Poland
- ~ 2 nights: Centro di Spiritualita Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
- ~ 3 nights: Hotel Giotto, Assisi, Italy
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Machiavelli Palace, Florence, Italy
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Biri, Padua, Italy
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Catholic Priest available for Spiritual Direction
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Tips to your guide & driver.
Depart for Warsaw
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s) to Warsaw. Your meals will be served on board.
Welcome to Warsaw, Poland! Upon arrival, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Transfer to your hotel. Following check-in at your hotel, your pilgrimage will officially begin with Mass. Following Mass, enjoy a delicious dinner and have the opportunity to explore the city of Warsaw before retiring for a restful overnight.
Your day will begin with breakfast followed by Mass at St. James Church, iconic for its tower and square base. This church is where Helena Kowalska prayed extensively upon entering Warsaw. Also, it is where she confessed all that burdened her soul, and asked for the advice of Rev. James Dabrowski which eventually resulted in the Saint entering the convent. Following this prayerful morning, your day of sightseeing begins. Your group will explore the Old Town, comprised of beautiful maze-like cobblestone streets and picturesque architecture that are symbols of Poland's successful rebuild following its destruction during World War II. Some of the sites will include the Market Square (the center of the city filled with restaurants, cafes and shops), the Barbican, defense-like structures that have been rebuilt following World War II, and the Warsaw Ghetto monument that commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 during World War II. You will also take in the Lazienski Park, a beautifully landscaped park, the Chopin Statue (a large bronze statue of musician, Frederic Chopin), and the Royal Castle (the official residence of the Polish monarchs). In the afternoon, visit the Stanislaw Kostka Church and view a special exhibit dedicated to Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. This priest was a great personality of the Catholic Church, and killed by communists in 1984. In 1987, Saint John Paul II visited here to pray in front of Fr. Popieluzko's tomb. Your tour of Warsaw will conclude by returning to the hotel for a delicious meal, followed by an overnight at your hotel.
Warsaw - Niepokalanow - Swinice Warckie - Czestochowa
This morning, you will enjoy breakfast followed a by a transfer to Niepokalanow. This Franciscan Monastery is in the community of Teresin, and was founded by martyr, St. Maximilian Kolbe. This remarkable saint was arrested by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz, giving his life for the life of another prisoner. Following your visit to this Holy Monastery, transfer to the village of Swinice Warckie. In Swinice Warckie, visit the church of St. Casimir. This historically rich parish is the site of baptism for St. Faustina (formally known as, Helena Kowalska). Little Helena received her first confession, and First Holy Communion, at this parish. Additionally, she and her family attended Sunday Mass and other services at this church. After visiting this simple, yet elegant church, we will continue to Czestochowa. Upon arrival in Czestochowa, you will check-in to your hotel, enjoy a magnificent dinner, and a restful overnight.
Czestochowa - Wadowice - Krakow
Today, you will awake in the home of the grandest pilgrimage shrine of Poland since the 14th century! You will begin your day with breakfast and Mass at Jasna Gora Monastery. This hill-top monastery is home to the beloved icon of the Black Madonna. Additionally, Saint John Paul II is said to have made frequent visits to this monastery throughout his life. Tradition tells us that this icon was painted by Luke the Evangelist, discovered by St. Helen, and later enshrined. While here, you will have the opportunity to venerate not only the Holy Icon, but also many other priceless treasures that are contained within. Following your prayerful visit to the Chapel of the Black Madonna, you will continue on to Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II). While in the small city of Wadowice, you will have the opportunity to visit the church of where this beloved Saint was baptized, and attended Mass as a child. Following this historically captivating experience, continue onto Krakow. Enjoy dinner at the local restaurant before resting up for the next day of activities.
Krakow - Zakopane - Krakow
After breakfast, we will drive through the mountains to breathtaking, yet small and remote village of Zakopane. Take a cable car ride to the nearby mountaintop. At the top, you will truly experience God's magnificent Glory when you look out at the magnificent panoramic view. Following the many photos captured atop the mountain, we will head to the Jaszczorowka Chapel. This architecturally distinct chapel was visited many times by the young, Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II). As a young boy, Karol Wojtyla often used the walking paths surrounding the Jaszczorowka Chapel for much prayer and reflection. After you experience this beautiful site that assisted in Saint John Paul II's Holy journey, you will continue your tour to the colorful, Krupowki Street. While on this street, you will have the opportunity to do some shopping at the local bazaar before returning to Krakow. Enjoy a beautiful dinner and an optional stroll through the old city before retiring for the evening.
Krakow - Auschwitz - Krakow
After breakfast, you will explore Krakow's Market Square as the sound of the silver trumpet from St. Mary's Tower fills the air. The captivating beauty of this square is largely due to the fact that it has remained unchanged for almost 700 years. It contains a number of buildings that hold important historic value such as, the Town Hall Tower, the Cloth Hall, and the Burgher's houses. Following your time in this longstanding square, you will make your way to Wawel Hill, where you will visit the beautiful Cathedral, and Coronation Chapel. These are among the most important sites in Poland as the Cathedral has been the coronation site of the Polish monarchs and has held numerous pieces of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and Modern art. Also at this site, you will have the opportunity to pray at the tomb of the patron saint of Poland, St. Stanislaus. Short drive to Auschwitz, notoriously known as a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. Upon arriving at the former camp, you can feel the darkness and sorrow that overtakes the atmosphere as there were numerous unspeakable atrocities that occurred at this site. Additionally, while on this visit, you will have the opportunity to view the cell that imprisoned the Christ-like, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and visit the Martyrdom Museum. After this reflective day, return to your hotel in Krakow for dinner and a restful overnight.
Krakow - Divine Mercy - Lagiewniki - Wieliczka - Krakow
On your last day of touring, after breakfast depart for your excursion to Lagiewniki, the capital of the Divine Mercy. Through the mediation of St. Faustina, Christ passed on the message of Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki. While here, you will have the opportunity to visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy that contains images of the Merciful Jesus, relics of St. Faustina, as well as, the Saint's convent chapel and her Tomb. Visit and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Divinity, which was visited by Saint John Paul II in 2002. Following Mass, have to opportunity topray by a relic of Saint John Paul II. Continue to Wieliczka to visit Europe's oldest salt mine which has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Return to Krakow for your farewell dinner and last overnight.
Krakow - Rome
Following breakfast, we leave Krakow for our flights to Rome. Welcome to Rome, one of the most magnificent and interesting cities in the world, also known as the "Eternal City"! You will be transferred to your hotel. This afternoon our guide will introduce us to our fellow pilgrims and our priest who will be with us for the rest of the journey. We will make our way to Mass, followed by a welcome dinner with wine. This evening we will walk to St. Peter's Square for Rosary (optional).
Papal Audience - Trevi Fountain / Piazza Navona - Basilica of St. John the Lateran and St. Mary Major - Holy Steps
John the Lateran and St. Mary Major - Holy Steps Following breakfast, we will make our way to St. Peter's Square to attend the Papal Audience, led by His Holiness, Pope Francis. (Papal Audience: Is scheduled to take place every Wednesday, pending the schedule of Pope Francis.) Following the audience, we will make our way to the Trevi Fountain built in the 15th Century to mark the ending destination of the Aqua Virgo - a man-made channel erected in 19 B.C or Piazza Navona where at the center: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi "Fountain of the Four Rivers. After free time for lunch we will visit the Basilica of St. John the Lateran, the Pope's cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. It was here that Pope Francis was formally installed as Bishop of Rome. Next we cross the street to see the Holy Staircase which is believed to be a staircase from Pilate's palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. Time permitting we may climb the steps on our knees in memory of Christ's Passion. Continue to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the most important and the oldest church dedicated to Our Lady. St. Mary Major contains a relic from the Manger of the infant Jesus. We will celebrate Mass, and then make our way to dinner and overnight.
Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
Following breakfast, we will depart to celebrate Mass in the largest church in Christendom, St Peter's Basilica, built on the site where St Peter was martyred. Unsurpassed in beauty, a monument to the long history of the Catholic Church, to which pilgrims come from around the world, St Peter's is the grandest of the world's churches. Marvel Pieta and Bernini's amazing bronze canopy. Following Mass, we will visit of the Vatican Museums, containing a group of the most impressive edifices with hundreds of galleries filled with art treasures. See awe-inspiring relics, and works of art donated throughout centuries as tributes of faith. We'll cover The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms and the most overwhelming Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Masterpiece, restored mural of the Last Judgment. The tour ends as we make our way back into St. Peter's Basilica. Pope Francis visited the tomb of St. Peter, following his elevation, for a visit of devotion that lasted 45 minutes. He is the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. We will also visit the tomb of Saint John Paul II located at the Vatican. There will be free time for lunch, and then we will continue on to visit St Paul outside the Walls. Continue our tour via the Appian Way -- the oldest road from Roman times--plus the famous Domino Quo Vadis Chapel; see the ancient Baths of Caracalla, Arch of Drusus; Tomb of Celilia Metella, and the catacombs of St Callixtus where the early Christians hid themselves to escape persecution. We will conclude our day and wonderful stay in Rome with dinner at a local restaurant in Rome.
Rome - Monte Cassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, we will head south and cross through the Roman countryside with its villas and vineyards. During your drive, your tour escort will explain the spiritual, historical, and cultural overview of Italy, which will help to orient you to this beautiful country and prepare you for all that you will experience in the days to follow. We stop at Montecassino, a beautiful town founded by Saint Benedict in 529. Enjoy lunch and then continue through the countryside heading east to Padre Pio's town, San Giovanni Rotondo, our base for the following two nights. Dinner and overnight.
San Giovanni Rotondo - Monte Sant’ Angel (view incorrupt body of Padre Pio)
After celebrating Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio, we tour the sanctuary, see the old church and the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918. You will see the confessional where Padre Pio spent innumerable hours with a multitude of pilgrims, directing them on their journey toward God. (We will have the opportunity to view and pray before the incorrupt body of Padre Pio.) Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Gargano Peninsula and a visit to the Grotto of Michael the Archangel. Six different popes, St Francis and at least four other saints have knelt in prayer at this grotto, seeking the protection of St Michael. Following lunch, take in the panoramic view of the ocean and the surrounding countryside awaits you at this most celebrated shrine of early Christianity, a shrine consecrated by St Michael himself in 490. Return to San Giovanni for devotions, reflection, and a restful overnight.
San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano - Loreto - Assisi
Following breakfast, your group will board the bus and head to Lanciano (approximately two hours). Upon arrival in Lanciano, you will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Longinus. This Church is the site of the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the eighth century. At the time of the Miracle, there was a Basilian monk who struggled with the belief in the real presence of The Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. During the time of Mass, the monk, with doubt in his voice, said the "Words of Consecration" and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine transformed into live blood. After Mass free time for lunch. Continue toward Assisi (Approximately three hours), the hometown of St. Francis. Upon arrival in Assisi, your group will check-in, enjoy dinner, before retiring to your room for a restful night's sleep.
Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father)
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the "Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment." Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions, just as St. Francis did. As we visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. We will start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint's possessions. From there, we will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own - you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, we will board the bus, which will take us outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the "Porziuncola", which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the "Capella del Transito", which is the place of St. Francis' death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Assisi - Cascia- Assisi
After breakfast, we will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains, to Cascia, the hometown of St. Rita. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Rita of Cascia. After Mass we will visit the Basilica, which houses the bodies of St. Rita and St. Theresa Fasce. You will visit the convent, where the saintly cloistered sisters still live and view St. Rita's holy cell. You will have time for personal prayer and reflection, followed by a walk through the quaint streets of Cascia, full of small specialty shops back to our bus to return to Assisi. Enjoy a free afternoon , stroll through the streets of Assisi, or perhaps take some time for personal prayer and reflection at St. Francis Basilica. Dinner and overnight.
Assisi - Sienna - Florence
Breakfast, followed by a scenic drive to the Tuscan city of Siena. This medieval city is the birthplace of St. Catherine "Doctor of the Church", and the Apostle of Italy, St. Bernardine. Visit of the Basilica of St. Catherine (which is also known as the Basilica of St. Domenico). St. Catherine passed a large part of her life inside the walls of this Basilica. It is here you will also view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine. After, we will visit the Shrine of St. Catherine, which occupies the site of her family home. Enjoy our walking tour through the Siena including a visit to its Cathedral (Duomo di Siena). We will conclude at one of Italy's finest squares, the Piazza Del Campo, where you will be given free time to spend at your own leisure. There are a number of restaurants surrounding the square to have lunch, as well as shops for gifts and souvenirs. Continuing to Florence. Upon arrival in Florence, you will notice immediately that it is the land for art lovers. Some of the most world renowned artists are from Florence such as, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, and many others. Remainder of the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore the streets of Florence at leisure. In the evening gather for dinner, followed by overnight.
After breakfast, we are off to enjoy guided tour of Florence which includes magnificent Franciscan church of The Holy Cross or Santa Croce with the beautiful facade, church is a burial place of nobles, among which is Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. Walking tour through Piazza Signoria, pass by Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio. Continue through Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore 13th century cathedral. After lunch we will visit L'Accadamia where we will view Michelangelo's "David" as well as other works of art. You will have free time to explore the museum and city before we return to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Florence – Padua
After breakfast, we depart for Padua, where St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things is honored. We celebrate Mass at the Basilica built in his honor. Following Mass, begin our sightseeing tour including one of the oldest universities in Italy, the Tomb of St. Anthony and we have an opportunity to see several of his relics. We will pass by Pratto Della Valle, and see the Basilica of Santa Giustina. We arrive at our Hotel in time for dinner and a restful overnight.
Padua - Venice (Full Day Excursion)
After breakfast, we depart for nearby Venice, where the streets are paved with water! We will enjoy a tour and visit to some of the greatest sights you will ever see: St. Mark's Square, The Golden Basilica of San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs, and we will even have an extraordinary visit of Dodges' Palace. After the tour you will have free time to explore Venice on own, shop and perhaps take a gondola ride. Don't forget to enjoy a cappuccino and gelato at one of the cafes in St. Mark's Square, a "must" for any visit to Venice. We will return to our Hotel in time for Dinner and overnight.
Venice - USA
We will bid farewell to our new friends and to a Pilgrimage which will be in our memories and hearts for a long time to come. We depart for Venice Airport for our return flights home. We fondly say, Arrivederci Italia!
About your trip
About Krakow & Saint John Paul II:
Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II) was born in the Polish town of Wadowice on May 18, 1920. He moved to Krakow with his father in 1938, where he attended Jagiellonian University and began studying for the priesthood. He was ordained as a priest on November 1, 1946 and went on to continue his studies in Rome until 1948. He returned to Poland that same year for his first pastoral assignment in the village of Niegowic, which lasted seven months. He then was transferred to the parish of St. Florian in Krakow, where he also spent time hiking in the mountains and canoeing with young people click here to read more
Rome has been one of history's most powerful and important cities, along with home to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and the site of the Vatican City. First built in 337, St. Peter's Basilica lies over the tomb of St. Peter. Contained within is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, glory and awesomeness of God