The Shrines of Spain and All Italian Shrines21 days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 1 night: Hotel Ayre Caspe, Barcelona
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Abat, Montserrat
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Catalonia Atocha, Madrid
- ~ 2 nights: Hotel Compostela, Santiago de Compostela
- ~ 3 nights: Le Meridien Visconti or Michelangelo, Rome
- ~ 2 nights: Centro di Spiritualita Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo
- ~ 3 nights: Giotto, Assisi
- ~ 2 nights: Machiavelli Palace, Florence
- ~ 2 nights: Biri, Padua
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine and mineral water with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of a professional local 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 Barcelona
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Upon arrival in Barcelona, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival's hall where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Make your way to the vehicle for your transfer to your hotel. Upon arrival, you will check-in and have free time to rest and refresh or explore. This evening, you will enjoy a welcoming dinner, followed by an overnight in Barcelona.
Barcelona - Manresa - Montserrat
This morning, your day will begin with breakfast and a sightseeing tour of Barcelona! Enjoy the stunning panoramic views of the Port of Barcelona, Montjuic, Plaza de España, and Plaza de Catalunya. The Port was created 2,000 years ago on the coastal area in order to protect and provide access for ships and goods. Currently, it is home to numerous walking areas, businesses, cultural and sporting events. Plaza de España is right outside the center of town and, was formerly known for its old bull-fighting ring. Presently, the Plaza is renowned for containing the Museum of Catalan art, situated on the side of Montjuic. Plaza de Catalunya is located in central Barcelona, and is known for its fountains and statues. Your day of touring will continue with a guided walk through the Gothic Quarter that contains remains from an ancient Roman village, including the Cathedral of Barcelona. We will continue to the Eixample quarter to visit Antoni Gaudi's stunning, unfinished Roman Catholic Basilica, La Sagrada Familia. In the afternoon, we will travel to Manresa with a visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the Holy Cave where St. Ignatius lived. Continue to Montserrat, home to the miraculous Black Madonna. Arrive in time for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, we visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat , located on a rugged mountainside. According to Catholic tradition, St. Luke carved the statue of the Black Madonna around 50 A.D. and brought it to Spain. While in Spain, it was hidden from the Moors and then, was later rediscovered by shepherds. In 880 A.D., the shepherds and the Bishop of Manresa were drawn to a grotto by a bright light and heavenly music. Upon discovery of the statue of the Black Madonna in the grotto, the Bishop of Manresa suggested that it be moved to Manresa. However, the status was too heavy that it could not be lifted. As a result, the Virgin remained in Montserrat and continued to be venerated there for centuries. As years progressed, a number of chapels were built upon the site and in the eleventh century, the abbot-bishop Oliba founded a monastery on Montserrat next to one of these chapels. Dinner and overnight.
Montserrat - Zaragoza - Madrid
This morning, following breakfast, your group will depart for Zaragoza. While in Zaragoza, you will have the opportunity to visit the magnificent Basilica del Pilar that was built upon the site of where Our Lady appeared to St. James. In 44 A.D. St. James the Greater was spreading the Gospel in Spain but, making very little progress and questioning his mission. According to Catholic Tradition, the Virgin Mary, who was still living in Jerusalem, bi-located and appeared to St. James the Greater to boost his morale. While inside the Basilica, you will view the pillar that was carried by angels and from atop Our Lady appeared. Following your visit to the Basilica del Pilar, you will visit La Seo Cathedral (Cathedral of Zaragoza). Formally known as the church of San Vicente during the Visigoth period, it contains architectural elements of Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance and Baroque styles. In addition to the famous cathedral, Zaragoza is also known for its folklore and local gastronomy, both of which will be explored on your walking tour of the city. This evening, your group will continue on to Madrid where you will eat your dinner and enjoy a restful overnight.
Madrid & Toledo
This morning, you will awaken in the capital city of Spain! Following breakfast, you will enjoy a tour of Madrid, including the Prado Museum. This afternoon, you will depart for Toledo. Toledo is a city set upon a rocky mound that is isolated on three sides by a looping gorge of the Rio Tajo. It is known as the City of Three Religions or Cultures because the Christians, Jews, and Moors have lived peacefully in this city for centuries. Each inch of this outcrop has churches, synagogues, mosques and houses heaped upon one another in a haphazard spiral in which the cobbled lanes infiltrate with its best efforts. During your time in this city, you will view the some of the grandest treasures such as, the glorious Gothic Cathedral that was built upon the Great Mosque of Toledo. Visit La Iglesia de Santo Tomé, best known for housing El Greco's most famous painting and the Sinagoga del Tránsito, known for its impeccable stucco inscriptions. Additionally, you will visit a number of monuments such as La Puerta de Bisagras, La Puerta del Cambrón, La Puerta del Sol and many others. Your day will culminate with a return transfer to Madrid where you will enjoy dinner and an overnight.
Madrid - Astorga - O' Cebreiro - Santiago de Compostela
Today, you will depart Madrid and head towards the city of Santiago de Compostela. While enroute, you will make a stop in Astorga, with a visit to the Bishop's Palace built by Antonio Gaudi, which holds the Museum of El Camino. Later this afternoon, you will enter Galicia, by way of the city, Lugo. Your first stop will be to O Cebreiro, the first village in the region of Lugo and nestled in the mountains at an altitude of 1,300 meters. While in O Cebreiro, you will have the opportunity to view the iconic palloza styles houses, and the site of a Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the year 1300. In the evening, you will proceed to Santiago de Compostela for your dinner and overnight.
Santiago de Compostela
This morning, you will walk a few miles of El Camino, and immerse yourselves in the fragrant eucalyptus groves and experience the breathtaking scenery. Later this morning attend the International Pilgrim Mass at the Cathedral of St. James. After Mass and there will be free time for lunch and visit the Cathedral of Santiago. Formed by Galician granite, this Cathedral is one of the finest architectural examples in Europe as it encompasses Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles. Additionally, the Cathedral contains numerous and valuable pieces of art that truly captivate the eye. Upon entering the Cathedral, tradition will lead, as you will hug the dazzling statue of St. James. Following this intimate embrace, you will descent into the crypt where the Patron Saint of Pilgrims' relics are kept. After that, you will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Some stops on your tour include the Obradoiro Square, Fonseca Palace, Gemirez Palace, Franco Street, and much more. Your evening will be free to spend at your leisure until a final dinner with your group. You will spend a final overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Santiago de Compostela – Rome
Your last day in Spain will begin with breakfast at your hotel, followed by a transfer to the Santiago Airport for your flight to Rome. You will say "hasta luego" (see you later) to your new friends made on this journey. Welcome to Rome, also known as, "The Eternal City." Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival's hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax, or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later in the afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims and depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional).
Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Steps - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with attending the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or shop, or mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon you will visit the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where the Pope is installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, we will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate's palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said that this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
*The Scala Santa is currently under restoration. Thus, the Vatican has displayed an image replicating the stairs in front of the entrance where you will walk in. There are several staircases just to the side of the Scala Santa that you may ascend on your knees. You will still be able to receive the same graces and indulgences by going up any of the alternative stairs.
Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter's Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. It is here that you will view Michelangelo's Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo's Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of Saint John Paul II. Afterward, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will make our way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for overnight.
Rome - Monte Cassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Montecassino. Passing through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Montecassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Following the tour, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop, before we board the bus to continue toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, you will check-in, enjoy dinner in the restaurant, and overnight.
San Giovanni Rotondo (View Incorrupt Body of St. Padre Pio) - Monte Sant' Angel
This morning, after breakfast we will visit the Old Church. After Mass we will tour the sanctuary, it is here you will view the crucifix, in front of which St. Pio received the stigmata. Visit the confessional from where St. Pio spent an innumerable amount of hours listening to confessions. Next, we will board the bus and travel along the beautiful Gargano Peninsula to the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel, a shrine consecrated by St. Michael. At this grotto, St. Michael appeared to a Bishop to assure him that his diocese would not be annihilated as he feared. Following the visit to the grotto, enjoy free time. On the way back to San Giovanni Rotondo view breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Upon arrival you will have time for devotion and reflection. Dinner and overnight.
*Candlelight Procession - Between May and October attend the weekly Candlelight Procession at the Sanctuary of St. Pio after dinner, at 9:00 PM. These processions are lit by candlelight, and are guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight.
San Giovanni Rotondo - Lanciano - Loreto - Assisi
After breakfast, we will head to Lanciano. Upon arrival in Lanciano, we 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. There will be some free time to explore Lanciano, before continue toward the Adriatic coast to the great Marian shrine of Loreto to visit the Holy House of Nazareth, and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto. More than 50 Pope's have made a pilgrimage to the house transported by angles to this hill in central Italy, in 1294. Tradition has it that this is the house in which Mary first prayed the Magnificat, in which Jesus grew to manhood, and in which the Holy Family lived. Continue on to Assisi, the hometown of St. Francis. Upon arrival in Assisi, you will 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 an inspiration to all by preferring to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions. 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 - Gubbio - La Verna - Assisi
After breakfast, we will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Gubbio. Enjoy this medieval town with a visit of St. Francis Church, were we will be celebrating Mass. After Mass we will visit a town that seems painted onto the hill, a succession of backdrops against which towers and houses stand out, all embraced by walls. The town has been freed by St. Francis from a terrible and fierce wolf who afflicted it. After lunch, on your own, we will continue to La Verna, this is the place where St. Francis, over the years, has been seven times and the last time in 1224 where he received the stigmata. Here you will be able to pray in the Chapel of the Stigmata, the Basilica and the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels. You will also be able to admire the beautiful artworks of Andrea della Robbia. Return to Assisi for dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Rome Fiumicino airport for return flights home.
In Florence, your day begins with breakfast, followed by a guided tour. The tour starts at the Church of the Holy Cross, the Santa Croce, where many nobles are buried, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Continue to walk by Piazza Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore. This Cathedral is an iconic piece of architecture of the city of Florence. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 13th century. Followed by a visit to L'Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will have the opportunity to view the work from artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and the ever famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. This afternoon you will have time to explore Florence on your own. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Florence - Padua
Following breakfast at your hotel, board the motor coach for your transfer to Padua. This Northern Italy city honors the "Patron Saint of Lost Things and Causes", St. Anthony. You will begin a sightseeing tour of the city, including a view of one of the oldest Universities in Italy, the University of Padua, as well as the Basilica of Santa Giustina, the "Patron Saint of Padua." The tour will conclude at the Basilica of St. Anthony, where you will have the opportunity to visit his tomb. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Padua - Venice (Full Day Excursion)
Today, you will have early breakfast. Board your bus to depart to the magical city of Venice. After Mass enjoy a tour of the "City paved with Water!" Your walking tour includes a visit to St. Mark's Square, the largest square in the city and the site of many government buildings; the Golden Basilica of San Marco, known for the great mosaics that depict the Old and New Testament of the Bible; and the Bridge of Sigh, a bridge that will bring eternal love to those who drift below it. You will also have the chance to view the Doges' Palace (Duke's Palace), which served as the seat of the Government for the Republic of Venice for centuries. Return to Padua for dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Venice airport for return flights home.
Occasionally local religious and national holidays, weather, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of events or the missing of certain events/places. Though every effort will be made to follow the itinerary, it should be considered as an indication, rather than a contract of events and places to be visited.
The benefit of buying airfare with 206 Tours?
- Your transfers are always secured, even if your flights are delayed - round trip transfers to/from the hotel and airport are included no matter what!
- If you purchase your airline ticket on your own, you have to pay in full at the time of booking, and most of the time it is non-refundable. If you book with 206 Tours, full payment is due 60 days prior.
- In the very rare event that a tour is cancelled, you would get all your money back, which would most likely not be the case if you purchased it directly from the airline.
- Your flight arrangement will be followed up on and reconfirmed by 206 Tours.
- 206 Tours can arrange for you to travel before the tour, make a stop-over, or stay later!
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About your trip
Santiago de Compostela:
The History of El Camino, The Way of St. James or St. James' Way Often known by its Spanish name, el Camino de Santiago, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried. The Way of St James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times. It was considered one of three pilgrimages on which a plenary indulgence could be earned; the others are the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimageto Jerusalem. Legend holds that St. James's remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where they were buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. There are some, however, who claim that the bodily remains at Santiago belong to Priscillian, the fourth-century Galician leader of an ascetic Christian sect, Priscillianism, who was one of the first Christian heretics to be executed.
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.