All Italian Shrines Pilgrimage
Spiritual Director: Fr. Rhett Williams
May 7 – 17, 2024
Venice - Padua - Bologna - Florence - Siena - Assisi - Orvieto - Rome
Venice - Padua - Bologna - Florence - Siena - Assisi - Orvieto - Rome
Venice, the enchanting “City Paved in Water,” beckons with its mesmerizing canals, majestic basilicas, and exquisite palazzi. Wander through cobblestone streets, admire the Rialto Bridge’s architectural brilliance, and marvel at the grandeur of St. Mark’s Basilica.
Venture to Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, where artistic genius reigns supreme. Explore theL’Accademia,home to masterpieces by Michelangelo,Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo.
Follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, a patron saint of peace and simplicity, as you immerse yourself in his birthplace. Experience the serene beauty of Assisi, where medieval architecture and spiritual ambiance converge, and bear witness to the Eucharistic Miracle of Orvieto, a testament to faith and devotion.
Rome, the Eternal City, where history and grandeur intertwine. ExploreBasilica of St. Mary Major –Basilica of St. John the Lateran – Holy Stairs – Catacombs – Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Attend the Papal Audience with the Holy Father.
Your trip includes
- Lunches, beverages and dinners not mentioned, Tips to your guide, spiritual director & driver.
Day 1 | Tuesday, May 7: Depart USA for an overnight flight to Venice
Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2 | Wednesday, May 8: Arrive Venice Airport and transfer to Padua
Welcome to Venice, also known as, “Floating City of Masks and Bridges”. Upon arrival at Venice airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrivals 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 in Padua. Following check-in group will explore Padua. This Northern Italian 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. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. Dinner and overnight in Padua.
Day 3 | Thursday, May 9: Padua – Venice – Padua
Today, you will have an early breakfast and then board your bus to depart for 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. Visit the Golden Basilica of San Marco, known for the great mosaics that depict the Old and New Testament of the Bible; the Bridge of Sigh, a bridge that will bring eternal love to those who drift below it. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to explore Venice. Late evening return to Padua for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 | Friday, May 10: Padova – Bologna - Florence
After breakfast, we will continue our journey to magnificent Florence, known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Stop for an early lunch on your own in the city of Bologna. 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. This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore L’Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will view the works of artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo, and the ever-famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. In the evening gather for dinner, followed by an overnight.
Day 5 | Saturday, May 11: Florence
As you stroll through its storied streets, encounter the city’s rich Catholic heritage. Marvel at the iconic Florence Cathedral, with its striking dome designed by Brunelleschi. Enter the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore and witness its breathtaking interior adorned with magnificent frescoes and sculptures. Explore the Basilica di Santa Croce, the final resting place of illustrious figures such as Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei. The remainder of the day is free to explore on your own and allow the timeless beauty and profound spirituality of Florence to leave a lasting impression on your pilgrimage. We will enjoy dinner in one of the many trattorias in this beautiful city. Overnight in Florence.
Day 6 | Sunday, May 12: Florence – Siena – Assisi
Enjoy 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 the Basilica of St. Catherine (which is also known as the Basilica of St. Domenico). St. Catherine spent 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 De Campo (location of the famous annual “Palio”). 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.
Day 7 | Monday, May 13: Assisi
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 end 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); we will celebrate Mass at this beautiful Church. 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.
Day 8 | Tuesday, May 14: Assisi – Orvieto – Rome
After an early breakfast, you will head north through the Italian countryside of vineyards and villas. Throughout this bus ride, your tour escort will share very interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Arrive in Orvieto, a city known for its Duomo and considered one of the most architecturally important in Europe, for its Etruscan roots, and for the museums where one finds collections and displays that range over 2,500 years of history. During this tour, you will walk through Orvieto’s charming, narrow alleys, and small squares. Your tour will be a very memorable experience, perfect for reflecting while you enjoy an Umbrian meal and a glass of Orvieto Classico wine. After lunch, board the coach and continue on to Rome. Welcome to “The Eternal City.”. You will have some free time to explore this incredible city. Dinner and restful overnight.
Day 9 | Wednesday, May 15: Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. Mary Major –Basilica of St. John the Lateran – Holy Stairs – Catacombs – Saint Paul Outside the Walls
This morning we attend the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square or at the Audience Hall. The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Next, you will visit the oldest of the four major Basilicas in Rome, the Archbasilica of St. John the Lateran, the cathedral church and the seat of the Bishop of Rome. Cross the street to the very steps that lead up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem which Jesus climbed on His way to trial during his Passion. Holy Mass will be celebrated by our priest at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. This Basilica contains a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus. After lunch, continue down the Appian Way, one of the earliest roads built in ancient Rome to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and the Catacombs. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 10 | Thursday, May 16: Rome: St. Peter’s Basilica – Vatican Museum –Il Gesu, The Church of St. Louis of the French, San Clemente, Roman Forum and Santa Sabina
Today we tour St. Peter’s Basilica built on the site where St. Peter the Apostle was martyred. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to pray at the tomb of St. John Paul II and view Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture. Next, you will visit the Vatican Museum, where you can see the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, and Sistine Chapel. Free time for lunch and personal reflection. In the afternoon group will visit Il Gesu, The Church of St Louis of the French before continuing to San Clemente. This 12th-century basilica is a great example of architectural chronology: the structure is a three-level building complex, with each level corresponding to a major era of Roman history. Remains under the present basilica suggest that the foundation was part of a Republican-era villa. In the 4th century, this was converted into a Christian church dedicated to Pope St. Clemet, the third Pope after St. Peter. The present Medieval Basilica was built in 1100. End the day with Roman Forum and Basilica of Saint Sabina. Farewell dinner and restful overnight in Rome.
Day 11 | Friday, May 17: Rome – Rome Airport
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, you will leave for Rome Fiumicino Airport for a return flight home.
*206 Tours Disclaimer:
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.
About your trip
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.
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