Tour 226

Walking the Way of St. Francis in Italy

(3 extra nights)

16 days

Tour 226

Walking the Way of St. Francis in Italy
(3 extra nights)

16 days

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800-206-Tour (8687) or

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Your trip includes

Centrally located hotels or similar
Exe International Palace
Rome, Italy
La Verna Sanctuary
La Verna, Italy
Hotel Tiferno
Citta di Castello, Italy
Hotel Gattapone
Gubbio, Italy
Dal Moro Gallery Hotel
Assisi, Italy
Le Meridien Visconti Hotel
Rome, Italy
Group Size

Group Size may vary between 18 to maximum 33, always
accompanied by a Catholic Priest and Tour Guide throughout.

Not Included
  • Lunches, Tips to your guide & driver, Items of a personal nature.
Optional
Travel Protection

Providing you coverage for situations that may arise during your trip, including medical and dental emergencies, loss of luggage, trip delay, and so much more.

Cancel For Any Reason Waiver

A Cancellation Waiver – allowing you to cancel your trip and receive a refund anytime – up until 48 hours prior to departure.

Itinerary

Day 1: Depart for Rome

Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.

Day 2: Rome

Upon arrival in Rome, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrivals Hall where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Make your way to the bus where your group will transfer to your hotel in Rome for dinner and a restful overnight.

Day 3: Rome – La Verna/Sansepolcro

After breakfast this morning we will drive to La Verna/Sansepolcro (approximately four hours). Following check-in your group will enjoy the convent of La Verna. St. Francis visited La Verna several times over the years, the last time being in 1224 when he received the stigmata there. 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 artwork of Andrea della Robbia. Following this visit, you will enjoy dinner and a restful overnight in La Verna convent before your walking tour begins!

Day 4: La Verna - Pieve Santo Stefano
(Walking day 9.4 mile / 15 km)

Today is the day that your walking pilgrimage to Assisi officially begins! Following breakfast, your group will venture through the mountains of Tuscany. With the guidance of Our Lord, and through the spirit of St. Francis, you will become an authentic pilgrim by journeying along the physical road, as well as the spiritual one. Your first official day of walking will culminate in Pieve Santo Stefano. Pieve is already mentioned in a document from 723, where we read that a gentleman of Città di Castello donated a monastery to the Benedictine monks. In 1589, a supernatural event brought Pieve into the limelight: hordes of angels bearing burning torches were seen at nighttime heading in procession towards a sacred image painted in the wall of a niche along the road leading to Sansepolcro. There you can find the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Lumi (Virgin of the Lights). In the parish church, dating back to 1200, you can admire a beautiful glazed terracotta altar frontal by Andrea della Robbia. The day will come to a close with dinner and an overnight in La Verna or Sansepolcro.

Day 5: Pieve Santo Stefano – Sansepolcro
(Walking day, 11.2 mile / 18 km)

This morning, you will enjoy breakfast at your hotel and journey from Pieve Santo Stefano, alongside the river Tiber (yes, the same Tiber that flows through Rome!) to Sansepolcro. This town owes its name and its foundation to two pilgrims. Arcano and Egidio – a Greek and a Spaniard – who, once returning from Jerusalem and bringing some precious relics with them, stopped at a locality in the Tiber Valley and spent the night near a spring in the walnut tree wood. During the night, Arcano had a vision, following which he stayed to found a town in honor of the Holy Sepulcher of Christ. On the site of the first chapel, around the year 1000, a church was built and dedicated to St. John the Apostle, but ever since it has been known by all as Santo Sepolcro, the Holy Sepulcher. Conserved inside the Cathedral of Sansepolcro is a valuable representation of Christ on the Cross in priestly and royal attire. Tradition has it that it was sculpted by Nicodemo with divine inspiration. The image now preserved in Sansepolcro is a copy from the 12th century of the original, which had been damaged by time. This image has always been venerated as an acheiropoieta image (one not made by the human hand!). We will end the day with dinner and overnight Sansepolcro or Citta di Castello.

Day 6: Sansepolcro – Citerna
(Walking day, 12.4 mile / 20 km)

Breakfast will be served at your hotel in the morning. Your pilgrimage continues, winding through the lowland and crossing the Tiber Valley. Today we are entering Umbria! The walk will lead your group through the fields of the valley up to the gates and into Citerna. Citerna is a small medieval town founded by the Etruscans. It conserves the fortress and the medieval walls that surround it with a covered communication trench that goes along for almost its whole length. According to tradition, when St. Francis stayed here he blessed the hill, calling it “the sacred mountain.” The church of St. Francis and that of St. Michael the Archangel, which houses a beautiful panel by Pomarancio, are well worth a visit. The day will end with dinner and a restful overnight in Citta di Castello.

Day 7: Citerna – Citta di Castello
(Walking day, 12.4 mile / 20 km)

Today you will walk across the hills on the right-hand side of the Tiber valley to reach Città di Castello. The town lies on the left bank of the Tiber, was founded by the Umbri, and later became a Roman municipium. In the 1st century AD Pliny the Younger lived there in a villa in the suburbs. In the 12th century, it became a free municipality with the name Civitas Castelli. Subjugated by Florence and then by Perugia, in 1400 it came under the rule of the noble Vitelli family, who embellished the town with churches and palaces. With the installation of Cesare Borgia, it came under the power of the Papacy until the eventual Unity of Italy. It is still surrounded by a mighty town wall dating back to 1500. Of great interest is the municipal art gallery, with masterpieces by Raphael, Luca Signorelli, Giovanni and Andrea della Robbia, Pomarancio, and Ghirlandaio. Following your visit to the town, you will enjoy a delicious dinner and a restful overnight in Citta di Castello.

Day 8: Citta di Castello – Pietralunga
(Walking day, 17.4 mile / 28 km)

Following breakfast at your hotel, and walking out of the town, you will be able to see one of the most famous ex tobacco curing plants in Italy. During the 1950s this area became very important for Italian tobacco production. Today you will be leaving the Tiber Valley – the road climbs amid green, silent hills and winds along in a succession of curves that offer ever-new views. Here Umbria is at its best! At the end of this daily walk, your group will reach the small town of Pietralunga, founded by local Umbri populations. Numerous traces of villas and aqueducts remain from the Roman period. The growth in Christianity is associated with the figure of St. Crescenziano, to whom tradition attributes the killing of a dragon. The remains of St. Crescenziano are now buried in Urbino Cathedral, of which the saint is the patron. Pietralunga retains the appearance of a medieval town, encircled by walls and clustered around the Lombard fortress from the 8th century – the mighty remains of which can be admired in the piazza. The day will come to a close with dinner and an overnight in Gubbio.

Day 9: Pietralunga – Monteleto
(Walking day, 9.4 mile / 15 km)

You are now well into the second half of your pilgrimage. After leaving Pietralunga your group will reach the locality of St. Benedict, where the abbey of St. Benedict stands. Inside the abbey, once populated by a community of Benedictine monks, there is a memorial stone confirming the popular belief that St. Francis stopped here on his way to La Verna. The panorama you will enjoy is truly magnificent! Upon arrival to Monteleto, your group will be transferred to the enchanted town of Gubbio. In the early morning you still hear the many bells ring, each with its own voice. Gubbio seems to be painted onto the hill, a succession of backdrops against which towers and houses stand out, all embraced by walls. It is a place that seems to have come out of a fresco of its time. Gubbio is also the town where St. Francis, having compassion on the men of the city, went out and met a very great wolf, terrible and fierce, who afflicted the town. During the famous meeting of St. Francis and the wolf – while the latter was waiting with an open mouth – St. Francis advanced towards him and made over him the sign of the Most Holy Cross. Scarcely had St. Francis made the Sign of the Cross then the terrible wolf instantly closed his mouth and laid himself down at the feet of the saint. After a visit to the town, you will enjoy a delicious dinner and an overnight in Gubbio.

Day 10: Gubbio – Biscina
(Walking day, 17.4 mile / 28 km)

Your journey is almost over as you will follow the “Franciscan Path of Peace:” a praiseworthy initiative created for the 2000 Jubilee that goes over St. Francis’ stages from Gubbio to Assisi. Your group will cross Gubbio Valley, and after admiring a last postcard view of the beautiful Gubbio will emerge in the Umbrian hills. At the summit of the last hill for the day, in the proximity of the River Chiasco, is the Biscina Castle. The construction date of the fortress is not known, but it certainly existed at the end of the 10th century. It is an irregular structure that envelops the inner courtyard and is open to the east, emerging above smaller volumes such as the church and the valley below. Conserved in the northern elevation of the castle is one of its towers. The day will come to a close with dinner and a final overnight in Gubbio.

Day 11: Valfabbrica – Assisi
(Walking day, 8 mile / 13 km)

Today you culminate the walking portion of your journey! The history of Valfabbrica is associated with that of the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria In Vado Fabbricae. The ancient abbey, documented from the year 820, stands near the River Chiasco. In the Middle Ages, the alliance with Assisi brought great prosperity to the abbey and the castle, but in the early 13th century clashes with the Perugian feudal lords led to the destruction of the town by Perugia. From Valfabbrica, climbing through a dense thicket you will reach the crest of the hill. Now for the first time, you can see Mount Subasio above Assisi. As Assisi gets ever closer, to the right of Mount Subasio you can make out the bell tower of the Upper Basilica. After a last steep slope, you finally enter Assisi through St. James gate (this is the gate out of which pilgrims going to Santiago of Compostela would walk). Descending along a narrow alley you will reach the square in front of the Upper Basilica of St. Francis. There, beneath the two great churches, in a shrine inside a pillar, lies St. Francis – the companion of our pilgrimage. Our day will come to a close with dinner and overnight in Assisi.

Day 12: Assisi (St. Francis)

This morning, your group will enjoy breakfast followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is known as the “Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment.” Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and is 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 your group visits 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. During the tour, your group will have the opportunity to visit the tomb of St. Francis at his Basilica. At the Basilica you will have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, as well as view a few of the saint’s possessions. As the tour continues, your group will visit St. Mary of the Angels Basilica. This Basilica is where St. Francis spent most of life and is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The Porziuncola is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (the Franciscans), and the Capella del Transito, which is the place of St. Francis’ death. During this visit, your group 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. After visiting this beautiful Basilica, your group will enjoy some free time on your own. Feel free to take this time for additional prayer, or shop in the gift shop. The last stop on your tour will be 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. Lastly, your group will transfer back to the hotel, where you will have some free time to walk, shop, or pray. The day will end with dinner and an overnight at the hotel.

Day 13: Assisi - Rome

After breakfast transfer to Rome. After check in you will have the remainder of the day at leisure. Later in the afternoon your group will make their way to celebrate Mass, followed by a dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter’s Square for the Rosary (optional).

Day 14: Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Stairs - 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, to shop, or to 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 a delicious dinner and a restful overnight.

Day 15: Rome: Vatican Museum - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs

This morning, your group will enjoy breakfast at your hotel and depart for Mass. Your group will celebrate Mass at 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 was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. At this Basilica, your group will have the opportunity to 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. Following, your group will proceed to one of the many Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, your group will have the opportunity to 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, your group will enjoy free time for lunch on your own, or to purchase souvenirs from Vatican City. You will then begin the short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road will lead 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 place of Saint Paul the Apostle. You will then make your way to a delicious dinner at a local restaurant and a final overnight at your hotel.

Day 16: Return Home

After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to the Rome Fiumicino airport for return flights 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.

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Let us know at the time of registration if you would like to arrive earlier, or stay later, than the scheduled tour dates, and pending availability, we will change your airline reservations accordingly, additional fees may apply. Pre- and/or post-stays at the hotel will cost an additional fee. These options should be available to you when registering online, or simply contact us: sales@206tours.com

About your trip

About Rome:

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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Options and upgrades

Special Clergy Discount

A Clergy Discount is available to all members of “Clergy” within the Catholic Church. This includes Seminarians, Deacons, Brothers and Sisters, Priests, Monsignors, Bishops, Cardinals, and His Holiness.

Click Here to learn more!

Earn a Free Trip

For groups of 20 or more, you may choose your own departure and earn FREE trips.

Ccontact us

Would you like to arrive earlier or stay later?

Let us know at the time of registration if you would like to arrive earlier, or stay later, than the scheduled tour dates, and pending availability, we will change your airline reservations accordingly, additional fees may apply. Pre- and/or post-stays at the hotel will cost an additional fee. These options should be available to you when registering online, or simply contact us: sales@206tours.com

About your trip

About Rome:

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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