Poland & All Italian Shrines21 days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Hotel accommodations (or similar) in double occupancy
- ~ 2 nights: Radisson Blu Centrum or Sheraton, Warsaw, Poland
- ~ 1 night: Arche, Czestochowa, Poland
- ~ 4 nights: Radisson Blu, Sheraton or Andels, Krakow, Poland
- ~ 2 nights: Centro di Spiritualita St. 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
- Whisper Headsets
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Assistance of local guide throughout
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Catholic Priest, Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- 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 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 where this beloved Saint was baptized, and attended Mass as a child. Following this historically captivating experience, continue on to Krakow. Enjoy dinner at the local restaurant before resting up for the next day of activities.
Krakow - Zakopane - Krakow
After breakfast, you will drive through the mountains to the 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, 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 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. Next, a 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 - Lagiewniki (Shrine of Divine Mercy) - 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 the opportunity to pray by a relic of Saint John Paul II. Continue to Wieliczka and 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 in Poland.
Krakow - Rome
Following breakfast, leave Krakow for your flights to Rome, one of the most magnificent and interesting cities in the world, also known as the “Eternal City”! Upon arrival at the airport, collect your luggage from baggage claims and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver and be transferred to your hotel. This afternoon your guide will introduce you to your fellow pilgrims and priest who will be with you for the rest of the journey. Make your way to Mass, followed by a welcome dinner with wine. This evening, you may walk to St. Peter’s Square for Rosary (optional).
Rome: Papal Audience - Trevi Fountain – Pantheon - 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 the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or 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 Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, you 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 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, you 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 an 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 - 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. Also, 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. 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. Next, make your way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for an overnight.
Rome - Montecassino - 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 you board the bus to continue toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint St. Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, you will check-in, enjoy dinner in a restaurant, and an overnight.
San Giovanni Rotondo (View Incorrupt Body of St. Padre Pio) - Monte Sant' Angelo
This morning, after breakfast, you will visit the Old Church. After Mass, you 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, you 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 an overnight in San Giovanni Rotondo.
*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, you will head to Lanciano. Upon arrival in Lanciano, 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 continuing 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 angels 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)
As you 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. You will start your 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. Followed by a visit to the Santuario Della Spogliazione where Blessed Carlo Acutis’ tomb is placed. Carlo is the first millennial to be declared Blessed who loved the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. From there, you 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, you will board the bus, which will take you 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 an overnight.
Assisi - Gubbio - La Verna - Assisi
After breakfast, you will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Gubbio. Enjoy this medieval town with a visit of St. Francis Church, where you will be celebrating Mass. After Mass, 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 had been freed by St. Francis from a terrible and fierce wolf who afflicted it. After lunch on your own, continue to La Verna, the place where St. Francis, over the years, had been seven times, 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 your last overnight here.
Assisi - Siena - 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, visit the Shrine of St. Catherine, which occupies the site of her family home. Enjoy your walking tour through the Siena including a visit to its Cathedral (Duomo di Siena). 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. Continue on 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. For the 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 an 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!*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.