The Shrines of Spain and Italy17 days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Hotel accommodations (or similar) in double occupancy
- ~ 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 St. Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo
- ~ 3 nights: Giotto, Assisi
- Whisper Headsets
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine and mineral water with dinners
- 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
Day 1, 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.
Day 2, Arrive Barcelona
Upon arrival in Barcelona, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival 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.
Day 3, 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 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.
Day 4, Montserrat
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 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 statue 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, several 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.
Day 5, 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 to Madrid where you will eat your dinner and enjoy a restful overnight.
Day 6, Madrid & Toledo
After breakfast, we will enjoy a tour of Madrid including the Royal Palace and Plaza Mayor. We then depart for Toledo which sits on a rocky mound isolated on three sides by a looping gorge of the Río Tajo. Every available inch of this outcrop has churches, synagogues, mosques, and houses heaped upon one another in a haphazard spiral, which the cobbled lanes infiltrate as best they can. Toledo is known as the City of the Three Religions or Cultures because for many centuries the Christians, the Moors, and the Jews lived together in relative equality and peace. The city surrounded by walls hides great treasured: its awesome Cathedral, the church of Santo Tomé, the Tránsito Synagogue, Santa María la Blanca Synagogue, the superb church of San Juan de Los Reyes, Puerta de Bisagras, Puerta del Cambrón, Puerta del Sol, etc. We return to Madrid for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Madrid - Astorga - O' Cebreiro - Santiago de Compostela
Today, you will depart Madrid and head towards the city of Santiago de Compostela. While en route, 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.
Day 8, 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, per tradition hug the dazzling statue of St. James. Following this intimate embrace, you will descent into the crypt where the Patron Saint of Pilgrims' relics is 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.
Day 9, Santiago de Compostela – Rome
Your last day in Spain will begin with breakfast at your hotel, followed by a transfer to Santiago Airport for your flight to Rome. You will say "hasta luego" (see you later) to new friends made on this journey but 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 may walk to St. Peter's Square with the group, for the Rosary (optional).
Day 10, Rome: Papal Audience - Trevi Fountain – Pantheon - Basilica of St. John the Lateran – Holy Stairs - Basilica of St. Mary Major
We begin 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, we will visit the Trevi Fountain, where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. 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. Next, you will cross the street to visit the Holy Stairs. These Holy Stairs are the very steps leading up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem on which Jesus stepped on his way to trial during his Passion. The Stairs were brought to Rome by Saint Helena in the fourth century. Ascending these stairs on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. We conclude your day, with a Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Church dedicated to Our Blessed Mother, St. Mary Major reigns as the only Basilica that has kept its original structure and is an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman Churches. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
Celebrate Mass. Tour St. Peter's Basilica, built on site where St. Peter, was martyred. Pray at the tomb of St. John Paul II. View the Michelangelo's Pieta, a sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion. Visit Vatican Museum, to view the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's Masterpiece. After lunch, we continue down the Appian Way, the earliest road from 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 catacomb 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. Dinner and overnight.
Day 12, Rome - Montecassino - San Giovanni Rotondo
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Montecassino. Passing through the Roman countryside, 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 overnight.s
Day 13, 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 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.
Day 14, 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 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 15, 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. 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 his 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.
Day 16, Assisi - Gubbio - La Verna - Assisi
After breakfast, you will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Gubbio. Enjoy this medieval town with a visit to 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.
Day 17, Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motorcoach and transfer to the Rome Fiumicino 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.
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About your trip
About Santiago de Compostela:
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 the remains of the Apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried. The Way of St James has existed for over one thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, as 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 pilgrimage to Jerusalem. St. James' remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where they were buried at the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.
Rome has been one of the most powerful and influential cities throughout history, along with being 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 and contained within, is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, and glory of God.