Shrines of Italy Pilgrimage
Spiritual Director: Fr. Mark Osterhaus
October 23 - November 03, 2023
*Optional Tour to Cinque Terre - November 3 - 6, 2023
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Hotel accommodations (or similar) in double occupancy
- ~ 3 nights | Oct 24 - Oct 27: Hotel Della Conciliazione, Rome
- ~ 3 night | Oct 27 - Oct 29: Giotto, Assisi
- ~ 1 night | Oct 29 - Oct 30: Hotel Minerva, Siena
- ~ 2 nights | Oct 30 - Nov 01: Starhotels Tuscany, Florence
- ~ 2 nights | Nov 01 - Nov 03: NH Padova Hotel, Padua
- Optional Tour to Cinque Terre
- ~ 3 nights | Nov 03 - Nov 06: Firenze e Continentale La Spezia, La Spezia
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic Guide
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Tips to Hotel Staff and Restaurants
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Lunches and Beverages not mentioned, Tips to your guide & driver
Day 1, Mon, Oct 23: 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, Tue, Oct 24: Arrival in Rome
Welcome to Rome, also known as "The Eternal City". Upon landing at Rome airport, claim your baggage proceed to the arrival hall, where your tour guide and/or driver will greet you. Following check-in at the hotel, enjoy some free time to unpack, relax or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later this afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a meet and greet with fellow pilgrims and your Priest. Together depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner you have to opportunity to join in a walk to St. Peter's Square for the Rosary (optional).
Day 3, Wed, Oct 25: Rome: Papal Audience - Trevi Fountain - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Stairs - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After breakfast, we start the day with the Papal Audience in St. Peters 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 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 became 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. In the fourth century, these stairs were brought to Rome by Saint Helena. People ascend on the Holy Stairs on their knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. We conclude your day with a Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. St. Mary Major is the only Basilica that reigns from 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 4, Thu, Oct 26: Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Colosseum - Forum - St Peter in Chains
This morning, you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter's Basilica. Build on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Our Pope Francis became the first pontiff to visit the necropolis, where pagans and early Christians were buried since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted 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, view the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally 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 the tomb of Saint John Paul II. After free time for lunch, learn about everything from the construction, to the gladiators who competed in the Colosseum's gory gladiatorial games. Continue with a tour of the Roman Forum in Ancient Rome and admire incredible ruins, like the Temple of Julius Caesar. From there, group will continue to St Peter in Chains, a 5th-century Church named for the chains that held St. Peter when he was imprisoned in Rome, and in Jerusalem. The chains are on display in a reliquary, in front of the high altar. The Church is, however, best known for the statue of Moses that Michelangelo created for the tomb of Pope Julius II. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 5, Fri, Oct 27: Rome - Orvieto - Assisi
After an early breakfast, you will head north through the Roman 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 over while you enjoy an Umbrian meal and a glass of Orvieto Classico wine. After lunch, board the coach and continue to Assisi. Upon arrival, your group will enjoy a tour of 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, 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. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.
Day 6, Sat, Oct 28: Assisi (St. Francis)
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 a tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit the 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. St. Clare followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time - you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops, or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, board the bus, which will take you outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. Here 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 St. Francis died. 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 St. Francis retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7, Sun, Oct 29: Assisi - Siena
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. Afternoon is free for prayer and reflection. Dinner and overnight in Siena.
Day 8, Mon, Oct 30: Siena - Florence
Following breakfast, we leave Siena for Florence. On the way to Florence group will visit Vineyard and enjoy wine tasting and delicious Italian Lunch in Tuscan area. Continue 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.
Day 9, Tue, Oct 31: Florence
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. Next, 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 an overnight.
Day 10, Wed, Nov 01: Florence - Padua
Following breakfast at your hotel, board the motor coach for your transfer to 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. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 11, Thu, Nov 02: Padua - Venice (Full Day Excursion)
Today, you will have early breakfast and then 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; 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.
Day 12, Fri, Nov 03: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to Florence 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.