A Classic 11-day Pilgrimage to Italy
Italy Pilgrimage Sites, Including:
Milan, Padua, Venice, Florence, Siena, Assisi, Rome & the Vatican
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Day 1 Monday
USA / MILAN
Today we depart the United States on our transatlantic flight to begin our Italy pilgrimage in Milan. Meals are served on board our transatlantic flight.
Day 2 Tuesday
MILAN / PADUA
We arrive in Milan this morning and are met by our Pilgrimage Tours™ tour director who will remain with us until the end of our tour. Upon our arrival we visit Milan’s famous “Duomo” where we celebrate Mass. After lunch, well visit the Basilica of St. Ambrose, where St. Ambrose baptized St. Augustine and where the saint’s relics can be found. Next we depart for Padua, the home of St. Anthony, where he centered his preaching mission. We arrive at our hotel for some much needed rest prior to dinner. Dinner and overnight in Padua.
Day 3 Wednesday
PADUA / VENICE
This morning, we continue on our Italy pilgrimage toward Venice. We arrive in Venice and visit the Basilica of St. Mark, one of the most distinguished creations of medieval architecture and symbol of the ancient Venetian Republic, which contains the tomb of St. Mark the Evangelist, patron saint of the city. Here we celebrate Mass. We also visit the Doges Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Next we return to Padua to visit one of its most beautiful places, the Prato della valle, a Piazza where we can stroll along the watercourse lined with tall statues and monuments. Well also see the spectacular Basilica of Santa Giustina and the Botanical gardens. Dinner and overnight in Padua.
Day 4 Thursday
PADUA / FLORENCE
This morning we visit St. Anthony’s Basilica where we visit the saint’s tomb as well as celebrate Mass. Next we depart Padua for the Tuscany region of Italy and the center of the Renaissance. Upon our arrival, we have a guided tour of the main sights, which include the Cathedral with its magnificent Dome by Brunelleschi, Giottos elegant belfry and the Baptistery with Ghibertis Gate to Paradise. Following lunch, we visit the Church of St. Ambrose where in the Chapel of the Miracle a monstrance holds a vial of miraculous blood. According to tradition, in 1230 a priest did not properly dry the chalice following the celebration of the Mass and afterwards found blood instead of the consecrated wine he carelessly left behind. Dinner and overnight outside Florence, in Montecatini.
Day 5 Friday
FLORENCE / SIENA / ASSISI
We arise in the morning to a Tuscan breakfast, followed by a drive to Siena, the quiet hometown of St. Catherine, the patroness of our Cathedral. We visit the historic center of Siena, second only to Florence in its contribution to the Renaissance. We also visit the Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Provenzano and the see the Cross from which St. Catherine received the stigmata. We visit the magnificent dark-green and white striped Cathedral and its museum adjacent to the church. Following our time in Sienna, we depart for Assisi, the birthplace of the gentlest of saints, St. Francis. We arrive to celebrate Mass in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.
Day 6 – Saturday
Today we enjoy a full day in the medieval town of Assisi. We return to the Lower Basilica of St. Francis to explore its wonderful frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto. Next we visit the Basilica of St. Clare, Francis’ friend and foundress of the Poor Clare nuns, and see the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis in San Damiano. We go to San Damiano to pray in the place where Francis wrote the Canticle of the Sun. Finally we visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli built to enclose the tiny Church of the Porziuncola, St. Francis first retreat and place of prayer and where he consecrated Clare as the Bride of Christ. Following Mass at Santa Maria degli Angeli, we enjoy some free time in Assisi. Finally, we return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 – Sunday
ASSISI / ROME
This morning we depart Assisi, and arrive in the Eternal City of Rome. We pass by the ancient Appian Way, the traditional pilgrims’ route followed by Peter and Paul and stop for a visit at the Catacombs of St. Calixtus. Next we will visit the first of the four major basilicas of Rome, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls where the Apostle is buried. While visiting the grounds, we pause for our own celebration of Mass at this wonderful basilica. Next we go to our hotel for check-in. Following dinner at our hotel, we enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour of “illuminated Rome by night”, that includes a brief walking tour that will pass the Pantheon en route to see the world famous Trevi Fountain. Overnight in Rome.
Day 8 – Monday
Following breakfast we embark on a day’s worth of sightseeing beginning with a drive to Palatine and Capitoline Hills including the Imperial and Roman Forums, the Hippodrome and Constantine’s Arch. We stop for awhile outside the Colosseum, a good opportunity for a snapshot. Next we visit another of Rome’s major basilicas, St. Mary Major, the most important church in the world devoted to Our Lady. We celebrate Mass here where Mass has been celebrated every day since the 5th century. We then depart for a visit to St. John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral church where relics of both Peter and Paul remain under the main altar. Next we cross the street from St. John Lateran and visit the church of the Scala Santa. Here we see the Holy Staircase of 28 marble steps (now covered in wood) which is believed to be a staircase from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem and brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 9 Tuesday
ROME – the Vatican
Our day begins with a guided visit to one of the great art collections in the world, the Vatican Museums. We see the Tapestries Gallery, the Belvedere with its marvelous classical statues, the rooms wonderfully frescoed by Raphael, and Michelangelo’s masterpiece the Sistine Chapel, which was recently restored to its original splendor. In the afternoon, we will visit and celebrate Mass at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church with its tombs of Fra’ Angelico and St. Catherine of Siena. Next we arrive at and tour the Church of the Gesu’, mother church of the Jesuit Order, which contains the remains of its founder St. Ignatius of Loyola. Finally, we enjoy some free time near the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 10 Wednesday
ROME – Papal Audience
This morning as the highlight of our Italy pilgrimage, we go to the Vatican for an Audience with the Holy Father. Following our time with Pope Francis, we visit and celebrate Mass at the church of San Clemente, where we visit its Crypt. Finally, we visit the church of San Croce in Gerusalemme, which house pieces of the True Cross. The remainder of our day is free for prayer, reflection, relaxation or shopping the streets of Rome. In conclusion of our Italy pilgrimage events, we have dinner, then overnight in Rome.
Day 11 Friday
ROME / USA
We rise for breakfast and depart for the airport and our flight home. Though our Italy pilgrimage draws to a close, its blessings will last a lifetime and its graces are certain to draw us closer to the Lord.