Great Saints of Italy with Fr Christopher del Rosario – Harvest Journeys Catholic Pilgrimages
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Great Saints of Italy with Fr Christopher del Rosario

Not only is Italy a land of unforgettable charm and beauty, it is also a land made rich in grace by its colourful history of holy men and women. Follow their paths etched into our faith heritage, from the great Christian centre of Rome to sacred towns made famous by St Benedict, St Francis, St Catherine and St Clare. This is an amazing opportunity to deepen our faith and explore the rich tapestry of culture, art, and history that Italy has to offer.

Highlights

Rome (3 nights) Pietrelcina San Giovanni Rotondo (2) Monte Sant’Angelo Lanciano Cascia Assisi (2) Florence (1) Bologna Padua (2) Venice

FEATURED SAINTS:
St Peter • St Paul • St Mary Major • St John • St Pope John Paul II • St Padre Pio • St Michael the Archangel • St Rita • St Francis • St Clare • Blessed Carlo Acutis • St Ubaldo • St Catherine • St Bernardine • St Dominic • St Anthony • St Luke • St Mark

Unesco World Heritage
  • 11 Days / 10 Nights
  • Rome to Venice
  • Daily Mass

Itinerary

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner

DAY 1MONDAY 21 OCTOBER - ARRIVE ROME

Check into your centrally located hotel. Tonight meet your fellow pilgrims for your first group dinner.

Rome overnight (D)

DAY 2TUESDAY 22 OCTOBER - ROME - THE VATICAN & MAJOR BASILICAS

Commence our pilgrimage with a spectacular Mass at St Peter’s Basilica before coming to the nearby Vatican Museums. Wander the spectacular chambers leading to the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo’s masterpieces, including the magnificent fresco of the Last Judgment. Continue through to the awe-inspiring St Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world for an informative exploration. Our guided tour will feature among other highlights Michelangelo’s stunning Pieta, the tomb of Pope St John Paul II, the great Confessional and the Crypt containing the tombs of several Popes.

In the afternoon, visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica. Onwards to the Basilica of St John in Lateran (First Papal residence) and the adjacent Holy Stairs brought from Jerusalem to Rome in 326AD by St Helena (as a favourite of pilgrims, these steps may only be ascended on the knees).

Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme with its extraordinary collection of relics from the Holy Land.

Rome overnight (BD)

Day 3WEDNESDAY 23 OCTOBER - PAPAL EVENT, ST PAUL’S & THE CATACOMBS

PAPAL EVENT: We will return to St Peter’s Square this morning for a memorable Angelus with Pope Francis as we join with pilgrims from around the world. (Subject to the Pope’s presence in Rome)

Journey this afternoon out to the majestic Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. Originally consecrated in 324, the saint’s tomb is visible now under the Papal Altar. We will celebrate a wonderful Mass here as a special tribute to the Church’s greatest evangelist.

Continue then to the ancient Catacombs for a memorable guided tour to marvel at these underground burial tunnels for Christians and Hebrews. This evening, we will celebrate our final night in Rome at L’Eau Vive French Restaurant run by missionary nuns who actually sing the Ave Maria to us between courses!

Rome overnight (BD)

Day 4THURSDAY 24 OCTOBER - ROME VIA PIETRELCINA TO SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO

Today we bid farewell to the Eternal City as we commence our day’s journey towards the great shrine dedicated to Padre Pio.

Heading south we firstly wind our way to Pietrelcina, where St Padre Pio was born on 25 May, 1887. Visit here the room of his birth, the friary and the Church of Our Lady of the Angels.

Continue on to San Giovanni Rotondo where St Padre Pio spent a lifetime of prayer, penance, self-denial and intense pain caused by the five wounds of Our Lord’s passion. His list of supernatural gifts is overwhelming – reading of souls, prophecy, miraculous healings, spiritual direction, etc. while spending extraordinarily long hours in the confessional and often sleeping very little. Throughout his life he received visits from Jesus and Mary and had regular communication with his guardian angel.

San Giovanni Rotondo overnight (BD)

Day 5FRIDAY 25 OCTOBER - SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO & MONTE SANT’ANGELO

This morning we take a tour of the shrine including: Tomb and cell of St Padre Pio; his Confessional; and the Crucifix from which he received the stigmata. We visit the English-speaking office for an inspirational talk by one of the friars and to view a special rare film showing highlights of St Padre Pio’s daily life in the Monastery.

Travel by coach in the afternoon to Monte Sant’ Angelo to visit the hilltop Sanctuary of St Michael the Archangel and celebrate Mass in the Grotto Cave. The Archangel is said to have made four separate appearances here mostly during the 5th century, making the sanctuary here one of the earliest Christian sites in Europe and visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. St Francis also visited the sanctuary but feeling unworthy to enter the grotto, stopped in prayer at the entrance, kissed a stone and carved on it the sign of the Tau cross.

San Giovanni Rotondo overnight (BD)

Day 6SATURDAY 26 OCTOBER - SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO VIA LANCIANO & CASCIA TO ASSISI

After breakfast we depart San Giovanni Rotondo and journey north to Lanciano, scene of the Eucharistic miracle in the 8th century where, during Mass and moments after consecration, the Basilian monk (who doubted the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist) found himself holding a host that had changed to flesh and the wine to blood. To this day the sacred relics have remained incorrupt while recent scientific examinations have confirmed that the “flesh is real flesh, the blood is real blood”. Here we will celebrate a special Mass.

Continue our journey on to the remote village of Cascia, home to the shrine of St Rita, patron saint of impossible cases. Our time in Cascia will feature a visit to the magnificent Basilica of St Rita where we can view her incorrupt body. Walk through the ancient Monastery of St Rita where we will visit her cell and the crucifix from which she received her stigmata. We will also be able to view the exposed Eucharistic Miracle (1330) in the lower chapel and hear the incredible story of how it came to be.

Drive through scenic Umbrian countryside to the pilgrimage centre of Assisi, where St Francis tended the poor and sick and founded the Franciscan Order. On arrival in this medieval hillside town we will visit the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels down on the plains where St Francis spent most of his life. Here we will see the Portiuncula (meaning ‘small portion of land’) where St Francis returned for prayer, the thornless rose bush, and the chapel where he died in 1226. On Palm Sunday 1211, Francis received in this church Clare of Assisi and dedicated her to the Lord. Onwards to the Upper Town to check in to our hotel.

Assisi overnight (BD)

Day 7SUNDAY 27 OCTOBER - ASSISI

This morning we awake to the sound of chapel bells, cobblestone footsteps and the tangible spirit of St Francis preserved within the medieval walls of this holy town.

Our day begins with a walk to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore – Sanctuary of the Spogliazione, where we are blessed with the opportunity to visit and pray at the tomb of Blessed Carlo Acutis – a young Catholic from Italy with a passionate devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and an aptitude for computer programming. From the ages of 12 to 14, he designed a website cataloguing Eucharistic miracles that have occurred around the world, which he launched in 2005. He died of leukemia a year later at the age of 15, offering his suffering for the pope and for the Church.

Onto the Church of San Damiano and the actual chapel where it all began when the voice of Christ spoke to Francis in the year 1205 (some may prefer to approach by foot down the hillside path in the spirit of St Francis). Adjacent to the chapel we find the first monastery of the Order of St Clare where Clare built her community in close friendship with Francis.

Our day concludes with a visit to the Hermitage (Eremo delle Carceri), an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the woods built on the site of a simple cave where St Francis often withdrew to spend many hours in prayer. The cave and the Chapel of Our Lady are preserved in the Hermitage grounds.

An (optional) opportunity presents itself before dinner to attend Vespers in the Basilica of St Clare and listen to the angelic voices of the Poor Clare nuns. Housed in this church is the famous crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St Francis.

Assisi overnight (BD)

Day 8MONDAY 28 OCTOBER - ASSISI TO FLORENCE

We conclude our time in Assisi with Mass and a guided exploration of the buzzing Basilica of St Francis which occupies the entire western end of the upper town. Construction began in 1228, just two years after the death of Francis and was finally completed in 1250. The Upper Basilica houses the famous fresco cycle of the life of St Francis, historically attributed to Giotto. Wander through the marvels of the Upper Basilica before our tour descends to the crypt of the Lower Basilica where Francis was laid in 1230 and where we will take some time to seek the intercession of this spiritual legend.

Before arriving at Florence, we will ascend the hill of Piazzale Michelangelo to admire the most beautiful view over the whole city.

We then continue with a visit of the Church of Santa Croce, and the Academy of Fine Arts containing many treasures, including Michelangelo’s statue of David. We then visit the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo, whose magnificent dome was created by Brunelleschi. Across the way are Ghiberti’s celebrated bronze doors to the Baptistery, so lovely that they are commonly known as ‘The Gates of Paradise’.

Florence overnight (BD)

Day 9TUESDAY 29 OCTOBER - FLORENCE VIA BOLOGNA TO PADUA

Today we journey north to Bologna – one of Italy’s most ancient cities and home to its oldest university. We visit the Basilica of St Dominic, where the Order of the Preachers came to Bologna in 1218. Visit here the shrine to St Dominic, which to this day holds the saint’s sarcophagus. The church is a magnificent collaboration of skills, including the work of a young Michelangelo, visible in the angel candleholder on the right side of the saint’s tomb.

Travel on to Padua, home to St Anthony, the renowned patron saint of lost articles. Originally from Lisbon, Anthony came to Italy where his gift of preaching brought many to conversion. On arrival we enjoy a guided tour and Mass in the Basilica of St Anthony including the Chapel of the Reliquaries and St Anthony’s tomb.

Padua overnight (BD)

Day 10WEDNESDAY 30 OCTOBER - VENICE & PADUA

Venice comprises a dense network of waterways with 117 islands and more than 400 bridges over its 150 canals. Instead of main streets, you’ll find main canals, instead of cars, you’ll find Gondolas!

Today we travel out to Venice, known as Europe’s most romantic destination. Once we board our boat transfer, we enjoy our first glimpses of this unique city. Step into the world of powerful doges, merchants and explorers, and learn about Venetian culture and traditions through one of the city’s most dramatic landmarks.

Our time here begins with a guided visit and Mass in St Mark’s Basilica, built to house the saint’s remains. We then commence our walking tour, including St Mark’s Square and its famous monuments. See open squares with enchanting palaces, cross over stunning bridges, and walk down narrow passageways. View the Doge’s Palace and discover layers of rich history, from 14th-century foundations to a gilded staircase and the picturesque Bridge of Sighs.

This afternoon back in Padua, we will view the impressive park of ‘Prato della Valle’ which includes the Basilica of Santa Giustina with its claimed relics of St Luke the Evangelist. Onwards to the infamous Scrovegni Chapel. The Chapel is a masterpiece in the history of painting in Italy and Europe in the 14th century, considered to be the most complete series of frescoes executed by Giotto in his mature age.

Padua overnight (BD)

Day 11THURSDAY 31 OCTOBER - DEPART VENICE

Today we will be transferred to the airport for our homebound flight connections.
(B)

pilgrim highlights

Begin a three-night exploration of the Eternal City from St Peter’s Square to the Catacombs as we unearth the rich traditions of our Church.

Be privileged with a memorable meeting with the Holy Father and the pilgrims of the world and hear firsthand his message to the faithful.

Encounter the miraculous life of St Padre Pio who had the stigmata, and who is a saint for our lifetime. Personally connect with his call to live a holy life.

Ascend the medieval heights of Monte Sant’Angelo to visit the Sanctuary of St Michael the Archangel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel back in time to encounter the living presence of St Francis as we dwell for two nights in the hillside village of Assisi.

Soak in the inspiration of Florence, one of the great art capitals of the world, and be amazed at the genius of Michelangelo’s David.

Enjoy a generous two-night stay in Padua alongside the great Basilica and tomb of St Anthony.

 All tour inclusions and order of daily arrangements remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the tour leadership.

DATES & PRICES

TOUR DETAILS
Tour Code SI2403
Starts Rome, Monday, 21 October 2024
Finishes Venice, Thursday, 31 October 2024
Tour Only Cost USD $4890* (twin share)
Single Room USD $990 per person
Prepaid Tips USD $15 per person per day
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* Costs are in USD and have been based on prices as at March 2024. They remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, tax increases or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to the Harvest Booking Terms & Conditions for more details.

INCLUSIONS

Accommodation & Meals: Based on reputable local 3-4 star superior hotels or quality religious houses as applicable • Meals as specified in Itinerary

Touring & Transportation: Deluxe Air Conditioned Coach touring • Professional Local Guides • Sightseeing and Entrance Fees.

Other: Fully Escorted by Priest Chaplain • Harvest Backpack, Pilgrim Journal and Tour Wallet.

Not Included: International Airfares • Travel Insurance • Passport and visa costs (if applicable) • Other meals not listed • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc. • Prepaid Tipping

 

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    Treasures of Italy

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