PILGRIMAGE TO ITALY – APRIL 2016
Day One, Saturday, April 16 Arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport and transfer to the Villa Palazzola, where your room will be available upon arrival. Lunch followed by time to settle-in. Welcome and introductions followed by evening Eucharist. Dinner. Free evening to relax. (Note: Early arrivals may arrange to come on Friday and enjoy Lunch, Quiet time, and Dinner.)
Day Two, Sunday, April 17 Morning Mass/Eucharist and first Session (which may include silence, contemplation, prayer, short talks, group practice or discussion). Lunch, followed by afternoon excursion to the Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls (a Benedictine foundation since the 6th Century), including tour and vespers. Dinner and Evening Session.
Day Three, Monday, April 18 Morning excursion to visit the Benedictine Monastery of Sacro Speco at Subiaco built around the cave where St. Benedict lived. Afterwards, a picnic lunch overlooking the Aniene Valley. Afternoon return to Palazzola, dinner, and Evening Session.
Day Four, Tuesday, April 19 Morning excursion to the nearby village of Castle Gandolfo (site of the Papal summer palace) located across the lake from Villa Palazzola, for a private tour of the formal gardens of the palace, opened only last year to pilgrims. Lunch. Afternoon Session. Dinner. Free Evening.
Day Five, Wednesday, April 20 Full day excursion to visit the Benedictine Monastery of Monte Cassino (where both Benedict and sister Scholastica are buried) for a guided tour and Eucharist. Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon return to Palazzola via the Cistercian Abbey of Casamari for vespers. Dinner. Evening Session.
Day Six, Thursday, April 21 Morning session and Lunch. Afternoon excursion to visit the private Ninfa Gardens (a superb early 20th Century garden set amongst medieval ruins, and considered one of the most romantic gardens in the world), and the Cistercian Abbey at Valviscolo. Dinner. Community Sharing Night.
Day Seven, Friday, April 22 (Earth Day in the US) Morning transfer, via coach, to the Hotel La Rocca in Assisi (the home of St. Francis and St. Clare). Lunch. Session on Franciscan Spirituality. Afternoon walk through the town to the Basilica of St. Francis for a guided tour of the crypt (tomb of St. Francis) lower Basilica (13th Century frescos by Cimabue, Giotto. and Lorenzetti) and upper Basilica (frescos by Giotto). A free stroll back through the town, arriving in time for dinner. Evening session and optional evening walk around Upper Assisi.
Day Eight, Saturday, April 23 Full day excursion to Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica for Mass/Eucharist in the church build over the house of their parents and to meet with the friars, followed by lunch with the Benedictine Sisters of the Monastery of San Antonio. Afternoon return to Assisi to visit the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels (where Francis and his friends first lived around the Portiuncula chapel, with the great 1393 altarpiece of Hilary of Viterbo), all located below Assisi, with church and rose garden. Dinner. Evening in a private residence, where we gather on the terrace with a spectacular view of the castle, while we share wine and hear the story of St. Francis.
Day Nine, Sunday, April 24 Morning mass (St. Anthony’s Convent, Sisters of the Atonement) or Morning Eucharist (Anglican Franciscan Centre, Oratory of St. Leonard (il Francescuccio). Afternoon walk outside the city walls to the Church of San Damian (where the cross spoke to Francis and where the Poor Sisters of Clare first started) to meet the prior. Dinner.
Day Ten, Monday, April 25 Full- day transfer along the spectacular Tiber Valley route to the hill-top town of Orvieto. Funicular transfer from the coach up to the city for a tour of the Duomo, one the artistic masterpieces of the late Italian Middle Ages and one of Italy’s greatest cathedrals (1290). Its breathtaking facade inspired Pope John XXIII to call it the “Golden Lily of Cathedrals” and imagined that on the Day of Judgment, it would float to Heaven carried by its own beauty. Free time to explore the town, find lunch, and enjoy. Afternoon transfer to Hotel Lancelot in Rome. Dinner. Optional evening stroll to the Coliseum, dramatically lit at night.
Day Eleven, Tuesday, April 26 Morning visit to Century Basilica of San Clemente for a tour of the 1st and 4th Century levels, before visiting the Irish College for Mass/Eucharist in their beautiful chapel. Afternoon Jubilee of Mercy itinerary planned. Dinner. Evening Session.
Day Twelve Wednesday, April 27 Early morning transfer to Vatican City for the General Audience with HH Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. Afternoon stroll over the Esquiline Hill for a guided tour of the Basilica of Mary Major, followed by Mass/Eucharist at nearby San Alfonso (Shrine of our Lady of Perpetual Succour.) Dinner. Evening Session.
Day Thirteen Thursday, April 28 Early morning transfer to St. Peter’s Basilica for Mass near the crypt of St. Peter, followed by a private guided tour of the Basilica. Free Afternoon. Evening Vespers. Farewell Dinner.
Day Fourteen Friday, April 29 Morning transfer to Rome Fiumicini Airport. (Option: pilgrims may book to stay longer in Rome after the pilgrimage.)
NOTE: This itinerary, venues and sequence of venues and events, may change to accommodate weather, traffic, or group needs, as determined by the group leaders. A final itinerary will be provided upon arrival.
Pilgrimage to Italy will be led by Christopher McCauley and Kathleen McAlpin, RMS, two master spiritual directors with extensive experience in leading retreats, spiritual formation, and teaching. Frank Ramirez complements the team with previous experience on a number of international pilgrimages, including Italy, Turkey, Greece, Israel and Palestine. Anthony Coles, based in London, is the highly prized tour guide with decades of experience in Italy. Read about our team with pictures by clicking here.
THE PILGRIMAGE AND FEES
We offer a delightful, once in a life-time experience for spiritual seekers who desire to explore sacred sites and experiences in the company of loving, caring guides and fellow pilgrims. Your safety, enjoyment, and growth are our top concerns, with warm hospitality and careful attention to detail.
From your arrival in Rome, all costs associated with transportation, key meals (with listed exceptions), all guides, talks, programs, scheduled site visits, and worship are included in the fee paid for the trip.
Pilgrimage fee inclusive of all the following
- Airport coach at Rome airport on April 15 / 16 arrival and transfer to Villa Palazzola, and return to airport for April 29 departure
- Buffet breakfasts at Villa Palazzola
- Continental breakfasts in Assisi
- Continental buffet breakfasts in Rome
- All main lunch and dinner meals as listed on itinerary
- Accommodations at Villa Palazzola, Assisi, and Rome
- Wine and Water at all meals
- All transfers, entry charges and excursions
- Mass offerings, tips for guides, and coach drivers
Fees DO NOT INCLUDE the following:
- Flights to/from Rome
- Travel insurance
- Lunches in Rome
- Personal Expenditures
FEES FOR PILGRIMAGE
You may choose one of three options that meet your personal preference:
- TRAVEL OPTION ONE – $2,825.00 per person, double occupancy, private bath throughout
- TRAVEL OPTION TWO – $2,825.00 per person, single at Villa Palazzola (limited availability), sharing in Assisi & Rome, private bath throughout
- TRAVEL OPTION THREE – $3,125.00 per person, single, private bath throughout
Arrival one day early on April 15, add $100 (includes room and all meals) per person Additional night in Rome (Bed and Breakfast included), add $100 sharing or $130 per person.
Schedule of Fee Payments
Payment may be made by check. (Pay Pal may be available after September 2015.) Payment, plus signed registration form mailed to and received by Frank Ramirez, is needed to complete your registration. Acceptance will be on a first come, first serve basis. Participants may pay in full or by scheduled payment plan. Payment consists of single payment in full OR two equal payments OR three equal payments for the total costs of the Pilgrimage.
The payment schedule is as follows:
- October 10, 2015 – Payment in Full; Payment One for those opting to pay in Two or Three payments.
- January 15, 2016 – Payment Two for those opting to pay in Two or Three payments.
- March 1, 2016 – Third and final payment for those opting to pay in Three payments.
For those requesting to make installment payments, a personalized payment schedule will be sent to you upon receipt of your Registration Form.
Please make your check payable to “Christopher McCauley” and write “Italy 2016” in memo line. You will receive a confirmation each time payments are received. Frank Ramirez will respond to all questions regarding registration, travel options and payments, or questions regarding balances due.
EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT
We are pleased to offer an EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT. All registrations paid in full and received by October 10, 2015, will receive a $300 credit toward the total fee of the pilgrimage. For example: Travel Option One, total price is $2,825.00. If paid in full by October 10, 2015, would be $2,525.00.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
Updates on Pilgrimage and Travel Information
Your pilgrim guides will provide several email PILGRIMAGE UPDATES prior to departure. These newsletters will help you prepare spiritually for the trip, including suggested readings and background on key venues, as well as bio information about your fellow pilgrims, contact information for emergencies, and useful tips for what to bring and not bring. An essential part of any pilgrimage is to prepare yourself for spiritual adventure and discovery.
Travel Insurance is RECOMMENDED
Wise travelers provide a safety net for their financial resources. Therefore, we recommend that participants explore one of the many competitively priced plans available. Please note that travel insurance must be purchased before departure under most plans.
Cancellation—If you Cancel Policy
All cancellations must be received by both Frank Ramirez (in California) and by our guide, Anthony Coles (in London) in writing and the effective date of cancellation is the day such notice is received. On receipt of such notice, the following scale of cancellation charges will be applied to the full cost.
- 56 days or more before departure – $500
- 56-29 days before departure – 60%
- 28-15 days before departure – 80%
- 14 days before departure or less – 100%
All cancellation refunds are made by Aviaggi Limited, which provides all tour services provided by Anthony Coles, our Italy guide.
FOOD: Limited food accommodations are available in Palazzolla, Assisi and Rome; mostly with vegetarian options. Significant food allergies cannot be accommodated in these diverse venues.
PHYSICAL MOBILITY: Ancient sites, monasteries, and medieval towns do not always have the ADA accommodations with which most Americans are accustomed. Walking is necessary to visit many of these sites. Pilgrims should be able to do the following: Carry luggage at airport, board coaches, walk to and from sacred sites, walk up and down steps, and walk on occasional uneven surfaces or ground such as brick, cobblestone, or marble. There is an elevator at Villa Palazzola. If mobility issues are a concern for you, please contact us to discuss them.