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Pilgrimage Through France & Italy - Insight Vacations

Pilgrimage Through France & Italy

Private Custom Group

Duration: 23 days • Countries visited: FranceItaly
Group trip type: Religious


Day to Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Welcome To Paris

    Welcome to Paris! You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel prior to an orientation trip of romantic Paris. This evening meet for a Welcome Drink followed by dinner and a sparkling illumination visit to the ‘City of Light’. (D)

  1. Day 2: Highlights of Paris

    Visit the splendid Notre Dame Cathedral in the oldest part of the city - Ille de la Cite – alongside a local guide. Next we visit the 17th century Place des Vogues with its 36 houses retaining their original appearance and steep slate roofs. Then there is time to relax and see Paris from a different perspective on our highlight cruise of the River Siene. Afterwards we drive along the Champs Elysees with its luxury shops and see the Arc de Triomphe, the fabulous Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. This afternoon is at leisure to explore. (BB)

  1. Day 3: Sacred Paris

    This morning we will celebrate Mass in the nearby chapel of the Daughters of Charity in the Rue De Bac.  This is the site where our lady appeared to Catherine Laboure in 1830, with the first Miraculous Medal being struck in 1832.  Her incorrupt body lies under the altar of Our Lady in the chapel.  We then continue to Sacre Cour dominating the artists’ quarter at Montmartre.  The rest of the day is at your leisure to further explore the picturesque cobbled stone streets or perhaps take an excursion to the magnificent Versailles or the Louvre. (BB, D)

  1. Day 4: Amiens & Lisieux

    After breakfast, we travel north to where the Anzacs fought on the Western Front and visit a War Memorial. We continue to the charming town of Amiens, one of the richest cultural cities in France, where we see the crying Angel, symbol for the Anzacs and beautiful Ste-Cecile – it’s 13th century Gothic at its best. We then continue onto Lisieux, with its closely-packed hedgerows, thatched cottages and old manors for a two-night stay. (BB, D)

  1. Day 5: Sacred Sites of Lisieux

    This morning we visit St Therese Chapel, ‘Les Buissonets” where St Therese lived, the Basilica and the Carmelite Convent where we celebrate Mass. The rest of the day is to spend here at leisure. (BB, D)

  1. Day 6: Chartres, Nevers & Clermont-Ferrand

    After breakfast, we travel to Chartres, and visit the famous Cathedral. This is one of the best preserved medieval Christian monuments in the western world containing more than five thousand figures in its stained glass windows depicting bible scenes and lives of great saints. Then via Nevers, nestled in the picturesque Loire Valley, we visit the small town of Paray Le Monial where Saint Margaret Alacoque experienced visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Continuing on, we reach Clermont-Ferrand for our overnight stay. (BB, D)

  1. Day 7: Pilgrimage City of Rocamadour & Lourdes

    We have an early start, as we journey to Rocamadour.  Built against the side of a cliff, this sacred city is a spectacular site offering breathtaking views of the valley below. Millions of pilgrims come here each year to pray at the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which has claimed many healings. We will also visit the Chapel of the Black Virgin, before continuing on to Lourdes, which is set amidst the majestic Pyrenees. It was this small town in which Our Lady first appeared to Bernadette in 1858. (BB, D)

  1. Day 8: Grotto Of Lourdes

    This morning we visit the miraculous Grotto.  The rest of the day is free for a visit and prayers for the sick at the Baths. Here you may choose to enter the Baths, or drink the Lourdes water at the taps. Perhaps you’d like to join the emotive candlelight procession this evening for an unforgettable experience. (BB, D)

  1. Day 9: Lourdes at Your Leisure

    Today is at your leisure to experience the town. In the heart of the Pyrenees, Lourdes was just a small market town on 11 February 1858, when Bernadette Soubirous met, along the Gave, the “Lady” that made the town a Marian city. Lourdes now receives 5 million visitors from all over the world every year. (BB, D)

  1. Day 10: Van Gogh’s Provence & Chic Nice

    Today via the walled city of Carcassonne and Montpellier, we travel across the Camargue, famous for its wild bulls, horses and flamingos, into the landscapes of Van Gough’s beloved Provence to the fashionable Nice, otherwise known as ‘Queen of the Riviera’, one of the oldest cities on the Cote d’Azur. (BB, D)

  1. Day 11: Leaning Tower of Pisa & Florence

    Following the sparkling coast, past the famed Monte Carlo, we travel into Italy to Genoa, birthplace of Christopher Columbus, passing the marble quarries of Carrara before arriving at the beautiful city of Pisa where we visit the Field of Miracles. In the centre stands a world-famous sight, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. There is time for a unique photo, to admire the beautiful Baptistery and Cathedral. We then continue on to one of Europe’s most important cities in the heart of Tuscany, Florence. If time permits, we will enjoy an orientation visit to Florence. (BB)

  1. Day 12: Wonders of Florence

    This morning we set off alongside a local guide on a sightseeing excursion, which includes a visit to Academy Gallery, viewing Michelangelo’s original statue of David, and the Uffizi Gallery housing the world’s greatest collection of Renaissance paintings. We also enjoy a walking trip, taking in such highlights as the multi-coloured marble Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s belltower, the Gates of Paradise and Piazza Signoria. We are treated to a demonstration of leatherwork around Santa Croce Basilica, where the craft was originally established. Then there is time to shop at Florence’s finest. (BB, D)

  1. Day 13: Bologna, Padua And Venice

    Spend this morning at leisure, before we bid farewell to the Tuscan city and cross the Appennine Mountains passing the city of Bologna - famous for its meats & salamis - and across the flood plains of River Po. We have a stop in Padua where we visit Frescoes of the Church of the Hermits before we continue on a scenic drive along the famous Brenta Riviera. Here we see the magnificent classical villas that were once the summer residences of the Venetian nobility. Our route takes us on the canal through Stra, Dolo, Mira and Malcontenta to magical Venice. (BB)

  1. Day 14: Canal Cruise Through Magical Venice

    For this morning’s sightseeing, a private launch takes us along the Guidecca canal past the church of Rendentore and Palladio’s monumental architecture to St Mark’s Square. The palatial residences seem to float on the water, as gondola’s bob beneath the Bridge of Sighs – the city itself a poem. We cruise by St George Island and later perhaps combine a lagoon cruise with a delicious seafood lunch? (BB, D)

  1. Day 15: Holy Town of Assisi

    We drive along the shores of the Venetian lagoon to see the mosaics in the Church of St Apollinaris in Classe. We continue through the Appennines to Assisi where we see the Church of St Mary of the Angels and enjoy a guided visit to St Francis’ Basilica, where St Frances lived for most of his life. (BB)

  1. Day 16: Sacred Highlights of Assisi

    This morning we awake to the atmospheric sounds of chapel bells, cobblestone footsteps and a tangible spirit of St Francis preserved within the walls of this holy town. After breakfast our first stop will be St Damien’s Church (San Damiano), built on the site where St Francis heard the voice of Christ speaking through the crucifix, “Go and repair my church which you can see is falling down.” We then visit The Hermitage, an oasis of peace and tranquility in the woods where St Francis often withdrew to spend many hours in prayer. The rest of the day is at leisure to wander through the ancient streets or spend further reflective time at the Hermitage. (BB)

  1. Day 17: Pilgrimage Site - San Giovanni Ratondo

    After breakfast, our journey takes us to the small village of San Giovanni Rotondo. This is where the recently-beautified Franciscan stigmatist, Padre Pio, spent a lifetime of prayer & penance. His list of supernatural gifts included, reading of souls, prophecy & miraculous healing. Our journey includes the Tomb Room, Confessional of Padre Pio & the Crucifix from which he received his stigmata. We have an excursion to the small town of Monte Sant’ Angelo to visit the shrine of Archangels St Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. This is the place where the Archangel Micheal is said to have made four separate appearances mostly at the end of the fifth century, making sanctuary here on of the earliest Christian sites in Europe, and visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. (BB)

  1. Day 18: Seaside Splendor in Sorrento

    Departing San Giovanni this morning, we travel to Sorrento where we enjoy a spectacular cliff-top drive to our destination. Now is your time to relax and enjoy this stunning town. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Island of Capri. (BB)

  1. Day 19: Pompeii, Naples & Rome

    This morning we drive to Pompeii, where a local guide shows us the fascinating excavations of this Roman City eerily preserved for future generations by the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. Later we have a brief panoramic visit to Naples before returning to Rome. En route we visit the abbey of Monte Cassino. (BB, D)

  1. Day 20: Highlights of Ancient Rome

    This morning we set off on our in-depth sightseeing trip alongside a local guide. We start at the Vatican Museums, the treasure house of the Catholic faith with vast collections of ancient and Renaissance art, continuing to the Sistine Chapel, where we admire the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo and wonder at his emotive ‘Pieta’ inside the magnificent St Peter’s Basilica. We also see Bernini’s ‘Popes Altar’ above the spot where St Peter is reputed to have been crucified. We now cross the river to ancient classical Rome and visit the world’s largest Roman arena, the Colosseum, the scene of many gladitorial contests. We also look out over the Roman Forum, the centre of ancient public life. (BB)

  1. Day 21: Sacred Rome

    Today we visit the Catacombs where ancient Christians worshipped in secret and escaped to avoid persecution – it was also used as an underground burial place. Next we visit the Basilica of St Paul without the Walls - built on the site of St Paul’s Tomb – and see the interior, celebrated for its great works of art. We enjoy a Highlight Dinner at Tivoli Gardens this evening. (BB, D)

  1. Day 22: Rome at Your Leisure

    Spend the day exploring Rome at your own pace. You may choose to wander through the vast parklands of the Villa Borghese - the villa now houses a beautiful art collection – and don't miss the fine view over Rome from the terrace of the Pincio Garden. Perhaps you’d like to spend some time in the boutiques of the Via del Corso, the Via Nazionale or the elegant designer stores in the neighbourhood of the Spanish Steps. (BB)

  1. Day 23: Farewell Rome

    This morning our memorable trip ends with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey. (BB)

Meal guide: BB = Buffet Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel Dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch


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