Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ITALY 2015

I've been approached recently by several people (parishioners) who have asked for details about the upcoming group I'll be taking to Italy in June of 2015.  Now that a huge spate of funerals is almost all over, and I can also get back to writing about the Roman Lenten Station Churches, I want to offer an outline of what we'll be doing (keeping in mind, of course, that some details can--and probably will--change, as exigencies of travel like hotel availability on certain dates may cause a re-configuring of the overall itinerary.

Quickly:  the trip is tentatively scheduled for a 14 June departure for Italy and return to the States on 26 June.  We typically arrange flights from Montgomery and Mobile, but we can modify connecting flights so folks can rendez-vous with us in Atlanta.

From a landing in Rome we'll head directly to Siena, and it'll include a passing visit at the wonderful Tuscan town of Cortona on the way to Assisi.  We're looking at a wine-tasting lunch in Spello, just outside Assisi.  From there we will make what I regard as the "cornerstone" of this pilgrimage:  a visit to Manoppello, where there is a miraculous cloth imprinted with the face of Jesus (and which matches in detail the face on the Shroud of Turin!).  You can read about this cloth in Paul Badde's book The Face of God.  We will also journey to Lanciano to see a Eucharistic miracle, and from there to the tomb of St Padre Pio in S Giovanni Rotondo.  On our way back to Rome we intend to celebrate Mass at Subiaco, St Benedict's first monastery and the home of the oldest known portrait of St Francis of Assisi.  In Rome itself, beyond Mass at St Peter's and opportunities to visit the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel, we will want to get tickets for the Galleria Borghese, my personal favorite of all Rome's art museums, and a day-trip to the famous fountains of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, plus a walking tour of the old Jewish ghetto area. 
We have Mass every day in wonderful sites, including the tomb of St Francis in Assisi, and (hopefully) Chiesa Nuova, the home church of St Philip Neri, and perhaps also S Cecilia in the Trastevere district.

What is the cost, and what does it include?

Last time, the cost was right around $4,000/person based on double-occupancy.  There is a supplement for single-occupancy, and a break for triple-occupancy.  This time (as things go up), it'll surely be a couple of hundred dollars more, but it includes:

Airfare (we accommodate folks who wish to fly on their own)
Ground transportation
4-star hotels
2 meals every day
Admission fees to "built-in" visits all covered
Professional, licensed guides
Mass every day in wonderful churches
Me and my friends as tour leaders, who also hand-pick the restaurants!!

This is, as you can see from the dates, a 2-week visit.  We'll try not to cram too much in, to allow time for shopping, relaxation, and on-your-own visits to places you want to see (or see again).  But we won't leave you totally abandoned, either.

So if this interests you, make notes of the dates and let me know by e-mail if you'd like me to put you on the list of potentials--that way, you'll have updates as they come available (djtokarz@bellsouth.net).

Come join us!!

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