Pilgrimage to Florence & Assisi
Travelling to Italy, 11th to 18th October 2018.
We fly from Manchester on a scheduled flight to Pisa. On arrival in Pisa, we meet our tour manager and transfer by coach to Florence where we check into our accommodation, the Convitto della Calza, situated very close to the Boboli Garden, Pitti Palace and the famous Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). Dinner will be in the guesthouse on each evening of our stay.
After breakfast, we travel by public transport to the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) where, we meet our local guide for this morning’s guided tour including the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral , the outside of the baptistery with the ‘Gates of Paradise’ and some of the main sites of Florence. Lunch is at choice and the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Today is at leisure for your own explorations. You will have the opportunity to join the queue and visit the world famous Uffizi Gallery and its collection of must-see master pieces. Alternatively, you can walk to the beautiful church of San Marco and visit the museum, once a Dominican monastery, where both Savanorola and Fra Angelico were both formerly Prior. It is still possible to see Savanorola’s cell, but of course, the most striking thing about San Marco is Fra Angelico’s personal interior decoration with the pièce de resistance being the ‘Annunciation’ greeting you at the top of the stairs (please note that entrance fees to museums are not included).
This morning we join our coach and transfer to Assisi where we check into our accommodation, the Hotel San Giacomo, situated in the old town few meters away from the Basilica of San Francesco. Lunch is at choice and dinner in the hotel. Today there will also be the opportunity to attend one of the public Masses in Assisi.
This morning we meet our local guide and walk through the streets of Assisi as Saints Francis and Clare would have known it. We will visit the Chiesa Nuova (New Church), built on the site of Francis’ house as well as St Clare’s Basilica, which now houses the Crucifix that called to Francis. After lunch at choice, there will be a guided tour of the Basilica of St Francis by one of the resident friars. Dinner in the hotel.
Today we travel into Tuscany and up into the mountains to a sanctuary founded by St Francis on land given to him by a local nobleman. It was here that two years before the end of his life, Francis was the first person recorded to have received the Stigmata, that final great identifying sign of the Saint’s life with that of Christ. There will be time to visit the sanctuary and to join the daily procession marking the occasion of the stigmata. Today lunch is included at La Melosa restaurant. Coach transfer back to Assisi will be provided. Dinner in the hotel.
This morning we take a twisting taxi ride to the Hermitage, situated high above Assisi on Monte Subasio, which was a place of retreat and meditation for Saint Francis and his followers, and is still an oasis of quiet today. The taxis wait for about forty minutes here before driving down to San Damiano below Assisi, which was where St Francis received the message from the Crucifix to repair God’s church and where, later, Saint Clare spent her cloistered life and founded her community. Afterwards we drive down into the valley to visit the Basilica of S. Maria Degli Angeli to see the Porzincola, the chapel that St Francis restored, and which became the centre of his first community and where he died. The rest of the day is at leisure (with lunch at choice), and you will be given a bus ticket so that you can return up to the old town of Assisi in your own time. Dinner in the hotel.
We transfer to Rome Fiumicino Airport for our return flight.
This tour involves a substantial amount of walking, some of which will be over irregular surfaces such as cobblestones and badly-maintained walking areas. If everyday walking is something you find difficult, this tour may be unsuitable for you.
This itinerary is a guide and subject to change.
Single room supplement: £120
Return scheduled flights: Manchester - Pisa, Rome Fiumicino - Manchester. U.K. and Italy airport departure taxes. 7-nights accommodation in shared twin-bedded rooms with private facilities as follows: 11th – 14th October Convitto della Calza, Florence (or similar), 14th – 18th October Hotel San Giacomo, Assisi (or similar). Meal plan: 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners and 1 lunch in La Verna. Coach transfers by air-conditioned coach as per the itinerary. 2 half day walking guided tours as follows: Florence and Assisi. Guided tour of the Basilica of St Francis. Taxi ride to the Hermitage Le Carceri, San Damiano and the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. 2 bus tickets (1 in Florence and 1 in Assisi). Pax Travel Italian-speaking tour manager to accompany the group while in Italy. Entrance fees to the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi. ATOL and ABTA financial protection.
Travel insurance. You may like to arrange cover through Travel & General Insurance Services Ltd. Contact them for details and the premium: 020 3794 2954. Single room supplement at £120 per person for 7 nights (limited avaliability). City tax in both cities. Lunches and drinks. Gratuities to drivers, hotel staff and restaurants. Fuel surcharges if passed on by the airlines. Transfers within the U.K.
Terms of Payment:
Deposit of £200 (plus the insurance premium if the cover we offer is required) per person on booking with a completed booking form. The balance is payable 10 weeks before the departure.
The above tour price is guaranteed for booking forms received by Pax Travel by 11th May 2018