Pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, and Orvieto
To Celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, led by Revd Michael Moorhead, 29th May - 5th June 2018
Day One: Gatwick - Rome
Departure from London Gatwick, arrive in Rome and transfer to our accommodation within walking distance of the Vatican, the Casa S. Maria Fornaci. Dinner will be in a local restaurant.
Day Two: Papal Audience
This morning we take our seats in St Peter’s Square for the weekly General Papal Audience (if His Holiness, Pope Francis, is in Rome at the time). Lunch will be at our own choice. This afternoon is left free for those who have pre-booked a visit to the Scavi, the excavations between St. Peters, carried out on the order of Pope Pius XII, and which reveals a necropolis where the first Pope, St Peter, is believed to be buried. For those not booked for the Scavi, a visit to the nearby Castel Sant Angelo is recommended. Originally built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family, it later became a papal fortress, after Pope Gregory the Great had a chapel built over the mausoleum in 590 A.D. Dinner will be in a local restaurant.
Day Three: The Feast of Corpus Domini
This morning we drive to the Basilica of St Mary Major, where we will have a guided visit. From here we visit the nearby Church of S. Pressede (St Praxedes) which is an early Christian Foundation with some of the first apse mosaics in Rome. Today’s included meal will be lunch in a local restaurant. The afternoon will be free, until in the early evening we participate in the torchlight Eucharistic procession from the Basilica of St John Lateran to the Basilica of St Mary Major, concluding with the Holy Father leading the faithful in Eucharistic adoration and offering solemn benediction. Dinner will be at our own choice this evening.
Day Four: In the Footsteps of St Paul
This morning, Eucharist will be celebrated. We start today outside the city with a visit to the Cistercian Abbey of Tre Fontane (Three Fountains) which was founded on the site where traditionally St Paul was beheaded on the orders of Nero. We continue to the Basilica of St Paul. This impressive Church built in the form of a Roman Basilica contains Paul’s tomb and all along the nave portraits of all the Popes. We continue after lunch to one of the Catacombs, burial place of the early Christians, for a guided tour. Dinner will be in a local restaurant.
Day Five: Greccio - Assisi
This morning we join our coach and drive north to the Rieti Valley, known as the Holy Valley because the local people so readily accepted St Francis’ message. We continue to Greccio where we visit the sanctuary where Francis enacted the first Living Tableau of the Nativity. Here we have time for a visit. Optional lunch will be at a local restaurant (at £18), in the village of Greccio before we join our coach and continue to Assisi. We drive up into the Old Town of Assisi and check into the hotel San Giancomo for a three-night stay. After dinner, we travel to Santa Maria Degli Angeli, where we join the procession for the Eve of the Feast.
Day Six: Orvieto
This morning, an early departure by coach to Orvieto, the medieval town which housed the beautiful basilica containing frescos by Fra Angelico and the relics of the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena. The Corpus Christi (Corpus Domini in Italy) Procession at Orvieto ranks high among the devout, dramatic and colourful traditions of Catholic Europe. The object of special devotion is the Santo Corporale, a blood-stained altar-cloth sometimes named after Bolsena where a miracle occurred in 1263. The procession is a pageant, but a very dignified and devout one, in which the Corporal, carried with the Blessed Sacrament, is escorted by civic dignitaries in medieval costume and historical tableaux. We will also visit the church of San Domenico where St Thomas Aquinas wrote the office for the feast of Corpus Christi. Eucharist will be celebrated in the guesthouse. There will be some free time with lunch at choice before we transfer back to our guesthouse in Assisi. Dinner will be in a local restaurant.
Day Seven: Assisi
This morning will be spent at the Basilica of St Francis. We will see the Lower Basilica with its beautiful frescoes by Cimabue and Simone de Martine and we will also visit the crypt housing St Francis’ tomb. This afternoon we have a guided tour of the old town as St Francis and St Clare would have known it. We see both the saints’ houses, and also visit the Basilica of St Clare and see the crucifix, originally in San Damiano, that told Francis to “rebuild my church, which stands in ruins”. Dinner this evening will be in the guesthouse.
Day Eight: Assisi - Rome - Gatwick
This morning we leave Assisi and transfer by coach to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for our return flight back to Gatwick.
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.
Travel Insurance: £33
Single room supplement: £70
29/05/18 - 05/06/18
Return scheduled flights: London Gatwick - Rome. UK and Italy airport departure taxes. 20kg luggage allowance per person. 7-nights accommodation in shared twin rooms with private facilities as follows: 29th May - 2nd June Casa S.Maria alle fornaci (or similar), Rome. 2nd - 5th June Cittadelle Ospitalita (or similar), Assisi. Meal plan: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 6 dinners (3 dinners and 1 lunch in Rome, and 3 dinners at the guesthouse in Assisi). Coach transfers from/to Rome Airport. Coach transfers in Rome and Assisi as per itinerary. Italian-speaking tour manager whilst travelling in Italy. 3 guided tours with earphones as follows: 2 in Rome; 1 in Assisi. Entrance fees included: St Peter’s Basilica entrance and guided tour of the catacombs in Rome and a guided tour and entrance of St Francis Basilica in Assisi. Religious services. ATOL and ABTA financial protection.
Travel insurance, currently £33. Single room supplement at £70 per person for 7 nights (limited availability). UK coach transfers. Fuels surcharges if passed on by the airline. 6 lunches, 1 dinner in Rome and extradrinks. Gratuities to hotel staff, coach drivers, guides and restaurants. £18 supplement for those who wish to take part in the optional lunch in Greccio. City tax in Rome, payable locally.
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. Balance payable 10 weeks before departure.