Dear Fellow Adventurer,
For most of my adult life, I dreamed of going to Italy. I wanted to pray in St. Peter’s Basilica. I wanted to know the country of my grandfather’s birth. I wanted to eat the delicious food that had inspired so many family meals when I was growing up. Three years ago, when I stepped onto the streets of Rome for the first time, I cried from the sheer joy of being there, and I knew right then that I’d have to return some day soon. Italy had captured my heart!
I’d like to invite you to join me on the trip I’ve been longing to take ever since — the journey of a lifetime, a true feast for body and soul. Our October 2014 pilgrimage will begin in the beautiful spa town of Montecatini, and we will work our way down to the stunning coastal city of Sorrento. In between we’ll visit Florence and Siena, Assisi and Rome, Naples and Salerno, the Amalfi Coast and Capri.
There is nothing typical about this spiritual pilgrimage to Italy, which will focus not only one those sacred places that deepen our faith in obvious ways, but on the everyday moments that give us a chance to experience God in unexpected ways – in an olive grove tasting oil, on a narrow road winding through Assisi, in a cooking class in Giffoni, on a boat ride to the mystical Blue Grotto.
Come along on what promises to be a magnificent melding of relaxation and excitement, spirituality and spa elegance, simple local flavor and culinary inspiration. I’m already counting the days. I hope you are too!
In addition to the wonderful itinerary you’ll find outlined HERE, I’ll be offering three brief talks: one on spiritual friendship while in Assisi, the home of Francis and Clare; another on the connection between food and spirituality while in Rome, where a great meal or fabulous church is always just around the corner; and the third on the joy of discovering the Divine in the everyday while in Sorrento, amid the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation.
Here’s what the $4,999 price of your trip will include:
- Roundtrip air from New York-Rome/Naples-New York
- First Class and Superior First Class hotels
- Welcome drink, Welcome Dinner and Farewell Dinner
- 10 Buffet Breakfasts, 11 dinners, and 3 lunches as noted, below
- Beverages/Wine with Meals (limited)
- Winery tour, Wine Tasting, and Lunch in Tuscany;
- Agriturismo (Farm) tour, Wine Tasting and Lunch in Umbria
- Cooking Lesson, “Oil” Tasting and Lunch in Campania
- Papal Audience (if Pope Francis is in residence at that time);
- Mass arrangements with local priests
- All Admission and Sightseeing costs including, among others:
- Acadamie Musee
- Duomo in Florence
- Basilica and Tomb of St. Francis
- Basilica and Tomb of St. Clare
- Cathedral of Siena
- Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels
- Portiuncula, Francis’ Church of the Little Portion
- Vatican Museums
- Sistine Chapel
- Pompeii Ruins
- Convento di San Francesco
- Ferry from Naples to Isle of Capri
- Blue Grotto boat ride (weather permitting)
- Taxi shuttles to Grotto of St. Francis and Hermitage of the Carceri;
- Private Guide fees in Florence, Siena, Assisi, Rome, Capri/Anacapri;
- Private tour bus and bus parking fees
- City Hotel Taxes
- English speaking Italian Tour Manager
- American Tour Escort
- Tips for drivers, guides, porters, kitchen staff
- Luggage Tags and Travel Documents Pouch
In other words, everything except travel insurance, items of a personal nature (souvenirs, postcards, stamps, laundry, etc), some lunches, local church offerings, and connecting air from your hometown to New York. That’s pretty dang inclusive. You won’t really have to think about anything except enjoying yourself, connecting with God, and eating one fabulous meal after another.
I’ll be posting more information with more specifics about various stops on our pilgrimage, along with suggested spiritual reading, travel tips, recipes and more here and on my Italy pilgrimage Facebook page. Click HERE and “like” that page and you’ll always be up to date, even if you’re not planning to get a passport just yet.