October 2014: “Pace e Bene” Spiritual Journey to Italy!!!

Buongiorno Cari Lettori/Good Morning Dear Readers!

I’m very excited to announce the second tour I will be leading in October 2014 (8-16):  “Pace e Bene” Spiritual Journey through Italy!  This beautiful voyage will take us along some of Italy’s most peaceful, serene and holy sites for a journey of detoxification and nourishment of the mind and spirit.  I hope that many of you will be able to join me in this truly life-changing experience.  Below are all details and cost.  To secure your spot, we must collect a $1,500 deposit per person. For any questions, comment on this blog post or email me at mignosafrancesca@gmail.com   The journey is organized by Italian Tours and Travel by Diana.

“Pace e Bene” Spiritual Journey

October 8-16, 2014

Day 1  Wednesday  October 8, 2014  Depart

Overseas flights Cleveland-Rome.

Day 2  Thursday   October 9, 2014   Roma, Orvieto

Arrive Roma Fiumicino International Airport and private transfer to Orvieto, in the heart of Umbria. Check in at hotel and settle.  Remainder of day to rest and relax or explore the city independently.  The origins of Orvieto date back to the Etruscan Civilization.  The first Etruscan settlements, going back to the 9th century B.C., in fact were found inside the turfaceous caves in the bedrock upon which today rises the city itself.  During your free time, you may choose to visit the Duomo as it is the most famous Cathedral of the city.  Construction of this Italian Gothic style structure took 100 years to complete and dates back to 1263.  The Duomo houses the blood soaked cloth which is the relic related to the miracle at Lake Bolsena which occurred in the same year.  The modern day Roman Catholic Festival of Corpus Christi is a result of this miracle. One of my favorite things to do is to sit back and observe the Orvietani (citizens of Orvieto) themselves as Orvieto is a very tranquil and contained city and independent exploration is a pleasure. By early evening we will gather together for a brief orientation and then we will enjoy dinner and overnight in Orvieto.  PT/H/D

Duomo di Orvieto    Copyright  Francesca Mignosa 2013
Duomo di Orvieto Copyright Francesca Mignosa 2013

Day 3  Friday   October 10, 2014  Orvieto, Assisi 

Breakfast at hotel.  Early morning departure for the spiritual hamlet of Assisi.  Prepare for a memorable drive through the lush green hills of Umbria.  Upon arrival in Assisi, we will meet our private, certified and bilingual guide who was born and raised in this sacred city. Assisi is the famous city of San Francesco, symbol of peace around the world.  The city was a Free Town during the XII century, and it was in this period (1182) that Giovanni di Bernardone (San Francesco) was born.  The complex of the famous basilica dedicated to Saint Francis is composed of two churches, one built above the other.  The lower church dates back to 1228-1230 and the upper one from 1230-1253.  Far below both of these is a crypt which houses the saint’s tomb. He influenced life, religion and culture of Assisi and later of the entire world.  Here we will gather for a few moments of silence in prayer and meditation before we end our tour. Independent lunch. By late afternoon we will return to return to Orvieto for dinner and overnight.  B/PD/G/H/D

Day 4 Saturday   October 11, 2014  Orvieto, Sant’Antimo

Breakfast at hotel.  Today we will transition from Umbria to Tuscany towards our destination: the Abbey of Sant’Antimo.  The abbey was a Benedictine monastery and one of our favorite spiritual destinations in Italy.   Located about 10 kilometers outside of Montalcino, Tuscany, the abbey is in perfect harmony with the nature that surrounds it.  It was constructed in 770 by the Lombards and over the centuries fell into disrepair.  Thanks to local residents, a complete renovation was recently conducted and the Abbey with its superb acoustics and original beauty can be enjoyed.  While we are at Sant’Antimo we will enjoy the chanting of a few select monks.  Their voices fill every corner of the vast abbey.  You will surely be moved by the emotion that is contained in their angelic voices. We will return to Orvieto after a delicious tasting and light lunch of  Brunello Di Montalcino, “The Queen of Italian Reds”, which is found here as well as local products such as Pecorino cheese, olive oil and Vin Santo.    Remainder of day at leisure in Orvieto for rest and relaxation or to continue independent exploration of the town.  This is also the perfect time to discover the Duomo of Orvieto, if you haven’t already, or to complete some souvenir shopping.  Overnight in Orvieto.  B/PD/L/H/WT

Day 5 Sunday  October 12, 2014  Orvieto, Santa Rita da Cascia

Breakfast at hotel.  Today we will visit the “Santuario di Santa Rita da Cascia” in the serene town of Cascia, in the province of Perugia.  Saint Rita is known as the Saint of “Impossible Doings and Miracles.”  She is renowned for her simplicity both in words and actions and is symbolized by a fuxia rose.  We will visit the Sanctuary and have some time for private prayer.  Lunch together in Cascia and then return to Orvieto for overnight.  B/PD/L/H

Abbazia di Sant'Antimo, Toscana
Abbazia di Sant’Antimo, Toscana

Day 6 Monday  October 13, 2014  Orvieto, Castelpetroso, San Giovanni Rotondo

Breakfast at hotel.  In the afternoon we will begin our journey to the “Santuario di Maria Santissima Addolorata” in the town of Castelpetroso.  The sanctuary is a hymn to the Virgin Mary and also to the region of Molise.  The first apparition of the Madonna dates back to March 22, 1888 when the Virgin Mary first appeared to two local women farming in the fields.  Another miracle was witnessed in 1889 when a “sorgente” (a spring) miraculously appeared at the footsteps of the mountain where the sanctuary is built entirely with local Molisana stone.  Construction of the infrastructure began in 1890 on the exact location where the Virgin Mary appeared.  In 1973, Maria Santissima dell’Addolorata was made Patron Saint of the entire region of Molise. Upon arrival, we will have some time for exploring, observing, personal prayer and meditation.  We will have lunch together and then proceed South-East to the region of Puglia for another unforgettable spiritual stop: Padre Pio’s Sanctuary in San Giovanni Rotondo for overnight.  Today we will visit the Sanctuary of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo.  Padre Pio (Father Pius) was the Latin name given to the Capuchin priest.  His real name was Francesco Forgione, born in the town of Pietralcina in the region of Campania from Grazio and Maria Forgione on May 25, 1887.  Francesco expressed a desire to follow Christ at an early age and, though his parents were highly religious individuals who attended local mass every night, they were illiterate but knew the verses of the Bible by heart.  Francesco was accepted into the Capuchin order as a youth at the condition to improve his education.  He suffered greatly for physical illnesses all of his life (gastroenteritis, migraines, vomiting, and arthritis among some of the most commonly mentioned) but also for his famed stigmata which first appeared and were documented in 1911.  The priest resided in the tranquil town of San Giovanni Rotondo in Puglia from 1916-1968, when he passed away.  We will learn more in depth accounts of Padre Pio’s life during our guided walking tour of the Sanctuary. Time for rest and relaxation or more independent exploration and time for prayer in San Giovanni prior to dinner and overnight.  B/G/L/D/H/PD

Day 7 Tuesday  October 14, 2014  San Giovanni Rotondo, Roma

Breakfast and then we begin our journey towards Roma, “The Eternal City.”  This afternoon, we will meet with our private guide for a Roma Religiosa tour which will begin with a visit to the Pio-Clementino Museum and will then move on to the visitation of The Vatican, The Sistine Chapel and The Vatican Museums.  The journey through the Vatican Museums will proceed through the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of Maps and from these Galleries, you will enter directly into the Raphael Rooms, where you will observe the extraordinary frescoes executed by Raphael and the Sistine Chapel.  The actual visit to the Basilica, the largest Christian place in the World, will include a viewing of the magnificent Pieta by Michelangelo, Bernini’s bronze Baldacchino (canopy), and the throne of St. Peter.   To save time and long lines, we have prearranged entrance tickets for our group.  At the end of your tour you may visit the underground catacombs which house the remains of the popes.  Afternoon at leisure for independent exploration or quiet time.  Dinner and overnight in Roma.  B/G/ET/PD/H/D

Day 8 Wednesday  October 15, 2014 Roma Antica, Abbazia di San Paolo Fuori Le Mura

Breakfast at hotel. Our private bilingual guide and driver will meet us at our hotel this morning at 10am for a tour of Ancient Roma and all its glory.   As we plunge into the vivacious traffic of Rome, our senses will be simultaneously stimulated by antiquity and modern day society.  We will feel the heart-beat of the city as we pass through the Piazza Venezia where we will admire the huge monument dedicated to the first Italian King Vittorio Emmanuelle II. Today, this has been dedicated to the memory of the unknown soldiers with the eternal flame.  We will pass the Teatro Marcello and The Circus Maximus, the site of many chariot races.  We will take a stroll through the Roman Forum, rich with antiquity.  Through the main square of Rome, crossing the Via Sacra (the Sacred Way), the most important street in ancient Rome where many triumphant processions took place.  We will see the ruins of some ancient monuments as well as the Triumphal Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus, the Curia, seat of the Roman Senate, the Basilica Emilia and the Basilica Julia which were both used for business transactions. We will also see The Vesta Temple with the house of the Vestal Virgins, and finally the Temples of Antoninus and Faustina, Vespasian and Saturn. Finally, we will enjoy learning about the Coliseum the magnificent Flavian Amphitheatre where we will envision the gladiator duels, wild beast fights and naval battles which were arranged for the entertainment of the Roman people. The Arch of Constantine is visible from here as well. To end our tour, we will visit L’Abbazia di San Paolo Fuori Le Mura. Many visitors to Roma do not know about this gorgeous site – peculiar is its central garden and arcade where you will have time to walk, meditate and pray.  Remainder of afternoon at leisure to prepare for international flights, shop or simply rest at a local café and reminisce about the past several days of our journey.  In the evening, farewell dinner at one of our favorite spots in Roma prior to overnight.  B/G/PD/D/H

Day 9  Thursday  October 16, 2014 Depart

Private transfer to Roma Fiumicino International Airport for overseas flights.  Arrivederci Bella Italia! B/PT


Assisi   Copyright  Francesca Mignosa 2013
Assisi Copyright Francesca Mignosa 2013

Your Custom Journey Includes:

7 Breakfasts

3 Full Course Lunches which Include wine

5 Full Course Dinners which include wine

A private driver throughout the journey

2 private transfers:  Upon arrival on day 2 and upon departure on day 9

7 nights stay in hotels and B&B

1 entrance ticket to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel

4 certified bilingual guides

1 wine tasting which includes a light meal

The 24/7 accompaniment of a representative from Italian Tours and Travel by Diana

A reception prior to departure which includes dinner, a lesson in Italian as well as countless tips for safe and comfortable travel abroad


Price per person based upon double occupancy is $2975 + airfare

Triple occupancy is per person $ 2745 + airfare

Single room supplement is $3450 + airfare


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