DAY 1 – Sunday, 27th October
This morning we will depart from Dublin to Naples. Upon arrival we will enjoy our first glimpses of the Italian countryside as we drive to the town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of St. Pio.
After lunch in a local restaurant we will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage in the Church of the Holy Family and afterwards have a walking tour of the quaint town visiting the home of the Forgione family where Padre Pio was born, the Church of Sant ’Anna where he was baptised and the church where he celebrated his first Mass.
We will travel to nearby Piana Romana where we will see the humble farmhouse of the Forgione family and have time for prayer before the tree beneath which Padre Pio received the invisible stigmata. We will enjoy the contrasting landscapes as we make our way to our destination of San Giovanni Rotondo where we will stay in the four-star Hotel Savoy for the following four nights (3 nights full board / 1-night half board).
DAY 2 – Monday, 28th October
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the ancient church of Our Lady of Grace where St. Pio celebrated Mass, heard confessions and received the gift of the stigmata. Afterwards we will meet with one of the capuchin friars where we will hear more of the life of St. Pio and receive a blessing with the glove and crucifix of the humble friar.
In the afternoon we will follow in the footsteps of St. Pio during his time in San Giovanni Rotondo. Despite experiencing great suffering in his own life, through his ministries and great work which saw the realisation of the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, he helped relieve the sick and troubled from their own individual sufferings. After visiting the capuchin friary and seeing the cell occupied by the capuchin friar, we will visit the Church of St. Pio of Pietrelcina and have time for private prayer before the mortal remains of this great saint of our time.
DAY 3 – Tuesday, 29th October
This morning we will travel to the town of Monte Sant’Angelo and celebrate Mass at the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel, the oldest shrine in Western Europe dedicated to the Archangel Michael. We will have time at leisure for shopping and private sightseeing before returning to San Giovanni Rotondo for lunch.
In the afternoon we will visit nearby St. Matthew’s monastery, steeped in history, and receive a blessing with the relic of St. Matthew and Holy Oils.
DAY 4 – Wednesday, 30th October
We will celebrate Mass this morning at the hospital, ‘Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza’ considered Padre Pio’s greatest creation. Afterwards we will walk the Way of the Cross, which allow us, as Christians, to pause and enter reflectively into those last moments of Jesus’s journey of love.
We will have the afternoon at leisure with the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation and private prayer.
DAY 5 – Thursday, 31st October
After breakfast we will depart San Giovanni Rotondo as we begin our trip through the region of Puglia, experiencing some of the traditions of this picturesque and unique part of southern Italy. Our first stop is Molfetta, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, Molfetta is a renowned tourist resort and an important port city. We will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Madonna of the Martyrs, the oldest church in Molfetta and home to a sculpture of the Holy Sepulcher which is carved from stone transported from the Holy Land.
We will drive to the city of Bari where we will have free time for lunch and afterwards visit the famous Basilica of St. Nicholas of Bari. Originally constructed to house the relics of St Nicholas (better known as Father Christmas). St Nicholas' remains, which are said to emanate a miraculous manna liquid with special powers, are ensconced in a shrine in the beautiful vaulted crypt. We will continue onto Ostuni where we will stay in the four-star Hotel Monte Sarago for two nights on a half board basis.
DAY 6 – Friday, 1st November
We will spend the morning in the town of Ostuni, one of the most stunning cities in southern Italy famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses which make the town stand out in the green of the surrounding area. The town of Ostuni is a series of small roads, alleys and arches with hints of the Middle Ages at hand in every corner.
In the afternoon we will visit the town of Lecce, often referred to as the ‘Florence of the south.’ With its dazzling architectural surprises around every corner, Lecce is a minor Baroque masterpiece. We will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of Santa Croce which boasts one of the finest and most intricate Baroque facades in Italy and afterwards have time to explore the town or relax in the many elegant cafés and bars and observe the comings and goings of the locals as they go about their daily business.
DAY 7 – Saturday, 2nd November
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the town of Ostuni and afterwards have time at leisure to relax.
In the afternoon we will travel to Alberobello, known as the ‘Capital of the Trulli.’ Alberobello, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is lined with trulli famous for their conical roofs made without mortar, white-tipped as if dusted by snow. We will have time to enjoy the unique surroundings before transferring to Bari airport for our return flight to Dublin.
*It is our intention to follow the itinerary as outlined above, however due to many factors like local holidays, traffic or weather conditions it may be necessary to make changes to the order of events or even the cancelation of certain events.