Day 1 – Arrive Bologna
We will depart in the afternoon from Dublin to Bologna. In the arrivals hall we will be greeted by our Marian Pilgrimages guide and driver who will remain with us for the duration of our pilgrimage. We will celebrate the opening Mass of our pilgrimage and afterwards drive to our hotel where we will spend the first night of our pilgrimage. We will check into our rooms and have time to relax before dinner.
Day 2 – Tomb of St. Dominic
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and drive to Bologna. We will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Dominic and afterwards see the Arc of St. Dominic; the truly artistic monument that took over 500 years to be completed and contains the remains of the great saint. We will have time for private prayer and afterwards to admire the works of the grand sculptors, which adorn this wonderful basilica. Accompanied by our guide, we will see some of the main sights of Bologna which will include a visit to Piazza Maggiore, one of the oldest squares in Italy with views of the imposing Asinelli and Garisenda Towers, considered the symbols of the medieval city. After time at leisure for lunch, we will depart Bologna and drive to Florence where we will spend the next three nights of our pilgrimage.
Day 3 – Basilica of Santa Maria Novella & Guided tour of Florence
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, since 1221 the seat of the Dominican Order in Florence and afterwards visit the beautiful Green Cloister and Spanish Chapel with their fine frescoes. Our morning visit will end in the old refectory where precious liturgical objects from the ancient sacristy are kept.
After time at leisure for lunch, we will enjoy a guided tour of Florence visiting such sights as the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Flower and the famous Piazza della Signora, where we will have time at leisure for private sightseeing. Our day will conclude with a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce, the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli.
Day 4 – Church of San Marco & Fiesole
This morning we will celebrate Mass in the Church of San Marco and afterwards visit the convent, now the National Museum of San Marco which during the 15th century was home to two famous Dominicans, the painter Fra Angelico and the preacher Girolamo Savonarola.
After lunch we will drive to the town of Fiesole. It was in the Dominican convent in Fiesole where Bl. Fra Angelico, the Dominican painter of the mid-fifteenth century known for the beauty of his paintings, and the holiness of his priestly life. held various responsibilities, including prior of the convent. This afternoon we will enjoy a guided tour of both the convent and church before returning to our hotel for dinner.
Day 5 – Orvieto
This morning we will depart Florence and drive to the town of Orvieto which sits majestically overlooking the Umbrian plains. After time at leisure for lunch, we will celebrate Mass in the cathedral, the town’s most famous landmark and afterwards see the linen bearing the spots of blood which date back to the Eucharistic Miracle that took place in Bolsena in 1263. We will have time at leisure to stroll through the ancient, cobbled streets of this unique town before continuing our drive to Rome. Arriving at our hotel, we will check into our rooms and have the evening at leisure.
Day 6 – Basilica of San Clemente & The Angelicum University
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of San Clemente and afterwards enjoy a tour of the excavations of which were encouraged by Joseph Mullooly, a Dominican priest and archaeologist, which reveal 2,000 years of the history of Rome.
Founded in 1222, The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome, has its roots in the Dominican mission - to study, teach and preach the truth, as reflected in the Order’s motto, “Veritas“. Today the Angelicum is comprised of over 900 students from more than 95 countries, and six continents worldwide. During our afternoon visit to The Angelicum we will hear of the history of the university which spans over 400 years and of its many students, which include Saint John Paul II.
Day 7 – Trevi Fountain & Basilica of Santa Sabina
After breakfast we will drive to the vibrant Piazza Navona and enjoy a walk through the ancient-cobbled streets, walking by the famous Pantheon, before arriving at Trevi fountain where we will have time at leisure for private sightseeing and lunch.
Perched high above the River Tiber, the Basilica of Santa Sabina enjoys a scenic position overlooking Rome. Founded during the Pontificate of Pope Celestine I and consecrated a few years later by Pope Sixtus III, the basilica was entrusted to the Order of Preachers by Pope Honorius III. The first brothers would soon arrive on the Aventine Hill and lived in premises that existed before the construction of the convent with its cloister. The cell of St. Dominic was also created in these spaces where, according to tradition, the famous meeting with St. Francis of Assisi took place. The basilica became the Conventual Church of the Community of the Friars Preachers and remains so today. This afternoon we will celebrate Mass and enjoy a guided tour of the basilica.
Day 8 – St. Peter’s Basilica
After morning Mass, we will enjoy a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest temples of Christendom. Our guide will tell us the history behind some of the impressive works such as Bernini’s baldachin, Michelangelo’s fa-mous Pietà statue and the statue of St. Peter on his throne. We will have time for prayer before the tombs of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII and soak up the atmosphere of the wonderful surroundings. After free time for lunch, we will board the coach and drive to Fiumicino 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.