October Reunion in Italy

October 14th – 23rd, 2021
$3,400 (plus air)

A small group pilgrimage for those who have traveled with me before, and during my favorite month of the year.

Italy is currently open to anyone passing a negative test. But keep in mind, this is Italy and things can change at any moment. This pilgrimage comes with the risk that it could be cancelled if Italy decides the reopening isn’t going well or if they change the requirements for entry. You can read the cancellation policy below – it’s very generous. Should you have any questions, email me.

Is this pilgrimage trip for you?

You need to be flexible.
This pilgrimage is not for grumpy people or those unable to be joyfully flexible. Italy is getting back to normal, but the world is still a bit uncertain. While everything is going well so far, we have be able to adjust our plans if needed.

That said, all my pilgrimages since Italy has reopened have been great.

So if you are easy-going and excited to travel, even with some uncertainties mixed in, this could be the trip for you!

If this pilgrimage doesn’t work for you, no worries, I’ve been doing this for nearly 17 years and plan to do many, many more.

You should be in good physical shape.
We will do a lot of walking, much of it outside, and much of it on uneven ground. We average around 5 miles per day. Please do consider this before signing up.

You need to be able to carry your own luggage.
You are responsible for your luggage. We don’t not have porters and the two story hotel we use in Rome does not have an elevator. I will provide a thorough packing list to help you pack lightly and efficiently.

Itinerary

We begin with two nights in Florence. We will visit Michelangelo at the Accademia, watch the sunset from the Ponte Vecchio, and visit some of Italy’s most impressive churches. You’ll have time on your own to explore the city, shop, or visit the Uffizi.

We will stop in Siena on the way to Assisi. Here we will visit a Eucharistic Miracle, the head of Saint Catherine of Siena, her home, and the cathedral. You’ll have time for a little shopping and lunch on one of Italy’s most impressive piazzas.

In Assisi we will visit the tombs of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. We will visit the hermitage and the shrines of San Damiano and the Porziuncola. We will spend an afternoon at a nearby winery and have lunch from their organic farm.

We will stop in Orvieto on the way to Rome. Here we will celebrate Mass below the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena. You’ll have time for lunch and shopping before we continue to Rome.

In Rome we will visit Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Mary Major, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Saint John Lateran, Santa Croce, Scala Santa, and some rarely visited churches. We will tour the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, and Ancient Rome, including the Colosseum and Roman Forum.

Price

$3,400 per person – ground only.

$1,000 deposit secures your spot.

Final payment of $2,400 is due October 1st, 2021.

The cost is per person, in double occupancy, meaning two people to a room.

Traveling alone?
I match singles with other traveling singles (of the same sex) and that always works out great. If you are uncomfortable sharing a room with a stranger, you can request a single room for an additional $700. Single rooms are limited.

Included in the price

Accommodations for 8 nights
We are staying at Hotel Loggiato dei Serviti in Florence.

We are staying at Hotel Umbra in Assisi.

We are staying at Hotel Bramante in Rome located in the Borgo neighborhood.

Breakfast daily plus 6 additional meals in some of my favorite restaurants.
Drinks, including unlimited wine, is included in all our lunches and dinners.

Coffee and pastry breakfast at my favorite cafe, Sant’Eustachio

Traditional aperitivi one evening

Airport transfers
Airport transfers both ways between FCO and our Rome hotel. Send me your flight info and my driver will pick you up. Easy.

All group ground transportation
We’ll be traveling in a private motor coach.

Full time service of a tour director
I’ll be with you at all times.

No hidden costs
If we do it as a group, it’s included in the price! You are responsible only for the meals you have on your own, souvenirs you wish to buy, and anything you want to do in your free time.

Guaranteed price
Once I receive your deposit, your tour price will not go up!

All tips for group meals, guides, and drivers
Would you believe that many tour companies require you to tip as you go? Not only does that add to the advertised sticker price of a tour, it’s also a huge hassle to you! No need to worry about that here. Tips are already included.

Entry fees and tours
All entry fees and tours to our included group activities.

Social planning
Plan your trip with your traveling companions before you leave! I’ll set up private Facebook groups for each tour to give you a chance to meet before you meet!

You time
We have a lot planned, but time on your own is important. We take our time in churches to give you the opportunity for prayer and reflection. We also include free time for you to explore, shop, and relax on your own.

Not Included

Your flights
You should arrive in Rome no later than October 14th, we will be driving up to Florence this morning.

You should depart Rome no earlier than October 23rd, our last group activity will be dinner on the October 22nd.

Most airlines are offering free changes should anything happen to the trip. Most airlines are not offering refunds, but rather a credit.

If you need to cancel your trip for any reason, if the situation in Italy changes and we need to cancel or postpone the trip, it’s your responsibility to work with your airline to cancel, reschedule, or request refunds.

Cancellations

If for any reason I need to cancel or postpone the trip, you will be refunded 100% of the cost of the pilgrimage.

If Italy changes their requirements for entry, and you decide that doesn’t work for you, you will be refunded 100% of the cost of the pilgrimage.

If you need to cancel for any other reason before the trip begins, you’ll get everything back minus $500.

Trip insurance is a wise investment in case something comes up while you are in Italy. I can recommend places for that, if you are interested.

Entry & Exit Requirements

Currently Italy allows anyone with a negative COVID test (rapid or PCR) taken within 72 hours before arrival to enter the country. You are responsible for getting tested according to your airline’s instructions. I recommend you make an appointment well in advance.

I will keep you updated on Italy’s requirements to make this as easy as possible for you.

Should anything change, remember, I am allowing you to cancel for any reason with a 100% refund up 30 days before departure.

To go home: The US requires everyone, regardless of vaccination status, returning from Europe to pass a COVID test within 48 hours before departure. You are responsible for getting tested. I will include time for testing and we have a few testing locations near the hotel. The test is around €19 and takes 10 – 20 minutes, no appointment needed.

Green Pass

As of this writing, a Green Pass is required to dine inside restaurants and to visit museums.

For non-Europeans, a Green Pass is simply:

  • proof of vaccination (such as a paper CDC card),
  • or proof of a negative test (valid for 48 hours),
  • or a letter of recovery within the last six months from your doctor.

Admittedly, Italy is currently easier for those vaccinated. But for those who are not, testing is quick and easy in Rome. The cost is about €19 and takes 10 – 20 minutes. No appointments are necessary. Most of our meals are outside – no Green Pass required.

Vaccinations

Since Italy is allowing anyone passing a negative test, know that we could have people who are vaccinated on the trip and some who are not.

Keep in mind that some of the Italians we interact with here will not be vaccinated.

If you are uncomfortable around those who are not vaccinated, or those who are vaccinated, this is not the trip for you.

Masks

As of this writing, masks are only required inside public places, with a few outdoor museums also requiring them. No exceptions are made for vaccinated people. No exceptions are made for those who are unable to wear masks for medical or personal reasons. We are all visitors to a foreign country, so we must be willing to follow their laws.

We will follow the local laws and the request of our bus driver. That means if masks are required while outside and/or on buses, we will comply. But it also means that if masks are not required outside and/or on buses, then it will be up to the individual to wear a mask or not.

If you are uncomfortable around those who do wear masks, or those who do not wear masks when not required by law, this is not the trip for you.

Openings and Closings

Currently, everything in Italy is open, including churches, museums, restaurants, cafes, and bars. But keep in mind that things can change. Again, we need to be flexible. If something unexpectedly closes, we will look for a good alternative.

Sign up

Use the form below to sign up for this pilgrimage. If you have any questions, email me at mtn@thecatholictraveler.com

Optional Trip Insurance
If you think there is any chance you may need to cancel, I recommend you purchase travel insurance. A “Cancel for Any Reason” plan will let you, well, cancel for ‘most’ any reason. Most plans should allow for at least a 75% refund should you need to cancel at any time before departure. I have a friend who specializes in trip insurance, you can contact him directly, but you are under no obligation to use him and I don’t get any sort of kick backs, so shop around and find what is best for you.

Deposit Info
You’ll be able to pay by credit card or check. Payment info will be emailed to you once you sign up.