St. Catherine of Siena Pilgrimage

Savour the joys of Italy while tasting the food, wine and flavours of Tuscany

Led by Fr. Mark Gatto and Dwayne Cahill

May 19-29, 2019

Day 1

Sunday - Depart Toronto International Airport to Rome w/ complementary meals served on board.

Day 2

Monday - Benvenuti in Italia! Arrived at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, near Rome. Disembark, pass through customs and immigration, collect your luggage and continue to the Arrival's Hall where you will be greeted by our Tour Manager. Board our deluxe motor coach and transfer to Siena. Arrive at Hotel Athena where we will remain during our stay in Siena. 

Enjoy dinner at our hotel and a short walk through the streets of Siena with Fr. Mark.

Day 3

Tuesday - Following breakfast, we will go to Duomo of Siena, one of Italy's greatest cathedral. Then we will drive out to Val D'Orcia area of Southern Tuscany. This region is where most beautiful photos of Tuscany are taken. We will have a visit to Pienza, a delightful little village whose center was almost completely redesigned in the 15th century by Pope Pius II. Aside from its architecture, this place is also famous for its Pecorino (sheep's milk) cheese.

Then we will go to the stately temple of San Biagio, a 16th century Renaissance church, where we will celebrate Mass. We will then visit Montepulciano, one of Tuscany's highest hilltop towns. We will visit and taste the wine at Cantina Ercolani Wine Cellar and remain for dinner at a local restaurant. We then go back and return to our hotel in Siena.

Day 4

Wednesday - Following breakfast, we'll visit and celebrate Mass at Abbazia di San Antimo, one of the best examples of medieval monastic architecture built in the 12th century. 

We will then visit the Castello Banfi winery for a tasting and light lunch. This is the region of the famous Brunello di Montalcino wine, one of Italy`s finest red wines.

Afterwards, we will visit the hilltop town of Montalcino whose timeless streets are a pleasure to wander. There will be more opportunities for tasting Brunello wines and shopping. We return to our hotel in Siena for dinner and overnight.

Day 5

Thursday - Following breakfast, we will journey to the town of San Gimignano, famous for its 13 towers that dominates its majestic skyline. We will have a cooking demonstration  and lunch at Il Vicario. After lunch, we will wander through San Gimignano on our own. 

On our return to Siena, we will stop to visit Monteriggioni, a medieval hilltop town built in 1203. We return to Siena for dinner and overnight.

Day 6

Friday - Following breakfast, St. Catherine of Siena retreat morning. We will have time to reflect on St. Catherine of Siena, beginning at the house of Catherine. We conclude at the Basilica of San Domenico. The presence of the incorruptible head  and thumb of St. Catherine is preserved here in a chapel. Also, the only portrait of Catherine considered authentic is kept here. we will celebrate the Mass dedicated to St. Catherine.

After the retreat morning, we will travel to Villa La Ripa winery for wine tasting and light lunch.

We return for our last evening in Siena. It will be a free evening with a chance to explore Siena during the evening and have dinner on your own.

Day 7

Saturday - Following breakfast, checkout at our hotel and board the bus for Rome. Along the way, we will visit Orvieto, perched on a 300 m. plateau. The Duomo of Orvieto was almost 300 years in the building.

After this visit, we wil continue on to Rome. We will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, one of the four Papal Basilicas where the remains of St. Paul lie to this day. 

We will then go to NH Collection Roma Vittorio Veneto Hotel  which is at the top of Via Veneto and beside Villa Borghese, a magnificent Rome park that has several museums , such as Galleria Borghese

Enjoy dinner at the hotel and and an optional walk in Villa Borghese with Fr. Mark.

Day 8

Sunday - Following breakfast, we will travel by bus to St. Peter’s Basilica where we will join the regular 10:30 Sunday morning Mass. After Mass, we will remain in Piazza di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square) to take part in the Angelus with the Pope.

In the afternoon, we will drive to Tivoli to visit Villa D’Este and enjoy a banquet at the Monteripoli Restaurant.

Day 9

Monday - Following breakfast, free day and dinner on your own to explore and experience "La Dolce Vita", the beautiful life in Rome. 

Day 10

Tuesday - Following breakfast, St. Catherine of Siena walk beginning with the famous Piazza Navona. We will walk through the streets by San Luigi dei Francesi church with a famous painting of St. Matthew by Caravaggio. 

We will continue to walk in the nearby Pantheon, a marvel of Roman engineering. Next door is the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Under the main altar is the body of St. Catherine of Siena. We will celebrate our final Mass here in this church.

After Mass, we will conclude with a walk through the Trevi Fountain to throw a coin in the fountain. The afternoon will be a free time to do final shopping and walk in the nearby streets of Rome.

After dinner at the hotel, join Fr. Mark on a walk through Villa Borghese for a final look at St. Peter's at night from the Pincio, overlooking Piazza del Popolo.

Day 11

Wednesday - After breakfast, we will drive to the Leonardo da Vinci- Fiumicino Airport and board our flight to Toronto.