Pilgrimages in Italy - walking the Via Francigena. 

Most of us, most of the time, long to get away from it all: away from the rush and the stress and the busy-ness of our everyday lives. Time away to spend time with the Lord. Time to get fitter and leaner in every way. AND in a beautiful and special place.

So here’s a great idea for you. Come on a pilgrimage! It’s a vacation with a difference, and  many people are now discovering that walking on ancient pathways, surrounded by beauty, in peaceful quiet places, helps you get into a rhythm that often makes it easier to hear from God, to shed the burdens, to rediscover who you are and who you are meant to be.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

What is a pilgrimage?

For centuries, Christians have walked to special places, to take time to be with God and allow God the time and space to work in their lives. A pilgrimage is a setting aside of one’s normal routine, and taking time to reflect on what the Lord is saying, and allowing the rhythm of the walk to give mental and spiritual refreshment. It is a physical expression of our spiritual journey with God; it is a time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in the company of others; and it is a desire to spend quality time with God in a new way.

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it,

and you will find rest for your souls.” Jer. 6:16

A group  on a previous Pilgrimage

A group  on a previous Pilgrimage

Penelope and Kim  are experienced leaders of  fully guided pilgrimages for  up t0 12 people;  and the next Italy Pilgrimage is in September 2018.  If you would like to get a group together for your own personal group pilgrimage, we can discuss dates and prices.  Please contact us for details.

The VIA FRANCIGENA

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We walk part of the long Pilgrim route which stretches from Canterbury to Rome, and it offers glorious scenery, fabulous wines (!) ancient frescoes, hill top mediaeval villages, and a true sense of doing something different.   The ancient route was supposedly first travelled by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigeric, in the year 990, as he travelled between Rome and Canterbury. The archbishop described the 79 stages of his itinerary in a journal.  You will follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims who over the centuries have travelled across Europe and down the Italian peninsula, and we will spend time enjoying the route and all it has to offer as we travel through a very special part of Tuscany.

 

Enjoy days of glorious walking (some of which is demanding, but we help you prepare for that!);  daily times of worship, meditations and spiritual ‘exercises’ to help you to focus on what the Lord might want to say to you. Sleep in historic places; gaze at ancient frescoes; eat gelato; swim in a Roman-built pool. 

The VIA FRANCIGENA PArt One

San Gimignano to Montalcino

                            SEPTEMBER 3 - 11 2018

This  is a spectacular walk and includes visits to some beautiful Tuscan towns and cities, including San Gimignano and Siena.  Walking through the vineyards and olive groves of central Tuscany, from San Gimignano to Montalcino, through walled hill top mediaeval villages, following the ancient pilgrim route.

Day One: Arrive in San Gimignano.

Spend the evening exploring the ‘Manhattan skyline’ of ancient towers.

Leaving San Gimignano on day one

Leaving San Gimignano on day one

Day Two: Walk to Colle di Val d’Elsa (8.7 miles)   

A pretty walk across low hills of olive groves and vineyards to this historic town renowned for its tunnel streets,

old upper town and lower 'new' town.

Day Three: Walk to Monteriggioni (11.6 miles)   Pathways lead across farmlands and woods,

past a wonderful open air Roman swimming pool, to ascend to the hilltop town surrounded by 14 mediaeval watchtowers.

Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni

Day Four: Walk to Siena (11.8 miles)   Through woods and meadows, the paths lead to the best preserved

great mediaeval city in Europe – where they serve more fabulous gelato!

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Day Five: Walk to Lucignano (14.5 miles)   Tracks wind across low open hills through the Crete region.

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Day Six: Walk to Buonconvento (9.5 miles)   Gravel lanes (strade bianchi) lead along the Arbia valley

to Buonconvento – the Museum of the Mediaeval Masters

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 Day Seven: Walk to Montalcino (10.9 miles)   Paths lead up through the vineyards of the renowned

Brunello wine (Italy’s most expensive red wine!) to the wonderful hilltop town of Montalcino.

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Day Eight: Depart for flights home.

sharing communion on the walk to Montalcino

sharing communion on the walk to Montalcino

 The cost of the 8 day Pilgrimage includes:

  • 8 day holiday
  • 7 nights dinner, bed and breakfast
  • 6 days fully guided walking
  • ensuite accommodation  in an eclectic range of wonderful hotels, inns and guest houses  
  • meditations and contemplations each day while walking
  • evening worship and Bible teaching sessions
  • luggage moved each day. 
  • emergency backup
  • suggestions and help to get fit before you come!
  • essential information on what to bring
  • spiritual preparation and walking preparation in advance

British pilgrims: £1,495 per person      American Pilgrims: $1,950 per person    (You can choose to pay GB pounds or US dollars)

 The price is per person, sharing a double or twin room. Please note that the tour operators charge £200 supplement for a single room

The tour operators we use (ATG) do offer a fully escorted equivalent  (theirs includes lunches!) for £2,345 so we feel ours is good value!

  • The nearest airport is Pisa

BOOKING IS NOW OPEN but places are limited to a maximum of 12, so be sure to book soon.   

TO BOOK:

- email penelope@ministriesbydesign.org to request a booking form (via the contact page above)

- transfer the booking deposit of £250/$300 p.p. as instructed on the form; the balance will be due by 12 weeks prior to the Pilgrimage

NOT INCLUDED in the cost:

  • Travel from home to San Gimignano on Day One
  • travel from San Gimignano to home on Day Eight
  • travel insurance.  
  • You will also need to buy your own lunch each day, either at cafes  along the route or in the local shops.

 

BOOKING IS NOW OPEN but places are limited to a maximum of 12, so be sure to book soon. 

What previous pilgrims have said:

I have just started seminary…. I will ALWAYS think of that experience (ie the Pilgrimage)  as one of the tops, and it was the catalyst to begin this whole other chapter of my life — it sure was  amazing!    Meg

Your Pilgrimage was formative for me in so many ways, Penelope…thank you for providing this catalyst for transformation in my life.  Shelly

It was great to have devotions each night…they were really helpful talks.  Rick

It truly was a life changing experience for me; and I met with God in a way I’d never done before.  Roy

It was fantastic! I haven't had a group vacation in a long time and now that I know how much fun I had with others, hiking through the hills, I'd be willing to take more vacation time and do a longer or equally long trip/hike again. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have joined you and the others on this trip! Thank you!  Ann

I loved the Scripture memory especially the day we passed the verse around verbally, phrase-by-phrase, through the  kissing gates and along the trail. :)       I loved learning the morning collect too!  AJ

 Your information ahead of time was extremely helpful as to what to bring, wear for hiking and in the evenings, and what the terrain was going to be like. Colin

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The Abbey at San Antimo

THE VIA FRANCIGENA - PART 2

Montalcino to Viterbo

This is a slightly tougher walk than Part 1, but still within the range of anyone who is reasonably fit.                                                                                          (doing Penelope's recommended preparations for the walk is essential!)                                                                                                                                      It goes through some wilder country than Part 1, but also goes past the stunningly beautiful abbey at San Antimo, parts of which date from the 4th century. If you like to get right away from it all, and  if you like a challenge and an adventure, this is for you!

 

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The cost of the 8 day Pilgrimage includes:

  • 8 day holiday
  • 7 nights dinner, bed and breakfast
  • 6 days fully guided walking
  • ensuite accommodation  in an eclectic range of wonderful hotels, inns and guest houses  
  • meditations and contemplations each day while walking
  • evening worship and Bible teaching sessions
  • luggage moved each day. 
  • emergency backup
  • suggestions and help to get fit before you come!
  • essential information on what to bring
  • spiritual preparation and walking preparation in advance
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If you would like to get a group together to do this part of the Via Francigena with us for your own personal group pilgrimage, we can discuss dates and prices.  Please contact us for details.

Abbe di Isolda, on the road to Monteriggioni (Walk part one)

Abbe di Isolda, on the road to Monteriggioni (Walk part one)

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We do not accept any liability for any loss or injury however caused.  We recommend that you take out appropriate holiday insurance cover against illness, injury, loss or damage to luggage whilst on holiday.  This insurance should also cover the possibility of your having to cancel your holiday for whatever reason. We wish to remind you that (except in the case of their negligence or wilful default) neither the leaders, the tour operators nor the venues accept any liability for any death, injury to persons, illness or property damage of any kind occurring during the week’s Walk.

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