Italy: Pilgrimage where the heart of Catholicism still beats
Italy has a long history of pilgrimage tradition and with good reason. Home to over 100 Catholic churches in Rome alone, a Catholic history that stretches back to the founding of the Church, and Vatican City nestled in the middle, the opportunities for spiritual exploration seem endless.
A pilgrimage to Italy—highlights of spiritual exploration
Visit Vatican City to participate in the Papal Audience, visit the Catacombs, the Holy Stairs, St. Peter's Square, and the Sistine Chapel. Travel to peaceful Assisi to visit the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare, or to Siena to see the Sanctuary of St. Catherine. Journey to Florence for Michelangelo's Tomb, Milan for Da Vinci's Last Supper, Padua for the St. Anthony's Basilica, or St. Benedict's Abbey of Monte Cassino.
Why go on pilgrimage to Italy?
Great question. Not only is Italy beautiful, but Rome is the capital of Catholicism. Jesus said that He would build His church upon "this rock," which turned out to be St. Peter (referenced in Matthew 16:18). In fact, St. Peter's tomb is beneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Pope Francis paid homage to the saint in 2013. Not only that, but Rome is where Church leadership discerns how to guide the Church (think Vatican II).
Rome itself has been blessed with martyrs and saints and is home to the Seven Pilgrimage Churches. These are the seven sites that the Vatican has designated as key pilgrimage sites when in Rome: St. Peter's Basilica, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Sebastian, Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, and St. Lawrence.
Thankfully, it is not necessary to go on pilgrimage to save your soul or to be a good Catholic. Sometimes God just calls us to go on pilgrimage with Him because He wants us closer to Him in a new way. Perhaps the greatest reason to go on pilgrimage is to remove ourselves from our prescribed schedules, our busy days, our constant media, and reunite with God in a place that changes us. You can also get plenary indulgences for deceased loved ones and other special graces for going on pilgrimage, especially during a Holy Year.
11 things you probably didn't know about St. Peter's and the Vatican
This article has covered some quirky information about Rome! For instance, the pope doesn't just walk around wherever he wants whenever he wants; he is defended by the Swiss Guard. St. Peter's Square is so large that it could house the world series. Michelangelo has only one signed piece of artwork (can you guess which one?). A space shuttle could fit inside the dome at St. Peter's! If you've never been to Italy, you're in for a treat.
Show me some sample pilgrimages!
With breathtaking views, world-renowned cuisine, and a history steeped in the Catholic faith, your pilgrimage to Italy can be a life-changing event. At Canterbury Pilgrimages, we create itineraries all the time for various group leaders. We specialize in customizing each itinerary to meet the needs of each group, but we figured people would appreciate samples to curate some ideas. Maybe you want to go Italy and visit Medjugorje at the same time. Maybe you have a special devotion to Mother Cabrini and want to go on pilgrimage in her footsteps. You can also go on pilgrimage in the footsteps of the apostles! Below is our basic pilgrimage to Italy brochure. A pilgrimage to Italy could change your life. What are you waiting for?