“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca
Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages are different from all other tours and pilgrimages. We craft a daily itinerary which creates a fabric woven of spiritual, historical and personal elements – the personalities of great saints, the personalities of those we encounter and the personalities of our pilgrims with everything they bring from their lives and their faith journeys. Our pilgrimages, therefore, are unique, unrepeatable experiences. Our Classic Pilgrimages are carefully budgeted for families, couples and single travelers so that they can experience the unique qualities of Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages at an affordable price, without sacrificing Inside the Vatican integrity and style. We often stay in a lovely, secluded monastery on the outskirts of Rome, or a charming guesthouse in the Medieval city of Assisi; wherever we stay, our accommodations are always quiet, comfortable and conducive to the rich spiritual experience we strive for.
Like all of our Pilgrimages, in these we place an emphasis on personal encounter — whether it is the friar who gives us a tour of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi or the motor coach driver who points out the ancient Roman road once trodden by early Christians, all of our encounters enrich and renew us, enlighten and inspire us. Some of them can even be life-changing.
During these pilgrimages, we eat real Italian food, talk to real Swiss Guards, stroll across real Italian piazzas, and taste real Italian gelato. It should be an experience that you — and perhaps your children — will never forget, something to talk about at family gatherings for decades to come!
But the pilgrimage is not primarily a tourist trip; it is a spiritual journey. A pilgrimage can become the source of deeper understanding and deeper insight in to the Faith, and into everything that threatens or weakens or replaces the Faith.
Many pilgrims say they come to a clearer understanding of these things while staying with us at the Villa Serenella, one of the places we may stay during our Classic pilgrimages. It is a small Maronite Catholic monastery on the outskirts of Rome, owned by an order of monks from Lebanon. Only three miles from the geographical “heart” of Rome, it is also removed — from the the hustle and bustle of the world, secluded in a grotto of peace.
There, a small group of monks celebrate the morning office in the Maronite rite, using the Syriac language, a dialect of Aramaic — the language that Jesus spoke 2,000 years ago. Hearing their voices, we feel a special closeness to the Son of Mary, the teacher from Nazareth who suffered and died in Jerusalem.
The Villa Serenella is just one example of the serene and inviting accommodations we provide for our Classic Pilgrimages, striving, as always, to provide not only comfort and beauty, but an environment for prayer and reflection.