Project Description

“‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given’: he is the ‘Prince of Peace.’ Let us welcome him!” -Pope Francis

Signature Christmas in Italy Pilgrimage 

December 19 – 28, 2020

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 Signature pilgrimages — small, private groups averaging 15 pilgrims — are impossible to mass produce.  They are like a product of an artisan, a work of art that reflects the painstaking commitment of an artist to create something of great and unique beauty.   To learn more about our Signature Pilgrimages click on the button below.

signature pilgrimages

Join us for on this Signature Pilgrimage for an extraordinary journey to Rome and Assisi at Christmas for a peaceful and joyful time, in the places where St. Francis, St. Benedict and St. Peter walked and bore their witness to the Gospel!

Christmas in Italy 2019 is one of our Signature line pilgrimages which aims to create “boutique” pilgrimage experiences though small, private groups averaging 15 pilgrims, but never more than 18.

In Rome, Dr. Moynihan will share his knowledge and experience of the past 30 years as one of the leading Vatican journalists and scholars. Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages will also introduce you to some of our friends inside and around the Vatican. These Roman days will be filled with many experiences that will make you feel like a Vatican insider, not a typical tourist. The Vatican will become familiar to you as you gain a new understanding of how the Church operates.
The focus will not solely be on the workings of the Vatican, but also, and more importantly, on the Incarnation, the birth of Christ. The central theme of this and Mary’s “Fiat” will be woven into our Roman days while on pilgrimage.

After 4 nights in the Vatican, we will then travel to Assisi to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Assisi is known for its tranquil silence, and we will take in this silence as we prepare for one of the most important feast days of the year — Christmas! The Advent season will come to an end, and as these long 4 weeks of waiting close, we will celebrate the birth of Christ, beginning the 12 days of Christmas.

While in Assisi, we will introduce you to our friends, the Franciscans, who live there, then listen as they share their stories. From Assisi, we will visit Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict, the Patron Saint of Europe and the founder of monastic life. Father Cassian, our friend and founder of the current Benedictine monastery in Norcia, will meet with us there to share a reflection. These moments with Father Cassian are often an important highlight of our pilgrimage.

assisi san francesco christmas time

Pilgrimage Overview

December 19 – 28, 2020


  • Spend 4 nights inside the Vatican, at the Casa Bonus Pastor
  • Dine with Dr. Robert Moynihan and special guests and friends of Inside the Vatican magazine
  • Experience Rome and Vatican City at Christmastime
  • Visit and pray in the 4 major Basilicas of Rome: St Mary Major, St Paul-Outside-the-Wall, St. John Lateran and St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Visit the Holy Stairs and the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem
  • Visit many famous Roman sites in Baroque Rome via a walking tour of the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona
  • Visit and pray in the famous Basilica Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, where in 1842 Mary appeared to Alphonse Ratisbonne (1814-1884) — the catalyst for the arrival of the Miraculous Medal devotion in Italy
  • Meet Vatican monsignors, and perhaps even an archbishop or cardinal in their apartment, to understand better the Church today and to reflect on the meaning of Christmas
  • Visit the Basilica of St. Mary in Trastevere, an area near the Vatican where the first Christians lived in Rome
  • Visit Rome’s beloved Marian Shrine, Madonna del Divino Amore
  • Lunch at Castel Gandolfo overlooking Lake Albano


  • Spend four nights in beautiful Assisi, a medieval city seemingly untouched by time, at the Hotel Giotto
  • Celebrate with marvelous traditional Italian Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners
  • Attend Mass at the tomb of St. Francis
  • Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, inside of which is St. Francis’ Portiuncula
  • Visit the Basilica of St. Clare and pray at her tomb
  • Meet some of our Franciscan friends in Assisi
  • Visit Cascia and venerate the incorrupt body of St. Rita


  • Spend a half day in Norcia and dine in one of Italy’s most distinguished culinary towns
  • Visit the town where St. Benedict and his twin sister, St. Scholastica, were born in 480 A.D.
  • Visit the new monastery of the Benedictine monks of Norcia, outside the city on the mountain
  • Listen to reflections on Advent given by Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, prior emeritus and founder of the restored Benedictine monastery