“What we choose to love leads our eyes, ears and hearts on a pilgrimage that shapes our lives.”
Which Pilgrimage is Right for Me?
Inside the Vatican offers “boutique” pilgrimages — small, private groups averaging 15 pilgrims, but never more than 35. Crafting the ultimate private pilgrimage is about knowing firsthand what makes a place extraordinary, knowing personally the people involved, understanding how best to experience it and then finessing the countless details, moments and encounters both planned and spontaneous. Our savvy trip design, flexible pace, local connections, and intimate group sizes are just a few of the reasons why our pilgrims often return to join us again for other pilgrimages.
Designing a pilgrimage begins with a theme or a particular country; then we weave in possible encounters with real people who live and work there, as well as those with expert knowledge of its historical perspective. These details are gradually realized as we journey to both world-renowned, and little-known places. We don’t even publish our full itinerary until each detail has been intimately discussed and arranged to create a unique experience; we do not have cookie cutter pilgrimages!
Inside the Vatican Signature Pilgrimages are our smaller, more intimate, premier pilgrimages, which we limit to an occasional maximum of 18 people, though most are limited to a very comfortable group of 12. Scholarly experts lead these absolutely unique pilgrimages, so visits to historical and spiritual sites is rounded out with fascinating private lectures and dinner-table discussions –something that cannot be duplicated! We generally stay in deluxe accommodations and enjoy some of the delightful local culinary offerings as well.
Personal encounter is the watchword for our Signature Pilgrimages. With 25 years of publishing Inside the Vatican magazine, we have colleagues and friends all over the world — and many of them have become part of our Pilgrimage family. Leading lights in the Catholic world like British writer and lecturer, Leonie Caldecott, have led our pilgrims on journeys to the Britain of St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher, Bl. John Henry Newman, and Mary’s Dowry.
But the encounters are also of the unpredictable sort: the chance meeting with a kind-hearted nun who understands perfectly your family heartache, or the friendly priest who is there just when you feel moved to go to confession, or the porter who is also an amateur expert on an obscure, but fascinating, local saint. Such are the kinds of encounters we experience on every pilgrimage…
We have carefully budgeted our Classic Pilgrimages 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.
These pilgrimages are limited to 35 pilgrims, never more! We cap the number of pilgrims because we want to keep each pilgrimage as intimate as possible.
Our third category of Pilgrimages has been designed for members of our affiliated nonprofit foundation, the Urbi et Orbi Foundation, which was founded in 2012 – yet the work began over 18 years ago. We concertized our work by creating the Foundation which speaks to Jesus’ words to us — “that they may be one” so we work to promote understanding, friendship and the eventual reunification between Catholics and the Orthodox.
Our last category of pilgrimages are Custom Pilgrimages. We recognize that there may be places of pilgrimage not on one of our itineraries that may be of special significance to your family, parish or other kind of group. We offer the option to design a pilgrimage around the preferences of your group, always with the same high standards of travel and accommodations, and always with a view to the spiritual encounter with the “living stones” — the people we meet along the way.