I personally invite you to join me as we explore sacred places not commonly frequented by tourists, on the holy soils of Italy. Together we will reconnect with the angelic realm as we experience the beautiful Italian culture, landscape and people. I am so very excited that you will be joining me on this wonderful adventure.
With love and blessings, Roland
Roland Comtois’ Journey to Italy 2017
A Personal Spiritual Experience & More: St. Francis, Food, Wine, Art & Culture
Co-Host: Bobbi Parlett, Simpatico, Italy’s Finest
Oct. 3rd – Oct. 12th 2017
For Trip Information contact:
Bobbi Parlett 610-209-5409; [email protected]
Roland will lead daily inspirational discussions as we start our days, lead prayers and sing in the sacred places and churches, and offer his enlightening medium insight as we experience this once in a lifetime opportunity to tour the Real Italy.
Day 1 Oct. 3rd, Tuesday – Group meets at the Hilton Rome Airport; Via Arturo Ferrarin 2 Fiumicino, Rome, 00054, Italy TEL: +39-06-65258 FAX: +39-06-6525 6525. This hotel connects to the Rome Airport, and some of our group will be staying there the night of the 2nd and others arriving that day into the Rome Fiumicino airport. We will then depart from the Hilton Rome Airport about 10:30 AM Local Time, and drive toward Umbria.
- – Lunch in Casalina at Antico Forziere
- – Travel toward Assisi, stopping to visit in a town right at the base of Assisi and see the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Saint Mary of the Angels), which encloses the 9th century little church, the Porziuncola, the most sacred place for the Franciscans. It was here that the young Francis of Assisi understood his vocation and renounced the world in order to live in poverty among the poor and thus started the Franciscan movement, and here he passed from this life. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Santa_Maria_degli_Angeli). Today the 3rd of October marks the day St. Francis passed here in the Porziuncola.
We will then go to the heart of Assisi and check into the Hotel Dei Priori, Corso Mazzini, 15 06081 ASSISI, Tel 011 39 075 812237 www.hoteldeipriori.it , a few steps from the Piazza Comune. Free Time Break until dinner, guests can explore the area around the hotel in Piazza del Comune and the many side streets that wind throughout Assisi.
Dinner in Assisi at a special restaurant that overlooks the magnificent countryside.
St. Francis Feast Day activities will be held in the Piazza and we will attend, such as drumming, fire throwing and flag throwing. It is an amazing medieval celebration of St. Francis.
Day 2 Oct 4th, Wednesday– Feast Day walk to the Basilica following the official parade of representatives from all over Italy from the Piazza Comune to the Basilica; we will then walk to a special small church of Santo Stefano, and enjoy Assisi shopping afterwards in the area.
Lunch at “Vino” in Piazza Comune, owned by an artist turned chef that I first bought ceramics from in 1992. We will walk to the Basilica, tour the upper and lower churches and the crypt where St. Francis is buried. On previous trips, a profound event for everyone due to Roland’s connections with St. Francis was experienced, Roland will share with us on this trip should a similar connection occur.
We walk from the Basilica to the small church which was built over St. Francis’ home and the Basilica di Santa Chiara. Free Time Enjoy the day’s activities and the magic of Assisi.
Dinner at a local Assisi restaurant then Free Time.
Day 3 Oct. 5th, Thursday – In the morning, we will visit the Hermitage of St. Francis just outside Assisi (Eremo delle Carceri) on the slope of Mount Subiaso. This is where St. Francis and his friars came to get away from the busyness of life and pray in silence and solitude. The views are stunning, and to be able to walk where St. Francis walked, and be where he held prayer service at a special altar, see his chalice and eating utensils and plates, the cell where he slept, is pretty overwhelming.
We breathe in the wondrous nature and spiritual feelings in this holy place as we share a picnic lunch outdoors, and Roland shares his spiritual insights of our surroundings; we explore more trails, and then return to Assisi. On the way back, we will stop at San Damiano, built in the 12th century, it was the first monastery of the Order of St. Clare, and is where she built her “Poor Clares” Franciscan community; it is the site of 2 important miracles performed by St. Claire and her community. This is also where St. Francis had his significant encounter with God, when the cross spoke to him to “rebuild the Church”.
Returning to Assisi, we will visit the SAIO winery to taste their wines and then have Free Time.
Dinner in Assisi, followed by a candlelight walk to St. Claire’s for a prayer there overlooking the beautiful countryside below Assisi and return to the hotel for our last night in Assisi.
Day 4 Oct. 6th, Friday – We go to one last important place in Assisi, the Piazza del Vecovado where St. Francis denounced his father and turned over his worldly goods including all his clothes he had on that day so he could go and rebuild the Church as God asked him to do. There is a church in the piazza, Santa Maria Maggiore, we will also visit and go under the altar for a special prayer.
We then have lunch and have free time to shop, Assisi is full of wonderful galleries, gift shops, religious items, local crafts of olive wood, linens, etc. At about 3:30 we leave to travel 12km outside of Assisi to the Locanda dell’Angelo – Loc. Mora 24 – 06081 Assisi (PG) Tel: 075 80 39 780 – Cell: 347 72 68 841. We will watch the sunset here and have a special prayer service in their private Chapel of the Angels. Following this, we will have a fabulous family style dinner of Umbrian foods and wines. We will return to the chapel after dinner and in candlelight listen to Roland sing a prayerful song. We will stay overnight at this beautiful Locanda.
Day 5 Oct. 7th, Saturday – We leave the Locanda dell’Angelo and travel to Gubbio, about 1 hour drive and check into the Relais Ducale, Via Galeotti, 19, 06024 Gubbio PG, Italy, 011- 39 075 922 0157.
Giampietro Rampini, Master Ceramicist, is our co-host in Gubbio. We will experience the special 2-person Funicular up the mountain to visit the Convento di Saint’ Ubaldo on the top of Mt. Ingino, and Giampietro will share with us the history of the Cathedral and the Race of the Ceri. http://www.comune.gubbio.pg.it/ We will return down the mountain to visit the Small Church of San Francesco where St. Francis met the wolf and calmed him and saved the town. We will then visit the larger Church of San Francesco to see Rampini’s panels he painted there for the Jubilee walk depicting 7 scenes from Bible readings.
After a memorable truffle inspired lunch in town al fresco on a piazza, we spend the remainder of the afternoon in Rampini’s Ceramics Workshop painting a dinner plate or any shape or design you want to paint, which will then be fired and used at dinner the last night in Gubbio.
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Free time
8:30 PM Dinner at Rampini’s Friend’s House: Homemade Pizza of all types cooked in an authentic Pizza Oven, plates of other homemade foods and of course their own wine. (Rampini family to join us). This is a priceless gathering of friends, family and our group for an evening of sharing cultures, laughter and friendship, regardless of language differences. After dinner a group of friends/musicians play for us all the wonderful Italian songs we love and there is even room for dancing. Love is the universal langauge here this evening.
Day 6 Oct 8th, Sunday – 9:00 Leave to visit La Verna, known as sacred ground where St. Francis received the stigmata and where we will see the actual place the stigmata was received, beautiful Della Robbia works of art in the Basilica, as well as many other St. Francis related artifacts, holy places and artwork.
We will have lunch at La Verna and continue to tour the many sacred spots here and Roland will share his spiritual insights of this special holy place with the group. We then return to Gubbio.
Free Time: Break for free time late afternoon upon returning to Gubbio. Gubbio is a great place for shopping for clothes, shoes and other gifts.
Dinner at the Hotel dei Consoli with Giampietro Rampini. (short walk from hotel).
Day 7 Oct 9th, Monday – Free time in the morning to work on a scrapbook of our trip together after breakfast. We then drive up a beautiful mountain road to a remote Abbey dating from the year 980. The spiritual feelings in this holy place as we experience a private tour are very profound. Roland leads special prayers in the small chapel of the Abbey.
We have lunch on the way back and then have Free Time to shop or to work on a scrapbook of our trip together until dinner.
We enjoy a special final dinner in Gubbio at the Taverna del Lupo and we will receive our plates we painted at the table.
Day 8 Oct 10th, Tuesday – We leave Gubbio to travel to Cortona, well known for the location of the “Under the Tuscan Sun” author’s Francis Mayes’ home, and significant with St. Francis for the Celle di Cortona where his spiritual presence is everywhere in the Celle area. We will arrive mid-morning, walk up to the Celle, which is nestled at the end of a wooded gorge halfway up the side of the Mount Egidio. There is a convent near the mountain stream and waterfall, which houses 2 rooms where St Francis retreated for prayer and solitude, including his original stone slab bed. After walking back to Cortona, we will have lunch and then drive on toward Orvieto.
We will tour a fabulous Goat Cheese Farm near Orvieto for tastings of their amazing cheese and wines of the area http://www.ilsecondoaltopiano.com/.
After checking into the hotel in Orvieto, we will have Free Time to explore the town until dinner.
Day 9 Oct 11th, Wednesday – We leave Orvieto to travel toward Narni and find magic at the Convento del Sacro Speco (Cave of St. Francis) and experience the peace and energy of this special sacred place. Roland will lead a prayer at the outdoor altar and we will leave our miracle requests in the book in the monastery complex, where St. Francis performed miracles.
We then travel on to Rome, stopping for lunch along the way, and check into Hotel Victoria Roma, Via Campania, 41 I – 00187 Roma Tel. +39 06 423701 Fax. +39 06 4871890, located just off the Via Veneto and within walking distance of so many wonderful sites in Rome, including The Museum and Crypt of Capuchins (Bones), the Villa Borghese, and the Spanish Steps area.
Free Time break to explore The Eternal City for the rest of the afternoon until dinner with the group.
Special wind up dinner at Marcello’s and then visit the Trevi Fountain after dinner to throw our coins in, to make sure we return again someday to Rome!
Day 10 Oct 12th, Thursday – Leave for Home! Arrivederci Roma!
Alternate extension in Rome: Visit Pope Francis on Sunday at his special weekly blessing and address at Noon in St. Peter’s Square. Explore the Vatican and the wonderful sites after Mass: St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum & more.
Note: Schedule specifics subject to change.