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The Lands of Dominic

24 Day Pilgrimage on the steps of St Dominic through Spain and Italy. Departing 4th April 2018.

Highlights: Madrid, Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, Caleruega, San Sebastian, Bologna, Florence, Siena, Orvieto, Rome.
 

Lands of Dominic Pilgrimage

 
MEAL CODE: B: Breakfast   L: Lunch   D: Dinner
ITINERARY
DAY 1: Wednesday 4th April 2018 – Depart for Spain
DAY 2: Thursday 5th April – Arrive Madrid

On arrival we will be met and transferred to our centrally located hotel, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Madrid overnight (D)

DAY 3: Friday 6th April – Madrid

This morning we visit the famed Prado Museum followed by a visit to the Monasterio Santo Domingo el Real and see Dominic’s Baptismal Font. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Madrid overnight (BD)

DAY 4: Saturday 7th April – Via Segovia to Avila

After an early breakfast we depart Madrid and travel north by coach to Segovia, where we will visit the Cave of Saint Dominic.

Departing Segovia, we continue on to the historic walled town of Avila, where the atmosphere has changed little since the days of St Teresa to whom the city is dedicated. It was here that she entered the Carmelite convent and encountered many mystical experiences during her time.

Avila overnight (BD)

DAY 5: Sunday 8th April – Avila to Salamanca

We begin our day with a visit to the Convent of Saint Teresa built over the saint’s birthplace and located just inside the South Gate of the old town. Most of the convent remains in cloister but you can see the very spot where she was born, now a chapel in the Baroque church. We then visit Avila’s Cathedral which was started in the 12th century before entering the Monastery of the Incarnation where St Teresa’s cell can be seen as well as other relics of her life.

Following lunch we journey west to Salamanca, the Golden City, owing to the colour of its historic sandstone buildings. In 1988 the Old City of Salamanca was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 16th century at the University “The School of Salamanca” gave birth to a renaissance of thought. Among other Dominicans, Francesco de Vitoria OP (1483 – 1586) considered the Founder of International Law, was a leader in this renaissance.

Salamanca overnight (BD)

DAY 6: Monday 9th April – Salamanca

This morning we will visit the 16th century Convento de San Esteban with the façade looking very much like a tapestry in stone. We have the opportunity to pray at the tombs of Dominicans who have gone before us. See the oldest Christian university in Spain, founded in 1218 by Alfonso IX of Leon. The University proudly boasts of having had among its students and professors such outstanding figures as St Ignatius of Loyola and St John of the Cross. Continue on to the Plaza Mayor, one of the most beautiful squares in Spain and one of the best examples of Baroque architecture.

Salamanca overnight (BD)

DAY 7: Tuesday 10th April – Via Aza to Caleruega

Departing Salamanca, we travel east by coach through the Spanish countryside. En route we will visit Aza, the birthplace of Dominic’s mother. Finally we arrive at Caleruega, the home of Bl Jane of Aza and Felix Guzman and birthplace of their sons, St Dominic, Bl Mannes and Anthony. On arrival we will proceed to our accommodation for check-in.

In walking the uneven streets of this tiny, sun-drenched village and meeting the hospitable folk who live there, and in climbing up the hill of San Jorge which towers above it, revealing limitless vistas beyond, we discover Dominic by getting a feel for the harsh but beautiful land which shaped him in his earliest years.

Caleruega overnight (BD)

DAY 8: Wednesday 11th April – Caleruega & Surrounds

We begin our day with a tour of Caleruega. A highlight includes the Dominican Nuns Convent, formerly the home of the Guzman family. A highlight here is the Crypt where a well marks the spot where Dominic was born around 1170. It is now the centrepiece of a chapel which is adorned with exquisite mosaics depicting scenes from Dominic’s life.

Nearby is the Torreon, or Tower which now houses an interesting museum and offers a wonderful view from its top. Continue on to the Church of San Sebastian where Dominic was baptised. The original twelfth century apse is still preserved, even though the church has undergone numerous reconstructions.

There will be an opportunity to climb the hill of San Jorge, so familiar to Dominic’s family, which towers above the village.

Caleruega overnight (BD)

DAY 9: Thursday 12th April – El Burgo de Osma, Gumiel de Izan & Santo Domingo de Silos

This morning we travel to Santo Domingo De Silos. This is the home of the great Benedictine Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, after whose patron our Dominic was named. Dominic’s mother, Blessed Jane of Aza, is reputed to have prayed there before Dominic’s birth. The abbey is famous for its beautiful Romanesque cloister and for spreading the best traditions of Gregorian chant throughout the world.

Proceed to El Burgo de Osma and visit the ancient Cathedral where Dominic, aged 25, became a canon. It was from here he left on the missionary journey that changed his life.

We then visit Gumiel de Izan, a parish near Caleruega where, according to tradition, Dominic received his early education from his parish priest uncle before attending the University of Palencia.

Caleruega overnight (BD)

DAY 10: Friday 13th April – Via Burgos to San Sebastian

We depart Caleruega this morning and travel the scenic countryside stopping en route at Burgos, where we will have some free time to visit the Cathedral and the great monument to the three later Dominicans down by the river.

We then later arrive in San Sebastian. Remainder of the day at leisure.

San Sebastian overnight (BD)

DAY 11: Saturday 14th April - San Sebastian to Toulouse

We depart San Sebastian this morning by coach for Toulouse, the ‘pink city’. Upon arrival we will enjoy some free time for lunch before our sightseeing this afternoon.

In the ancient city of Toulouse there are several places of special significance to the Dominicans. Visit Peter Seilhan’s house. This merchant of Toulouse gave his property to Dominic for the first residence of his preaching community. Part of the original house still stands. What was Dominic’s room is now a small chapel. We will visit Rangueil Monastery for vespers and continue on to our hotel for check-in.

Toulouse overnight (BD)

DAY 12: Sunday 15th April – Toulouse to Fanjeaux

After breakfast we visit the Church of the Jacobins, including the cloister. It is in this beautiful church, given to the Dominicans in 1230, that we find the relics of St Thomas Aquinas. When Pope Urban V gave custody of Thomas’ relics to the Toulouse brethren in 1369 he wrote: “Just as St Thomas shines out among the Doctors of the Church by the beauty of his style and his thought, so this Toulouse church surpasses in beauty all other churches of the Friars Preachers. I choose it for St Thomas and I wish that his body should be placed there”. Beside the church is a magnificent cloister, which has been fully restored.

We then proceed to Fanjeaux. Situated high on a hill in the lush countryside of southern France, its history dates back to Roman times. Dominic lived and laboured for several years in this place, once a stronghold of the Albigensian heresy.

Upon arrival we will to visit the Monastery of Prouilhe, a kilometre or two down the hill from Fanjeaux, which was established in 1206, but destroyed in 1789 during the French Revolution and refounded in 1890. It is revered as the site of the first Dominican community – celebrating over 800 years of existence! One of the nuns will outline the history and share some of their archival treasures with us. Here we will learn more about the significance of the ‘Seignadou’, the ‘sign from God’. Legend has it that on a stormy evening, sitting in his garden, Dominic was puzzling about where to house the women who wished to be converted; a flash of lightning came to rest near an old disused church in need of repair – the church of Our Lady of Prouilhe. At Prouilhe we will also hear the story of the Basilica and see the work which is underway to complete this amazing building.

We proceed to our hotel for dinner following vespers at the Monastery.

Mirepoix overnight (BD)

DAY 13: Monday 16th April – Carcassonne & Fanjeaux

Following a little free time this morning we morning we travel to Carcassonne, the medieval walled town which lies on the right bank of the River Aude and is featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. It has 52 towers and 2 rings of town walls making a total of 3 km of battlements. Carcassonne offers a wealth of monuments to visit and discover! Dominic preached a series of Lenten sermons here in the Cathedral in 1215.

Following a break for lunch we return to Fanjeaux where we visit Dominic’s house - the bare simplicity of this small house has been intelligently preserved; now a tiny chapel, it irresistibly evokes the presence of the poor preacher and his years of struggle prior to the foundation of the Order. Continue on to the ‘Seignadou’, a landmark on the skyline, marking the scene of a famous event in Dominic’s life.

Mirepoix overnight (BD)

DAY 14: Tuesday 17th April – to Bologna

This morning we depart Toulouse and fly to Bologna. This is one of Italy’s most ancient cities and is home to its oldest university. The Dominicans were attracted to this centre of learning in 1218. It was here, in the convent of San Domenico (known in Dominic’s time as St Nicholas of the Vineyards), that Dominic died in 1221.

Bologna overnight (BD)

DAY 15: Wednesday 18th April – Bologna

This morning we meet our guide visiting the Piazza Maggiore and many churches including Basilica di San Domenico. This church where his tomb lies is a magnificent collaboration of skills, including the work of a young Michelangelo, visible in the angel candleholder on the right side of the saint’s tomb. We also visit the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio.

Remainder of the day at leisure.

Bologna overnight (BD)

DAY 16: Thursday 19th April – to Florence

This morning we depart for Florence where among all the treasures of this great city are many especially precious to Dominicans. Entering the city we ascend the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo to admire the most beautiful view over the whole city of Florence.

Upon arrival we will visit the Museum of San Marco, a former Dominican Monastery and now virtually the Fra Angelico museum. Angelico preached by his art and nowhere more eloquently than in this Convent of San Marco where he decorated the walls of the friars’ cells with exquisite gospel scenes. We will visit also the Chapter room and shop.

Florence overnight (BD)

DAY 17: Friday 20th April – Florence

Our tour of Florence begins today at the Church & Cloisters of Santa Maria Novella. We also visit the old Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella before continuing to the Academy of Fine Arts containing many treasures, including Michelangelo’s statue of David. We will visit the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo, whose magnificent dome was created by Brunelleschi. Across the way are Ghiberti’s celebrated bronze doors to the Baptistery, so lovely that they are commonly known as ‘The Gates of Paradise’.

Some free time in the late afternoon will allow the opportunity for rest or bargain shopping in the streetside bazaars.

Florence overnight (BD)

DAY 18: Saturday 21st April – to Siena

We continue south today to the beautiful medieval city of Siena, birthplace of St Catherine, where we visit St. Catherine’s birthplace and Santa Maria della Scala, once a hospital that cared for the poor and sick, and is now a Museum. We spend some time for prayer and reflection at the Catherine Chapel.

Afternoon at leisure.

Siena overnight (BD)

DAY 19: Sunday 22nd April – Via Orvieto to Rome

Following breakfast we reboard our coach and travel to the quaint Umbrian town of Orvieto, a place where the Dominican Order exercised much influence, including Fra Angelico’s work at the Cathedral and where Thomas Aquinas wrote the Eucharistic Liturgy for the Feast of Corpus Christi. We later continue on to Rome, the Eternal City, where upon arrival we enjoy a city orientation tour before proceeding to our hotel.

Rome overnight (BD)

DAY 20: Monday 23rd April – Rome

Today is free for you to discover the sights of Rome. Strolling through the streets is like walking through the pages of a history book. Indulge in a gelato or enjoy a coffee while absorbing and admiring the history of this ancient city. Marvel at the Pantheon or visit the Church of St Ignatius with its amazing ceiling painted to look like a dome.

Rome overnight (BD)

DAY 21: Tuesday 24th April – Rome

This morning we will visit by coach the beautiful Basilica of Santa Sabina given to St Dominic by Pope Honorius III in the 13th century. We will also tour parts of the adjoining convent, now the headquarters of the Dominican order.

We then continue to San Sisto Vecchio, a church devoted to St Pope Sixtus II build in the 4th century and rebuilt in the 13th. The church houses the relics of St Pope Sixtus II which were transferred from the the Catacombs of St Callixtus. Here we will see a 13th century fresco cycle depicting the Scenes from the New Testament and the Apocrypha.

In the afternoon we will visit San Clemente, now in the care of the Irish Dominicans. The Basilica boasts 5 layers, from the original house converted in 3rd century to a small temple for the worship of the god Mithra up to its function as a working church today. We will conclude our day with a visit to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.

Rome overnight (BD)

DAY 22: Wednesday 25th April – Depart Rome (Anzac Day)

Early this morning we proceed to St. Peters Square where the Holy Father is expected to host a General Audience with pilgrims from around the world. (Subject to the Pope’s presence in Rome) Enjoy some free time before we are transferred to the airport for our homebound flights to Australia. (B)

DAY 23: Thursday 26th April – In transit
DAY 24: Friday 27th April – Arrive Australia

PILGRIMAGE DETAILS
Tour Code: 8PV04
Departs Australia: 4 April 2018
Cost Per Person Twin Share: $9,990 (Incl. Tax)
Single Room Supplement: $2,050
Prepaid Tipping: $315
 
All details of sightseeing listed and order of daily arrangements must remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the pilgrimage leadership. This overview is based on the standard pilgrimage departure and return dates. Please refer to your personal flight itinerary for more specific details or amendments pertaining to your travel.

SIMPLE BOOKING PROCEDURES
Contact Harvest to place your booking and to advise any other extension plans. Send an $800 AUD deposit per person with completed pilgrims booking form to Harvest Journeys in Sydney. Cheques to be made payable to Harvest Journeys, nominate Credit Card details where shown or Direct Deposit. Await Harvest’s letter of confirmation containing receipt, visa(s) information (if applicable) and travel insurance detail along with any other specific travel detail. Make balance of payment seven weeks prior to departure. Collect or await the delivery of final tour documentation approximately two weeks prior to departure date.

INCLUSIONS
Airfares
: Economy class flying Emirates (N.B. Airlines taxes are included on standard itinerary and subject to fluctuations).
Accommodation & Meals: Based on moderate standard hotel & Religious accommodation throughout with breakfast and dinner daily
Miscellaneous inclusions: Deluxe Air-Conditioned Motor coach with driver • Local tour escort/guide • Sightseeing and entrance fees throughout itinerary
Not Included: Passport and Visa Costs (if applicable) • Other meals not stated • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc. • Travel insurance (Harvest will recommend a special group policy rate).
 
* Costs have been based on prices as at November 2017 and must remain subject to change in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases and minimum group size (20) contingencies.
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