The religious Tours represent an important phenomenon that involves the Tourism industry. Nowadays all over the world there are 40 million people spending 4 billion dollars that love to visit the places of worship . They are driven by the wish to discover the roots of Christianity and to be moved by those holy places. This great business is particularly flourishing in Italy where there are a lot of significant, beautiful and charming destination and the Christian culture deeply radicated. The itinerary that we propose here ties many important Italian religious destinations:
Venezia, Padova, Torino, Firenze, Loreto, Assisi, Lanciano, Roma, Montecassino, Pompei, San Giovanni Rotondo.
Venice contains more than 200 churches, and 8 basilicas, so it is a particularly interesting destination for religious tourism too. Saint Mark’s Basilica, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, and Rialto’s Basilica are the most important places to visit, but everyone can choose a visit itinerary that could fit his interests. In its churches Venice contains a lot of extraordinary art masterpieces made by great masters like Donatello or Bellini. To improve this kind of tourism many hotels and bed and breakfast have been arranged nearby the religious places.Visiting the marvelous Churches and Basilicas Venice could be an interesting way to approach this city, really unique in the world. There you can find a landscape that doesn’t need presentation, an excellent handicraft and a lot of treasure floating on the lagoon. You can finally savour the fine taste of the city.
Saint Anthony’s Basilica is the best attraction for religious tourists coming in Padua. As a matter of fact the Saint, according to his will, had been buried in a small church that was incorporated into the present basilica as the Cappella della Madonna Mora. The Basilica is a giant building, it has four cloisters and contains many precious decorations. It’s one of the many places in Italy, like Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, where Religion and Culture embrace each other, so it’s daily visited by hundreds of people. Besides St’Anthony’s Basilica you can visit many other beautiful places of worship like: Scrovegni’s Chapel , Carmine’s Basilica or San Giustina’s Basilica.
But Padova is not just a religious destination. This is a city rich of art and culture. It attracted many great artists like Giotto, Donatello and Canova and it was the Palladio’s birthplace. Besides the already quoted churches you can also find interesting places to visit like Palazzo della Ragione, where you can find two historical marketplaces, or Prato della Valle, an elliptical square, one of the biggest in Europe.
Torino has become a religious destination thanks to the Exposition of Holy Shroud. Nowadays, just ten years after the Exposition during the jubilee year, the Holy Shroud is once again on display in the Cathedral of Torino (starting on 10 April until 23 May) and it was revered by Pope Benedict XVI will be there. In 2010, and for the first time ever, it will be possible to see the Holy Shroud following the intervention it underwent in 2002. This restoration was carried out by the supervision of professor Flury Lemberg. The Exposition in Torino has already attracted more than a million of visitors, tourists and pilgrims from all over the world.
If you go to Torino you can also enjoy its other tourist attractions. As a matter of fact Turin is a genteel city wit a lot of fine buildings. In particular the most important are Mole Antonelliana, a huge building that houses the National Museum of Cinema, and the Egyptian Museum that houses the biggest collection in of Egyptian antiquities, outside Egypt, in the world.
Torino is also the capital of Gianduia, an amazing kind of chocolate,. So you can enjoy all of this in one city.
It is mostly famous as the seat of the Basilica della Santa Casa, a popular Catholic pilgrimage site. The basilica is a huge edifice richly adorned, with a great Vanvitelli’s campanile. But the true pilgrims’s attraction is the Holy House, the place where the Annunciation took place and where Jesus was born. According to the legend it was carried there by the angels, however it was done by crusaders. That makes of Loreto a crucial religious destination. Furthermore this city is twinned with other international religious destinations like: Lourdes, Częstochowa, Fatima and Nazareth.
Loreto lies on the Apennines and it domains a marvelous landscape that ends with the sea. It is close to Osimo, a nice medieval village where Saint Giovanni da Copertino lived. You can also easily reach Ancona from Loreto, it needs just a short journey by car.
The importance of Lanciano as a religious destination is related to Eucharistic Miracle that has taken place there. As a matter of fact in 700 A.D. a monk had doubt about the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist during the Celebration. When he was pronouncing the Words of Consecration, the bread became flesh and the wine blood. Those relics are saved into Saint Francesco’s Church. Their authenticity is granted by many examinations made by experts. Beside Saint Francesco’s church, Lanciano offers other important religious places to visit like Santa Maria del Ponte’s Cathedral or Santa Maria Maggiore.
Lanciano lies in Abruzzo, a wonderful Italian region that offers great chances to enjoy its naturalistic treasures too like Gran Sasso Mountains or the National Park of Abruzzo, its pastoral traditions, its medieval villages.
Assisi is a town where you can breathe Christianity’s smell. It is the place where Saint Francesco and Santa Chiara were born. In this town there are many important worship places deeply bound with the Saints: Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi that is also a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church of St Francis were completed in 1253. The lower church has frescos by renowned late-medieval artists Cimabue and Giotto. In the upper church is decorated by frescos of scenes of the life of St. Francis previously ascribed to Giotto. Basilica of Santa Chiara contains the tomb of the saint and 13th‑century frescoes and paintings.: Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli which houses the Porziuncola, the small church that was built by Saint Francesco.
Furthermore Assisi in twinned with Betlemme.
Assisi lies in the middle of Umbria, an Italian region also called “the green heart of Italy” thanks to its beautiful green landscapes. Furthermore Assisi is quite close to Perugia, a notable artistic and cultural center in Italy where you can admire masterpieces of Perugino, Raffaello and Pinturicchio.
As Assisi is connected with St Francis and Claire, Montecassino is bound with Saint Benedict of Norcia who founded there the Benedictine order and their first monastery. The Abbey we can now see there was rebuilt thanks to Italian government after its destruction during the World War Second. In the huge Abbey is buried the body of Saint Benedict, and is often visited by the Popes. It’s a spiritual place, a must s of the religious itinerary of Italy.
Florence, as usually happens in Italy, is both an artistic and religious destination. It offers an inner religious itinerary thanks to its wonderful churches. They lie in the center of the city that was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The major are Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral engineered by Brunelleschi, Santa Croce, the principal Franciscan church in Florence and where the graves of Italian Notables take place, Santa Maria Novella’s Basilica that contains masterpieces of Masaccio, Uccello and Lippi, San Giovanni Baptistery, and many precious others. But as we have say it before, Firenze shows an extraordinary cultural offer. There you can enjoy famous museums like Uffizi, that houses masterpieces of Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many other great Masters, Palazzo Pitti or Palazzo della Signoria just to quote anyone of them. But Firenze is a place where you can have suitable tastes of Tuscany’s cuisine and the place where have a great shopping time.
Beata Vergine del Rosario’s Sanctuary is the symbol of devotion to the Holy Virgin. It is a giant building in Pompei that was built in the late 19th Century thanks to people donations. It attracts every year more than four millions of pilgrims and devout tourists. In one of the Chapels there is the famous painting that retracts the Holy Virgin instituting the Rosary.
Once you are in Pompei you can’t avoid to visit the extraordinary archaeological parks of
Pompei and Ercolano, two cities that have been destroyed by the Vesuvio’s eruption on 79 AD. Ash and dust covered the remains during the centuries and have well maintained them. The park of Ercolano and Pompei is an UNESCO’s site and one of the Italy’s best tourist attractions.
San Giovanni Rotondo is the place where Saint Pio of Pietrelcina lived. It every year attracts millions of people driven by the devotion to the Saint, by the faith of his miracles. The Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church was built in devotion to the saint, dedicated on July 1, 2004, projected by Renzo Piano. The city hosts an important hospital and medical research center Casa: Sollievo della Sofferenza (Home for the Relief of the Suffering) founded by Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. The nearby Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel is also the site of Catholic pilgrimages and was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1987. Therefore San Giovanni Rotondo is a crucial place of worship in Italy. The city is twinned with Wadowice, where Pope John Paul II was born.
Rome and Vatican City are always been the center of pilgrimages. With more than 900 churches in the urban area, it is simply the heart of Christianity. Rome’s cathedral is the Basilica of St. John Lateran, in the south-east of the city-centre. Other important churches are Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Basilica di San Clemente, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane and the Church of the Jesus. In the territory of Vatican City lies St. Peter’s Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel and various other buildings. Each of these churches possesses its own unique beauty and an extraordinary artistic value that attract pilgrims and tourist from all over the world. Besides the artistic uniqueness of the churches, an other attraction is the figure of Pope for million of people every year, coming to Rome just to hear the Pope’s teachings.
Roma, more than Venezia and Firenze, doesn’t need presentation. There our civilization was born. Every experience you make is unique: enjoying the huge Musei Vaticani, walking through Piazza di Spagna or Fori Imperiali, throwing a coin in Fontana di Trevi, having a looking at Colosseo, visiting an exposition at Scuderie del Quirinale, making shopping in via del Corso or even having a great lunch in an “osteria” in Trastevere is priceless just because all of those is in Rome, is Rome.