How about combining a great pilgrimage to Italy with a chance to do some Christmas shopping?
With all the online shopping available, Christmas shopping does not have the same hustle and bustle and excitement that many of us remember from the past. No crowded department stores (if you can even find one), no looking at the window displays (remember the movie “Christmas Story” that has been so popular?).
A special advantage of traveling in Italy just before Christmas is that the huge crowds of tourists are gone. You will find yourself visiting shrines and churches in a much less hurried and crowded environment. Also, daytime temperatures, averaging in the upper 50’s, are pleasantly brisk, but quite comfortable.
Taking a trip to Italy at this time of year also presents the opportunity to purchase some really unique gifts for Christmas giving, as you visit many of the holy places with their own special charm. They will have an extra special meaning to the recipient, since you brought them back from Italy.
We found one pilgrimage that we think will fit the bill. It is offered by Select International Tours from December 4-15, 2023. It is a beautiful pilgrimage and there is far more than the opportunity to shop, of course.
They will take you to some of the holiest places in Italy: Rome (of course) plus Padre Pio’s Shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo, the Holy House of Loreto, Assisi, Saint Michael’s Cave and more. You will have a priest to accompany you, with daily Mass, and excellent group leaders and guides that Select International is known for.
Although the European-style Christmas markets are not prevalent here in the southern half of Italy, there are two that will be on the route: Assisi and Rome. Your daily schedule may allow you to head out to one or both of them during the free time that this pilgrimage offers.
Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome, with famous fountains such as the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Fountain of Neptune. A visit to the Christmas market in Piazza Navona (perfect timing, it opens on December 8, when you have a free evening with dinner on your own) or perhaps the one in Assisi (from the itinerary, it looks like you have the afternoon free in Assisi on December 10). You have the chance of mixing with locals and really immersing yourself in their culture.
You can find all the information about this pilgrimage to the Shrines of Italy here. Time is short, so don’t wait too long!