The main aim of the religious tourism is to visit religious sites such as Marian shrines, churches, monasteries, places of prayer in order to see the religious essence of the place, but also its historical and architectural beauty. A Different Italy offers the possibility to gather in prayer and meditate as well as to contemplate some artistic treasures.
Day 1 – CONCESIO – BRESCIA
Departure for Concesio, birthplace of Pope Paul VI : visit of the Montinis’ house and the church which preserves the original baptismal font. Guided tour of the museum of the Associazione Arte e Spiritualità at the Istituto Paolo VI, where the “Collezione Paolo VI,” is exposed. It collects 7000 paintings, drawings, prints, medals and sculptures of the XX century, that witness the deep cultural exchange of the world of art with the pontiff.
Transfer to Brescia and lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon tour of the city. It will start with the wonderful backdrop of Piazza del Duomo (today the Cathedral Square is named after Pope Paul VI). The old Cathedral (Rotonda) is one of the few circular Romanesque churches, its shape goes probably back to that of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The New Cathedral was built between 1604 and 1825. Visit the
shrine and Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where Paul VI celebrated his first Mass. Leaving Piazza del Duomo and walking under the characteristic arcades, you will reach Piazza della Loggia.
Lunch in a restaurant.
Finally, we will pay homage to St. Angela Merici, the patron saint of the city, at the Church of San Francesco, in which you can find a chapel dedicated to her.
Transfer to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2 – LAKE GARDA
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Desenzano del Garda, where it is possible to rebuild and revive the life of St. Angela Merici. St. Angela Merici was born around 1474 in Desenzano. She died in Brescia in 1540 and was canonized in 1807. Guided tour through the holy places which will start from her birthplace in via Castello and continue with the Cathedral, the
statue in Piazza Malvezzi and the Ursuline convent in via S. Maria. The tour will touch the house where the saint spent most of his life. Finally you will reach the Mericianum, a spiritual centre run by the Ursuline nuns in which the Sanctuary dedicated to the saint is located.
Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon, transfer to Peschiera del Garda to visit the Sanctuary of Madonna del Frassino. The famous Franciscan place of Marian devotion, built in the 1500s, is now declared national monument. It is located on the site where a farmer who was bringing the vines survived the bite of a snake for the miraculous intervention of Our Lady, which is said to have materialized in the branches of an ash tree in the form of a statuette,
now preserved within the sanctuary. Short panoramic tour of Lake Garda.
Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 3 – BERGAMO – SOTTO IL MONTE
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Bergamo.
Bergamo is characterized by its peculiar division into two parts: the Upper City (Città Alta), the ancient centre, and the Lower City (Città Bassa), the centre of the new urban development and trade. The Upper City has two ancient squares: Piazza Vecchia where the medieval Palazzo della Ragione is located and Piazza del Duomo where the Cathedral, the Basilica of
Santa Maria Maggiore, the Battistero (Baptistry), and the beautiful Cappella Colleoni are collected. Lunch at a restaurant.
In the afternoon transfer to Sotto il Monte, birthplace of Pope John XXIII. At first you will stop at Brusicco and visit the house where the future Blessed was born on 25 November 1881. Here you can see the picture of his parents, their bed, some clothes of Angelo Roncalli and the furniture. From his birthplace you will reach Piazza Santa Maria, where the fifteenth-century church of Santa Maria is located. In this Church the pope was baptized, made his first communion, and celebrated the first Mass.
The tour ends at Ca ‘Maitino: it is the Roncallis’ first residence where the Papa Buono spent his summer holidays.