Italy Hiking Pilgrimage
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
August 10- 18, 2019
Pollone, Oropa, Aosta & Turin, Italy
About this Trip
Verso l’alto- “to the heights” Go to the heights that inspired Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati, “The man of the Eight Beatitudes” with Creatio! Hike the same mountains he did, see his family’s summer home, pray at the Oropa Shrine where he would run to daily Mass, explore the Aosta Valley region on the borders of France and Switzerland and finish the pilgrimage by visiting his tomb in his home city of Turin.
Creatio’s experienced guides will lead you on this pilgrimage in nature and in spirit. Our guides helped create this trip after experiencing beauty and peace in Pier Giorgio’s Italy.
Early Bird price: $1,295 (until May 11th)
Regular price: $1,395
Bring a friend and you both get $100 off!
Note about flights...
We allow you to choose your own flights to keep our trip costs as cheap as possible. The earlier flights are purchased, the better! We recommend checking www.google.com/flights for the cheapest options. Pro Tip: Use Google Flight's "Explore Map" feature to leave from or fly into a less expensive city (be sure to leave enough time to catch your connecting flights).
- Creatio guide
- Trip insurance
- All lodging
- Ground transportation
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day
- Wonderful opportunities for friendship, spiritual talks, and the chance to hike in the Italian Alps!
- International flights
- Passport Fees
Join us "To the Heights"
As Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati said, "Verso l'alto" or "to the heights!" Join Creatio in the footsteps of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati through Northwest Italy. Follow his example and enjoy life in a magnanimous way surrounded by mountains and community!
Sarah has led countless pilgrimages to Pier Giorgio’s Italy with Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austria Program. She is excited to visit the area once again and experience life as Pier Giorgio did, to the fullest!
Sarah Harmon | Volunteer Guide
“I got to hike the same mountains as Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati in Pollone, Italy, where his family had a summer house. At the top of Mount Mucrone, I thought about how he would run up the mountain I just hardcore struggled to climb. Pier Giorgio was magnanimous in EVERYTHING and yet such a normal young adult. He proved that sainthood isn’t achieved through a walk in the park, sometimes you literally have to run up a mountain. His example of living life is what I strive for.”
Mary Krolicki | Creatio Missionary Guide
About Pier Giorgio Frassati
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati was born April 6, 1901 and died at the age of 24 after contracting polio while taking care of the poor and sick. Pier Giorgio’s friends described him as “an explosion of joy.” In her biography, Luciana Frassati, Pier Giorgio's sister, said that “He represented the finest in Christian youth: pure, happy, enthusiastic about everything that is good and beautiful.” He was an avid outdoorsman, skier and mountain climber who loved spending time with his friends in the outdoors. Pier Giorgio said in one of his letters, “Every day, my love for the mountains grows more and more. If my studies permitted, I’d spend whole days in the mountains contemplating the Creator’s greatness in that pure air.” He studied Engineering, which was not easy for him, he had to spend a lot of time studying but he wanted to "serve Christ better among the miners". He had an appreciation for art (his mother and one of his close friends were artists), music and poetry. He was a strong activist against both the communists and fascists and was a part of Catholic groups where he encouraged other young people to work for social reform. He also had a deep love for the poor who he ministered to up until his death.
This is where the Frassati family had their summer home. Situated in the Piedmont region of Italy, Pollone is a quaint town with majestic views. When Pier Giorgio was here, he would give the money that he would have used for public transportation to the poor and instead run to daily Mass at the Oropa Sanctuary. He would run there and back before the rest of the family woke up in the morning. The Sanctuary was founded in the 4th century by St. Eusebio and is a pilgrimage site to the statue of the Black Madonna from the 13th century. The Shrine will be our home base for the first part of this pilgrimage!
This amazing region is neighbors with both Switzerland and France. It is the perfect place to explore the Italian Alps close to Parco Gran Paradiso, a National Park with its amazing views, wildlife, and natural wonders. Stay in the region surrounded by medieval structures and snowcapped peaks for a real experience of European mountain hospitality.
This busy Italian city is known for its architecture and cuisine. It is also the city that Pier Giorgio lived and died in. It is said that when he died, floods of poor and sick crowded around his home, most of whom he had served. Visit Turin’s many churches, including the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, where the Shourd of Turin is held and Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati is buried. Walk in the footsteps of many other saints around the city, such as St. John Bosco, St. Dominic Savio and St. Maria Domenica Mazzarello. Turin is also bustling with an open-air market where you can buy fresh grapes, figs, bread and cheese.
Community and Friendship
“Community,” “deep conversation,” “friendship.” Many pilgrims chose these words when asked to describe their Creatio Pilgrimage experiences in one phrase. Others affectionately remember their experience by calling their fellow pilgrims their “Pilgrim Family.” Of course, the pilgrim experience is known as a great opportunity for silence, personal reflection, and soul-searching. But we are made for community, made for an encounter, and much of that soul-searching happens in communion with others. Those conversations while preparing dinner, or sipping a hot espresso in tiny village, or helping someone with their blisters (yes, they’re real) may be the ones that help change our lives. Come prepared to live out the beauty of Community similar to Pier Giorgio Frassati and his friends!
Creatio’s spirituality is focused on strengthening the four relationships: relationship with self, with one another, with nature and with God. We encourage all of our pilgrims to be open to experience a deepening of these relationships while on our experiences. We go out into nature and beauty and hope that along the journey, we encounter the depth of ourselves and those around us. The locations that we will be visiting are perfect for just that, “The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ.” -Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati.
On this Creatio Pilgrimage, there will be many opportunities for Spiritual growth and reflection. Pilgrims will have the opportunity for daily moments of prayer and reflection led by both trip guides, and will participate in the Mass in some little cities along the way. Experience the rich Italian Catholic tradition in a truly authentic way, surrounded by mountains, nature and your pilgrim family.
One of the best parts of pilgrimage is living a simple life for a week. And one of the best parts of Italy is its hospitality. That being said, we will be staying in some incredibly unique places, such as a Shrine, refuges in the Alps, and a Monastery. Because this is a pilgrimage, conditions may not exactly be 5 star, but basic needs for pilgrims will always be met (warm place to sleep, blankets, etc). Joyous also is meeting and resting with other travelers from around the world and sharing meals and life for a short while with them!
(subject to change)
Day 1: Arrive in Milan – Arrive in the morning and travel to Oropa
Day 2-4: Oropa/ Pollone – Hiking, Rest and Reflection
Days 5-7: Aosta and Parco Gran Paradiso – Hiking
Day 7-8: Turin
Day 9: Return to Milan by 8am and fly home
Getting to Italy
Participants may arrive in Milan (MXP) anytime BEFORE 12 p.m. (Time in Milan, Italy) on Saturday, August 10th, the participants will meet at the Milan Airport (MPX) at that time. Pilgrims will be given instructions for meeting location. The trip officially begins at 12 p.m. in Milan on 8/10, any prior travel arrangements are the responsibility of the participant.
Participants may depart from Milan for the U.S. anytime after 8 p.m. on Sunday, 18th. The Trip officially ends at Milan train station, Sunday18th (approximately 12 a.m.). Participants who wish to remain extra time may do so on their own.
Please wait until we have confirmed your spot in the pilgrimage to buy your flights. Please contact us if you’d like assistance choosing flights or connecting with other missionaries to travel together.
Health & Safety Information
We recommend you undergo a medical check-up before traveling to make sure you don’t have any kind of medical condition that could obstruct your participation in the pilgrimage.
This pilgrimage is physically demanding. The majority of this trip will be on foot exploring the mountainous landscape of Northwest Italy. Many of the beauty we will see is accessible only by hiking, so if you are not physically active you should start making some hikes now to prepare.
Northern Italy has a climate and the weather in the month of August is very temperate, with temperatures between 60-85o F. The most significant difficulty that pilgrims will encounter involves hiking multiple days through the Alps which can be physically demanding. Pilgrims are encouraged to build up resistance to hiking long distances, wearing the boots or shoes that they will wear on the pilgrimage. Blisters are one of the most frequent challenges of the hiking pilgrim. They can be limited/avoided by getting high quality and good-fitting socks and boots. Pilgrims are encouraged to break-in their footwear if they are purchasing new equipment, walking at least 3-4 weeks with the new boots before use.
Italy has a national health care system, with most public hospitals. Hospitals are all within close proximity of our travel destinations and bigger, modern hospitals in major cities.
For more country-specific health and safety information, visit www.travel.state.gov for details.
- Passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the final day of trip. Passport must have at least one blank visa page.
Non US Citizens or those traveling from outside of the US:
- Visit travel.state.gov to understand visa and vaccine requirements regarding the country from which you are coming.
- Please contact us to confirm non-US citizen visa requirements.
What To Bring
This list is subject to change.
RECOMMENDED – 1 Backpack Only (30-55L) w/ a small Daypack
- Pack to carry all items
- Passport (See “Preparation Items”)
- Travelers insurance card
- General insurance card
- Copy of Passport, ID, and insurance cards
- Emergency contact information
- Money for souvenirs, airport meals, personal items, and additional snacks or drinks you might want (See “Preparation Items”)
- Debit card (and PIN) (See “Preparation Items”)
- Sleeping bag liner, light sleeping bag, or light blanket (Bed bugs are always possible. There are sprays to treat your bag to help keep beg bugs away if you would like.)
- Water bottle or Camelbak (It doesn’t need to be huge – tap water in Italy is drinkable and readily available along our route. If you do bring a Camelback, also bring a water bottle to use in the evenings).
- Hiking clothes – Recommendation: Bring two sets of clothing. You can wash one each night. Clothes that dry quickly are best – technical/hiking clothes. Avoid cotton.
- 3 shirts – base layer, we will only need a t-shirt most of the day
- 1 long sleeve/outer layer for chilly mornings
- 2 pairs of pants that zip off into shorts (or 2 of each)
- 3 underwear – preferably technical/quick dry (women – same material for bras)
- 2 pair silk liner socks (See “Preparation Items”)
- 2-3 pair non-cotton socks (See “Preparation Items”)
- Light outer shell raincoat
- 1 set of light sleeping clothes – t-shirt and shorts
- Women – one lightweight long skirt for going into churches
- Use layering system, you won’t need a large coat
- Good walking/hiking shoes
- Sandals/flip flops for shower and evenings
- Toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, travel size items or share) Recommend: Dr. Bronner’s soap or similar – You can use it as shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, etc.
- Laundry detergent or bar (easy to buy there as well)
- Toilet paper – just a small roll for wilderness trail times
- Small towel (highly recommend the Pac or swimmer towels that are small and dry quickly)
- Prescribed and non-prescribed medications
- Rosary or other spiritual items
- One small book – Be very prudent with weight! There won’t be a lot of time to sit and read. (Recommendation: The Way or a similar small book with reflections)
- Bible – Again, be prudent with weight. Travel versions are best.
- Camera and charger – Be aware of voltage difference so bring an adapter or share one.
- Phone and charger – Be aware of voltage difference. Most new phones can handle it. Leaders will carry a phone for emergencies so you will be able to leave your phone off during the trip.
- Gold bond powder (chaffing…you’ll be glad you brought it)
- Small pouch for Passport and personal money
- Blister care – safety pins (2), needle, thread, band-aids, first aid tape, Vaseline, moleskin. Creatio will provide some. You can also buy these things along the way if you need them.
- Watch – not necessary, but handy for meeting times and morning alarm
- ***Pack light!! There will be days that we hike with these packs to get to our lodging destinations so you dont want them to be too heavy. Your pack should be 10-15lbs, not more than 15lbs or 10% of your body weight
- There are shops in the towns. You can buy pretty much anything you need along the way, especially toiletries. Don’t over pack; you can always replenish along the way.
- Talk among one another (or with leaders) about sharing items – toothpaste, sunscreen, moleskin, etc.
- For indications/recommendations for Hiking Boots, Socks, and other details, please see Preparation Items or email the Trip Guide