Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati Hiking Pilgrimage, Italy
August 14-22, 2021
Turin, Pollone, Oropa and Valle d'Aosta
Breakfast, lunch and dinner every day
Opportunities for spiritual talks, reflection and the chance to hike in the Italian Alps!
A Note about Flights
We allow you to choose your own flights to keep our trip costs as low as possible. The earlier flights are purchased, the better! We recommend checking www.kayak.com, www.skyscanner.com, and www.google.com/flights/ for flight options.
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 adventure after experiencing beauty and peace in Pier Giorgio’s Italy.
As a pilgrim with Creatio, all meals, lodgings, and visits to points of interest are prearranged and included in the cost of the trip. We want you to be free to experience God in Nature. As experienced pilgrims ourselves, we find this easiest when day-to-day cares are minimal and we are freely allowed to “Adventure in nature. Journey in spirit.”
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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 Pier Girogio would spend his summers, the house is still owned by the Frassati family. We visit the home and see many of his material belonings and momentos. 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, “the Shrine between Earth and Sky” was founded in the 4th century by St. Eusebio and is a pilgrimage site to the statue of the Black Madonna.
Valle d’Aosta, Italy
This amazing region is neighbors with both Switzerland and France. It is the perfect place to explore the Italian Alps with its amazing views, wildlife, medieval structures and natural wonders. Stay in a refurge nestled a 2 hour hike into the mountains surrounded by lakes and cows for a real experience of European mountain hospitality. A short hike away, you can see the famous Mont Blanc.
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 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 that happen while preparing dinner, 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 visit 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 are many opportunities for Spiritual growth and reflection. Pilgrims have the opportunity for daily moments of prayer and reflection led by Creatio guides, and can 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, stay 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!
*This itinerary is subject to change
Day 1 (August 14, 2021) Milan, Italy / Pollone, Biella, Italy
We meet you at the airport in Milan (MXP) Malpensa Airport (see “Arriving to Italy” section below) from there we will drive to Pollone, Biella, Italy.
Includes: On the ground transportation, dinner & accommodations.
Day 2-4 (August 15, 2021 – August 17, 2021) Pollone, Biella, Italy
Pollone, Italy is where Pier Giorgio would spend his summers. We will spend the next few days literally walking in his footsteps – hiking where he did, seeing his family home, and praying at the chapels he would. Stay in the Santuario di Oropa, “the Shrine between earth and sky”. The group will hike one of Frassati’s favorite mountains, Monte Mucrone, which is now dedicated to the Blessed. Note that this is a moderate – difficult hike.
Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, accommodations, guided hikes & ground transportation.
Days 5-7 (August 18, 2021 – August 19, 2021) Valle d’Aosta, Italy
The morning of August 18th we will drive through northwest Italy to Saint Rhemy, Valle d’Aosta for the next part of our pilgrimage. A two-hour hike will take us to the Rifugio Pier Giorgio Frassati, which will be our home base for the next two nights. From the Rifugio, we will have time for hiking, rest, daily Mass, and community time nestled in the Alps. A short hike away are views of Mont Blanc and other Swiss peaks.
Includes: Breakfast and dinner provided by the Rifugio (local cuisine), lunch, accommodations, options for guided hikes & ground transportation.
Days 8-9 (August 20,2021 – August 21, 2021) Turin, Italy
In Bl. Frassati’s hometown of Turin, you will be able to visit his tomb, where the Shroud of Turin is also located, as well as other locations significant to his life. Also get to know St. Don Bosco, as we will stay at Valdocco, the parish and surrounding village, founded by Don Bosco himself. You will have time to explore the city and try some amazing food and drink. And before you head back home, debrief the Experience with your new pilgrim family.
Includes: All breakfast, lunch & dinners, accommodations, guided tour of the Basilica Maria Ausiliatrice, Celebratory Final Dinner & ground transportation.
Day 9 (August 22, 2021) Fly home from Milan
On the final morning, the group will say goodbye to Turin and drive to Milan. In under two hours, we will arrive at Milan’s Malpensa Airport (MXP). Here is when the Pilgrimage Experience officially ends.
Includes: Breakfast & ground transportation to MXP airport.
Excludes: International flights; Other travel or tourism arrangements.
Pilgrimage Starting City: Milan, Italy
Pilgrimage Ending City: Milan, Italy
Specific Trip Details and Detailed Itinerary will be provided to the group approximately 60 days before the trip.
Travel to and from Italy
ARRIVAL: Participants may arrive in Milan (Malpensa Airport – MXP) anytime BEFORE 12 pm (noon – time in Milan, Italy) on Saturday, August 14th, the participants will meet at the Milan Airport (MXP) at that time. Pilgrims will be given instructions for the meeting location. The Experience officially begins at 12 pm in Milan on 8/14/21, any prior travel arrangements are the responsibility of the participant.
DEPARTURE: Participants will arrive back in Milan at approximately 8am on August 22nd. Creatio is responsible for getting pilgrims from Turin to Milan, unless other arrangements are made.
The Experience officially ends at 8am on August 22th. Participants who wish to remain for extra time may do so on their own. Any other transportation or travel arrangements are the responsibility of each participant, but we can assist you in getting a taxi or take public transit at the end of the trip. In the past, our pilgrims have often traveled elsewhere after the trip, and you are free to do so.
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. At this time, also be aware of change and cancellation fees, or lack there of (see Insurance section below for more details).
The cost of your Pilgrimage with us includes trip insurance. This insurance covers things like trip cancellation/interruption (under certain conditions), emergency medical care & evacuation, travel delays, lost luggage, etc. Travel Insurance only covers the advertised costs and services. If you are purchasing your flights separately (on-your-own) your flight will not be covered by the Trip Travel Insurance, and another policy must be purchased separately.
Travel insurance is required for Creatio trips. A policy in your name will be included in the Experience Price. All policies included in an Experience only provide coverage during the advertised dates of the Experience. If a participant’s personal situation results in canceling the trip prior to departure (e.g. participant gets sick and must withdraw from the Experience prior to departure date), then Creatio’s cancellation policy applies.
Creatio is not an insurance company and has no responsibility for the submission, payment, or adjustment of any insurance claims. Any insurance claims that may fall under the relevant travel insurance policy must be submitted to the insurance company identified in the policy.
If a participant is concerned about recovering costs due to cancelation for any reason whatsoever, Creatio recommends participants to purchase the Add-on Cancel-for-Any-
In addition to travelers insurance, it is good to know what your medical insurance covers in foreign countries. Call your insurance before departing and know what is in your plan. Bring your insurance card with you. All participants must have their own medical insurance plan. It is possible to purchase short-term coverage specifically for medical issues while abroad.
Health & Safety Information
We recommend you and your group 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 is on foot exploring the mountainous landscape of Northwest Italy. Much of the beauty we see is accessible only by hiking, so if you are not physically active you should start excercising 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 encounter involves hiking multiple days in the Alps which can be physically demanding. Pilgrims are encouraged to practice 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.
This list is subject to change.
Weather is very dependent on location. The city of Turin is typically humid and hot, the mountains are typically chilly, especially in the mornings. Use the layering system and multi-use clothing items when possible.
RECOMMENDED – Backpack or Duffle w/ a small Daypack
- 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”)
- 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
- 3 shirts – base layer, we will only need a t-shirt most of the day
- 1 long sleeve/light outer layer jacket for chilly mornings
- 2 pairs of pants or hiking shorts
- 2-3 pair non-cotton socks (See “Preparation Items”)
- Light outer shell raincoat
- 1 set of light sleeping clothes – t-shirt and shorts
- At least 1 nicer outfit for going into Churches / in the city
- Women- no tank tops for going into Churches
- Good walking/hiking shoes
- Sandals – Chacos, Tevas or Keens or the like
- 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.
- 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 – There will be time to sit and read and reflect.
- 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.
- 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
*Trip insurance provides coverage during the advertised dates of the Experience. If a situation arises prior to departure, this would not be covered.