by Lucinda Vardey
Pilgrimages have long been a vital part of Italy’s heritage. Yet visiting its sacred sites seems an overwhelming challenge for the modern traveler: what to see, where to go, how much time to spend in each place? In her new book, Lucinda Vardey provides solutions and guidance. In recognizing the genius of many of Italy’s well-known –and some lesser-known– saints, she offers ten pilgrimages (to all parts of the country), for one or two days or a week, in a unique format of biography of early masters such as St. Benedict, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Catherine of Siena and more contemporary teachers, Blessed Pope John 23rd and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio). After learning of the life of each saint, there is a summary of their spiritual teaching, a pilgrim prayer and suggestions for intention, itinerary, maps and detailed directions to the prime places to visit in that person’s life (many documented for the first time). Also provided are sidebars on religious art and artists and a four-day retreat in Rome. Lucinda Vardey is a teacher, retreat guide and writer of spiritual subjects, with a special emphasis on the interface between eastern and western teachings and feminine spirituality. Born in England, she lives part of the year in Tuscany and has led Italian pilgrimages for over six years.