If you have good reporting skills and are available to travel to Italy next week, we’ll get you on a flight to Italy with all travel expenses paid as our magazine’s ambassador to follow Saint Francis’ footsteps from Assisi to Rome, where you’ll get to meet His Holiness the Pope in the Vatican. 

Too good to be true? IT IS TRUE!!! Read on for details.

Panoramic view of the ancient town of Assisi and vast plain with golden and green harvest fields, Umbria, Italy— Photo by pandionhiatus3

L’Italo-Americano magazine has been partnering for some time ItaliaSlowTour, a premium travel organization that promotes a “slow” way of discovering Italy as a way to absorb Italian culture and traditions, and to discover beautiful hidden gems of Italy that are usually “skipped” by mass tourism chasing only the top highlights of our beautiful country.

To celebrate the upcoming St. Francis Day on October 4th and to pay homage to Pope Francis on the day that celebrates the Saint who inspired His Holiness, ItaliaSlowTour has organized a pilgrimage that will follow the footsteps of Saint Francis in the real sense, by traveling on foot from Assisi to Rome, and has invited L’Italo-Americano to send an “ambassador” to take part to the pilgrimage, offering a fully paid trip to a subscriber of our magazine.

Beautiful alley in the ancient town of Assisi, Umbria, Italy— Photo by pandionhiatus3

The Saint Francis pilgrimage is part of a larger initiative organized by the San Francesco Consortium, an initiative promoted by the Umbria region with the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture (Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo).

We were about to announce the initiative a few weeks ago, but the earthquake that recently hit Central Italy and destroyed the city of Amatrice put the pilgrimage on hold, and almost canceled the tour organized by our content partners ItaliaSlowTour. Yesterday we got notice by the organizers that the itinerary has been checked and it’s now absolutely safe to travel in the region, so the pilgrimage to honor the Saint patron of Italy has been confirmed.

Dramatic sunset over facade of the basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, Rome, Italy— Photo by marinv

Yes we know that it’s a last minute notice, but this is typical of when luck strikes, and we are finally able to announce the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to our readership. We are now looking for an ambassador who will join the group of international pilgrims for a week of exploration of the places where Saint Francis used to travel in His times, on foot, touching base on several religious landmarks on His way to Rome.

Pope Francis greets faithful in St. Peter’s square— Photo by neneosan

The ambassador sent in behalf of L’Italo-Americano magazine will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful cities of Assisi, Gubbio and Rome, among others, visiting medieval villages, monasteries sanctuaries and churches on the route to Rome, with the final highlight of visiting Castel Sant’Angelo, the Holy Steps, the Vatican, and being received by His Holiness Pope Francis in a private Papal audience dedicated to the participants to the pilgrimage.

As a reporter and ambassador for L’Italo-Americano you will be asked to produce a travel diary from the pilgrimage trip, writing about your travel experience, the places you’ll visit, the people you’ll meet and the emotions that this unique travel opportunities will generate, sending us daily travel notes and a few pictures. We will collect your daily reporter’s input and we’ll publish it on a dedicated column of L’Italo-Americano website that will follow your travel experience. The entire travel experience you will report will also be featured as a special full article in the first edition of L’Italo-Americano magazine for the month of October.

Flight to Rome and return, as well as all the expenses for food and accommodation will be kindly covered by our partners ItaliaSlowTour and San Francesco Consortium, so you don’t have to worry about it all.

In order to be able to access the selection for our ambassador to the Saint Francis Pilgrimage 2016 you just need to:

  • be an active subscriber to L’Italo-Americano Newspaper whether online or digital – start a subscription or renew your expired one
  • be able to travel abroad with a valid passport
  • be able to report from your experience with good writing skills
  • be able to take nice pictures to enrich your articles
  • be able to walk 8-9 miles a day
  • be ready to travel to Italy next week – departure is on Wednesday September 21st.

You will need to demonstrate your ability in reporting by writing an article about a day out (about 800-1,000 words). Whether it is a day in the park, a walk around your neighborhood, a visit to an historical landmark near to you or to the closest farmers’ market, we just want to have proof of your ability not only in writing about the places you see and visit, but also the way you can convey in writing the experience of discovering new places.

Add a few pictures about your exploratory walkabout (max 6 photos), and send your article and picture to us before midnight PST on Saturday September 17th. The editorial staff at L’Italo-Americano will do a full immersion screening on Sunday September 18th, and we’ll announce the name of the lucky ambassador by Monday September 19th, just in time for you to pack up and get ready to catch a flight to Rome!

You won’t need to pack too much stuff – the weather in Italy is still nice, and remember Saint Francis’ vow of simplicity, so you won’t certainly need cocktail or fancy clothes for the pilgrimage. You will need walking/hiking gear instead, because most of the pilgrimage between Assisi and Rome will be on foot.

Pilgrims will be assisted by the ItaliaSlowTour team with accompanying vehicles, in case somebody gets particularly tired or in case of physical problems that won’t allow to keep following the group of pilgrims, but as a rule of thumb you will need to be ready to walk for about 8-9 miles a day, while the longest distances between the route stops will be covered by car.

Here are some details about which you can also see from the maps we quickly drafted in the image on this page.

The Saint Francis pilgrimage route to Rome
The Saint Francis pilgrimage route to Rome

September 22: Arrival in Fiumicino airport (Rome) and transfer by car to La Verna (Perugia). Celebration in the La Verna Sanctuary. Overnight at La Verna Convent guesthouse.

September 23: Walking from La Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano (9 miles). Transfer by car in Gubbio (Perugia). Overnight at Hotel Ducale Gubbio.

September 24: Transfer by car to Valfabbrica (Perugia). Walking from Valfabbrica to Assisi (9 miles). Overnight at Assisi Hotel Priori.

September 25: Walking from Assisi to Spello (8 miles). Overnight in at Hotel La Bastille in Spello.

September 26: Transfer to Stroncone (Terni) by car. Walking from Stroncone to Greccio (9 miles). Reception in the Holy Retin Valley. Transfer by car to La Storta (Rome). Meeting in the evening with participants from other pilgrimage paths.

September 27: Transfer by car at the Insugherata Nature Reserve (Rome). Walking from the Insugherata Reserve through Monte Mario until reaching Saint Peter in Rome (9 miles), leaded by the guides of Rome Nature and rangers. Visit the Church of St. Lazarus with a welcoming ceremony, a concert and a medieval pilgrim buffet. Passage of the Holy Door in Rome and arrival in Saint Peter in Vatican. Gala dinner at Castel Sant’Angelo, overnight in Rome.

September 28: Papal Audience in the Vatican.

September 28 – October 2: After the Papal audience on September 28th, ItaliaSlowTour will host our ambassador and the other pilgrims for a further weekend in Rome to discover the beauties of the eternal city by electric bike, an initiative that ItaliaSlowTour organizes wit the partnership of local roman tour operator Elebike. The hotel accommodation in Rome for our lucky ambassador will also be offered by our partners ItaliaSlowTour, that will also take care of the transportation to the airport for the departure on October 2.

October 2: Flight back to the US from Rome Fiumicino airport.

How does it sounds? Exciting? Inspiring? Unexpected? 

Are you ready to be a travel reporter for L’Italo-Americano and discover the beauties of central Italy, the footpath of Saint Francis and meet His Holiness the Pope in Rome?

Check if you have an active subscription to L’Italo-Americano magazine, verify is your passport is valid for travel, go for a neighborhood exploration, write an article about it to prove that you have the skills to be a travel reporter, send us your article before midnight PST on Saturday September 17th and cross fingers! You can send your submissions to saintfrancis2016@italoamericano.org.

You can be the lucky ambassador of L’Italo-Americano for the Saint Francis Pilgrimage 2016 organized by ItaliaSlowTour!

Has your subscription to our magazine expired or you are not one of our active subscribers yet? This is the right occasion to start a subscription or renew your expired one, to be able to access this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Don’t miss it!

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