Thomas aquinas college

Students, Alumni, & Friends

Drs. Scott Strader and Marco Emerson are leading another incredible pilgrimage to Italy this summer in honor of the Jubilee celebrating the 800th anniversary of St. Thomas’ birth, the 750th anniversary of his death, and the 700th anniversary of his canonization. We’ll visit Thomistic sites in and around Rome, explore the rugged and colorful coast of the Italian Riviera, and hike the Via Francigena through Tuscany to Siena. Come join us for an unforgettable experience filled with prayer, adventure, and fellowship!


  • Roccasecca and Fossanova, where St. Thomas was born and where he died
  • Kayaking to the Church of San Pietro in Portovenere
  • Hiking into Siena and praying at the relics of St. Catherine


St. Thomas’ Rome

Days 1-2: Greet staff at the Rome Fiumicino Airport I Head to Rome I Visit Santa Maria Sopraminerva which houses the left arm of St. Thomas Aquinas and the body of St. Catherine of Siena I Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona
I Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica I Visit Santa Sabina where St. Thomas lived in Rome I Circus Maximus and a view of the Roman Forum and Colosseum

Roccasecca & Fossanova

Day 3: Transfer to Roccasecca where St. Thomas was born in 1225 to a wealthy family who owned a castle there I Enjoy the ruins of the castle and the wonderful view  I Head to Fossanova where St. Thomas died in 1274 at a Cistercian Monastery en route for the Council of Lyon I Pray in the incredible church and take a walk around the exquisite cloister

    The Italian Riviera

    Days 4-6: Transfer to the five colorful fishing villages on the coast known as the Cinque Terre I Kayak on the crystal-clear blue water to the Church of San Pietro in Portovenere I Bike a path carved in and out of the mountain to the little church Santa Maria della Punta I  Swim at the Marina of Framura

    The Via Francigena 

    Days 7-9: Start your journey to Siena on foot along the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route from England to Rome I Three consecutive days of hiking I Hiking begins in Gambassi Terme and passes through the famous San Gimignano and Monteriggioni, mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy


    Days 9-11: The third day of hiking brings us into the lovely (and hilly) town of Siena I Pray at the relics of St. Catherine of Siena and visit her house I Explore the stunning cathedral of Siena with its impressive façade and elaborate floors I Relax in the main piazza of the town I Return to Rome on Day 10 I Pilgrimage ends the morning of Day 11

    *Itinerary is subject to change


     We stay mainly in the guest accommodations of religious houses (monasteries, convents, sanctuaries, etc.).  The culture and history of these places really adds to the character of our pilgrimage.  The rooms are clean, comfortable, and nice, but not “luxurious'”. Normally 1 or 2 roommates of the same gender.  If you are interested in a single-room supplement, please contact us.  Air conditioner is generally not available.


     We eat mainly at restaurants. Menus may be limited to fixed options or set menus. Lunches will be picnics.  Breakfasts provided are in the local style (typically not as hearty as American style). We can accommodate most food allergies.


    All of your belongings must fit in a backpack worn on your back.  We will use luggage transfers on the Via Francigena.  No rolling suitcases or other types of luggage are allowed on this trip.  We will provide a detailed packing list.


    Mass, the liturgy of the hours, the rosary, and other prayer opportunities are available throughout the pilgrimage in ancient basilicas, historic chapels, holy sites, and much more! 




    • 10 Nights lodging
    • 7 Breakfasts
    • All Dinners
    • 2 Lunches
    • Ground transportation
    • Airport shuttle at the beginning and end of the pilgrimage
    • Entrance fees for the Siena Cathedral, and San Gimignano Collegiata
    • Outdoor activities (guides, rental equipment, tips)
    • Pilgrimage materials (reading packet, prayer booklet, maps, group gear)
    • Masses and other spiritual activities
    • All tips and service charges to drivers, restaurants, etc.


    • Flights
    • 3 Breakfasts
    • 8 Lunches
    • Fee if paying by credit card
    • Anything else not listed



    June 21 - July 1, 2024

    Sign-up Deadline: March 1, 2024 (Late Sign-ups Welcome)


    Day 5: Kayaking

    Level 5: 12 miles, 5-7 hours, Sea. Optional

    Day 6: Biking 

    Level 1: 9 miles, 127ft elevation gain. Optional

    Day 7: Hiking

    Level 3: 8.3 miles, 1,148ft elevation gain, Daypack

    Day 8: Hiking

    Level 3: 9.5 miles, 600ft elevation gain. Daypack 
    Level 4: 19 miles, 1804ft elevation gain. Daypack 

    Day 9: Hiking

    Level 3: 12 miles, 984ft elevation gain. Daypack


    Click here to learn more about we determine our activity levels. “Optional” means it is easy for you to skip the activity. Skipping or modifying other routes may be possible but not in an easy manner. All activities are weater dependent. Distances may vary from the information given above.



    A slower-paced pilgrimage with layover retreat days on the Amalfi Coast


    This pilgrimage begins the day after the TAC trip ends



    Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) . Staff will meet you at the airport. The official pilgrimage start time is 1:00p.m. on June 21st- please arrive before then. Pilgrims will be transported to Rome in groups based on arrival time.  Please wait for a confirmation to buy a plane ticket.


    Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) This pilgrimage ends in Rome.  Transportation to the airport will be provided in groups leaving Rome based on flight departure time.  We will provide transportation until noon on July 1st, 2024.


    Must be comfortable with the activities and the activity levels listed and have a sense of adventure. Must know how to swim in order to kayak. Must be able to carry all of your belongings in a backpack.


    the leaders

    DR. MARCO EMERSONProfessor, Thomas Aquinas College

    DR. SCOTT STRADERProfessor, Thomas Aquinas College

    CHRISTOHER BAKERFounder and Director of ALP 

    2023 Pilgrimage


    Step 1: Sign up

     Fill out our short online form and pay the deposit

    Step 2: Registration

    We will send you the registration packet to complete and send back to us

    Step 3: Payment & Confirmation

    Please wait to buy your plane ticket until you recieve a confirmation

    Contact Us

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