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What are Saints?

Accommodation Values - Good Hotel Alternatives

Whether or not you are familiar with saints, you will benefit from learning a little about them to help you appreciate many sights in Italy .

Even if you don't visit many churches, you will pass by many of them and will see the outsides decorated with images of saints. Furthermore, if you enter a museum that contains famous art, paintings and sculptures of saints are everywhere.

This newsletter will, then, focus a bit on saints so you can better enjoy your travels in Italy .

If you haven't made your reservations in Italy, it isn't too late, here are some family-friendly accommodations that I have found that will welcome you with value and comfort and, because they mostly take short stays, are good alternatives to hotels.

Pat Byrne

Saints & Martyrs

A saint is a person who has been recognized for living a life of great charity and heroic virtues. The Catholic Church learns about people who have been good examples to others and then they officially recognize those people as saints, about 10,000 so far.

In Italy if you see a name that begins with "San" for a man or "Santa" for a woman, you know that is the name of a saint.

Before the 900s, people were declared saints by popular acclaim. Some saints were learned of through legends or were holy people from other religions. In 1969 the Catholic church took a look at these legendary saints and undid some of them, such as the very popular St. Christopher because there was no evidence that they really ever existed. Watch for statues and paintings of this former patron saint of travelers.

Martyrs are saints who were killed because of their religious beliefs. Some of their deaths were very awful and dramatic, a very strong lesson about how people can stay true to what they believe in spite of the most terrible persecution. Because of the drama and the importance of the lesson, you will see paintings and statues of these martyrs being killed. Some children may appreciate the way the painters have depicted the drama and the emotion of the martyrdoms; they can think about the lesson the painting is teaching. But some may find these paintings scary.

You can learn about saints and can "collect" them as you travel in Italy . Make a list, and, when in churches, look for "Santini," small holy cards with pictures and stories of saints which you may have for a small donation.

Many Saints are know for something special they did and now may be a patron saint. ďPatronĒ comes from the word for father and, in this case, means taking care of, like fathers and mothers take care of their children. St. George (who slew the dragon) is the patron saint of scouting, St. Philomena is the patron of children.

Do You Have a Name Saint?

Celebrate Your Name Saint Day with a Party

Find out if you share your name with a saint by going to the Saint Index and looking for your name or a version of it. Read about the good things "your" saint did and when she or he became a saint.

In Italy children may be named for the saint on whose feast day they were born or for their parent's favorite saint or for the patron saint of the town they live in. Each saint has a day of the year dedicated to him or her. You can see the day in the indexes linked below.

People in Italy usually celebrate their name saintís feast day like they do their birthday. They have a cake and may receive small gifts. If you donít have a Saintís name or your saint doesnít have a day, Nov 1st is All Saintís Day and you can celebrate then.

As part of growing up as a Catholic, you choose a saint's name to add to your own when you are Confirmed during adolescence. (Confirmation is a sacrament that opens up the wisdom of the Church to those ready to receive it and is like a coming of age ceremony.) At that time, you can search for a saint whose life you want to emulate and by adding their name to yours, you are always reminded of those goals.

How Are People Declared Saints?

The Canonization Process

Mother TheresaA saint is someone who was a Catholic and who has been officially recognized as being in heaven. The Catholic church believes that many people can be saints without being officially recognized. And, of course, people can be wonderful and good whether or not they belong to the Catholic church. No other church has an official "saint-making" process and here is a summary of how it goes:

  1. A person dies.
  2. Somebody prays to the soul of the dead person and a miracle happens. A miracle is something that is beyond the power of a person, therefore must have happened because God helped out. An example of a miracle is someone is cured overnight of a deadly disease.
  3. When the miracle is validated by the Church, the person is Beatified, the first step to sainthood.
  4. More people pray to the people who have been beatified.
  5. Another miracle occurs when the Beatified is prayed to.
  6. The person is "canonized" and can be called a saint.

John Paul II declared more saints in the 25 years of his papacy than all 264 popes before, creating quite an interesting debate.

Italy Discovery Journal

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Family Vacation Values in Italy

Short Stay Apartments Beat Hotels!

In helping clients find accommodations this year, I do run into some difficult weeks, but there is something for everyone who wants to stay in a villa or apartment in Italy in 2006. Here are few places that I can recommend because they are fine places to stay (I have personally checked them out), are good values, and will usually take less than a week, so are a great alternative to cramming the family into a hotel room!

Rome : Tiberio is a great value at $280/night for four and there is room for six! Two bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen, living room and air conditioning.

Rome : Flaminio is our most popular family apartment that still has some 4+ day periods available from April on. It has two bedrooms, two baths, scads of amenities including internet connection and is in the center of Rome .

Venice : Ca' Bella is a wonderful two bedroom, two bath apartment in a magical city and is $1480 for four people for five nights, less than $300/night for that combination.

Tuscany : Villa Colle is a real value at $165/night if the children don't mind a sofa bed. Nice pool, walk to the mideaval town and a Saturday arrival isn't required. My clients always come back happy from here.

Tuscany : La Vista family-friendly agriturismo will take arrivals any day, the prices are great, and the views are dreamy. It is close to Florence , too.

Florence : Put the kids on a sofa bed and spend less than $1000/week in an apartment in the heart of Florence in the Ponte Vecchio apartments. One week minimum, but for the price, you don't have to stay all seven nights! One bedroom, one bath, air conditioning.

Quick Links

Italy Discovery Journal

Children's Coverage is Free with Travelex Travel Insurance

Bags for Kids and Parents at eBags

High quality up-to-date maps of Italy from the online map store

Magellan's Travel Supplies

Have a wonderful time in Italy whether you travel by plane, auto, or armchair.


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Vacation Rentals In Italy
Venice Apartment with Terrace
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San Polo, Venice

Sleeps 4 + 1

2 Bedrooms, 2 Baths

Glorious Rooftop Terrace

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4 night minimum

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Vacation in Tuscany Villa in Tuscany
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1 week minimum

Perfect Value & Location for Small Family

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Total Royal Luxury 

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Tuscany Villa
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