On December 8, 2015, the Pope will inaugurate the Holy Year. To get the indulgence, you’ll just need to go to a few specific churches. The Jubilee of Mercy is an extraordinary event and as such it has some very special attributes. In fact, Pope Francis himself, in the Bull proclaiming the Misericordiae vultus, has said that receiving a plenary indulgence will be possible in all the dioceses. Perhaps the Pope gave this opportunity to the faithful because of how quickly and suddenly the jubilee has been announced; whatever the case may be, according to his words: "the Jubilee will be celebrated in Rome as well as in designated Churches, as a sign of communion of the whole Church." In addition to the cathedrals of each diocese, the bishops will indicate Sanctuaries of particular relevance as jubilee churches, places you can reap all of the spiritual benefits usually granted only in the Roman churches during the Holy Years. So now all that’s left to do is to find out which Tuscan churches have been indicated by the cardinals as jubilee churches. Let’s start from Florence: in addition to Santa Maria del Fiore (the Cathedral), you can also (metaphorically) cross the holy door in the basilica of Santissima Annunziata (in the town center, 10 minutes away from the Cathedral) and in the basilica of Impruneta (south of Florence – here’s how to reach it).
In the Archdiocese of Arezzo, Cortona and Sansepolcro, divine forgiveness will spread! There are seven jubilee churches in this area: the wide range of choices begins with Arezzo’s Cathedral and the Basilica of St. Francis, and includes the Monastery of Camaldoli (how to reach it ITA), the Sanctuary of La Verna (how to reach it), the hermitage of Monte Casale in San Sepolcro (by car or bus from Arezzo - website ITA), and, finally, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie al Calcinaio (Cortona - website ITA), the Collegiate Church of San Giuliano in Castiglione Fiorentino (how to reach it) and the Madonna del Patrocinio Sanctuary in Castelnuovo Berardenga (by car or train from Siena).
In Pistoia, there will be two doors. The first one is at the Cathedral of San Zeno (website ITA), while the second is at the Beata Vergine of Valdibrana Sanctuary (4 km from Pistoia).
Other dioceses’ choices seem to be more traditional, choosing to focus on the Cathedrals. Among these are Siena and Pisa (where you’ll receive an indulgence in some of the world’s most beautiful churches–is it proper for us to say this? - info Siena - info Pisa). The same goes for the Diocese of Fiesole, in the hills behind Florence, with the holy door of the Cathedral of San Romolo (from Florence, by car, taxi or bus N. 7 from San Marco square).
Just one “special church” has been indicated in Prato (St. Stephen's Cathedral - how to reach it), in San Miniato (in the cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio - how to reach it ITA), in Volterra (the Cathedral - website), Massa Carrara (the cathedral of saints Peter and Francis - how to reach it) and in Pescia (in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. John the Baptist - how to reach it ITA). Lucca made a different kind of choice: the Jubilee will be inaugurated in the Cathedral, but the door of mercy will be found at the church of San Giusto (how to reach it).
Some coastal dioceses have opted for a slightly different policy. During December, Grosseto will only open the door on the right side of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (website ITA), but with the option of opening other passages during summer, in the seaside resorts. Livorno has also “doubled” its holiness with the inclusion of both the Cathedral of St. Francis (how to reach it) and the Sanctuary of Montenero (how to reach it ITA). In the diocese of Massa Marittima and Piombino, the beautiful Cathedral of San Cerbone in Massa Marittima (how to reach it ITA) and the co-Cathedral of Sant'Antimo in Piombino (how to reach it) are backed up by the only Tuscan holy door on an island. This door is found at the Cathedral of Portoferraio (Elba Island - how to reach the island).
Back on dry land, we find two “special churches” in the Diocese of Montepulciano, Chiusi and Pienza: the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta of Montepulciano (only during the summer time - how to reach it) and the Abbey of Abbadia San Salvatore (website ITA). Further south, the area around the Diocese of Pitigliano, Sovana and Orbetello seems to be particularly forgiving, with a route including three churches: the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul of Pitigliano (how to reach it), the Sanctuary of the Presentation in Monte Argentario (how to reach it) and the Addolorata al Cerreto Sanctuary of Sorano (website ITA). Tuscany closes its Jubilee itinerary with a magnificent abbey in Monte Oliveto Maggiore (website).
THE MAP! THE INFOGRAPHIC!
Original article: "Il Giubileo in Toscana: ecco dove saranno aperte le Porte Sante" by Federico di Vita - intoscana.it