the "Eternal City," has been a sacred place and internationally
important city since ancient times. Rome's history extends nearly
2,800 years, during which time it has been the seat of the Roman
Kingdom, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, the Papal States, the
Kingdom of Italy and the Italian Republic. Rome's abundance of
ancient temples, synagogues, churches and shrines make it one of the
best cities to explore the holy places of a variety of religious
Fatima is a small town in Portugal located north of Lisbon.
It is a major Catholic pilgrimage site because of reported sightings
of the Virgin Mary in 1917 by three local shepherd children. The
terrain around the village is wild and barren; a stark contrast with
the fervent devotion of the millions of pilgrims that visit each
year, especially for the main festivals on May 13 and October 13.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is one of most famous Marian
shrines in the world. Some four million people visit Fatima each
year, drawn by apparitions of the Virgin Mary reported by three
local shepherd children in 1917.