Venice, Florence, Assisi & Rome
Spiritual Director: Fr. Paul Carlson
Spiritual Director: Fr. Thomas Otto
October 9 - 20, 2023
Padua · Venice · Florence · Siena · Assisi · Orvieto · Rome · Nettuno (Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial)
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from Chicago (ORD)
- Airport Taxes and Fuel Surcharges
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located first class hotels as follows (or similar) in double occupancy
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine and mineral water with dinners
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic Guide
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Catholic Priest, Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & Portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches and beverages not mentioned, Tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1 | Monday, October 09: Depart for Venice
Make your way to your local airport to board your overnight flight(s). Dinner and breakfast will be served on board.
Day 2 | Tuesday, October 10: Arrival in Venice
Welcome to Venice, Italy ! Upon arrival at Venice airport, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the arrival’s hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. Make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel in Padua. Following check-in, you will explore Padua. This Northern Italian city honors the "Patron Saint of Lost Things and Causes", St. Anthony. You will begin a sightseeing tour of the city, including a view of one of the oldest Universities in Italy, the University of Padua, as well as the Basilica of Santa Giustina, the "Patron Saint of Padua." The tour will conclude at the Basilica of St. Anthony, where you will have the opportunity to visit his tomb and celebrate Mass. Welcome dinner and restful overnight in Padua.
Day 3 | Wednesday, October 11: Padua - Venice (Full Day Excursion)
Today, you will have early breakfast and then board your bus to depart to the magical city of Venice. After Mass, enjoy a tour of the "city paved with water!" Your walking tour includes a visit to St. Mark's Square, the largest square in the city and the site of many government buildings; the Golden Basilica of San Marco, known for the great mosaics that depict the Old and New Testament of the Bible; the Bridge of Sigh, a bridge that will bring eternal love to those who drift below it. You will also have the chance to view the Doges' Palace (Duke's Palace), which served as the seat of the Government for the Republic of Venice for centuries. Return to Padua for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 | Thursday, October 12: Padua – Florence
Following breakfast at your hotel, board the motorcoach for a scenic drive to the city of Florence. Arrive in Florence, city considered to be the cultural heart of Italy and former stronghold of the Medici Family. Free afternoon to enjoy strolling through the cities of Florence followed by a dinner and overnight.
Day 5 | Friday, October 13: Florence
In Florence, your day begins with breakfast, followed by a guided tour. The tour starts at the Church of the Holy Cross, the Santa Croce, where many nobles are buried, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Continue to walk by Piazza Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore. This Cathedral is an iconic piece of architecture of the city of Florence. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 13th century. Next, a visit to L'Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will have the opportunity to view the work from artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and the ever famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. This afternoon group will visit San Marco Museum. Return to hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Day 6 | Saturday, October 14: Florence – Siena - Assisi
Breakfast, followed by a scenic drive to Assisi. On the way to Assisi will stop at city of Sienna, the birthplace of Saints Catherine (Doctor of the Church, and one of the two patron Saints of Italy, with St. Francis of Assisi) and Bernardine (known as the “Apostle of Italy” for his efforts to revive the Catholic faith in the 15th century). Siena is also one of Italy’s loveliest medieval cities. Here we will stroll the Piazza Del Campo, one of Italy’s finest squares and visit the Cathedral and the Basilica of St. Francis, containing the miraculous consecrated hosts that remained intact since 1730. After lunch, we will continue on to view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine at the Basilica of St. Dominic (Her body is preserved in Rome in the Basilica St. Maria sopra Minerva). We continue to Assisi and arrive at time for check in and dinner followed by the overnight.
Day 7 | Sunday, October 15: Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father)
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the "Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment." Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and an inspiration to all by preferring to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions. As we visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. We will start our tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint's possessions. From there, we will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and ending with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own - you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, we will board the bus, which will take us outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the "Porziuncola", which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the "Capella del Transito", which is the place of St. Francis' death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 | Monday, October 16: Assisi - Orvieto - Rome
Following breakfast will head south through the Italian countryside of vineyards and villas. Throughout this bus ride, your tour escort will share very interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. On the way to Rome we will make a stop in Orvieto, where a Eucharistic Miracle is preserved in the Cathedral of Orvieto. In 1263, a Priest stopped to celebrate Mass at Saint Christina’s Church in Bolsena. Having doubts that the Eucharist was really the Body and Blood of Christ, the Priest was shocked when the host began to bleed right after the prayer of consecration. Unable to hide this fact, he interrupted the Mass and went to Orvieto where Pope Urban IV was in residence. The Pope ordered that the miraculous host and then linen altar cloth stained with blood be brought to Orvieto and placed on display, where is still rests today. The Cathedral also has some of the most magnificent frescoes to be found anywhere. The depicting visions of heaven and hell in the San Brizio Chapel rival those of the Sistine Chapel. After lunch, continue on to Rome, your home for next 4 nights. After dinner you have to opportunity to join in a walk to St. Peter's Square for the Rosary (optional).
Day 9 | Tuesday, October 17: Rome: Trevi Fountain / Piazza Navona – Basilica of St. John the Lateran and St. Mary Major – Holy Steps
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome starts! We will make our way to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). In the times of Ancient Rome, this fountain served as the terminal point of the Aqua Virgo, the main aqueduct that supplied thermal baths. Following the Trevi Fountain, continue to the beautiful, Piazza Novona. This square was built on the former Stadium of Domitian that held many festivals and sporting events (86 A.D). At the center of this square, stands the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). There are four figures constructed on this fountain that represent four rivers: the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata. Next, you may enjoy free time for lunch, followed by a visit to the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, we will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate’s palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said that this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ’s agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, we will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major and celebrate Mass. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Following Mass, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 10 | Wednesday, October 18: Rome: Papal Audience - Vatican Museum
This morning we attend the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square or at the Audience Hall. The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Continue to visit the largest Church in the Christendom, St. Peter’s Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Also, it was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. At this Basilica, we will have the opportunity to view Michelangelo’s Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to one of the many Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo’s Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of St. John Paul II. Afterward, enjoy free time for lunch on your own, or to purchase souvenirs from Vatican City. Remainder of the day is free to explore Rome on your own.
Day 11 | Thursday, October 19: Rome – Nettuno (Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial) – Rome
Start the day with breakfast and then make your way to Nettuno, a quint seaside city with a medieval quarter right on the water. The town was founded by the Latin’s as “Antium” and is a popular destination for its medieval streets and small squares. There is also the Forte Sangallo, a castle that was built in 1503 by renaissance architect Antonio Da Sangallo II Vecchio. We will visit Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial which is a World War II American military war grave cemetery, was dedicated in 1956. After we will make our way to the Basilica of Our Lady of Graces and Saint Maria Goretti to celebrate Mass. This Basilica is a 20th century parochial Church dedicated to the Italian virgin-martyr and one of the youngest Saints to be canonized. Her remains rest below the main altar in the lower chapel. There is also a priceless polychromed wooden statue of Our Lady of Grace on display. It is honored by the town with a procession every year on the first Saturday of May. Also, You will have free time to spend in the afternoon to grab lunch, or shop. Return to the bus for your return to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 12 | Friday, October 20: Return Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Rome airport for return flights home.