Spiritual Leader: Fr. Fernando Molina-Restrepo
Spiritual Leader: Fr. Eric Hill
August 9 - 20, 2020
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Centrally located first class hotels as follows: (or similar)
- ~ 4 nights: Aug 10 - 14: Hotel Della Conciliazione, Rome
- ~ 2 nights: Aug 14 - 16: Hotel Dei Priori, Assisi
- ~ 2 nights: Aug 16 - 18: Starhotels Tuscany, Florence
- ~ 2 nights: Aug 18 - 20: Grand Visconti Palace Hotel, Milan
- Tour Escort Throughout
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine and water with dinners
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Wireless headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Catholic guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Beverages unless mentioned, Tips to your guide & driver.
Day 1: Sunday, August 9: Depart to Rome
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2: Monday, August 10: Arrival Rome
Welcome to Rome, also known as, "The Eternal City." Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax, or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later in the afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims and depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional).
Day 3: Tuesday, August 11: Rome – Saint Mary Major, Saint John Lateran, Scala Santa (Holy Stairs), Catacombs and Saint Paul Outside the Walls
Todays touring will include the Basilica of St. Mary Major, a church dedicated to Our Blessed Mother. St. Mary Major reigns as the only Basilica that has kept its original structure and is an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman Churches. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Continue to the the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome. Next, you will cross the street to visit the Holy Stairs. These Holy Stairs are the very steps leading up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem on which Jesus stepped on his way to trial during his Passion. The Stairs were brought to Rome by Saint Helena in the fourth century. After Free time for lunch we will continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 4: Wednesday, August 12: Rome – Papal Audience and Ancient Rome Tour
We begin with the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, we will visit the Trevi Fountain, where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. This afternoon, you will tour Ancient Rome and explore some of its history. See Rome through its most ancient monuments; the Colosseum and to the ruins of the Roman Forum.
Day 5: Thursday, August 13: Rome – Saint Peters Basilica and the Vatican Museums
This morning, you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, 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. It is here that you will 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 the Vatican Museums. At the world renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will 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 Saint John Paul II.
Day 6: Friday, August 14: Rome – Orvieto - Assisi
Depart early and enjoy the Italian countryside as you travel to Assisi. One the way we will make a stop in Orvieto. Visit this small Etruscan city perched on a rock cliff in Umbria, Italy. See the Duomo di Orvieto, dating from 1290, has a mosaic facade and houses a marble Pietà sculpture. Continue to Assisi for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Saturday, August 15: Assisi
As you 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. You will start your 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, you will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and end 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, you will board the bus, which will take you 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 an overnight.
Day 8: Sunday, August 16: Assisi - Siena – Florence
Depart Assisi and enjoy the scenic drive to the Tuscan city of Siena. This medieval city is the birthplace of St. Catherine "Doctor of the Church", and the Apostle of Italy, St. Bernardine. Visit of the Basilica of St. Catherine (which is also known as the Basilica of St. Domenico). St. Catherine passed a large part of her life inside the walls of this Basilica. It is here you will also view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine. After, visit the Shrine of St. Catherine, which occupies the site of her family home. Enjoy your walking tour through the Siena including a visit to its Cathedral (Duomo di Siena). Conclude at one of Italy's finest squares, the Piazza Del Campo, where you will be given free time to spend at your own leisure. There are a number of shops for gifts and souvenirs surrounding the square. Continue to Florence. Upon arrival in Florence, you will notice immediately that it is the land for art lovers. Some of the most world renowned artists are from Florence such as, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, and many others. Later explore Florence on your own before dinner and overnight.
*Please note: we will either do Florence sightseeing on day 8 or 9, or a combination. This depends upon time of transit
Day 9: Monday, August 17: Florence – Pisa – Florence
Visit 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. Later, visit the 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. Afterward, transfer to Pisa. Pisa is a city in Italy's Tuscany region best known for its iconic Leaning Tower. Already tilting when it was completed in 1372, the 56m white marble cylinder is the bell tower of the Romanesque, striped marble cathedral that rises next to it in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Also in the piazza is the Baptistry, whose renowned acoustics are demonstrated by amateur singers daily, and the Caposanto Monumentale cemetery. Return to Florence for dinner and overnight.
Day 10: Tuesday, August 18: Florence – Verona – Milan
Depart Florence and travel to Verona for a stop on our way to Milan. Verona is considered the city of love and one of the most famous and popular cities in Italy. It is the literary hometown of two of the world’s most famous lovers – Romeo and Juliet. The unique atmosphere of this medieval old town attracts visitors as well as the famous Roman Amphitheatre. The busy, narrow streets are full of fashion boutiques and fine restaurants as far as the eye can see. The city is one of the most important tourist destinations in Italy, and a UNESCO world heritage site. We’ll continue to Milan for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Wednesday, August 19: Milan
Today’s visit to Milan will celebrate your last day in Italy! Milan, a metropolis in Italy's northern Lombardy region, is a global capital of fashion and design. Home to the national stock exchange, it’s a financial hub also known for its high end restaurants and shops. The Gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral and the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural “The Last Supper,” testify to centuries of art and culture. Enjoy your visit and spend some time on your own for last minute shopping and browsing. Dinner and overnight in Milan.
Day 12: Thursday, August 20: Depart
Prepare for your departure and return home with memories for a lifetime! Arrivederci!