Rome (Pope Francis) | Monte Cassino | San Giovanni Rotondo (Padre Pio) | Monte Sant'Angelo (St. Michael) | Lanciano (Eucharistic Miracle) | Assisi (St. Francis) | Siena* Pisa | Florence | Padua (St. Anthony) | Venice
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Welcome to Rome! Also known as, “The Eternal City.” Upon arrival at Rome 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 guide and/or driver. Make your way to the Bus where your group will transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, your group will make their way to celebrate Mass, followed by a Welcome Dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter’s Square for the Rosary (optional).
+ - (Day 3) - Rome: Papal Audience - Trevi Fountain - Piazza Navona - Basilica of St. John the Lateran and St. Mary Major - Holy Steps Click to collapse
Following breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome begins! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square! This Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Papal Audience, your group will make their 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, your tour continues 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, your group will 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, your group 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, your group will climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ’s agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, your group 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, your group will return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
+ - (Day 4) - Rome: Vatican Museum - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs Click to collapse
This morning, your group will enjoy breakfast at your hotel and depart for Mass. Your group will celebrate Mass at 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. At this Basilica, your group 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. Following, your group will 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, your group 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, your group will enjoy free time for lunch on your own, or to purchase souvenirs from Vatican City. We will then begin the short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road will lead 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 place of Saint Paul the Apostle. We will then make our way to dinner at a local restaurant, and an overnight at your hotel.
After breakfast, we will be transferred by bus to Montecassino. This one hour and forty-five minute (approximate) bus ride will be extremely scenic, as you pass through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. Throughout this bus ride, your tour escort will share very interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. You will arrive in Montecassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. You will have an opportunity to visit the Gift Shop before we board the bus to continue east (approximately three hours) toward San Giovanni Rotondo, the hometown of Saint Padre Pio. Upon arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, your group will enjoy dinner and overnight at your hotel.
+ - (Day 6) - San Giovanni Rotondo - Monte Sant’ Angel (View incorrupt body of Padre Pio) Click to collapse
Your first full day in San Giovanni Rotondo begins with breakfast, followed by Mass at the tomb of St. Pio. After Mass, your group will have the opportunity to tour the sanctuary, and view the crucifix, in front of which St. Pio received the stigmata. Also, you will visit the confessional from where St. Pio spent an innumerable amount of hours listening to confessions. Next, your group will board the bus and travel through the beautiful Gargano Peninsula to the Grotto of Michael the Archangel, a shrine consecrated by St. Michael. At this grotto, St. Michael appeared to a Bishop to assure him that his diocese would not be annihilated as he feared. Following the visit to this grotto, your group will enjoy free time for lunch on own and gaze at the breathtaking view of the ocean and surrounding countryside. Lastly, your group will return to San Giovanni for devotions, reflection, dinner, and overnight.*In the evening, you will have time to attend the weekly Candlelight Procession at the Sanctuary of St. Pio after dinner, at 9:00 PM. These processions are lit by candlelight, and guided by the Most Holy Rosary. Following this prayerful experience, you will return to your hotel for a restful overnight. (May - October only).
Following breakfast, your group will board the bus and head to Lanciano (approximately two hours). Upon arrival in Lanciano, you will celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Longinus. This Church is the site of the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the eighth century. At the time of the Miracle, there was a Basilian monk who struggled with the belief in the real presence of The Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. During the time of Mass, the monk, with doubt in his voice, said the “Words of Consecration” and the bread turned into living flesh, and the wine transformed into live blood. After Mass free time for lunch. Continue toward Assisi (Approximately three hours), the hometown of St. Francis. Upon arrival in Assisi, your group will check-in, enjoy dinner, before retiring to your room for a restful night’s sleep.
This morning, your group will enjoy 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 the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions, just as St. Francis did. As your group visits 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. During the tour, your group will have the opportunity to visit the tomb of St. Francis at his Basilica. Also, at the Basilica of St. Francis, you will have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, as well as, view a few of the saint’s possessions. As the tour continues, your group will visit St. Mary of the Angels Basilica. This Basilica is where St. Francis spent most of life, and is made up of two structures; both of which you will visit. The Porziuncola is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans), and the Capella del Transito, which is the place of St. Francis’ death. During this visit, your group 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. After visiting this beautiful Basilica, your group will enjoy some free time on your own. Feel free to take this time for additional prayer, or shop in the Gift Shop. The last stop on your tour will be to 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. Lastly, your group will transfer back to the hotel, where you will have some free time to walk, shop, or pray. Return to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Make your way downstairs to breakfast, and then you will travel (approximately one hour and a half) to the Tuscan city of Siena. This medieval city is the birthplace of the Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine, and the Apostle of Italy, St. Bernardine. During your time here, your group will stroll down one of Italy’s finest squares, the Piazza Del Campo to the Cathedral and Basilica of St. Francis. This Basilica is the site of yet another miracle: In 1730, a ciborium of consecrated Hosts were stolen, but two days later the exact number of Hosts were found in the tabernacle, and since then these Hosts have not been consumed nor disintegrated. Following this visit, your group will continue to view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine at the Basilica of St. Dominic. Lastly, your group will transfer back to Assisi for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, your group will transfer to the city of Pisa (approximately three hours). Upon arrival in Pisa, you will visit the famous Leaning Tower. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was designed to stand upright however; it began to tilt during construction. Currently, it leans about 3.9 degrees. Following lunch on own, your group will continue the drive to Florence (approximately one hour) through the beauty of Tuscany. 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. This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore the streets of Florence on own. In the evening, your group will gather for dinner, followed by an overnight.
Your first full day in Florence begins with breakfast and a guided tour. The tour includes the Church of the Holy Cross, the Santa Croce where many nobles are buried such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. This tour also includes a walking portion through the Piazza della Signoria, 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. After the tour, your group will enjoy lunch on own followed by 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. During this time in the museum, your group will have the opportunity to enjoy free time to explore the museum and later, the city. Following this free time, your group will return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Following breakfast at your hotel, your group will transfer by motor coach to Padua (approximately two hours). This Northern Italy city honors the patron saint of lost causes, St. Anthony. While in Padua, your group will visit the tomb and celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Anthony. After Mass, your group will begin their sightseeing tour. The tour includes one of the oldest universities in Italy, the University of Padua, and a visit to the Basilica of Santa Giustina, the patron saint of Padua. After the tour, your group will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Today, your group will depart Padua and transfer to the magical city of Venice (approximately forty-five minutes). Your group will enjoy a full day tour of the city paved with water! The tour includes visits 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; and the Bridge of Sigh, a bridge that will bring eternal love to those who drift below it. Following the tour, your group will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, your group will leave by motor coach and transfer to the Venice airport for return flights home.