Description

    Join us on an inspirational journey through the rolling hills and lively cities of beautiful Italy. Attend the weekly papal audience and receive the blessing given by His Holiness, Pope Francis. Discover the incomparable splendor of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Spend time at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the beloved saint’s hometown. Stay two nights in San Giovanni Rotondo, and pray in the church dedicated to St. Pio of Pietrelcina – “Padre Pio.” Reflect at the Grotto of Michael the Archangel, on the rugged Gargano Peninsula. Discover the Abbeys of Santissima Trinita and Montecassino. In the town of Pompeii, have time at the Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary, one of the most famous shrines of Christianity.

    • Itinerary Type : Standard

    • Activity Level : 3


    • Number of Days:11

    • Number of Meals:15

    • Hotels:Hotel Parco delle Rose (San Giovanni Rotondo), Hotel Scapolatiello (Cava de Tirreni), Cardinal Hotel St. Peter (Rome), Cardinal Hotel St. Peter (Rome), Grand Hotel Assisi (Assisi)

    • Experiences:Spend time at the renowned Abbey of Montecassino, founded by St. Benedict. In Pompeii, visit the Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary. Join a local expert for a fascinating tour of Assisi.

    • Must Sees:Attend the weekly papal audience* at Vatican City. Stroll through the catacombs where early Christians hid and buried their dead. Discover the Holy House of Nazareth and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto.

    • Culinaries:Enjoy regional wines with every included dinner.

    Itinerary (10  days)

    • 1

      Rome, Italy - Tour Begins

      Your tour opens in Rome. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a special welcome dinner at a popular local restaurant featuring regional delicacies and fine Italian wines.

    • 2

      Rome - Assisi

      Travel north to Assisi and begin your tour at St. Mary of the Angels Basilica, where St. Francis spent most of his life. Pause to reflect at the Chapel of the Porziuncola, the rose bush, and the cave where the saint prayed. Later, have time at the Church of St. Clare, who founded the Order of Poor Clares and followed the teachings of St. Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. Kneel before the crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St. Francis, asking him to rebuild his church. Join a local expert for a fascinating tour of Assisi highlighting the huge 13th-century basilica where you can see many of St. Francis’ possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. Celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Francis this afternoon.

    • 3

      Assisi - Optional Florence Excursion

      Enjoy a full day at leisure to independently explore historic Assisi. Or, join a full day optional excursion to Florence, the “Renaissance City,” where a local expert provides a leisurely paced walking tour featuring the Piazza del Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – one of the largest in the Christian world, and the Baptistery doors. You also view the Palazzo Vecchio and the Ponte Vecchio. Enjoy several hours at leisure in Florence before returning to Assisi.

    • 4

      Assisi - Loreto - San Giovanni Rotondo

      Travel across the Apennine Mountains toward the Adriatic Coast to the Marian shrine of Loreto. Discover the Holy House of Nazareth and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto where more than 50 popes have made a pilgrimage. You will celebrate Mass before continuing your journey to San Giovanni Rotondo, home of Padre Pio.

    • 5

      San Giovanni Rotondo - Monte Sant’ Angelo - San Giovanni Rotondo

      Begin your day with a special visit to Monte Sant’ Angelo. Take in the breathtaking views of the Gargano Peninsula and explore one of the most celebrated shrines of early Christianity – the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel. Many popes and saints have knelt and prayed at this grotto, seeking the protection of Saint Michael. Later, return to San Giovanni Rotondo and celebrate Mass in the sanctuary of Padre Pio. This is followed by a tour of the sanctuary, including the old church and the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918, as well as Padre Pio’s tomb. Then, visit the new church dedicated in 2004 to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. You will also see the confessional where Padre Pio spent many hours directing pilgrims on their journey toward God.

    • 6

      San Giovanni Rotondo - Abbey of Santissima Trinita - Campania

      Journey through the picturesque landscape of the regions of Apulia and Campania to Cava de Tirreni. Be introduced to the Benedictine Abbey of Santissima Trinita, founded in the 11th century by a local saint. After a guided visit to the abbey you will have the option of celebrating Mass.

    • 7

      Campania- Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary- Abbey of Montecassino- Rome

      Continue your travels to the town of Pompeii where you will visit the Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary, one of the most famous shrines of Christianity. Later, travel to Montecassino to discover the renowned abbey founded by St. Benedict in the 6th century A.D. This sacred place houses the relics of St. Benedict and his sister, Saint Scholastica. Montecassino also became famous during the battles that took place here during World War II, when the abbey was bombed and destroyed. End your day in Rome.

    • 8

      Rome - Papal Audience - Vatican Museum

      This morning, attend the weekly papal audience* at Vatican City to receive the blessing given by His Holiness, Pope Francis. Later, visit the Vatican Museum** where you will view such historical treasures as the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s restored mural of the Last Judgment. Then it’s on to the breathtaking St. Peter’s Basilica, built on the site where St. Peter was martyred. Known as the grandest of the world’s churches, St. Peter’s is unsurpassed in beauty.

    • 9

      Rome - Christian Rome City Tour

      Begin your day at the Basilica St. Paul Outside the Walls; the remains of St. Paul are located under its main altar. You’ll celebrate Mass before making your way to the catacombs where early Christians fearing persecution hid and buried their dead. Continue on to visit the other major Roman basilicas, St. Mary Major and St. John in Lateran, the former residence of the popes prior to their return to Rome in 1377. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner celebrating the end of a memorable pilgrimage to Italy.

    • 10

      Rome - Tour Ends

      Your tour comes to a close in Rome.


    Location


    Highlights


    City

    Rome

    Rome is the capital of modern Italy and the historical home of one of the great civilizations in history, the Roman Empire. The historical city was founded in 753 BC and has grown to a size of over 3 million inhabitants today. The city is home to major monuments like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and many more. The city was built on the seven ancient hills along the Tiber River. Today it is a collection of neighborhoods with vibrant shops, restaurants and museums just waiting to be explored.

    Attraction

    Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

    St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Italy. The unique church dedicated to this beloved saint is located in the small town of Assisi. The Basilica of St. Francis houses the relics of the saint and a world renowned fresco cycle by Giotto. Giotto's frescos depict the life story of St Francis, including several of his miracles.

    City

    San Giovanni Rotondo

    San Giovanni Rotondo is a community on the east coast of Italy that is famous as a Catholic pilgrimage site because it is the home of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. A church dedicated to the saint was completed in 2004, and his remains are on display. The area is also near the important Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel at Monte Gargano. Together the two sites draw in millions of pilgrims each year.

    Attraction

    Tomb of Padre Pio

    Padre Pio was a Capuchin friar who lived in San Giovanni Rotondo. During his life he became popular with parishioners and pilgrims for his devout piety and willingness to hear confessions and offer counsel. He also received the stigmata or wounds of Christ which he bore for fifty years. After his death he was canonized by John Paul II in 2002. His remains were put on display for the 40th anniversary of his death, but his popularity proved to be great, and his remains are now permanently displayed in the church bearing his name in San Giovanni Rotondo.

    Attraction

    Abbey of Santissima Trinita

    The Abbey, or Badia as it is known in Italian, is located in the hills above Cava de Tirreni, in southern Italy. It was founded in the 10th century by a nobleman from nearby Salerno. The Abbey was given many privileges by Popes Urban II and Boniface IX. Today the Abbey provides priests to the local parishes and contains a vast collection of historic documents that are used as part of an educational program overseen by the Benedictines.

    Attraction

    Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary

    The Madonna del Rosario is part of an ancient devotion to the rosary and its connection to prayer. Many paintings depict Our Lady of the Rosary on a throne with the Child giving the rosary to St Catherin of Siena and St Domini de Guzman. The most famous of these paintings has come to represent the devotion to the rosary and is on display in Pompeii, Italy. Dominican sisters maintain the shrine and numerous outreach activities from the the site while pilgrims visit to show devotion.

    City

    Vatican City

    The Vatican City is the smallest independent state with an area of 110 acres (44 hectares). Inside the Vatican walls are the Papal Palace, St. Peter's Basilica, the curia of the Vatican state, extensive gardens and the Vatican Museums. More than half of that territory is dedicated to the Vatican Gardens. The Vatican City and Pope are guarded by the Swiss Guard, who wear uniforms that can be traced back to Michelangelo.

    Attraction

    Papal Audience

    The Papal Audience is a weekly gathering of pilgrims held in St. Peter's Square every Wednesday when the Pope is present. Each audience consists of teachings or readings in multiple languages and greetings from the Pope and finishes with the Apostolic Blessing from the Pope. The Pope arrives in the square by Popemobile and passes around the square before taking his seat on stage. Pilgrims can bring items like rosaries to be blessed at the end.

    Attraction

    St. Peter’s Basilica

    St. Peter's Basilica is an example of late Renaissance architecture and was designed by great architects like Raphael, Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Completed over the course of 120 years, St. Peter's is one of the largest churches in the world, and an important holy site for Catholics. The church is built over the burial site of Saint Peter and contains the tombs of numerous popes. The church is known for its mosaic decorations and grand dome.

    Attraction

    Christian Rome City Tour

    Rome has been the home to the Catholic church since the beginning and been intertwined with the story of Christianity. Numerous Saints have walked the cobblestone streets and left their mark on the city. Early Christians like Emperor Constantine built the early churches that later grew into the monuments of the major Basilicas of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, St. John in Lateran and St Peter's. Other early Christian monuments like the catacombs have become important to understanding the history of the early followers. Touring these sites today should be part of any pilgrimage to the city.

    Attraction

    St. Paul Outside the Walls

    Around 65-67 AD Nero sentenced Saint Paul to be beheaded. In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine built a basilica over his tomb. The basilica was enlarged and alter many time over the centuries until 1823 when it was destroyed by fire. Today the basilica has been rebuilt as it was before with a few additions like a new portico. The church is one of four major basilicas in Rome and the only one outside the Aurelian walls.

    Attraction

    St. Mary Major

    The major Basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary is said to have been inspired by a dream in which the virgin spoke to Pope Liberius. The Virgin indicated Esquiline Hill as the site upon which the church should be built by covering the hill with a blanket of snow on August the 5th. The church contains beautiful artistic works such as 5th-century mosaics and a gilded wooden ceiling covered with gold from the New World.

    Attraction

    St. John in Lateran

    St John in Lateran Basilica is the cathedral of Rome. The church is attached to the Lateran Palace which was the home of the Pope until it was moved from Rome to Avignon, France. The church was first constructed by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD.



    * This itinerary is subject to availability and can be cancelled or varied without notice.