SHRINES OF ITALY
9 nights / 10 days – arrival city ROME departure city MILAN
DAY 01: ROME
Upon arrival in Rome, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. En route you will drive along Via Cavour, Piazza Della Repubblica with Najads Fountain, Via Nazionale, Piazza Venezia where you will drive by the monument of King Victor Emanuel II. Drive on the Via Dei Fori Imperiali for a panoramic view of the Roman Forum and capitol Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, Circus Maximus, Aventin Hill, and Porta S. Paolo. Dinner and overnight in Rome
DAY 02: ROME’S MAJOR BASILICAS AND CATACOMBS
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning we will start with a visit to St. Mary Major Basilica, continue to Basilica of St. John in Lateran, the former residence of the popes prior to their return to Rome in 1377. St. John Lateran is Rome’s cathedral; it is here that the pope officiates in his capacity as bishop of Rome. Free time for Lunch In the Afternoon, we will visit St. Paul Outside the Walls, the burial place of St. Paul the Apostle. The chapel of relics has numerous relics, the most notable of which are a set chains said to be the prison chains of St. Paul, used in the last days before his execution. We proceed then via the Appian Way on our way to visit the Catacombs where early Christians held their forbidden service to escape persecution. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 03: PAPAL AUDIENCE AND VATICAN (MUST BE ON WEDNESDAY)
After Breakfast, transfer to St. Peter’s Square for the Holy Father’s General Audience and Blessing. Proceed to visit the Vatican Museums, as well as the Sistine Chapel. Continue to Visit St. Peter’s Basilica built on the site where St. Peter was martyred. Construction of St. Peter’s began in 1506 and was completed in 1626. St. Peter is buried here along with many other popes. Free time for lunch. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
DAY 04: ROME/FONTE COLOMBO/GRECCIO/ASSISI
After Breakfast, we depart from Rome to Fonte Colombo for the visit of the Franciscan Convent /Sanctuary. The Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo is located in a secluded area in a forest of centuries-old holm-oaks on the slopes of the very lush Mount Rainiero. It is the Franciscan Sinai. It was the site chosen by Saint Francis to write the Rule of the Franciscan Order. Everything is sacred here: the buildings, the pure spring waters and the forest itself because it houses the Sacro Speco, the Sacred Cavern where Saint Francis wrote the Rule. Then, we continue to Greccio. Lunch in local restaurant. Visit of Greccio Hermitage. The Sanctuary of Greccio is a spectacular place located at 2000ft on a steep rock overlooking the “Holy Valley”, where St. Francis used to wander. Greccio was the place where, in December 1223, St. Francis devised the first living crib. The idea was to discourage would-be pilgrims to go to Bethlehem, as it was a risky adventure, the Holy Land being then under the control of the Turks. In the convent there is the Chapel of the Nativity, dug into the rock, and, within the dormitory of the friars, the cell in which St. Francis slept. You can find also a 13th century small church and a small choir with wooden stalls still well preserved since 800 years! Continue to Assisi. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.
DAY 05 : ASSISI/ CASCIA/NORCIA/ASSISI
After breakfast, departure to Cascia for the visit at the Basilica Santa Rita da Cascia, view the incorrupt body of St. Rita in the Chapel, and then see the Eucharistic Miracle in the nearby minor Basilica. Afterward, we will proceed to the Convent of St. Rita, to see her relics, such as her habit, her wedding ring, and the crucifix from which she received her forehead stigmata. After what, we continue to Norcia. Here we will have break for a lunch, one must try excellent local specialties like smoked ham, salami and sausages all locally made. After lunch, we will visit Norcia including the St. Benedict Basilica, the main square with the city hall, the Cathedral Santa Maria Argentea. Return to Assisi for dinner and overnight.
DAY 06: ASSISI
After Breakfast, we will begin with exploring the town of St Francis of Assisi. Assisi is a small Umbrian town in central Italy best known as the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi — patron saint of Italy, founder of the Franciscan order, and one of the most popular Catholic saints in history. Assisi’s main attraction is the 13th-century Basilica of St. Francis, which contains the sacred relics of Francis and beautiful frescoes of his life. And there are at least seven other churches well worth visiting for their history, beauty, and connection with Francis or his friend Clare. We will visit St. Claire Basilica , which is a 13th-century church that houses the relics of St. Claire, friend and protege of St. Francis of Assisi, as well as the miraculous crucifix that spoke to Francis; and other major monuments of the city. Free time for lunch In the afternoon, we continue our visit to Eremo delle Carceri: in the caves on the slope of Monte Subasio just outside the walls of Assisi, St. Francis and his followers established their first home at the Eremo delle Carceri (Carceri Hermitage). He often returned here during his life to pray and contemplate. Then we continue to San Damiano Convent where St. Francis first received his miraculous calling in 1205 and where St. Clare died in 1253, it is an important stop on the pilgrimage to the Franciscan holy city. We will visit also the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, much venerated as the place of St. Francis’ death. Inside the grand Baroque basilica are two small, humble structures: the Capella del Transito and the Porziuncola. Dinner and Overnight in Assisi.
DAY 07: ASSISI/SIENA/FLORENCE
After breakfast, departure for Siena. Located in the central region of Tuscany, Siena is the birthplace of St. Catherine the first Doctor of the Church. Guided city tour of the mediaeval town today you will visit the famous Piazza del Campo known for the Palio horse race in mediaeval costume, the Cathedral famous for its frescos and floor pavement decorated with mosaics based on the Old and New Testament, the church of St. Francis that house the Eucharistic miracle of Siena and the church of St. Dominique that preserve part of the remains of St. Catherine. Free time for lunch Continue to Florence, upon arrival we will take a panoramic view of Florence. Dinner and overnight in Florence.
DAY 08: FLORENCE/PADUA
After breakfast, visit of Florence starts at the Basilica of Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) the largest and most beautiful of all Italian Franciscan Churches and the burial place of Michelangelo and Galileo. Continue to Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo) the Cathedral of Florence with its great representation of Tuscan Gothic Architecture. Free time for lunch. Continue to Padova. Dinner and overnight in Padova
DAY 09: PADUA/SOTTO IL MONTE GIOVANNI XXII/MILANO
After breakfast, we will visit Padova which is famous for its saint, Saint Antonio, known throughout as THE SAINT and whose shrine attracts millions of visitors every year. The impressive Basilica complex also houses famous works of art including three affrescos by Tiziano. Free time for lunch. Continue to Sotto il Monte San Giovanni XXII, the place where Pope John XXIII was born and lived, a place of pilgrimage and popular devotion. In the late afternoon we will arrive at Milano for a short panoramic tour. Dinner and overnight in Milan.
DAY 10: MILAN departure
Breakfast in the hotel. According to the departure time of the flight, available time until transfer to airport.