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11 DAYS PILGRIMAGE TO ITALY
TUES 9/9: BEGINNING OUR PILGRIMAGE. Depart New York, (JFK) via jet service enroute to Florence, Italy. Meals will be served in flight.
WED 9/10: FLORENCE. Upon your arrival in Florence, you will be transferred to your hotel (Arrive Florence at 5:30pm - local time). Dinner and overnight in Florence.
THURS 9/11 FLORENCE: Full day tour the Renaissance city. We will begin with the Convent of San Marco. The priory, which is now a museum, was home to two famous Dominicans of the fifteenth century, the fiery preacher Savonarola and the saintly artist, Fra Angelico, whose frescos adorn the walls of the convent. Next, visit the Academy Gallery, home to one of the most famous sculptures in the world, Michelangelo’s David. In the afternoon we will explore the Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore, with its great representation of Tuscan Gothic Architecture and Giotto’s Bell Tower, a 14th century masterpiece that rises to a height of 292 feet. The giant dome of the church, designed by Bunelleschi, is decorated by an immense fresco, "The Last Judgement," by Vasari and Zuccaro. We will also visit the Baptistry of San Giovanni and admire the East Door or “Great of Paradise” which took the artist, with Ghiberti, some 27 years to complete. Back to our hotel for dinner and our final overnight in Florence.
FRI 9/12 FLORENCE/ASSISI: In the morning we will proceed to the Renaissance town square of Florence, the Piazza della Signoria, and visit the quaint Bargello museum which houses a lovely collection of Florentine art by Michelangelo and others. Next we will visit Michelangelo’s parish church, Santa Croce, where Dante is buried, and then visit Santa Maria Novella to see the famous Trinity by Masaccio. We will then bid farewell to Renaissance Florence and make our way to Assisi, the hometown of the great Saint whose name was taken by our current Pope. We will begin our visit at the Portiuncula, one of the chapels rebuilt by St. Francis, and proceed to the Basilica of St. Clare. Dinner and overnight in the magical, medieval hill-town of Assisi.
SAT 9/13 ASSISI: We will visit the Basilica of St. Francis, the upper Basilica with Giotto’s frescos representing the life of St. Francis, then the lower Basilica and the Tomb of St. Francis. Mass will be celebrated. Continue to the Chapel of San Damiano where St. Francis received his call to rebuild the Church and where St. Clare lived and died. We will also visit the Carceri Hermitage, a series of caves on Mt. Subasio, above Assisi, to which St. Francis and the friars frequently retreated to meditate and pray.
SUN 9/14 ASSIS/ORVIETO/ROME: After breakfast, depart Assisi and drive to Rome via Orvieto where we visit the gothic Cathedral built to house the holy relics of the Eucharistic Miracle of Orvieto. It was this miracle that occasioned the proclamation of the Feast of Corpus Christi and inspired St. Thomas Aquinas to write the famous hymn “Tantum Ergo.” After Mass and lunch, we will proceed to Rome, where we will have a brief tour of the Pantheon and the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, where St. Catherine of Siena is buried under the main alar, before dinner and overnight in Rome.
MON 9/15 ANCIENT ROME: We begin our day visiting the Colosseum, where fights between men and beasts, gladiatorial contests, races and simulated naval battles took place in the arena, and which was dedicated in to the memory of the Christian martyrs by Pope Benedict XIV. Continue to the Roman Forum, the religious, political, and commercial center of ancient Rome, and for centuries, the entire civilized world. Then we will visit the fascinating Church of San Clemente an early Christian basilica in Rome dedicated to Pope St. Clement (d. 99 AD). In the 19th century, excavations under the present basilica uncovered not only the original, fourth-century basilica directly underneath, but also, on an even lower level, the remains of the first-century Christian house church that most probably was the home of Pope St. Clement, third successor of St. Peter. After lunch, we will visit Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the chapel built by Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, to house the relics of the true cross and the crown of thorns which she brought back from her pilgrimage to Jerusalem. We will conclude our day with a visit to the official cathedral of Rome given to the Pope by Constantine, St. John Lateran, and its ancient baptistery. Then back to our hotel for dinner, followed by a presentation by art historian Dr. Elizabeth Lev on understanding the Sistine chapel, which we will see the next day.
TUES 9/16 BASILICAS OF ROME: After breakfast we will start our tour with a visit to the Vatican Museum where we will see the magnificent rooms painted by Raphael as well as the Sistine Chapel, followed by a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. We will then proceed to the Basilica dedicated to the other great apostle of Rome, St. Paul Outside the Walls. After lunch we will visit the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, venerate the tombs of the martyrs, and see some of the earliest examples of Christian art. We then return to our hotel for dinner and a relaxing, free evening.
WED 9/17 PAPAL AUDIENCE AND VATICAN: After breakfast we drive to Vatican City to attend a Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis surrounded by the magnificent colonnade of Bernini. After lunch, we will visit the fascinating Scavii or excavations under St. Peters where St. Peter was buried after his martyrdom in the Circus of Nero which once stood on the hill of the Vatican. There will be free time during which people may spend more time in St. Peter’s, ascend to the top of the cupola, visit the basilica’s treasury, or shop for souvenirs. Dinner at our hotel followed by an optional walk to the Spanish steps to enjoy the festive atmosphere and have a gelato.
THURS 9/18 DAY TRIP TO SUBIACO: Today’s excursion is to the bucolic hill country 18 miles outside the city to which St. Benedict’s retreated to seek God as a monk around the year 520AD. The Santo Speco or Holy Cave of St. Benedict at Subiaco is surrounded by a chapel built into the side of the mountain to which pilgrims, including St. Francis, have been coming for 1500 years. After Mass at Subiaco, we will descend the hill for a visit to the Monastery of St. Scholastica, Benedict’s sister. After lunch we will return to Rome and conclude our Italian adventure at the famous Fountain of Trevi where we may throw a coin into the fountain in hopes of returning to Rome again. We then return have dinner in our hotel and pack for our return home.
FRI 9/19 ROME / NEW YORK: Transfer to the airport for your return flight to New York.
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$4569 From New York, (JFK)
(Plus Tips, Taxes and Fuel Surcharge)
$4159 Land Only
For more information, please contact: Cyndi Lucky