Venice | Florence | Rome
Our pilgrimage begins as we depart on our overnight flight to Venice. Meals and refreshments will be served aloft.
Upon arrival at the airport in Venice, we are met by our tour manager who will be with us for the duration of our pilgrimage in Italy. Pending our arrival time, enjoy an overview tour of this incredible city built upon 118 islands crisscrossed by 160 canals and linked by 400 footbridges. There are no roads, only canals, no traffic, only water taxis and gondolas. Afterwards, proceed to our hotel, our home for the next 2 nights. (D)
We journey to the spectacular epicenter of Venice – St. Mark’s Square – around which Venetian life revolves. Called the “drawing room of Europe,” by Napoleon, the square gets its name from St. Mark’s Basilica, the stunning church where the body of St. Mark the Evangelist is buried. We have ample time to visit and pray in this intricately designed cathedral of 85,000 square feet, five domes, and beautiful golden mosaics. The famous Doges Palace awaits us next. Pure Venetian and built for the rulers of Venice, we wander its opulent halls before crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs. Dinner tonight will be on our own in one of the charming restaurants around the city. (B)
Depart Venice this morning for Bologna, where we journey into the main square – Piazza Maggiore, lined with Medieval and Renaissance buildings. After visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral di San Pietro, we have free time for lunch on our own in one of the numerous restaurants or trattorias around the piazza. Afterwards, journey to the Basilica di San Domenico, a significant religious site in Bologna. Admire its Gothic architecture and visit the Chapel of Saint Dominic, which houses his tomb and stunning artwork. Then drive to Ravenna where we check in for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
This morning we journey to Ravenna for the day. We first visit the Basilica di San Vitale, a 6th century church on the UNESCO World Heritage List with Byzantine mosaics and architecture, followed by the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, featuring the oldest mosaics in Ravenna. In the afternoon, we visit the Basilica di Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and Mausoleum of Theodoric. We then explore the Dante Museum and Tomb before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight. ( (B, D)
Depart Ravenna early this morning and journey to Siena, where we visit St. Dominic’s, St. Catherine of Siena’s parish church where she attended daily Mass and went into ecstasy. The townspeople wanted St. Catherine to be buried in her home church, but they were only able to procure her head, which is preserved for veneration in a reliquary in St. Dominic’s. Adjacent to the church is her birthplace and childhood home, which has been renovated throughout the centuries into a museum, including several chapels and a cloister. Visit the cell where she fasted and prayed, then experience a highlight of our day in the Basilica of St. Francis: venerating the Eucharistic miracle of Siena. Explore the majestic Gothic Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Siena, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, and dedicated to the Assumption of Mary before checking in at our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Florence is a city of masterpieces where numerous churches and family chapels were painted by the greatest artists of the Renaissance to give Glory to God. We’ll enjoy a full city tour of this magnificent Renaissance city today. Stroll the same streets Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Botticelli walked. Gaze at artwork so divine it is still moving hearts, centuries after its creation. Where else can one admire Michelangelo’s David, gaze at the famous Perseus statue by Benvenuto Cellini, eat the best food, and go into deep contemplation all in one day? See the famous dome on Florence’s cathedral – Duomo di Firenze – that dominates the skyline, and walk along the Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge designed by a Dominican friar. Visit the Baptistry chapel, where thousands have received the Sacrament of Baptism, with its bronze Gates of Paradise showcasing fabulous castings of the Old Testament that seem to come to life. Continue onto Santa Maria Novella Church whose religious artwork is prized throughout the world. Enter the Santa Croce Church with its 16 chapels of superb frescoes by Giotto and see where two of Italy’s most famous Italians are buried: Michelangelo and Galileo. Return to Siena for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
Depart this morning for Orvieto where we visit the Signorelli Chapel in the Cathedral and venerate the sacred Eucharistic miracle. See the steps of the Papal summer residence where Pope Urban IV held up the blood-stained corporal and announced his intention to institute the Feast of Corpus Christi. After Mass, continue to Rome to check into our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to begin exploring “the Eternal City” on your own. (B, D)
Our day today is filled with wonder and awe as we steep ourselves in the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica, which beckons us into its interior through the arms of Bernini’s Colonnade. Marvel at Michelangelo’s Pieta and pray at the Perpetual Adoration Chapel renovated by St. John Paul II. Afterwards, we walk through the Vatican Museums which house artifacts from around the world and Eucharistic art to prepare ourselves for the greatest masterpiece yet: The Sistine Chapel. Painted by Michelangelo, it is the most famous ceiling in the world under which popes are chosen to lead the faithful. This afternoon, we visit St. Paul Outside the Walls, originally built by Constantine in the fourth century over the site of St. Paul’s tomb. After some time for prayer, we proceed to the Catacombs of St. Callistus and venerate the martyrs and early saints of the Church. Dinner tonight will be on our own. (B)
The Scala Santa, or Holy Stairs, are prayed this day by going up them on your knees because they are so sacred. Christ walked on these 28 marble stairs at the home of Pontius Pilate before he was condemned to death. Our prayerful experience continues with a visit to St. John Lateran, the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic faithful and the oldest basilica in Europe followed by a stop at St. Clement’s Basilica, built in honor of the fourth pope. An original fresco inside this basilica depicts St. Clement celebrating Mass, giving us a visible history of Eucharistic worship at the end of the first century. Nearby is St. Mary Major, where we venerate the crib of Christ, view the famous icon attributed to St. Luke, and see inestimable artwork that makes Rome renowned throughout the world. Tonight, we celebrate the end of our pilgrimage with a festive farewell dinner. (B, D)
Today we say “Ciao” to Italia and transfer to the airport for our return flight home, cherishing all the wonderful memories and graces of this pilgrimage. (B)
- Daily Mass at holy sites
- Roundtrip economy class airfare from Boise on Delta Airlines/Air France/KLM
- 9 nights’ accommodation, including taxes and service charges
- Porterage of one piece of luggage at airports and hotels
- Knowledgeable, friendly, Catholic/Christian guides; whisper headsets; deluxe motor coach transportation to holy sites; all entrance fees listed on itinerary
- Farewell dinner on day 10
- Breakfast and dinner per itinerary (excluding drinks)
Please note: Air taxes/fuel surcharges and gratuities are subject to change and will be updated on the final invoice. The final invoice will be emailed to you approximately 3 months prior to departure.
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