Italy’s Religious Treasures

Rome: Vatican City – San Giovanni Rotondo: San Pio

Cascia: Santa Rita di Cascia – Santa Maria degli Angeli

Assisi: San Francesco d’Assisi and Santa Chiara

October 13th to 23rd, 2023

( 10 nights) $5,800

This tour is part of a Pilgrimage with the Our Lady of the Lake Church and that Fr. Tony will be accompanying the group.

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1st day : Flight from Las Vegas to Rome international airport (or any major US city)

2nd day : The city of Rome – Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Arrival in Rome, welcome, load baggage on the coach and transfer to the hotel. Hotel check in and lunch at the hotel.

In the afternoon transfer to Celio Hill to visit the Archbasilica of the Lateran. It is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Pope, which hosts the Papal Cathedral, also called the Holy Seat. It is the first of the four papal basilicas and the oldest in the West. Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.

(Hotel in Rome)

3rd day: Vatican City – Imperial Rome

Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning a guided tour of Vatican City: Piazza San Pietro is one of the most famous squares in the world and is located in front of the Basilica of St. Peter, all surrounded with the memory of the first pope, the Apostle and martyr Peter. The patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter is the major papal basilica of Rome, often described as the largest church in the world and the pulsating center of Catholicism.

Visit inside the Basilica where you can appreciate several masterpieces of inestimable historical and artistic value including: The Pietà of Michelangelo, the canopy of G.L. Bernini, the Dome of Michelangelo, the Holy Door, etc. Visit the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.

Lunch at a restaurant

The afternoon begins with the guided tour of “Imperial Rome”: you will see the Campidoglio; This square was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti who drew it in detail, including the paving. The square also has a particular structure since Michelangelo built the palaces in order to create a perspective. Continue with the Fori Imperiali, which constitute a series of monumental squares built in the course of a century and a half (between 46 B.C. and 113 A.D.) in the heart of the city of Rome by the emperors. A guided tour of the imposing Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum, capable of holding up to 50,000 spectators, the largest and most important amphitheater of the imperial era. It was used for gladiator shows and other public events (hunting shows, reenactments of famous battles, and dramas based on classical mythology). It clearly expresses the Roman architectural and constructive conceptions of the early Imperial age.

You will see the famous Trevi Fountain along with Piazza di Spagna, with the steps of Trinità dei Monti, one of the most famous squares of Rome.

Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

(Hotel in Rome)

4th day: Puglia: San Giovanni Rotondo: San Pio

Breakfast at the hotel. Load baggage on the coach and depart for Puglia. Arrival in San Giovanni Rotondo, check in at the hotel and lunch. In the afternoon a guided tour of San Giovanni Rotondo: The Old Church, with the tomb of Saint Pio, the cell, the crucifix of the stigmata, and his personal objects. Visit the new Church dedicated to Saint Pio, work of the architect Renzo Piano with inside works by different artists including the crucifix by Arnaldo Pomodoro, the Porta Bronzea of Palladino, the Ambrone (pulpit) by Vangi and the largest mechanical organ. Outside the aforementioned churches, the monumental Via Crucis by the sculptor Francesco Messina. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

(Hotel in San Giovanni Rotondo)

5th day: Gargano National Park: Peschici-Vieste-Monte Sant’Angelo

Breakfast at hotel. Morning departure, embarkation for your boat excursion in the National Park of Gargano, a magnificent rocky promontory that stands out in the sea, at the foot of its cliffs there are many sea caves and natural arches, a heavenly site populated by a rich fauna and flora, classified as a protected marine nature reserve. Guided tour of Peschici, located on a cliff overlooking the sea, in the extreme north of the Gargano, preserves an interesting historical center with its domed houses with oriental flavors. The historic center is built around narrow streets. Guided tour and free time available for shopping in typical shops.

Lunch at a restaurant

Continuing with the visit of the small town of Vieste. This center, typical of the Middle Ages, overlooks the sea and is characterized by not aligned narrow streets, the houses with external staircases (mignali) are sometimes connected by buttresses. You will visit the medieval village, the XI century Cathedral, and the castle of the period of Frederick II,

At the end continue to Monte Sant’Angelo for a guided tour of the Sanctuary of San Michele, one of the oldest sites of Christian pilgrimage. The village of Monte Sant’Angelo is perched at 796 meters above sea level and offers a view of great beauty on the Tavoliere and the Gargano, the basilica is the subject of a fervent pilgrimage because it is here that the Archangel Saint Michael appeared in a cave.
At the end of the day, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

(Hotel in San Giovanni Rotondo)

6th day: Cascia and Roccaporena : Santa Rita di Cascia

Breakfast at the hotel. Load baggage on coach and depart for Umbria “the green heart” of Italy. Arrival in Cascia, hotel check in and lunch. In the afternoon a guided tour of Cascia, the Monastery, where important relics are kept: the solemn case where Saint Rita was laid at the moment of her death, her wedding band, the rosary crown, and her cell. The most famous relic is the body of the Saint, kept in a crystal urn located inside the Sanctuary. Continue to Roccaporena to visit the birth house of Santa Rita, the church of San Montano where she married Paolo di Ferdinando, and the marital house. Visit Lazzaretto, where the Saint worked for the suffering, the miracle garden, and the rock of Saint Rita. The rock with the imprints of her knees and elbows, and the Via Crucis.

Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

(Hotel in Cascia)

7th day: Montefalco – Bevagna – Assisi

Breakfast at hotel. Load baggage on coach and depart for the Umbrian hinterland for a guided tour of the most beautiful villages of Italy, Montefalco and Bevagna.
In Montefalco, visit the splendid medieval walls. Once in the city, you will visit the church-museum of San Francesco built between 1335 and 1338 by the minor friars representing a synthesis of the history, culture, and tradition of Montefalco. The former church is known throughout the world for the frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli called “Stories of the life of San Francesco”, where there is the Nativity of Perugino and frescoes of the Umbrian school of the ‘400;
Lunch at a restaurant

In the afternoon proceed to Bevagna, a small village that has preserved its medieval urban structure almost intact. You will visit Piazza Silvestri, the Palazzo dei Consoli (exterior), the city walls, full of towers and bastions, interrupted by medieval doors or by more recent openings that allow entry to the historic center. Visit the Roman Baths with the precious mosaics with a marine theme perfectly preserved and dating back to the II century AD. Continue to Assisi, arrival at the hotel. Check in. Dinner and overnight

(Hotel in Assisi)

8th day: Assisi – Santa Maria degli Angeli

Breakfast at hotel. In the morning visit one of the greatest treasures of Italian art and sacredness: the Basilica of San Francesco di Assisi. The sanctuary is made up of two overlapping Basilicas, the lower one dated 1228-1230, the upper one completed in 1253 and a Crypt where the Saint’s remains are placed.

On the walls of the central nave the Lower Basilica preserves some frescoes depicting stories from the life of Saint Francis and stories from the Passion of Christ. There are numerous chapels painted by the hand of famous painters such as Simone Martini, Dono Doni and Giotto. Halfway down the central aisle, we descend to the crypt where the remains of the Saint Francis of Assisi are kept in a stone sarcophagus. The upper Basilica has a simple “hut” façade, the upper part is decorated with a magnificent central rose window with the symbols of the Evangelists in relief. The internal architecture shows the typical characters of Italian Gothic. The upper basilica is used for liturgical functions of an official nature, as evidenced by the presence of the papal throne in the apse.

Continue on foot to the Piazza del Comune (the center of Assisi), where all the most important palaces overlook the city, including the Temple of Minerva, temple of Roman origin, which preserves perfectly after more than 2000 years, the six Corinthian columns and the whole façade. Visit the Basilica of St. Clare, which houses, inside, the relics of the homonymous saint and the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis.

Lunch at a restaurant.

Free time available for personal activities Continue to Santa Maria degli Angeli for the visit to the imposing Basilica. At the wish of Pope St. Pius V (1566-1572), in order to keep the chapels of the Porziuncola, of the Transit and the Roseto and other places, made sacred by the memory of St. Francis, and to welcome the many pilgrims who come to visit them. The great Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli was built between 1569 and 1679. At the end of the visit, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

(Hotel in Assisi)

9th day: Gubbio – Perugia

Breakfast at hotel. In the morning visit the city of Gubbio. The tour starts from the Duomo, the main church of Gubbio and art treasure. Entering inside we can admire the works of the major eugubini artists of the sixteenth century and the two organs of the same period.

The scenic and panoramic Piazza Grande also houses Palazzo dei Consoli, symbol of the city, built in Gothic style to testify the importance of Gubbio in medieval times.

In front of the Cathedral stands the Palazzo Ducale, built in the second 400 by the wish of Duke Federico di Montefeltro. Free time available for personal activities.

Lunch at a restaurant.

In the afternoon continue to the city of Perugia, a small wonder in the heart of green Italy, with two important universities, Perugia is a young and cosmopolitan city. The numerous monuments and museums that adorn it bear witness to an exceptional artistic and cultural heritage. The construction of the city dates back to the time of the Etruscans when Rome was still a simple field. The labyrinths of medieval streets and the architecture of the buildings is an invitation to a nice walk in the historic center.

Visit Piazza IV Novembre, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy and surrounded by beautiful monuments. Corso Vanucci is the main artery of the city, there are many shops and terraces along the pedestrian course. Palazzo dei Priori built between 1293 and 1443, the building is today the seat of the Municipality, Gothic architecture is splendid, it also hosts the National Gallery of Umbria. The Fontana Maggiore, built in the 13th century, symbolizes the arrival of water through an aqueduct in the center of the city. The Cathedral of San Lorenzo of the fourteenth century, and the Basilica of San Domenico, built in 1304, houses the largest window in the world, 24 meters in height.

Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.

(Hotel in Assisi)

10th day: Orvieto – Roma

Breakfast at hotel. Load baggage on coach and depart for Orvieto, one of the oldest cities in Italy. It owes its origins to the Etruscan civilization: the first settlements date back to the IX century BC. and is located within the tuffaceous caves carved into the massif where the Umbrian town currently stands.

Our tour will begin with a guided tour of the splendid Cathedral of Orvieto, a colorful example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture, rich in works of art, which are preserved inside. The Reliquiario del Corporale, a famous masterpiece of jewelry made in 1337-1338 by the Sienese Ugolino di Vieri, who guards the Sacred Corporal which in 1263 was stained with blood when a Bohemian priest, celebrating Mass without faith, broke the consecrated host, from which the blood spilled out. Continue with the visit of the Underground City of Orvieto, which was entirely derived from the cavities dug by the inhabitants over the centuries, rich in wells and caves. The most famous is the Well of San Patrizio, next to the municipal gardens that are located within the Fortezza dell’Albornoz. The well, an extraordinary work of civil engineering of the sixteenth century, was excavated at the wish of Clement VII, who took refuge in Orvieto during the sack of Rome in 1527, for survival reasons in case of a siege or natural calamity. Its dimensions are impressive: 62 meters deep, has a diameter of 13.5 meters. Two spiraling spiral staircases that never meet, wind up around it ; the two staircases, composed of 248 steps each, receive light from 72 windows creating a surreal atmosphere.

Lunch at a restaurant

In the afternoon proceed to the city of Rome. Hotel check in and free time before dinner.

(Hotel in Rome)

11th day: Rome – Angelus of Pope Francis

Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to St. Peter’s Square for participation in the Angelus of Pope Francis.

Lunch at a restaurant. Free afternoon in the city center for personal activities and shopping

Dinner at a typical pizzeria.

Return to your hotel for overnight.

(Hotel in Rome)

12th day: Return flight to the USA

Breakfast at the hotel. Load baggage in the coach and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA.

What’s included

  • international flights
  • Accommodation at remarkable downtown hotels.
  • Breakfasts at the hotels, lunch, dinner
  • Airport transfers and all transportation according to the itinerary.
  • Breathtaking sightseeing tours according to the itinerary with professional English-speaking guides.
  • Support line during the trip.

Not included

Multiple arrival/departure transfers, other meals not mentioned in the program, optional tours and services, and all personal expenses and insurance.