Morning arrival in Rome. Meeting with an english speaking tour manager and with motorcoach. Departure to Montecatini, a beautiful spa town on the outskirts of Florence. The balance of the day is at leisure to stroll through the inviting streets of this charming town. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
After breakfast we drive to Florence where we visit the Academia Gallery, to view Michelangelo’s famous “David” and many other tremendous works of art. We continue to the Duomo, to celebrate Mass in the heart of the city. We will admire the cupola by Brunelleschi, completed in 1240, and its campanile by Giotto. Once outside we view the Baptistery’s with its incomparable bronze doors by Ghiberti. Afterwards, we set out to the Piazza della Signoria, dominated by the Palazzo Vecchio and its embattlement crowned tower. Across from the Palace, we visit the Loggia dei Lanzi with the statues of the Perseus by Cellini; Giambologna’s the “Rape of the Sabines” and “Hercules.” Following free time for lunch on our own, shopping on the Ponte Vecchio and personal adventure- we visit the Basilica of Santa Croce. Among the most famous interred here, lie Galileo, Rossini, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. We conclude our day in Florence with a drive to the “Piazzale Michelangelo” for a panoramic view of this spectacular city. Return to hotel in Montecatini for dinner and overnight.
This morning, we journey through the Italian countryside arriving in the magnificent city of Siena, which invites us to stroll through its Gothic streets. After we celebrate Mass at the Dominican Church commemorating St. Catherine, we walk down to the famous Piazza del Campo. This shell shaped square is the dramatic setting for the annual Palio bareback horserace. The piazza’s focal point is the Palazzo Pubblico, the public palace, which dates back to 1250. We continue uphill to visit the monumental Cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Free time for lunch and browsing. In the afternoon we continue south through Umbria to the hilltop village of Assisi, the home of Saint Francis. Our first stop is in the lower town for a visit to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, and the Portiuncula, Francis’ Church of the Little Portion. Continue to the upper village for dinner and overnight at your Assisi hotel.
This morning, we begin at the Basilica of St. Francesco with Mass. After our visit of the Basilica and the tomb of St. Francis, we begin our walking tour of the village. Included, is a visit to the Church of St. Clare to view the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis. We pass by the famous Temple of Minerva in the Piazza del Comune. This afternoon, we can enjoy this picturesque, peaceful hillside village on our own. Dinner and overnight at your Assisi hotel.
This morning we depart Assisi and drive to Rome where we tour her sites, including the Basilica of St. Mary Major where we walk through the Holy Door opened for this Jubilee Year of Mercy. We continue to the nearby Church of St. Peter in Chains to view Michelangelo’s possibly most celebrated sculpture, the “Moses.” Afterwards, we see the nearby Roman Fora passing the Arch of Constantine, the Coliseum, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Dinner and overnight at your Rome hotel.
Today, we make our way to St. Peter’s for an audience with Pope Francis if he is in residence. This afternoon, we visit the Holy Stairs and Basilica of St. John Lateran- and walk through the Holy Door. We continue to St. Paul Outside the Walls and walk through the Holy Door. This huge, imposing Basilica, second only to St. Peter’s and one of the largest churches in the Christian world, contains an unusual gallery of papal portraits: 265 tablets portraying the popes of the past. We conclude our day at one of the Catacombs, burial place of early Christians. We view the 2nd and 3rd century fresco paintings. Dinner and overnight hotel in Rome.
This morning, we return to Vatican City where we celebrate Mass below St. Peters and explore the Basilica concluding by walking through the Holy Door. We enjoy some free time around the Vatican. This afternoon, we tour Rome’s sites , including Phanteon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner with wine, and singing, in the charming Trastevere area. Overnight at your hotel in Rome.
Free day in Rome for personal adventure. If interested, you can choose an optional day trip to Pompeii or Tivoli Gardens. You may choose to enjoy an opera this evening at the Teatro dell’Opera by securing your own tickets online.
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to Rome airport. End of the tour