ROME - VATICAN CITY - ASSISI - LORETO - SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO - SORRENTO
Morning arrival in Rome. Meeting with an English speaking tour manager and with motorcoach . Departure to our hotel . The rest of the day is at our leisure. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
We enter St. Peter’s through the Holy Doors to celebrate Mass and view the beautiful “Pieta.” We visit the treasures of the Vatican Museum and marvel at Michelangelo’s restored frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. We pray The Angelus with Pope Francis at noon (if he is in residence and did not celebrate our Mass this morning). Lunch is on our own. This afternoon we see two of Rome’s major Basilicas–St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major; entering through the Holy Doors at each basilica. Our tour continues to St. Peter in Chains to view Michelangelo’s possibly most celebrated sculpture, the “Moses”. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
This morning we enjoy a panoramic bus tour around the glorious city of Rome including the Roman Fora, the Arch of Constantine, the Coliseum and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After lunch on our own, we visit St. Paul’s Beyond the Walls where we pass through the last of the Holy Doors of the Basilicas of Rome. 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 celebrate Mass here and view the 2nd and 3rd century fresco paintings. We continue to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Today we travel north through the Umbrian countryside. We stop at Orvieto for a visit and Mass at the breathtaking Cathedral, which is known as the jewel of Italian architecture. Inside the Cathedral is the Chapel of the Corporal, which houses the chalice cloth involved in the Eucharistic Miracle which occurred in nearby Bolsena. In the 13th century, a pilgrim priest named Peter of Prague was celebrating Mass at the crypt of St. Christina. He was having a faith crisis concerning the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. While speaking the words of the consecration, blood started to drip from the consecrated Host. Subsequently, Pope Urban instituted The Feast of Corpus Christi. Lunch is on our own. Afterwards we continue to Assisi. 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. We then proceed to the hilltop village of Assisi for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
This morning we begin with a short walk to the Basilica of St. Francesco for Mass. After our visit to the Basilica and the tomb of St. Francis, our walking tour of the village begins with a visit to the Church of St. Clare. “The little plant of Blessed Francis” as she loved to call herself, where we view the San Damiano crucifix that spoke to St. Francis. Kneeling before it, Francis composed the following prayer, which is considered to be among the oldest of his writings: “All Highest, Glorious God, cast your light into the darkness of my heart. Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity, and profound humility, with wisdom and perception, O Lord, so that I may do what is truly your most holy will. Amen.” Lunch is on our own. This afternoon, our taxis take us up to the Hermitage of the Carceri, where Francis and his Friars retreated from the world to pray and fast. Here, the grotto of St. Francis can also be seen. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
This morning we drive east to Loreto. We celebrate Mass and visit the site of the Santa Casa or Holy House. Ancient tradition tells us angels carried the house of the Holy Family from Nazareth to Loreto as it was about to be destroyed by Holy Land invaders. After our visit, we continue southwards to Montesilvano (Pescara area) for dinner and overnight at our hotel on the shores of the Adriatic Sea.
LANCIANO/SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO
This morning we visit and pray at Lanciano, the site of the oldest Eucharistic Miracle certified by the Church. After almost eight centuries, the Body and the Blood still maintain all the characteristics of fresh human material. We continue south to San Giovanni Rotondo where we celebrate Mass at the tomb of Saint Padre Pio and visit the sanctuary. We transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
We depart early this morning for Subiaco. It was here that Saint Benedict and his sister Scolastica retired at the end of the 5th Century and built five little monasteries. We visit the Monastery of St. Benedict, which dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. We visit the Sacred Cave where Benedict lived as a hermit for three years. The staircase holds the earliest portrait of St. Francis without his halo or stigmata. Lunch is on our own. We celebrate Mass in Subiaco (if time permits otherwise we celebrate Mass in Rome before dinner). Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Rome.
This morning we continue south to the wonderful town of Sorrento along the Mediterranean Sea, on to the Bay of Naples whit stop in Pompeii, the Roman City destroyed but yet preserved by the volcanic ash of Vesuvios in 79 AD. We celebrate Mass at the church of the Holy Rosary recently visited by Saint John Paul II here. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Sorrento.
Today is free for rest, shopping or personal adventure.Optional daily excursion to Capri or Naples. We have the opportunity to explore the culinary delights of Sorrento tonight, as dinner is on our own. Overnight at our hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to Naples airport. End of the tour