Welcome to Italy—a romantic country steeped in history with some of the world’s most famous and sacred sights. Your tour starts in Rome, where history comes alive at the Colosseum and Roman Forum. See St. Peter’s Square and Basilica and other sacred sights, including the Basilica of St. John Lateran, one of the four major churches built in Rome in the 4th century; the Holy Stairs, transported from Jerusalem around 326 AD and today a pilgrimage site; and the burial site of St. Paul the Apostle. Enjoy walking tours in Florence and Sienna with a Local Guide, and delight in the scenery offered in Tuscany. In Assisi, the home of St. Francis, visit the Basilica of St. Francis; the Church of St. Clare, founder of the Order of Poor Clares; and the Cappella del Transito (Chapel of the Transit), where St. Francis died in 1226. Your vacation ends back in Rome with time for you to make your own discoveries.
Day #1 Arrive in Rome, Italy. Welcome to Italy! Check into your hotel, then the rest of the day is free to explore this ancient capital. This afternoon, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day #2 Rome. Rome, the “Eternal City,” is a city steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts with St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, followed by an optional visit to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Later, an included visit to the Roman Forum and the iconic Colosseum. (B,D)
Day #3 Rome. Enjoy a full day at leisure or join an optional excursion. (B)
Day #4 Rome. Join your Local Guide for the included visit to the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, this magnificent piece of architecture was the first of the four major churches constructed in Rome. Next, visit the papal sanctuary of the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs), transported from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother. Officially, these 28 marble steps are ascended in a kneeling position with a prayer recital dedicated to Jesus Christ. Later, visit St. Paul Outside the Walls and the burial place of St. Paul the Apostle. Consider joining the optional excursion to the Catacombs, which were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. (B)
Day #5 Rome–Florence. This morning, vistas of rolling hills, austere rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages form the backdrop of your journey through beautiful Tuscany. Arrive in Florence, the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” An included walking tour with a Local Guide features a visit to the Santa Croce Basilica, known for its Florentine artwork and the tomb of Michelangelo. Also enjoy a visit to the impressive Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore with its distinctive dome. Later, join the optional excursion to the Uffizi Gallery. (B,D)
Day #6 Florence–Siena–Assisi. Today, journey to Siena, Tuscany’s most beloved and inviting city. Enjoy a walk with your Local Guide through the narrow, winding streets of this beautiful town to the Piazza del Campo. Then, visit St. Dominic’s Basilica, St. Catherine’s Sanctuary, and the Duomo of Siena. In the late afternoon, reach Assisi, home of mystical St. Francis. (B,D)
Day #7 Assisi. Enclosed by ramparts and little change since the Middle Ages, Assisi sprawls prettily across the slopes of Monte Subasio and retains its medieval character. Start the day with your Local Guide by visiting the Basilica of St. Francis, famous for its paintings by Giotto, which date back to the 1300s. Also on the agenda: a visit to the Church of St. Clare, founder of the Order of Poor Clares. Later, why not join the optional excursion to see the ancient towns of Norcia and Cascia? (B,D)
Day #8 Assisi–Rome. Before leaving Assisi this morning, visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated at the foot of the hills of Assisi and protecting the Porziuncola, where St. Francis is said to have founded the first group of the Order of the Minor Friars in 1209. See the Cappella del Transito (Chapel of the Transit), where the saint died in 1226. Enjoy a comfortable drive back to Rome, with time to enjoy most of the afternoon and evening. (B)
Day #9 Rome. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)