10 Days: A Spiritual & Cultural Journey to Florence, Assisi, & Rome

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DAY 1: DEPART USA

Depart USA en route to Rome, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.

DAY 2: ROME / FLORENCE

We arrive in Rome and are greeted by our Catholic Travel Centre representative, who will accompany us throughout the tour. We board our motor coach and make our way to Florence for dinner. (D)

DAY 3: FLORENCE

Florence is known as the city of the Medici Family and Machievelli. We visit the Duomo–Santa Maria in Fiore; the Baptistery of San Giovanni (bronze doors by Ghilberti). We celebrate Mass at a frescoed chapel in the Franciscan church of Santa Croce. This afternoon is at leisure for shopping. (B, D)

DAY 4: FLORENCE / SIENA / ASSISI

Departing Florence, our first stop is the medieval walled and towered city of San Gimignano which has “preserved its appearance more completely than any other town in Tuscany, or perhaps in Italy.” The movie Brother Sun and Sister Moon was filmed here. Then we proceed to Siena, the home of St. Catherine. We visit the austere church of San Domenico–“which contains the only authentic portrait of Catherine in the chapel where she received the Dominican habit and where several of her miracles occurred.” After Mass we make our way to Assisi in time for dinner. (B, D)

DAY 5: ASSISI

We visit this “quiet medieval town, imbued with the mystical spirit of one of the most fascinating characters of history.” Our guided tour includes the St. Francis’ Basilica, followed by walking tour of the town that includes San Rufino (with St. Francis’ baptismal font) and Santa Chiara Church (home to the San Damiano Cross). We stop in the village of Santa Maria degli Angeli and visit the Basilica by the same name, and the tiny Porziuncola church. After Mass, take some time on our own. (B, D)

DAY 6: ASSISI / ROME: COLISEUM, CATACOMBS, ST. PAUL’S

We depart Assisi en route to Rome. In Rome, we visit at the Coliseum. Its real name was the Flavian Amphitheater, after emperors who built it in the first century after Christ. Coliseum refers to the ‘colossal’ statue of Nero that at one time stood at the entrance. Then we make our way to the Catacombs, the underground burial site of the early Christians. We celebrate Mass at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 7: ROME: MAJOR BASILICAS

This morning we visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Nearby we see the Basilica of St. John Lateran. It is here that St. Francis

persuaded Pope Innocent III to give permission to begin the Franciscan Order. The night before the Pope had seen a man in a dream and the man was supporting the tottering building of St. John Lateran. The next day, when Francis appeared before Pope Innocent, His Holiness recognized the face from the dream and consented to Francis’s request. Nearby is the Scala Santa, purportedly the stairs that Christ climbed prior to his condemnation by Pontius Pilate. The afternoon is at leisure for shopping and browsing. Dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 8: ROME: VATICAN MUSEUM & BASILICA OF ST. PETER

This morning we enjoy a tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, featuring Michelangelo’s masterworks. We visit the Basilica of St. Peter with our local guide. Here we see another of Michelangelo’s works, the statue of the Blessed Mother holding her crucified son. We know it as the Pieta. The afternoon is at our leisure and dinner is at our hotel. (B, D)

DAY 9: ROME: PAPAL AUDIENCE & TOURIST SITES OF ROME; LEISURE TIME

This morning we transfer the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall for the Papal Audience (subject to Holy Father’s schedule). This afternoon is at leisure so that we have some time to shop in the Eternal City. We might like to make a visit to the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona, plus of course the Spanish Steps. Later this afternoon we make our way outside of Rome to Tivoli for a festive farewell dinner. (B, D)

DAY 10: RETURN

We transfer to the Rome airport for our return flight to the USA. (B)

NOTE: While no changes are anticipated, there might be occasions when certain alterations become necessary to this itinerary due to changes in airline schedules or for other reasons. All Masses are subject to final church schedules.