Venues for Your Choir:
- Rome – Concert
- Assisi – Sung Mass
FRI, DAY 1: DEPART THE USA
Passport in hand-don’t forget the camera! We board our flight en route to Rome, with complimentary meals and beverages served aloft.
SAT, DAY 2: ARRIVE ROME / ASSISI
We arrive in Rome and are met by our Catholic Travel Centre representative who will accompany us throughout our journey. We board our motor coach and make our way to the village of Santa Maria degli Angeli where we visit the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, containing the Porziuncola, rebuilt by St. Francis and his followers. Nearby is the site of Francis’ death. This Basilica is the namesake for the City of Los Angeles. We continue to our hotel to rest from our journey. Dinner tonight is at our hotel. (D)
SUN, DAY 3: ASSISI: CHOIR SINGS AT MASS: VISIT OF THE TOWN
This morning we celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Francis, where our choir will sing.
After a visit to the Basilica, we continue with a walking tour of the city, visiting the major sites associated with St. Francis, including: the Chiesa Nuova, built over the home of Francis’ family; and the Basilica of St. Clare, where St. Clare lies in repose. Here we also see the original ‘San Damiano’ crucifix that spoke to Francis, urging him to “rebuild My Church.”
Francis interpreted the dream literally and went to work on repairing the building at San Damiano. Only later did he understand the deeper meaning of the dream.
We also visit St. Mary Major Church. This is the site where some 800 years ago, St. Francis dramatically renounced his father’s wealth, disrobing in the presence of his father and the bishop.
We have some leisure time for lunch on our own. This afternoon, we meet at the Piazza near St. Clare’s Church and board our waiting mini-vans and make our way up the winding road (buses cannot make these sharp turns) to the Eremo delle Carceri (Hermitage), secluded some 2 1/2 miles outside the town of Assisi. This is where St. Francis often retired to pray. Here, in the midst of the lush green forest and the singing birds, one gets a deep sense of the spirit of St. Francis. We return to the town below for the balance of the day at leisure. Dinner tonight is served at our hotel. (B, D)
MON, DAY 4: ASSISI / FLORENCE
This morning we depart Assisi for Florence. Florence’s recorded history began in 59 BC when Julius Caesar allocated the Arno valley to his veterans. They built an army camp, named Florentia, in a chessboard pattern that can still be found in the city center. Situated on a main trade route the settlement expanded rapidly, and in the 3rd Century AD, the Emperor Diocletianus made Florentia capital of the province of Tuscia. Florence today is a sublime blend of beauty, culture and history. Florence is also known as the city of the Medici Family and Machievelli
We begin our visit at the Duomo (the Cathedral), with its pink, white and green marble façade, and Brunelleschi’s famous dome. It is the 4th largest Cathedral in the world. Next to the Duomo is the Baptistery of San Giovanni. It is one of the oldest buildings in Florence and is dedicated to John the Baptist. The octagonal building is famous for its gilded bronze doors, particularly the Gates of Paradise by Lorenzo Ghiberti.
After our tour here, we continue with a walk with our guide to the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) the famous 14th-century bridge, lined with gold and silversmiths. This was the only bridge in the city to survive the Nazi bombings in World War II. We check-in to our hotel for dinner and have some time to relax in the evening. (B, D)
TUE, DAY 5: FLORENCE: VISIT OF THE TOWN / ROME
We begin the day with a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia. This gallery houses paintings by Florentine artists spanning 13th to 16th centuries, but its main draw is Michelangelo’s David, carved from a single block of marble when the artist was only 29. In the same neighborhood, is the house of Dante, the creator of the modern Italian written language.
Before boarding our motor coach for our drive to Rome, we have some time at leisure for lunch on our own and to stroll and browse along the Ponte Vecchio, perhaps to do a little shopping. After checking in to our hotel in Rome, we gather for dinner at our hotel and the evening. (B, D)
WED, DAY 6: ROME: PAPAL AUDIENCE & HISTORIC WALKING TOUR
This morning, after Mass at a local church, we make our way to the Vatican City to attend the General Papal Audience at Pope Paul VI Audience Hall (subject to the Holy Father’s schedule). Our choir will have the opportunity to sing impromptu in the audience hall prior to the Holy Father’s appearance.
After some time at leisure, our tour escort will lead us on a walking tour of the historic central Rome, including: the Piazza Navona, with its beautiful fountains, the Pantheon, originally built to honor all the gods of Ancient Rome, the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, housing the tomb of the St. Catherine of Siena, the Trevi Fountain, where we toss our traditional three coins into the fountain to make our three wishes -one for love-one for money-and one to return to Rome!. And of course we climb the beautiful Spanish Steps. Look to the south of the base of the steps and we see the Keats-Shelly Memorial house commemorating the Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelly. You may wish to stop in route for a gelato (Italian an ice cream) at the famous Giolitti’s! We return to our hotel for a bit of rest. Dinner tonight is served at our hotel. (B, D)
THU, DAY 7: ROME: VATICAN DAY: VATICAN MUSEUMS & ST. PETER’S BASILICA PLUS EVENING CONCERT
We begin today with Mass at the Basilica of St. Peter. After Mass we meet our local guide and transfer to the Vatican Museums, whose treasures include the ancient Rome exhibits with the famous Laocoon statue, and the High Renaissance murals of Raphael, which he was painting at the same time Michelangelo completed the Sistine, another marvel. The restoration of its frescoes reveals startling bright colors—a new light on Michelangelo! The Sistine chapel was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV to mark the Holy Year 1475.
Our tour continues with a visit to the expansive St. Peter’s Square and finally concludes with a guided visit inside the Basilica of St. Peter. Inside we see the art treasures such as Michelangelo’s moving Pieta and Bernini’s Dove of the Holy Spirit.
Your choir will offer a concert for the people of Rome at Sant’Agnese in Agone Church in Piazza Navona in the evening. Dinner tonight will be on our own. (B)
FRI, DAY 8: ROME: ST. MARY MAJOR, ANCIENT ROME & ST. PAULS OUTSIDE THE WALLS
This morning we visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Here we celebrate Mass. Then we continue with the tour of the Basilica.
Later, we enjoy a tour of some of the sites of Ancient Rome, including the Forum and Coliseum. Its real name was the Flavian Amphitheatre, after the 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. Originally on this spot stood a pool, around which was built Emperor Nero’s famous ‘Golden House.’ The construction was completed with the help of Jewish slaves brought here in 70 AD. The Coliseum served as the center for violent sports, and traditionally, as the site of the martyrdom of many Christians. We will view the Forum from outside, and we will enter the Coliseum. We conclude our day with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, which houses the tomb of St. Paul. We gather tonight for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B, D)
SAT, DAY 9: RETURN USA
This morning we transfer to the Rome airport for our return flight to the United States, our suitcases full of memories! (B)
Customized Itineraries: The itinerary shown here is one example of how you might plan your Choir tour. Catholic Travel Centre specializes in customized tours, so we can willingly add days or sites.
Pricing: Our Catholic Travel Centre Choir specialists will custom quote your itinerary depending upon your dates of travel, group size, class of hotels, etc. Call us toll free at (800) 553-5233.