A Pilgrimage to Italy
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A Pilgrimage to Italy

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Your Adventure, Day by Day

Day 1 Departure from North America
  • Flight to Rome Relax and enjoy our scheduled flight from North America to Rome.
Day 2 Arrive Rome – Florence Area
  • Meet Your Tour Director Our 24-hour WorldStrides tour director will meet us at the airport and remain with us until our final airport departure. We will have use of a private coach and driver while touring for the next 7 days.
  • Piazzale Michelangelo Stop just outside Florence and explore the Piazzale Michelangelo. Offering a splendid panoramic view of the city’s domes and towers, this is a great location to take photos and view local artists at work.
Day 3 Florence (Cradle of the Renaissance)
  • Piazza della Signoria Spend time in the Piazza della Signoria, the political stage of Renaissance Florence and an open-air museum of sculpture.
  • Piazza del Duomo Enjoy the Piazza del Duomo, where the cathedral, tower, and baptistery exhibit the traditions of Florentine art from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. We will observe the massive and detailed facade of the Duomo before viewing the baptistery’s bronze doors, designed by Ghiberti and which Michelangelo commented were worthy to be the “Gates of Paradise.” After a brief visit inside the Duomo, we will have the opportunity to do one of the following: ascend the Bell Tower; climb the narrow steps to the top of the Red Dome; or visit the spectacular interior of the Baptistery.
  • Ponte Vecchio Stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest of Florence’s six bridges and one of the best-loved sites of Florence. Lined with numerous shops, visitors often do not realize they are on a bridge until they reach the center arches that look out over the Arno.
  • Church of Santa Croce Stop for a brief visit to the Church of Santa Croce, featuring the impressive tombs of many of Florence’s most influential figures, including Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Dante, and Galileo.
Day 4 Florence Area – Assisi – Rome
  • Assisi The medieval town of Assisi is heir to the legacy of its most prominent citizen, St. Francis. Although the town was damaged in the earthquake of 1997, it has been restored to its former glory with geranium-hung streets, lovely views, and fountain-splashed piazzas.
  • Basilica di San Francesco Visit the Basilica di San Francesco, an incongruous memorial to a man who preached and lived an utterly simple life of poverty, abstinence, and the enunciation of worldly goods in search of greater spirituality. We will explore the bi-level basilica, including the Lower Church, the Crypt, and the Upper Church, with Giotto’s famous frescoes of 28 scenes of the Life of St. Francis.
  • Church of Santa Chiara Explore the Church of Santa Chiara, resting place for St. Clare’s bones, and home of St. Francis’s miraculous crucifix. Our visit will include the Neo-Gothic Crypt and the Oratorio del Crocifisso, which preserves the venerated 12th century crucifix that spoke to St. Francis at San Damiano and set him on his holy path.
  • Basilica of Santa Maria deli Angeli Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli to see the small Portiuncola Chapel and the site where St. Francis died.
Day 5 Rome (City of the Caesars)
  • Colosseum Enjoy a specialist-guided tour, with whisper sets, through the spectacular remains of the Roman Empire, beginning at the Colosseum, considered to be the greatest symbol of Ancient Rome’s power and glory. Completed under Titus in 80 AD, the Colosseum could hold 55,000 spectators, on a par with many of today’s modern sports stadiums. Among the sights included on our tour is the Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch finished in 315 AD, commemorating the victory of Constantine I over Maxentius in the year 312 AD.
  • Roman Forum We will also tour the ruins and excavations of the Roman Forum, which features the remains of magnificent temples, basilicas, and triumphal arches that once formed the heart of the Empire.
  • Mamertine Prison See the Mamertine Prison, originally created as a cistern for a spring. The prison was typically reserved for higher-profile prisoners and those that posed a threat to the security of Rome; the most famous of these was St. Peter.
  • Trajan's Column and Market Enjoy a view of Trajan’s Column and Market. Completed in 113 A.D. as a monument to the Emperor Trajan, the column is most famous for its spiral bas- relief. It stands in front of the market, the ancient equivalent of a shopping center, which housed no less than 150 shops and offices. From there, stroll past the Victor Emmanuel Monument, a giant building created to honor the first king of a unified Italy.
  • Pantheon Visit the Pantheon, one of the grandest and best-preserved Roman monuments, and the oldest large-scale dome in Rome. The Pantheon has been in continuous use throughout its history and today houses many tombs, including those of Italian kings Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I, and painters Caracci and Raphael.
  • Piazza Navona This evening we will dine in the Piazza Navona area. Built on the foundations of Domitian’s Circus, this magnificent square was designed in the 17th century by Bernini. It is full of life and is highlighted by one of Rome’s most spectacular fountains, the Four Rivers. The square is often filled with local artists. The surrounding neighborhood is also one of the best places in Rome to get a tasty tartufo or gelato ice cream.
Day 6 Rome (City of the Popes)
  • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Experience a specialist-guided tour of the Vatican Museums, home to one of the world’s most impressive collections of art. Our tour includes the map tapestry rooms, the magnificent Raphael Rooms, and the spectacular Sistine Chapel, highlighted by Michelangelo’s ceiling and his Last Judgment.
  • St. Peter's Basilica We will continue into St. Peter’s Square to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the Western world and the center of Catholicism. Highlights of our visit include Michelangelo’s Pieta and Bernini’s magnificent Baldacchino Over the High Altar.
  • Papal Audience This morning we will gather in St. Peter’s Square with fellow Christians from around the world to attend the weekly Papal Audience with the Pope. This is a special time of prayer and fellowship as we celebrate our universal communion in Christ.
Day 7 Rome (Outside the Walls)
  • Via Appia Antica Travel just outside the city for a stroll along the Via Appia Antica (Appian Way), the most famous road that led to Rome. Built in 312 BC, it eventually stretched to the seaport of Brindisi, through which trade with colonies in Greece and the East was funneled. We will explore the road’s initial stretch in Rome, lined with the great monuments and ancient tombs of Patrician Roman families.
  • Quo Vadis Visit the little church of Quo Vadis, located along the Appian Way. Tradition holds that, after St. Peter fled Rome to escape persecution, he had a vision here of Jesus, which convinced him to return to Rome to face martyrdom.
  • Catacombs of St. Callixtus Visit the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, funerary tunnels which represent the first known cemetery of the Christian community of Rome. There are many sepulchral chambers and almost half a million tombs of early Christians, along with paintings, sculptures, and epigraphs that provide invaluable material for the study of their life and customs.
  • San Pietro in Vincoli Visit the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, which was founded in the 5th century to house the chains that bound St. Peter in Palestine, now preserved under glass. We will also view the tomb of Pope Julius II, crowned by one of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures, Moses.
Day 8 Rome
  • Castel Sant'angelo Visit the Castel Sant’Angelo, originally built as Hadrian’s mausoleum. It served as a fortress, prison, and a burial place for emperors before becoming a museum in 1925. It contains a historical military museum, paintings, rich ceramics, sculptures, and tapestries.
  • San Giovanni in Laterano Visit the church of San Giovanni in Laterano, the cathedral church of the diocese of Rome. The interior is credited to Borromini, and remains believed to have been painted by Giotto have also been discovered.
  • Church of San Alfonso Visit the Victorian-Gothic Church of San Alfonso and the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The icon was originally venerated on the Island of Crete. A merchant allegedly took the picture to hide it from the ensuing Turkish forces and it was first venerated in Rome in 1499 AD.
  • Santa Maria Maggiore Visit Santa Maria Maggiore. One of Rome’s four patriarchal basilicas, the church dates back to the 5th century. Along with its Baroque interior and Romanesque bell tower, the basilica is noted for a cycle of mosaics from the 5th century that decorate the arch and nave, depicting Biblical scenes.
  • Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps This evening we will dine near the spectacular Trevi Fountain, where it is traditional to toss a coin into the fountain to ensure a safe return to The Eternal City. Spend time at Rome’s meeting place, the Piazza di Spagna, home of the famous Spanish Steps. The piazza and steps are both named in reference to a 16th century Spanish ambassador who lived here. English poet John Keats lived and died in the house to the right of the steps, which is now a memorial.
Day 9 Departure from Rome
  • Return Flight Home Our rewarding and enjoyable tour comes to an end as our tour director accompanies us to the airport on our final day.