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Your Adventure, Day by Day

Day 1 Departure from North America
  • Flight to Milan Enjoy full meal service on your scheduled wide-bodied flight to Milan.
Day 2 Milan – Padua – Venice Area
  • Meet Your Tour Director We will be met at the airport by our WorldStrides Tour Director, board our own private coach, and transfer to our hotel in the Venice area.
  • Basilica of St. Anthony and Chapel of Reliquaries En route we will visit Padua, forever associated with one of the Church’s dearly loved saints, St. Anthony. Most people know him as the patron invoked to find lost objects. However, in his lifetime he was known not only as a holy Franciscan priest, but also as a powerful and eloquent preacher. Our tour begins in the Basilica of St. Anthony where will view the saint’s tomb, as well as the Chapel of Reliquaries, which contains many precious items used by the saint in his lifetime. Of particular interest is the reliquary that contains St. Anthony’s incorrupt tongue that he used so persuasively to preach the gospel.
  • Continue to Venice
Day 3 Venice (La Serenissima)
  • Vaporetto Ride Along the Grand Canal Our day in Venice begins with a Vaporetto Ride along the Grand Canal, which has been described as the world's finest street.
  • Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square We will view the Rialto Bridge, the most elegant and famous of the bridges that span the Grand Canal, as we make our way to St. Mark's Square. We will visit St. Mark's Basilica, featuring interior walls encrusted with spectacular gold mosaics.
  • Galleries Our visit will also include an ascent to the Galleries to see the original bronze horses that once adorned the facade and a stunning view of St. Mark’s Square.
  • Doges' Palace We continue next door with a visit to the Doges’ Palace, residence of the rulers of the Serenissima Republic. We will explore the ornate and grandiose rooms of the palace, including a walk across the famous Bridge of Sighs to the cells where Casanova was once imprisoned, as well as the Grand Council chamber, featuring Tintoretto's Paradise, said to be the world's largest oil painting.
Day 4 Venice Area – Bologna – Florence Area
  • Corpus Domini Church After bidding goodbye to Venice, we will make our way to Corpus Domini Church, the shrine of the mystic St. Catherine of Bologna. She began her vocation as a Third Order Franciscan, and eventually became a Poor Clare nun renowned for her mystical gifts. She was also a talented painter and manuscript illuminator. The chapel contains her body, which has remained incorrupt since her death in 1463.
  • Florence Later, we travel on to Florence, a city that is a living gallery of man's greatest works of art, sculpture, and architectural forms.
  • Duomo We will view the massive and detailed façade of the Duomo before viewing the Baptistery’s bronze doors by Ghiberti, 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.
Day 5 Florence – Cascia – Siena – Assisi
  • Mass at the Augustine Monastery After an early morning departure from Florence, we will visit Cascia, home to one Italy’s most inspiring saints, St. Rita, known as the patron saint for impossible situations. Devoted to the Passion, she prayed to suffer as Christ did, and received a chronic head wound that appeared to have been caused by a crown of thorns, and which bled for 15 years. We will attend Mass at the Augustine Monastery where her incorrupt body is kept for veneration by the faithful.
  • Sanctuary of St. Catherine Our next stop will be in Siena where we will visit the Sanctuary of St. Catherine, which was the home to one of the greatest female mystics who ever lived, having had her first mystical experience at the age of 6. St. Catherine was graced with many spiritual gifts such as the stigmata and was a counselor to two popes. We continue to Assisi, the city as charming as the beloved Sts. Francis and Clare, who were born there.
Day 6 Assisi – Lanciano
  • Basilica of St. Francis After Mass in the morning, we will visit the Basilica of St. Francis, housing the relics of the “poor man of Assisi.”
  • Convento di San Damiano Then we will visit the Convento di San Damiano, which contains the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis. As he was praying one day, St. Francis heard Christ’s command to rebuild His Church. Taking this instruction literally, he began to renovate the debilitated structure.
  • Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels We will continue to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Porziuncula chapel, where St. Francis spent his last days being nursed by St. Clare before surrendering his soul to God. Ample time will be provided for private prayer and meditation. We continue on to Lanciano, the scene of one of the most astounding Eucharistic miracles. In the 8th century, a priest began to doubt the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As he pronounced the words of consecration, the Host he held had turned to flesh and the wine in the chalice into blood. Even without the scientific investigations that have confirmed the miracle, the message of what occurred at Lanciano is unmistakable. Ample time will be provided for private prayer and meditation.
Day 7 Day Trip to San Giovanni Rotondo
  • Our Lady of Grace Friary Today, we will take a day trip to San Giovanni Rotondo to visit Our Lady of Grace Friary, where the greatest mystic of the 20th century, Blessed Padre Pio, lived and worked, Besides being the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church, there are numerous reports of his bi-location, prophecy, and ability to read hearts. After Mass at the friary (subject to availability), we will see the cell in which Padre Pio lived and the confessional in which he heard confessions often up to eighteen hours a day. In the chapel we will view the crucifix from which Padre Pio received the stigmata. Ample time will be provided for prayer before his tomb. We return to Lanciano for the night.
Day 8 Lanciano – Rome
  • Ancient Appian Way In the ancient world it was said that all roads lead to Rome. Over the centuries many have found truth in that statement, both literally and spiritually. Today we journey to Rome via the Ancient Appian Way, the first and most important of the great roads that the Romans built.
  • Chiesa di Santa Maria in Palmis Here we will visit the little Chiesa di Santa Maria in Palmis, or Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis, where, according to tradition, St. Peter spoke with Jesus when St. Peter was fleeing Rome in order to escape Nero's persecution. Peter asked, “Domine, quo vadis?” meaning “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus reproached him, inviting him to retrace his steps, even if it meant he would be crucified.
  • Catacombs Then we will explore the Catacombs where the Early Christians of ancient Rome were buried underground.
  • Walking Tour to Piazza Navona Then we will take a walking tour from the Castel Sant’Angelo over the River Tiber to Piazza Navona. As you enjoy Bernini’s magnificent fountains and the local artists’ works, you may choose to sample the world famous ‘tartufo’ ice cream that originated in a cafe bar on this square, for your first ‘taste’ of Rome!
Day 9 Rome (City of the Popes)
  • Vatican Museums Today we will explore the Vatican, the world’s smallest independent nation, and the center of the Christian world. Our day begins with a specialist-guided tour of the Vatican Museums, which house one of the most impressive collections of art in the world. Our tour will include the map rooms, the tapestry rooms, and the magnificent Raphael Rooms, as well as the spectacular Sistine Chapel, highlighted by Michelangelo’s ceiling and his Last Judgment.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica We continue with a visit to St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the Western world and the most important point of pilgrimage in the Catholic world. Highlights of our visit will include: The Pieta by Michelangelo, the tomb of St. Peter, and Bernini’s magnificent Baldacchino. If possible, we will arrange a Papal Audience (subject to availability and the Holy Father’s schedule).
  • Mass at St. Peter's Basilica We will also attempt to arrange a visit to the Necropolis to see the original Tomb of St. Peter. We will have Mass today at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Day 10 Rome (The City of the Caesars)
  • Colosseum We will make a more leisurely start this morning on a specialist-guided tour and explore one of Rome’s most spectacular remains from the powerful Roman Empire—the Colosseum, considered the symbol of Rome's eternity. Completed under Titus in 80 AD, over 55,000 spectators could watch the gladiatorial games.
  • Church of St. Peter in Chains In the afternoon, we will visit the Church of St Peter in Chains, which, according to tradition, houses the chains that bound St. Peter.
  • Gesù We will continue to the huge Gesù, the principal church of the Jesuits, the order founded by Basque soldier Ignatius Loyola in the 1530s. Along with St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius is considered one of the great saints of the Counter-Reformation. Much more than just a founder of a religious order, St. Ignatius was a mystic and spiritual director par excellence. His “Spiritual Excercises” are still recommended to this day as a means for growing in holiness.
  • Rooms of Saint Ignatius Outside the church, at Piazza del Gesù, we will visit the Rooms of Saint Ignatius, where the saint lived and worked while in Rome.
Day 11 Rome (Cathedrals of Rome)
  • St. John Lateran Our day will begin with a visit to St. John Lateran and the Holy Steps, which, according to tradition, were brought back by St. Helena from the Holy Land and are the steps that Christ ascended when He was condemned by Pilate.
  • Church of San Alfonso The morning continues with a visit to 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. It was first venerated in Rome in 1499 AD. Ample time will be provided here for personal prayer and meditation.
  • Santa Maria Maggiore In the afternoon, we will visit Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major), one of Rome's four patriarchal basilicas that dates back to the 5th century. The main facade was added in the 18th century, preserving the glorious 13th century mosaics of the earlier facade. With a Baroque interior and a Romanesque bell tower, the basilica's most notable feature is a cycle of mosaics from the 5th century that decorates the arch and nave, depicting Biblical scenes.
  • Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain On your final evening in Rome, we will take a walk to the Spanish Steps before winding through the narrow streets that lead to the Trevi Fountain. It is traditional to toss a coin into the fountain to ensure a return to the Eternal City.
Day 12 Depart Rome
  • Return Flight Home Our enjoyable and rewarding tour will come to an end as our WorldStrides tour director accompanies us to the airport for the return flight home.