Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN MILAN, ITALY. Check into your hotel and, if you have time, start exploring this busy city on your own before meeting your tour companions and tour director during the included welcome dinner at your hotel.
MILAN. Early morning [M] Mass at St. Ambrose Basilica. After mass, a local guide will show you the treasures of the Basilica and the Duomo, the iconic cathedral and symbol of Milan.
MILAN-TURIN. Turin is known to the Catholic community worldwide as the home of the Holy Shroud, only available to the public on very special occasions, and of St John Bosco, the priest that founded the Salesian religious institute to help poor children with their education during the industrial revolution. Your visit includes the HOLY SHROUD MUSEUM, the BASILICA OF ST MARY AUSILIATRICE, of the CHURCH OF ST FRANCIS of SALES and a video on Don Bosco’s Rooms. You’ll have time to appreciate the elegance of this city and former capital of Italy before attending Mass in the Cathedral.
TURIN-PAVIA-SIRMIONE-PADUA. Pavia is home to a beautiful CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY, built in the 1400s by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan. The monastery is one of Italy’s “hidden treasures” with lavish decorations and monks who still live a traditional life of seclusion and prayer. On the way to Padua, you’ll also stop in Sirmione, a charming village on Lake Garda, with a medieval peninsula protected by walls and a bridge connecting it to the mainland.
PADUA-POMPOSA-RAVENNA. Attend morning [M] Mass at the ST. ANTHONY BASILICA in Padua and enjoy a visit with a local guide, followed by a short city sightseeing and time on your own. In the afternoon, on the way to Ravenna, we’ll stop to see the ABBEY OF POMPOSA, where the Benedictine monk Guido d’Arezzo invented modern musical notation in the 11th century.
RAVENNA-ROME. UNESCO declared the early Christian monuments of Ravenna as having “outstanding universal value.” Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century. It has a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments. All buildings—the Mausoleum of Galla Placida, the NEONIAN BAPTISTRY, the BASILICA OF SANT’APOLLINARE NUOVO, the CHURCH OF SAN VITALE, and the ARCHBISHOP’S CHAPEL OF ST. ANDREW—were constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries. They show great artistic skill, including a wonderful blend of Greek-Roman tradition, Christian iconography, and oriental and Western styles. The morning is dedicated to discovering these masterpieces and focusing on the Byzantine-style mosaics with a local guide. In the afternoon, travel to Rome.
ROME. Today you have the unique chance to attend the PAPAL AUDIENCE in the Vatican (subject to availability). Afterwards, enjoy an included city tour with a local guide to see the BASILICA OF ST. PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS, where St. Paul was buried after his martyrdom, ST. JOHN LATERAN BASILICA, the Cathedral of Rome and the seat of its Bishop (the Pope) famous for the Holy Stairs. Said to have led Jesus to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate, the stairs were transferred to Rome by St. Empress Helena. Finally, visit ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA, where a reliquary contains wood from the Holy Crib. Attend [M] Mass here before returning to your hotel.
ROME. Visit the PAPAL SUMMER RESIDENCE in Castel Gandolfo. Wander through the its GARDENS, an opportunity to reflect and meditate in quiet and relaxing surroundings. Walk through the rooms where many Popes have spent the summer months in the cooler countryside on the hills outside Rome. Later, you can join the optional excursion that will take you back to St. Peter’s to discover the treasures of the Vatican museum, or you can spend time at leisure enjoying the many monuments of Roman heritage.
ROME-PIETRELCINA-SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO. Dedicate the morning to orientation of Imperial Rome with a local guide. Then, start your journey southward to stop in quaint Pietrelcina, birthplace of the beloved St. Pio, and continue towards San Giovanni Rotondo on the eastern coast, the Saint’s home from 1916 until his death in 1968.
SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO. EXCURSION TO MONTE SANT’ANGELO. Attend [M] Mass this morning at SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE (Old Church), then visit the FRIARY of St. Pio, including his tomb, cell, confessional, and the PADRE PIO PILGRIMAGE CHURCH (New Church). Afterwards, take a short drive to the nearby SHRINE OF MONTE SANT’ANGELO, one of Christendom’s most celebrated shrines and where St. Michael the Archangel appeared in 490, 492, and 1656.
SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO–LANCIANO–LORETO–ASSISI AREA. Visit ST. FRANCIS’ church in Lanciano, home of the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle, and attend morning [M] Mass. Continue to the LORETO SANCTUARY, including the HOLY HOUSE, where, according to tradition, angels transported the home of the blessed Virgin Mary. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St. Francis and St. Clare.
ASSISI. Today, learn more about St. Francis, patron saint of animals and the environment. Attend early morning [M] Mass at ST. FRANCIS BASILICA, famous for its 14th-century Giotto paintings depicting the life of St. Francis. Meet your Local Guide and visit the UPPER and LOWER BASILICAS of St. Francis and the BASILICA OF ST. CLARE, founder of the Order of Poor Clares. Next, visit the BASILICA of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated at the foot of Assisi’s hills and protecting the Porziuncola, where St. Francis is said to have founded the Order of Friars Minor in 1209, and the Cappella del Transito, where the Saint died in 1226.
ASSISI AREA–CASCIA–ROME. Travel to Cascia this morning, situated in Umbria and home of St. Rita, the “Patron Saint of Impossible Causes.” Visit the SANCTUARY and see the Major Basilica, the chapel that houses the tomb of St. Rita. Also, see the Minor Basilica, home of the Eucharistic Miracle that is commemorated each year with the Feast of Corpus Christi. Return to Rome for a final overnight stay.
ROME. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.