Day 1 Arrive in Rome, Italy.
Welcome to Italy! Check into your hotel, then the rest of the day is free to explore this ancient capital. This afternoon, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
Day 2 Rome–Florence.
This morning, vistas of the Italian countryside form the backdrop of your journey. Arrive in Florence, the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” An included walking tour with a Local Guide features a visit to the SANTA CROCE BASILICA, known for its Florentine artwork and the tomb of Michelangelo. Also enjoy a visit to the impressive DUOMO OF SANTA MARIA DEL FIORE with its distinctive dome. Later, join the optional excursion to the Uffizi Gallery. (B,D)
Day 3 Florence–Siena–Assisi Area.
Today, enjoy landscapes of rolling hills, austere rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages on the way to Siena, Tuscany’s most beloved and inviting city. Attend Mass at St. Catherine's Sanctuary, then meet with a Local Guide who will show you more of Siena's treasures, such as the DUOMO and the BASILICA OF ST DOMINIC. In the late afternoon, reach the area of Assisi, home of mystical St. Francis. This evening, dine at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 4 Assisi Area.
Enclosed by ramparts and little changed since the Middle Ages, Assisi sprawls prettily across the slopes of Monte Subasio and retains its medieval character. After attending early morning Mass in the Lower Basilica, meet your Local Guide to visit the BASILICA OF ST FRANCIS, famous for its paintings by Giotto, which date back to the 1300s. Also on the agenda: a visit to the BASILICA OF ST CLARE, founder of the Order of Poor Clares. Later, why not join the optional excursion to see the ancient towns of Norcia and Cascia? (B,D)
Day 5 Assisi Area–Rome.
Before leaving Assisi this morning, visit the BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA DEGLI ANGELI, situated at the foot of the hills of Assisi and protecting the Porziuncola, where St. Francis is said to have founded the first group of the Order of the Minor Friars in 1209. See the Cappella del Transito (Chapel of the Transit), where the saint died in 1226. Enjoy a comfortable drive back to Rome, with time to enjoy most of the afternoon and evening. (B)
Day 6 Rome.
Today, attend the PAPAL AUDIENCE (subject to availability). Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, or join an optional excursion. (B)
Day 7 Rome.
Rome, the “Eternal City,” is a city steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts with ST PETER'S SQUARE and BASILICA, followed by an included visit to the ROMAN FORUM and the iconic COLOSSEUM. An optional visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel is available. (B,D)
Day 8 Rome.
Attend Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, then join your Local Guide for the included visit. Built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, this magnificent piece of architecture was the first of the four major churches constructed in Rome. Next, visit the papal sanctuary of the SCALA SANTA (Holy Stairs), transported from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother. Officially, these 28 marble steps are ascended in a kneeling position with a prayer recital dedicated to Jesus Christ. Later, visit ST. PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS and the burial place of St. Paul the Apostle. Consider joining the optional excursion to the Catacombs, which were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. (B)
Day 9 Rome.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)