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Fratelli Group Travel


Day 1—Trans-Atlantic Flight to Rome
All participants will depart on a bus from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary to Newark International Airport for your trans-Atlantic flight to Rome, Italy.  Meals and entertainment are aloft and afternoon arrival in Rome. 

Day 2—Rome Arrival
Upon arrival at Fiumicino, Leonardo daVinci Airport, we will clear customs, baggage claim, meet our motor-coach and driver and immediately depart for center city Rome.  Upon arrival at our hotel we will check-in, have some time to refresh before having a short orientation of the area around the hotel.  We will have a walk over to Vatican Square before supper (included) this evening. Time allowing we will see the Presepe dei Netturbini and The Museum of the Poor Souls in Purgatory –see pages 8 & 9.

Day 3 — St. Peter’s Basilica / Vatican Museum / Sistine Chapel
At 22,067 square meters, St. Peter’s is the world’s largest church; regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines, it is a popular place of pilgrimage, even though it is neither the Mother Church nor a cathedral (San Giovanni in Laterano is both). It is hard to grasp its proportions until you have seen it. Particularly impressive is its height, 136 meters from the ground to the top of the magnificent dome, the tallest in the world.  According to Catholic tradition, the Basilica is the burial site of the apostle St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome.  St. Peter's tomb is said to be below the high altar.  Many popes have been buried here since the Early Christian period.  A church has been on this site since Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica, which replaced the basilica of the 4th century, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed in 1626.

Day 4 — Saint Paul Outside the Walls
San Paolo Fuori Le Mura is the second largest basilica of the four. It was founded by the Roman emperor Constantine over the burial place of St. Paul (now under the papal altar), making it a popular pilgrimage site. The huge basilica has maintained the original structure with one nave and four aisles, but it was almost entirely reconstructed in 1823 following a fire. The covered portico that precedes the façade is a Neo-classicist addition from the reconstruction. What remains of the ancient basilica is the interior portion of the apse with the triumphal arch. South of the transept is the cloister, considered one of the most beautiful of the Middle Ages.


Today after Mass you can enjoy the entire day on your own visiting sites, churches or museums or just getting in some of that last minute shopping over by the Pantheon or Borgo Pio.  Alternatively, we could do a half day tour of  the sites listed below.

Another suggestion would be to visit the  Roman Omni Theater. The “Time Elevator”;  a film that spans two and a half thousand years of Roman history will review and culminate many of the events and sites of the last days in Rome. 

(Price will be subject to the number of participants)
We will begin with our visit of Rome, visiting such sites as the Coliseum, the Capitoline Hill, Roman Forum, the Pantheon and the Fountain of Trevi, the Spanish Steps and much more. The Eternal City was the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, which was the dominant power in Western Europe and the lands bordering the Mediterranean for over seven hundred years from the 1st century BC until the 7th century AD.  The city is regarded as one of the birthplaces of western civilization. Since the 1st century AD Rome has been the seat of the Papacy and, after the end of Byzantine domination, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic.  Tonight we will have a farewell supper with music, wine and water included.


“Santuccio” la ristorazione semplice e genuina tra i Monti Lepini”
“The locale was born as a country inn when Sante Perciballe, then Mayor of Sezze, in order to overcome a relative lack of food (eateries) in the country, decided to venture into this family-run business.  It was June 1969: he did not have a specific preparation, nor an idea of what would entail the organization of lunches and ceremonies.  However, he pointed to the great culinary abilities of his wife Lina, who, was tied to "simple" dishes of rural tradition. They were, however, really exceptional and he did not go wrong! "Signora Lina’s dishes remind me of the aromas and tastes of those cooked by my grandmother."  Taken from the “IPMAGAZINE”

collections of their palaces to the public thus promoting knowledge of art history and culture. As seen today, the Vatican Museums are a complex of different pontifical museums and galleries that began under the patronage of the popes

At the end of the tour there will be free time for anyone who would like to visit the Cupola: Not that many visitors know that it is possible to climb up to the top of St Peter’s dome: it is a fantastic experience, and a great opportunity to enjoy a dizzying city panorama all around Rome and to admire a top down view of St Peter’s basilica nave. At the entrance to the basilica, after the security check, there is a sign that directs you to the far right of the portico (past the Holy Door) and to the kiosk for the elevator.  You can take the elevator to the roof level (saving 320 steps), but if you want to be on the top of the cupola you must take the stairs for the last portion (551 steps in total). The entrance cost is Cost 7 Euros for elevator, 5 Euros for stairs.

After the brief elevator ride (or the first 320 steps), before your climb to the dome, you can stop and enjoy the view from the gallery inside the dome looking down into the basilica . Take a few moments to absorb the astonishing beauty of the cupola from within, looking down onto the main altar.

Michelangelo himself designed this dome, which measures  135m (450 ft.) above the ground at its top and stretches 42m (139 ft.) in diameter. Legend has it that in deference to the Pantheon, Michelangelo made his dome 1.5m (5 ft.) shorter across, saying “I could build one bigger, but not more beautiful, than that of the Pantheon.” Carlo Maderno later added the dome-top lantern. The climb to the top of the dome proceeds through progressively narrower and sloping stairs. The narrow passageway can be uncomfortable if you are claustrophobic.  Supper included this evening.

The Museum of the Poor Souls in Purgatory
The Church itself is a brilliant gothic jewel amid the otherwise heavy Renaissance churches in Rome. Inside, its three naves are crowned with altars to the Saints: outside, its central tower soars above the rest, points to Heaven moving the soul upward. 

Over the entryway is a marble relief sculpture of the Poor Souls, who also look upward with hope, for Heaven is their destined home after their time of suffering is over. They look upward seeking relief. Catholic doctrine teaches us that Purgatory is a place of suffering, where souls atone for their sins. 

The artifacts in the Museum attest to these truths. Each glass display holds a different item – Scriptures, prayer books, a tabletop, an article of clothing – that bears the singed marks of the hands of souls in Purgatory. 
These souls were permitted by God to return to earth to ask family members or friends for prayers or Masses and leave behind some evidence of their suffering. Thus, they give testimony for Catholics of all epochs that Purgatory exists, a physical place of atonement.

Enriched over time, chronologically, with stones and stones brought by its pilgrimages of faith in the world.  Thanks to word of mouth first and to the media then, which became so well known to all, that many wanted to contribute, each with a personal stone of origin, so that the crib would represent the peoples of all faiths and origins in an endless work in progress.  It's not surprising, then, to see so many people quenched on the pavement, waiting to access the premises of the AMA where he shows himself the permanent artifact.  Near Christmas, prominent secular personalities, even Mother Teresa and all the Popes of our time have left the papal state to visit and bless him.  John Paul II was in love with his work.  An artist, therefore, who has become a character of his own, but also a proud municipal employee; a garbage collector.

Tre Fontane is a 12th century monastery church at the Abbey of Tre Fontane, the legendary site of the martyrdom of St Paul.  The abbey is an ancient pilgrimage site, and has two other churches as well as the monastery church. These are Santa Maria Scala Coeli and San Paolo alle Tre Fontane   The martyrdom of St Paul is mentioned by St. Ignatius of Antioch, and later by Eusebius of Caesarea who added the detail that it occurred in the reign of the emperor Nero. The actual year is unknown, although AD 67 is usually quoted.  The tradition that he was beheaded with a sword was deduced from his status as a Roman citizen, as this was the chosen method of executing malefactors of that class at the time.

The basilica of San Paolo Fuori le Mura has been venerated as the site of his burial since very early times, and it seems that this was the site of his martyrdom, too.  The developed legend describes how St Paul was beheaded at a site now marked by the church of San Paolo, and that three springs of water emerged from the ground where his head bounced. Then his body was carried some distance back to the site of San Paolo Fuori le Mura for burial.  The earliest evidence for Benedictine monks occupying the monastery dates from 1080, when it was put under the authority of the abbey of San Paolo Fuori le Mura, itself governed by the abbey of Cluny.  Today much of the abbey's income comes from selling its products, and nowadays that of other Cistercian monasteries. So, now there is a shop selling Cistercian products from abbeys worldwide, and doubles as a small bar where you can drink Trappist beer. This cannot be recommended too highly.

Santa Maria del Terzo Millennio alle Tre Fontane  - Saint Mary of the Third Millennium of the Three Fountains
This is the church of the pilgrimage shrine of Our Lady of Revelation (Il Santuario della Vergine della Rivelazione). This was founded as a result of a set of visions of Our Lady to a private individual. The Church’s Magisterium has not pronounced on the validity of the apparitions, nor on the doctrine promulgated thereby.

The shrine was built as a result of alleged visions of Our Lady experienced on the site by Bruno Cornacchiola (1913-2001). At the time that they occurred he was a city tram conductor, and was apparently both an Adventist and a Communist sympathizer.

He had been a rabid anti-Catholic, but according to his testimony had been visiting the abbey with his three children in 1947 when they saw an apparition of Our Lady as a young woman holding a copy of the Bible and standing in a natural grotto by the side of the road. As a result he converted to the Church, and made it his life's work to found a pilgrimage centre for Our Lady of Revelation at the cave.  Pizza Lunch included, supper on your own.

St. Peter’s Basilica is also famous as a magnificent work of art, to which major Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo, Bramante, Raffaello, Sangallo and Giacomo della Porta contributed. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the ample staircase and elliptical square surrounded by columns, which “introduces” the basilica, with the façade by Carlo Maderno.

We will also visit the Vatican Museum and culminate with the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums originated as a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) and placed in what today is the Cortile Ottagono” within the museum complex.

We will also visit the Vatican Museum and culminate with the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums originated as a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) and placed in what today is the Cortile Ottagono” within the museum complex.  The popes were among the first sovereigns who opened the art

Presepe dei Netturbini
Get a new perspective on the creche of Bethlehem at Il Presepe dei Netturbini, a model village of Jesus' birth created by a waste collector. In close proximity to the Vatican, this spacious recreation of the nativity grotto expresses the devotion of a municipal sanitation employee, including various junk such as fragments from the facade of the Vatican's basilica thrown out after restoration. Tucked away in a former storehouse, the scene has been meticulously built since 1972 and now features more than 100 houses individually lit by bulbs representing hearths. It draws plenty of visitors--including a few popes--and grows from year to year, adding new items from the streets of Vatican.

In the most beautiful time of the year, we celebrate the nativity scene in Via dei Cavalleggeri, a stone's throw from the Holy Office and St. Peter's.  Born from the passion of an enlightened man, Mr. Giuseppe, who has dedicated his whole life to the realization of a work that has become, not surprisingly, incredible.

Day 5 — Civita di Bagnoregio / Birthplace of St. Bonaventure
Founded by Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago. The population dwindle to just fifteen residents over the course of the 20th century. The Civita (Old City) was the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure, who died in 1274. The location of his boyhood house has long since fallen off the edge of the cliff.

He entered the Franciscan Order in 1243 and studied at the University of Paris, possibly under Alexander of Hales, and certainly under Alexander's successor, John of Rochelle. In 1253 he held the Franciscan chair at Paris. Three years earlier his fame had earned him the position of lecturer on The Four Books of Sentences—a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century—and in 1255 he received the degree of master, the medieval equivalent of doctor.

After having successfully defended his order against the reproaches of the anti-mendicant party, he was elected Minister General of the Franciscan Order. On 24 November 1265, he was selected for the post of Archbishop of York; however, he was never consecrated and resigned the appointment in October 1266.

The only relic of the saint is the arm and hand with which he wrote his Commentary on the Sentences, which is now conserved at Bagnoregio, in the parish church of St. Nicholas.


Origin of the Museum 
In the 19th century, under the influence of the Enlightenment, ‘modern’ minds were already doubting these truths of the Catholic Faith. One good defense of the Faith came from a French priest, Fr. Victor Jouet of the Order of the Sacred Heart - founded in 1854 by Fr. Jules Chevalier with the purpose of saying Masses and prayers for the repose of the Poor Souls.. 

In 1897, the Order in Rome had a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary. On September 15, the chapel caught fire. When it subsided, the clear image of a suffering face, portraying a soul in Purgatory, was noticed on one charred wall. This impressed Fr. Jouet deeply, and he became interested in finding other concrete evidence of manifestations of the souls in Purgatory to living. 

With the support of Pope St. Pius X, Fr. Jouet traveled throughout Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, collecting these relics – proofs of the existence of Purgatory – to house in the Gothic Church that the Order was building to replace their chapel in Rome.

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The town is noted for its striking position atop a plateau of friable volcanic tufa overlooking the Tiber river valley, in constant danger of destruction as its edges fall off, leaving the buildings built on the plateau to crumble. The city is also much admired for its architecture, some spanning several thousand years. Civita di Bagnoregio owes much of its unaltered condition to its relative isolation: the town was able to withstand most intrusions of modernity as well as the destruction wrought by two world wars. Lunch included in Civita Bagnoregio. Supper on your own.

Day 6 — Subiaco:  Starting point for St. Benedict
We will depart Rome this morning after breakfast heading southward to our first stop, Subiaco, the  first of 14 monasteries built by St. Benedict.  We will celebrate Mass here today.  Afterwards,  we will have a guided tour of the monastery. 

When St. Benedict, at the age of fourteen (c. 494), retired from the world and lived for three years in a cave above the river Anio, he was supplied with the necessities of life by a monk, St. Roman.  From this grotto, St. Benedict developed the concepts and organization of the Benedictine Order.  He built twelve monasteries, including one at the grotto, and placed twelve monks in each. In 854 Pope Leo IV is said to have consecrated an altar to Sts. Benedict and Scholastica and another to St. Sylvester.  Another renovation took place in 1053 under Abbot Humbert of St. Scholastica.  Abbot John V, created cardinal by Pope Gregory VII, made the grotto the terminus of a yearly procession, built a new road, and had the altars re-consecrated.

We will conclude our day with supper included at a rustic restaurant with local regional cuisine: Santuccio Restaurant in Sezze Romano.  All the food products, wines, cheeses meats are locally produced. This restaurant has 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor.  Meal to include wine, water and coffee.  Return to Rome for overnight.

He steered the Franciscans on a moderate and intellectual course that made them the most prominent order in the Catholic Church until the coming of the Jesuits. His theology was marked by an attempt completely to integrate faith and reason. He thought of Christ as the "one true master" who offers humans knowledge that begins in faith, is developed through rational understanding, and is perfected by mystical union with God.  By the 16th century, Civita di Bagnoregio was beginning to decline, becoming eclipsed by its former suburb Bagnoregio. At the end of the 17th century, the bishop and the municipal government were forced to move to Bagnoregio because of a major earthquake that accelerated the old town's decline. At that time, the area was part of the Papal States. In the 19th century, Civita di Bagnoregio's location was turning into an island and the pace of the erosion quickened as the layer of clay below the stone was breached in the area where today's bridge is situated. Bagnoregio continues as a small but prosperous town, while the older site became known in Italian as La città che muore ("The Dying Town"). 

Day 8—Departure to USA
Morning departure from Leonardo d’Vinci Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport. Time schedule to be announced.