Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages". A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. The Florentine dialect forms the base of standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.
Day 9 — Sorrento to Naples Basilica / Neapolitan Nativities/ Santa Chiara / City & Panoramic Sightseeing
Today, after breakfast, we departure to the legendary city of Naples. There will be a scenic tour of the city and time to visit the main Cathedral of Naples; Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta and burial place of San Gennaro, patron of this region of Italy. San Gennaro is invoked by the faithful to intercede for the protection of the population against the wrath of Mount Vesuvius, the famous Monastery (Basilica) of Santa Chiara with it’s magnificent “majolica” tiled designed cloister.
Day 11 — Ancient & Monumental Rome
Today, after breakfast, we will begin our tour of some of the most important and popular sites of Ancient & Monumental Rome. Coliseum, Located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. In A.D. 80, Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseum–officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater–with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights.
Capitoline Hill: The Capitoline Hill is the smallest among the seven hills of Rome. Even though it is the smallest it played a huge part in the religious and political aspects of Rome since the founding of the city center.
Pantheon: The Pantheon is the best preserved building from ancient Rome and was completed in 125 AD in the reign of Hadrian. Its magnificent dome is a lasting testimony to the genius of Roman architects and as the building stands virtually intact it offers a unique opportunity for the modern visitor to step back 2,000 years and experience the glory that was Rome.
Later we proceed to Materdomini to visit the famous shrine of St. Gerard. The youngest of five children, he was born on April 6, 1726, in the small town of Muro. He was very sickly at birth and was immediately taken to the Cathedral church for Baptism.
He is the saint whose intercession is requested for children (and unborn children in particular), childbirth, mothers (and expectant mothers in particular), motherhood, falsely accused people and good confessions. Gerard Maiella was beatified in Rome on January 29, 1893, by Pope Leo XIII. He was canonized less than twelve years later on December 11, 1904, by Pope Saint Pius X. His feast day is October 16.
Dinner (included) and overnight will be in Sorrento. Mass TBA.
Day 5 — Full Day to Perugia
Today we proceed into the Umbrian Hills to Perugia. A university city with one large university and a smaller one catering to foreign students. The student population gives the city a more youthful feel than a city as old as Perugia might otherwise depict. The University for Foreign Students brings a distinct foreign presence, even if there aren’t as many tourists. The city’s history dates back to pre-Roman times, some Etruscan ruins from that era still exist today. We will have a walking tour of the city’s main square and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. The current cathedral, dedicated from the beginning as the Cathedral of San Lorenzo and Sant' Ercolano dates from the1300s by Fra Bevignate that was initiated in 1345 and completed in 1490. There will be some free-time for lunch on your own and browsing.
Day 7—Sorrento/Amalfi (Costiera Amalfitana)
Today after breakfast we will embark on one of the most memorable days of the entire trip, “La Costiera Amalfitana”, the Amalfi Coast Drive. Traveling south from the Bay of Sorrento to the Bay of Salerno along the Mediterranean, its time to experience the most spectacular and scenic coastal drives in all of Europe, if not the world! The 40 mile trek of cliff road consists of over 1000 curves and turns, each one with a new and fantastic view of the mountains which seem to lean down to kiss the crystal clear turquoise sea below. There will be panoramic stops along the way for photos - have your camera ready for this one!!!
Our main stop today will be in Amalfi, a beautiful seaport city, once an ancient Empire,
Day 10— Rome—Vatican City & Sistine Chapel
Today after breakfast we will visit Vatican Hill; one of the Seven Hills of Rome where the seat of Christianity; St. Peter’s Basilica is located atop it. At 22,067 square meters, (approx. 210,000 square feet) 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. 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. Inside the Basilica you will visit Michelangelo's famous “Pieta`”, the Baldacchino Altar and crypt where the many of the popes are buried and much more. Later we will continue onto the Sistine Chapel to see one of the world’s most famous masterpieces by Michelangelo—”The Ceiling”. The balance of the day is free to shop or visit other sights on your own. Dinner this evening (on your own) overnight in Rome.
into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. The Trevi Fountain is situated at the end of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct constructed in 19 BC by Agrippa, the son-in-law of Emperor Augustus.
Spanish Steps: The elegant staircase of 135 steps was inaugurated in the Jubilee Year of 1725 by Pope Benedict XIII, originally used to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy to the Church of Trinità dei Monti. The name comes from the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican that has been located in the piazza since the 1600s.
This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner (included) with music, wine, water and coffee included in Rome. Overnight will be in Rome.
Day 12— Departure Day
Today, we bid not farewell, but Arrivederci (see you again) to Italy as we transfer to Leonardo DaVinci Airport in Fiumecino. Upon boarding our flight homebound, not only will we be carrying many kilos of Italy in our luggage, but many memories of fun days, wonderfully interesting meals shared with friends, a bit more culture to add to our already cultured consciousness, but above all, the recollection of an impressive and wonderful journey on the ITALIAN PENINSULA. Dinner aloft and overnight at HOME!
Day 3—Florence Full day City Tour (walking)
Today, after breakfast, we will begin our walking tour of Florence. Florence is one of the few cities around the world whose entire historical center is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reason is it offers hundreds, maybe thousands, of monumental arts and architecture. We will begin our day with a visit to the Accademia to see some of Michaelangelo’s greatest works, especially the “David”. Afterwards onto the Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore , Brunelleschi’s masterpiece. Here will we also see Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery with its “Gates of Paradise” doors . We will continue on to Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio. There will be a break for lunch before continuing on our walk to Santa Croce. The Basilica of Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories, as many important artists, writers and scientists, including Michelangelo Buonarroti, Galileo Galilei, Gioachino Rossini, Ugo Foscolo and Leon Battista Alberti are buried here. Dinner (included w/wine & water & coffee), overnight in Florence. Mass today be announced.
Day 8—Saint Gerard Majella & La Madonna di Monte Virgine
Today we travel inland to the Apennine hills of Avellino to visit two famous shrines. We begin our day with a visit to the abbey of Monte Vergine. The monastery chapel contains an ancient Byzantine picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, said to have come originally from Antioch. The dark features of the Blessed Virgin standing out from a background of bright gold have won for it from peasants and pilgrims the name of "Schiavona."
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TRAVEL & TOURS
Today we will have a tour and taste of the world famous Perugina Chocolates (Baci) originating from this ancient city. Perugia has long been considered the Italian capital of chocolate, even more so since it started hosting the annual Euro-Chocolate exhibition, the chocolate industry's most important trade event. Upon our return to Florence you will have some time to freshen up and relax. This evening, supper included with wine, water and coffee. Overnight in Florence.
Day 4 — Full Day Chianti Region
This morning, after breakfast, we will leave Florence for the Chianti Wine Region. We will be traveling along the “Chianti Road” or ”Chiantigiana”. The Via Chiantigiana is one of the most enjoyable motoring routes in Italy. It runs directly south from Florence to Siena through the middle of the Chianti Classico wine zone of Tuscany, one of the most instantly recognizable landscapes in the world. After passing Ugolino Golf Course, the oldest golf club in Italy, the Chiantigiana runs upward and follows the ridges between the Val d'Elsa and the Valdarno, wandering from one farmhouse and villa to another, from time to time passing through villages and small towns. The territory traversed by the Via Chiantigiana has been one of the most important wine producing regions in Italy for over two centuries. In fact, it was the Habsburg-Lorraine ruling family, most notably Leopold I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who, during the 18th and 19th centuries, began cultivating the grapes that would become modern Chianti. Since the 1920s, this territory has been the official area of production
Piazza Navona: The main attraction of Piazza Navona is the trio of fountains that adorn the square. The central and largest fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). It was constructed between 1647 and 1651 on request of Pope Innocent X.
Fountain of Trevi: It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and the most beautiful in the world. A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin
with its magnificent Arab/Norman Cathedral of Saint Andrew’s (9th - 12th Century). The cathedral houses the relic of the head of Saint Andrew taken in the sack of Constantinople in 1204. There will be some free time for shopping and meandering in this beautiful seaside village. Dinner (included) and overnight is in Sorrento.
Day 1——Departure—Monday, September 2, 2019
This evening’s trans-Atlantic flight to Rome, Italy will depart from Newark Liberty International Airport. Meals and entertainment are aloft and arrival in Rome. Time schedule TBA.
(There will be a “group flight” to Italy. Anyone wishing to book their own air, please contact our office ahead before booking for schedules and arrival meeting point. Please refer to page 12, “Airfare & Transfers”.
Day 2 — Arrival Rome Fiumecino Airport
Upon arrival at Fiumecino, Leonardo daVinci Airport, we will clear customs, baggage claim, and meet our motor-coach and driver. We will proceed north today to Florence, the Renaissance city. When we arrive at our hotel, we will check in and have some free time to freshen up before leaving for this evening’s welcome drink and dinner in a lovely restaurant with regional cuisine and local wines. Afterwards, we will retire for the night for a good rest before beginning tomorrow’s excursion. Dinner (included w/wine & water & coffee), overnight in Florence. For those still energized we can take a walk around city center in the evening to catch some of the sites beforehand.
for the Consorzio del Vino Chianti Classico Gallo Nero wine makers consortium. Our first stop today will be village of Greve. Greve's history is connected to the beautiful Castle of Montefioralle located above the town, when it served as the castle's marketplace in the 13th century. The strategic position at the crossroads of three important pilgrimage roads - the Chiantigiana road, the road to Valdarno and the road to Val di Pesa - favored its economic growth. At the beginning of the 1500s, the curious shaped square was already built and was later described by the Grand Duke Leopold I as "a beautiful square where every Saturday a big market of livestock and foods takes place". While in Greve we will have our first wine tasting with lunch (included) in the Verrazano Castle. Later we continue our journey south along the Chianti Road to the medieval village of Monteriggioni. Here we will have some free-time to explore this fascinating city before heading back to Florence.
We will walk along the Spanish Quarter, famous for the production of the Neapolitan Nativity scenes. A pizza lunch (on your own) would be in order today in view of the fact that “pizza” was invented in this famous city. There will be a walk through the Galleria and Piazza del Plebescito, past the Royal Palace of the Bourbon Kings. We will see the Angevin Castle or Maschio Angioino as the locals call it. This imposing castle, once surrounded by deep moats, was built in 1282 by Pierre de Chaulnes and Pierre d'Angincourt, the architects of Charles I of Anjou. It was modeled on the castle at Angers, France. Later in the afternoon we will depart Naples for the last leg of our journey through central Italy to the Eternal City of Rome. We will arrive in Rome late in the day, check into our hotel. And proceed to supper. Supper (included) and overnight in Rome.
Day 6—Florence to Sorrento Orientation Tour of the City
This morning we depart from Florence to make our journey south to Sorrento. Our destination today will be one of the most romantic and picturesque regions of Italy, the Sorrentine peninsula. En route we will pass beneath the awesome and mysterious shadows of Mount Vesuvius, which in 79 AD, destroyed most of the area and created an entirely new coastline with its cataclysmic eruption. As we travel along the serpentine coastal road, hovering over the turquoise Mediterranean Sea called “La Sorrentina”, the views will be breathtaking. Upon arrival at our hotel you will have some time for check in and to freshen up before our short orientation tour of this magnificent city of cliffs . Supper included with wine, water and coffee and overnight in Sorrento.
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