Day 8—Departure to Rome / The Basilicas of Christian Rome
This morning, after breakfast, we want to get on the road to Rome early. We check out and board our motor-coach for the trip southbound to the Eternal City. Upon arrival we will begin our tour of Christian Rome with Mass at the Basilica of San Paul Outside the Walls. Immediately following we will meet our guide and begin our tour of the Basilica.
Some free time for lunch and shopping at the Basilica. Later we will move onto St. John Lateran the seat of the Bishop of Rome and the Mother Church of Christianity.
Afterwards we will arrive at our final Basilica of the day Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) in the heart of the historical district of Rome.
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 because 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. Mass today to be announced.
Frascati: the Ancient Town sits on the rim of a dormant volcano. Its rich volcanic soil was much sought after by the Etruscans, Ancient Romans, the Vatican State and most recently by Romans on weekend get-aways. Wine has been produced in Frascati for thousands of years. Frascati wine is known as the ‘Golden Wine of the
Site and in 2004 the entire valley, the Val d'Orcia, was included on the list of Unesco’s World Cultural Landscapes. Pienza was the birthplace of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, who would become Pope Pius II. After he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town that would serve as a retreat from Rome.
The pecorino cheese of Pienza is one of the best in Italy, especially the version 'sotto cenere' or 'under ashes'. The cheese has ancient origins and has probably been produced in the zone since man first settled here. Sometimes known as 'Pecorino della Val d'Orcia' or 'Cacio di Pienza', it is produced between October and July and seasoned for up to 2 months to give it its distinct flavor. It also offers a good excuse to visit this charming town in the Val D'Orcia between Montalcino and Montepulciano. Cheese and wine tasting with lunch in Pienza (included). Supper (on your own) and overnight in Florence.
Day 5—Full Day Siena
After breakfast we will depart for the city of bell towers; Siena. We begin our day with mass at the Basilica of San Domenico. St. Catherine spent a large part of her life inside the walls of this stupendous Basilica, which was one of the first to be dedicated to St. Dominic. It was begun by the Dominicans in 1226. The most important relic, the Sacred Head, was brought from Rome to Siena by Blessed Raymond of Capua in 1383 and it was at first placed in a copper container and then in a silver one still on display in the Basilica.
Siena has been declared, by UNESCO, a World Heritage Site. Siena is a magnificent example of medieval architecture unspoiled and unchanged. In the 14th century, more that half its population perished from the Black Death; the city seems to have stood still in time. In Siena we will visit the Piazza del Campo where
the Palio is held. The Palio is a horse race that is held twice each year in Siena. Ten horses and riders,
Day 10—Castel Gandolfo & Frascati Wine Region
Castel Gandolfo is a town located 25 kilometers southeast of Rome in the Lazio region of Italy. Occupying a height on the Alban Hills overlooking Lake Albano, the Pope’s sumptuous summer palace, until recently when Pope Francis opened the Palace for tourism for the first time ever. Much of Castel Gandolfo is discreetly dedicated to the various Pontifical villas and religious foundations. The Papal Palace - with it’s astronomical observatory attached - dominates Piazza della Libertà, but other locations, like the sprawling papal gardens, are tucked away out of sight. Tours of the Palace are independent and by audio-guide. Immediately following there is an audio guide of the Barberini Gardens by vehicle.
bareback and dressed in the appropriate colors and costumes of medieval times, represent ten of the city wards. The race circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. Our tour will culminate at the Piazza del Campo where you will have free-time for lunch and shopping and will also be our meeting place for departure. The Palio area is a great place to shop and/or just relax at a café to have a coffee of glass of wine and people watch. Dinner (included with wine, water and coffee) and overnight in Florence.
Romans’, the ‘Pope’s Wine’ and the white wine of Rome. Each stone building, cobblestone street, and ancient church tells the story of the centuries of people who have called Frascati home. Here in Frascati we will enjoy a wine and pecorino cheese tasting before returning to Rome. Supper tonight on your own and overnight in Rome.
Day 12 — Departure Rome to USA
This morning you will have time to prepare you luggage for the journey home. The famous but unpleasant cliché`, “all good things come to an end”, unfortunately and accordingly also this escapade through the regions Tuscany & Lazio, Italy. Upon our arrival at the airport, we will board our homebound flight with many memories, stories and kilos of Italy with us to recount and share. Say “Arrivederci”, never “Good-bye”.
St. Magdalen de Pazzi Parish
Fr. Ken Brighenti
"Feast and Pray" Flavors of Italy
Day 4 — Saint Magdalen de Pazzi Church / Pienza
Today, after breakfast, we will transfer to St. Madalen de Pazzi Church for mass before beginning our day. Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi is a Renaissance-style Roman Catholic Church and a former convent located in Borgo Pinti in central Florence. The Pazzi name was added after a nun, canonized in 1669, from the Pazzi family, who patronized the church. The original convent had been dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen delle Convertite, the patron of once-fallen, now converted women. The Cistercian order from Badia a Settimo took control of the site in 1332 and moved to it in 1442, while the convent was transferred to San Donato in Polverosa. The church and chapter house were rebuilt between 1481 and 1500, with initial designs in 1492 by Giuliano da Sangallo.
Pienza, is the "touchstone of Renaissance urbanism." In 1996, UNESCO declared the town a World Heritage
Day 9—Rome Vatican City & Monumental
The day will begin with mass and then a guided visit of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Later on today we will be visiting such sites as the Coliseum, the Capitoline Hill, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona , the Fountain of Trevi, the Spanish Steps and more. This evening a pizza supper is included (with wine, water and coffee) and overnight in Rome.
Day 7—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. Later 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 before this evening’s event. See the perfect cocktail being constructed then sip it
Day 11 — Subiaco & Casamari / Farewell Dinner at Santuccio in Sezze Romana
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.
We will conclude our day with supper at a rustic restaurant with local regional cuisine: Santuccuio 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.
Day 6— 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 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 of the day. Later we continue our journey south along the Chianti Road to the medieval village of Monteriggioni.
Here in Montriggioni: we will have a typical Tuscan “pranzo” (lunch) in one of the local restaurants serving up regional cuisine of local products with wine pairing. Later there will be some free-time to explore this fascinating city before heading back to Florence. Tonight supper on your own and overnight in Florence.
This evening’s trans-Atlantic flight to Rome, Italy will depart from Newark Liberty International Airport. Meals and entertainment are aloft and early afternoon 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 10, “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.
After a full day of Basilica hopping it will be time to check into our hotel and have some time to unpack and freshen up before this evening’s supper. Supper will be in a local restaurant with wine, water and coffee included, within walking distance of the hotel. For those who would like we can take a nice neighborhood walk afterwards to explore Rome while other tourists are sleeping!
down during cocktail time as you watch the world go by on the cobblestoned Santo Spirito streets. Savor artisanal truffle cheese and cured local meats paired with the perfect local vino. Watch a live demonstration of how to cook the ultimate Florentine steak, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina (then taste it, which is even better!). Need we say more? Our local expert guide will also regale you with stories, fascinating history, and a unique glimpse into the best part of Florentine life….the food of course! Overnight in Florence.
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