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Fratelli Group Travel


Day 9—Departure Day /October 6
Today, we bid not farewell, but Arrivederci (see you again) to Italy as we transfer to airport. Not only will we be carrying many kilos of Italy in your luggage, but many memories of spiritual and 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 through central Italy on the ITALIAN PENINSULA.  Morning departure from Leonardo d’Vinci Airport (FCO) to Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) . UNITED AIRLINES  - Flight # UA 885 FCO / IAD  Depart  10:20 AM—Arrive USA 2:10 PM


St. Mary Landover Hills

​Pilgrimage to Italy

September 28 - October 6, 2024

To the Dome (La Cuppola)  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 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. 

most important Italian museums, and the most visited, it is also one of the largest and best known in the world and holds a collection of priceless works, particularly from the period of the Italian Renaissance. On your own. Tickets can be purchased at the main entrance for approximately 16.50 Euro per person. (The museum is vast so you should allow at least 3 hours or more to visit the many galleries). Supper (included) with wine, water and coffee. Overnight in Florence.

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. 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. We will also visit the Vatican 

Siena is small enough for you to reach every corner of it on foot, so enjoy the pleasure to wander across the incredibly charming alleys and hidden corners of this beautiful Gothic town. Here in Siena, we will begin our tour at the Basilica of St. Domenic where are housed the relics of St. Catherine. Continuing on we will visit the house of St. Catherine and the beautiful chapel . Later onto one of the most magnificent Cathedrals of the world, the Cathedral of Siena is dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Afterwards, we will see the main square where twice a year the Palio takes place, a medieval horse race between the 7 districts of Siena, all dressed and horses decorated in medieval garb. Afterwards, there will be some free-time for lunch and shopping. Piazza del Campo - Il Campo is the core of Siena, an amazing and spectacular huge curving square with the strange shape of a shell. You’ll not find a similar square anywhere else, it’s unique and particular, one of the most beautiful squares in the world. I suggest you walk all across the square and stop here and there to admire it and all the beautiful historical buildings surrounding the piazza. Right at the highest point of the piazza is the beautiful Fonte Gaia, the fountain of Joy, carved by Jacopo della Quercia in the 15th century and representing the Virgin surrounded by the Virtues.

Day 6 —Full Day Excursion to Pompeii./ 03/October 
This morning, after breakfast, we depart for our full day will journey to the remarkable and extraordinary city of Pompeii at the foot of Mount Vesuvius; the volcano responsible for the destruction of this city and the surrounding area of the Bay of Naples.  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. Pompeii lay under ashes and lava for almost 2000 years until it was discovered in the 19th century.  Here, we can marvel at the advanced culture of this Roman city and the Pompeian citizens.  The baths, the homes, the market place and the gardens had all been remarkably preserved under the lava for nearly two millennium.  The catastrophic eruption re-shaped the entire coastline of the Bays of Pompeii, Naples and Sorrento.  Pizza Lunch (included) and overnight in Rome.

Day 1 —  September 28 / Washington/Dulles Airport, USA to Rome, Fiumecino Airport, Italy                          
Today we depart from Dulles International Airport, USA on our overnight flight into Rome, Italy, dinner and overnight onboard. Anyone coming from other parts of the US join the group in Dulles Airport or in Rome, Italy. Please see time schedule below and on page 6. Alternatively, we can assist you in making your air independent travel reservations, for a nominal fee, if you wish.

UNITED AIRLINES  - Flight # UA 884  IAD/ FCO (Rome) Depart  5:35 PM  Arrive 8:15 AM

Day 2 — Arrival in Italy/ Transfer to Florence Center / 29/September
Upon your arrival in Florence, you will check in to your hotel and have some time to settle in, unpack and freshen up before tonight’s group supper (included) in a local Florentine restaurant with wine, water and coffee included. Overnight will be in Florence. For those still energized after supper we can take a walk around city center in the evening to catch some of the sites beforehand.

Butchers initially occupied the shops; the present tenants are jewelers, art dealers and souvenir sellers. After the tour there will be free time to visit the city or visit the Uffizi Gallery; (on your own if you wish) one of the 

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 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. Lunch (included) dinner on your own and overnight in Rome. 

The Dome visit would be on your own. 

It’s a place full of atmosphere, even more evocative and enchanting at night. As it was in the past, il Campo is still the focus of public and daily life, from the city’s marketplace to the Palio horse race. The Duomo—The 12th century Cathedral of Siena is simply beautiful, a true Gothic masterpiece in black and white marbles, that really offers a lot to the traveler: from the amazing panorama you enjoy from its unfinished nave to the wonderful mosaic pavement and the superb fresco cycle by Pinturicchio in the Piccolomini Library, to the masterpieces by Duccio and Donatello.  Afternoon departure to Assisi.  Overnight in Assisi with supper (included). 

Day 4— Siena—City of St Catherine - 01/October 

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. The Spanish steps also represent figuratively and metaphorically the close relationship between the Sacred and the Eternal city, shown through the elevation and vastness of the monument. The longest and widest steps in Europe are also an important landmark in Rome as they host events and are home to Italian traditions.

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 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. Over time the legend of the Trevi Fountain evolved to tossing a coin in to ensure a return to Rome. The precise legend of the Trevi Fountain says you should stand with your back to the fountain and toss a coin over your left shoulder to guarantee a return trip to Rome. The monies in the fountain are collected by the city of Rome to assist the homeless and poor. This evening we will enjoy a “Farewell Dinner with wine and music included at a local trattoria.  Much of today’s tour will be on foot, please wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

This morning after breakfast we depart for our day trip to Assisi. Upon arrival, we will begin our day with a visit of the Basilica of S. Maria delle Grazie within it the Portuncula. The Portuncula is a small church located within the Basilica of Santa Maria degl’Angeli, the place from where the Franciscan movement began. Later we travel up the hill to the Basilica of St. Francis. We will visit the Basilica of St Clare. In St Clare’s basilica we will be able to see her incorrupt body and visit the Cross of San Damiano that spoke to Francis: saying “Francis, rebuild my Church”. Assisi is a UNESCO world heritage site known for the magnificent medieval architecture and for being the birthplace of Saint Francis, the patron saint of Italy, founder of the Franciscan order and one of the most popular Catholic saints in history. The Basilica of St. Francis is a massive, 2-level church, consecrated in 1253. Its 13th-century frescoes portraying the life of St. Francis have been attributed to Giotto and Cimabue, among others. Departure for Rome. Overnight in Rome with supper (included). 

Day 8—Ancient & Monumental Rome  - 05/October          
As legend has it, Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Mars, the god of war. A people known for their military, political, and social institutions, the ancient Romans conquered vast amounts of land in Europe and northern Africa, built roads and aqueducts, and spread Latin, their language, far and wide. Today, after breakfast, we will begin our full day tour of some of the most important and popular sites of Ancient Rome. 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. 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.

Day 5 - Assisi—City of Sts. Francis & Clare / 02/October    

Day 3— Florence City Tour  / 30/September
This morning, after breakfast, we will begin our walking tour of Florence. We’ll begin with the Academia to see Michelangelo’s famous “David” and “Prisoners in Stone”, then onto Piazza del Duomo, once the center of religious life in medieval times. We continue on to visit the Piazza della Signoria which was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio. It is the main point of the origin and history of the Florentine Republic and still maintains its reputation as the political and governmental focus of the city. The next stop will be the famous Ponte Vecchio; the bridge spans the Arno at its narrowest point where it is believed that a bridge was first built in Roman times. 

Day 7 - St. Peter’s Basilica / Vatican Museum / Sistine Chapel / 04/October     

Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful and famous squares in the centre of Rome. In 86 CE, emperor Domitian commissioned this square with its unique, elongated shape. This shape is the result of its original function as the stadium for athletics competitions (Circus Agonalis) with stands for 20,000 spectators. Piazza Navona’s 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.