12 Days / 11 Nights: Rome (3 Nights) • Montecassino • Pompeii • Sorrento (2) • Amalfi Coast • Tivoli • Assisi (2) • Siena • Florence (2) • Ravenna • Padua (2) • Venice
Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner
Time out – Extended time for Reflection
Welcome to Rome. Join with pilgrims this evening for a Welcome Dinner.
Rome overnight (D)
Papal Event (Subject to the Pope’s presence in Rome)
Wednesday: We will proceed to St Peter’s Square where the Holy Father is expected to host a General Audience to celebrate with pilgrims from around the world.
In the afternoon, visit the impressive St Mary Major Basilica. Onwards to the Basilica of St John in Lateran (First Papal residence) and the adjacent Holy Stairs brought from Jerusalem to Rome in 326AD by St Helena (as a favourite of pilgrims, these steps may only be ascended on the knees).
Visit the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme with its extraordinary collection of relics from the Holy Land.
Mass Setting: St Mary Major Basilica
Rome overnight (BD)
Celebrate this morning a spectacular Mass at St Peter’s Basilica before coming to the nearby Vatican Museums. Wander the spectacular chambers leading to the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo’s masterpieces, including the magnificent fresco of the Last Judgment. Continue through to the awe inspiring St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world for an informative exploration. Our guided tour will feature among other highlights Michelangelo’s stunning Pieta, the tomb of Pope St John Paul II, the great Confessional and the Crypt containing the tombs of several Popes.
Journey this afternoon out to the majestic Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. Originally consecrated in 324, the saint’s tomb is visible now under the Papal Altar. We will spend some time here as a special tribute to the Church’s greatest evangelist.
Continue then to the ancient Catacombs for a memorable guided tour to marvel at these underground burial tunnels for Christians and Hebrews. Return to our hotel for some free time.
We will then dine out at L’Eau Vive Restaurant – Meaning Living Water (from the Biblical scene of Jacobs Well). This fabulous French Restaurant is run by Carmelite Missionary Nuns who will actually sing the Ave Maria to us between courses!
Mass Setting: St Peter’s Basilica
Rome overnight (BD)
Today we depart Rome as we commence our day’s journey towards the stunning Amalfi coast.
Heading south we firstly wind our way up to the spectacular mountaintop Abbey of Montecassino, founded in 529 by St Benedict, patron saint of Europe and the founder of Western Monasticism. The Abbey was carefully rebuilt after the epic battle of 1944 and still dominates the surrounding countryside from its mountaintop setting. We will have a guided visit on arrival. The Basilica is richly decorated with mosaics. We come as pilgrims to pray before the relics of St Benedict and his sister, St Scholastica. The museum displays examples of medieval monastic art.
Departing Montecassino we continue south to Pompeii, the city which was petrified and engulfed by the volcanic eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD. On arrival we make a visit to the Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary. We then embark on a guided visit of the ruins of ancient Pompeii. See a patrician home, public baths, and shops that give a striking picture of what day-to-day life was like.
Travel on to our hotel in spectacular Sorrento as we catch our first glimpses of Italy’s finest coastline.
The Amalfi Coast (la Costiera Amalfitana) is a beautiful and renowned stretch of mountainous coastline south of Naples, in Campania. It is dotted with picturesque villages and towns clinging to cliffs. Stacked precariously above the sea, for decades these fishing villages have been one of Italy’s major tourist attractions.
Mass Setting: Montecassino Basilica
Sorrento overnight (BD)
Today we will visit the Amalfi Coast, widely considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world and deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape. Follow the 34 miles of winding roads, making a quick stop to view the breathtaking panoramic of Positano. Continue through Praiano where we will travel via St Gennaro Church to Amalfi, one of the four maritime Republics of Italy. Pilgrims may wander up to the Cathedral of St Andrew built in the early 1200s and housing relics of the Apostle Andrew.
Some free time for lunch before arriving in Ravello, our last stop on the Amalfi coast. View its interesting Cathedral devoted to St Pantaleone, and the Villa Rufolo, a venue for many festivals throughout the year and magnificent gardens. View the Gulf of Salerno and its beautiful coastline. Enjoy the landscape on return to Sorrento.
Mass Setting: St Andrew’s Cathedral
Sorrento overnight (BD)
After breakfast we depart the Amalfi Coast, journeying north by coach to Tivoli, another hilltop town. This ancient town overlooks the Roman countryside from high up in the Sabine Hills where it was founded centuries before Rome.
Visit the beautiful Renaissance gardens at Villa d’Este. This stunning villa is filled with frescoes but we will spend time strolling through the gardens which are filled with incredible fountains all powered by gravity alone.
Journey through scenic Umbrian countryside to the pilgrimage centre of Assisi, where St Francis tended the poor and sick and founded the Franciscan Order.
On arrival in this medieval hillside town we will visit the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels down on the plains where St Francis spent most of his life. Here we will see the Portiuncula (meaning ‘small portion of land’) where St. Francis returned for prayer, the thornless rose bush, and the chapel where he died in 1226. On Palm Sunday 1211, Francis received in this church Clare of Assisi and dedicated her to the Lord.
Proceed to the Upper Town to check in to our hotel.
Mass Setting: Basilica of St Mary of the Angels
Assisi overnight (BD)
This morning we awake to the sound of chapel bells, cobblestone footsteps and the tangible spirit of St Francis preserved in this holy town.
After breakfast we enjoy a guided tour through some of the town’s highlights including: the tranquil Church of San Damiano and the actual chapel where it all began when the voice of Christ spoke to Francis in the year 1205. Here too we find the first monastery of the Order of St Clare where Clare built her community in close friendship with Francis.
Culminate up at the Hermitage (Eremo delle Carceri), an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the woods built on the site of a simple cave where St Francis often withdrew to spend many hours in prayer. The cave and the Chapel of Our Lady are preserved in the Hermitage.
We end our tour at the Basilica of St Clare where we will proceed to the side chapel to pray before the Holy Crucifix from which God spoke to Francis “Go and repair my Church which as you see is in ruins”. Here too we can also take the stairway down to the crypt where the body of Clare, partially restored, is displayed.
Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure in this oasis of peace.
An opportunity presents itself before dinner to attend Vespers in the Basilica of St Clare and listen to the angelic voices of the Poor Clare nuns.
Mass Setting: Church of San Damiano
Assisi overnight (BD)
We conclude our time in Assisi’s upper town with Mass and a guided exploration of the buzzing Basilica of St Francis which occupies the entire western end of the upper town. Construction began in 1228, just two years after the death of Francis and was finally completed in 1250. The Upper Basilica houses the famous fresco cycle of the life of St Francis, historically attributed to Giotto. Wander through the marvels of the Upper Basilica before our tour descends to the crypt of the Lower Basilica where Francis was laid in 1230 and where we will take some time to seek the intercession of this spiritual legend.
Departing Assisi we travel west to Italy’s loveliest medieval city, Siena, birthplace of Saints Catherine and Bernadine. Upon arrival we will visit St Dominic’s Basilica and view the incorrupt head of St Catherine, the mystical bride of Christ. From here we walk through the narrow lanes to the Basilica of St Francis where we will view the Eucharistic miracle of the incorrupt hosts that occurred in 1730, defying all scientific testing. Continue on and stroll the Piazza del Campo, one of Italy’s finest Squares.
After visiting the medieval Cathedral of Siena (1263), dedicated to Holy Mary of the Assumption, we depart Siena and journey north to Florence, the art capital of the world and home to superb churches, galleries and museums.
Mass Setting: Basilica of St Francis
Florence overnight (BD)
Our tour of Florence begins today with Mass at the Church of Santa Croce before continuing to the Academy of Fine Arts containing many treasures, including Michelangelo’s statue of David. We will visit the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo, whose magnificent dome was created by Brunelleschi. Across the way are Ghiberti’s celebrated bronze doors to the Baptistery, so lovely that they are commonly known as ‘The Gates of Paradise’.
Enjoy some free time in the late afternoon to browse the bazaars, explore or rest.
Mass Setting: Church of Santa Croce
Florence overnight (BD)
We farewell Florence today, journeying north to Ravenna, once the capital of the Western Roman Empire some 1,500 years ago. The city’s rare mosaics are thought to be the best preserved in Europe and our visit to the Basilica of San Vitale will give evidence to this reality. Our walking tour also includes highlights such as the Piazza del Popolo, the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo including Arian Baptistery and the tomb of Dante.
Travel on to Padua, home to St Anthony, the renowned patron saint of lost articles. Originally from Lisbon, Anthony came to Italy where his gift of preaching brought many to conversion.
On arrival we enjoy a guided tour and Mass in the Basilica of St Anthony including the Chapel of the Reliquaries and St Anthony’s tomb .
Padua overnight (BD)
Mass Setting: Basilica of St Anthony
Venice comprises a dense network of waterways with 117 islands and more than 400 bridges over its 150 canals. Instead of main streets, you’ll find main canals, instead of cars, you’ll find Gondolas!
Today we travel out to Venice, known as Europe’s most romantic destination. As we board our boat transfer we enjoy our first glimpses of this unique city. Our time here begins with Mass in St Mark’s Basilica, built to house the saint’s remains. Our guided walking tour includes St Mark’s Square and its famous monuments. See open squares with enchanting palaces, cross over stunning bridges, and walk down narrow passageways.
Enjoy some time to explore the unique surroundings at your own pace.
For our final night of pilgrimage, we will enjoy a special celebration dinner.
Mass Setting: St Mark’s Basilica
Padua overnight (BD)
Today we will be transferred to Venice airport for our homebound flights. (B)
Air & Tour
Start / Finish
* Costs are based on prices as at August 2019 and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare, tax & hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions.
(OB) Oberammergau 2020 optional add-on available
NB: Indicative prices for 2021
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