Step foot into the four Major Basilicas, stare out into the Square from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, and having the opportunity to attend the Papal Audience with his successor. Walk in the life of St. Padre Pio, famous for saying “Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” Closing out your pilgrimage, triumphant, lost in prayer, and surrounded by God’s love in the hometown of St. Francis of Assisi.
Join us on an inspirational journey through the rolling hills and lively cities of beautiful Italy. Attend the weekly papal audience and receive the blessing given by His Holiness, Pope Francis. Discover the incomparable splendor of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Spend time at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the beloved saint’s hometown. Stay two nights in San Giovanni Rotondo, and pray in the church dedicated to St. Pio of Pietrelcina – “Padre Pio.” Reflect at the Grotto of Michael the Archangel, on the rugged Gargano Peninsula. Discover the Abbeys of Santissima Trinita and Montecassino. In the town of Pompeii, have time at the Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary, one of the most famous shrines of Christianity.
- Day 1 – Rome, Italy – Tour Begins
In and around Rome
Your tour opens in Rome. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a special welcome dinner at a popular local restaurant featuring regional delicacies and fine Italian wines.
- Day 2 – Rome – Assisi
In and around Assisi
Travel north to Assisi and begin your tour at St. Mary of the Angels Basilica, where St. Francis spent most of his life. Pause to reflect at the Chapel of the Porziuncola, the rose bush, and the cave where the saint prayed. Later, have time at the Church of St. Clare, who founded the Order of Poor Clares and followed the teachings of St. Francis by living a life of poverty and humility. Kneel before the crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St. Francis, asking him to rebuild his church. Join a local expert for a fascinating tour of Assisi highlighting the huge 13th-century basilica where you can see many of St. Francis’ possessions and a series of frescoes depicting his life. Celebrate Mass in the Basilica of St. Francis this afternoon.
- Day 3 – Assisi – Optional Florence Excursion
In and around Florence
Enjoy a full day at leisure to independently explore historic Assisi. Or, join a full day optional excursion to Florence, the “Renaissance City,” where a local expert provides a leisurely paced walking tour featuring the Piazza del Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – one of the largest in the Christian world, and the Baptistery doors. You also view the Palazzo Vecchio and the Ponte Vecchio. Enjoy several hours at leisure in Florence before returning to Assisi.
- Day 4 – Assisi – Loreto – San Giovanni Rotondo
Travel across the Apennine Mountains toward the Adriatic Coast to the Marian shrine of Loreto. Discover the Holy House of Nazareth and the beautiful Madonna of Loreto where more than 50 popes have made a pilgrimage. You will celebrate Mass before continuing your journey to San Giovanni Rotondo, home of Padre Pio.
- Day 5 – San Giovanni Rotondo – Monte Sant’ Angelo – San Giovanni Rotondo
Begin your day with a special visit to Monte Sant’ Angelo. Take in the breathtaking views of the Gargano Peninsula and explore one of the most celebrated shrines of early Christianity – the Grotto of St. Michael the Archangel. Many popes and saints have knelt and prayed at this grotto, seeking the protection of Saint Michael. Later, return to San Giovanni Rotondo and celebrate Mass in the sanctuary of Padre Pio. This is followed by a tour of the sanctuary, including the old church and the crucifix from which he received the stigmata in 1918, as well as Padre Pio’s tomb. Then, visit the new church dedicated in 2004 to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. You will also see the confessional where Padre Pio spent many hours directing pilgrims on their journey toward God.
- Day 6 – San Giovanni Rotondo – Abbey of Santissima Trinita – Campania
Journey through the picturesque landscape of the regions of Apulia and Campania to Cava de Tirreni. Be introduced to the Benedictine Abbey of Santissima Trinita, founded in the 11th century by a local saint. After a guided visit to the abbey you will have the option of celebrating Mass.
- Day 7 – Campania- Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary- Abbey of Montecassino- Rome
In and around Montecassino
Continue your travels to the town of Pompeii where you will visit the Madonna del Rosario Sanctuary, one of the most famous shrines of Christianity. Later, travel to Montecassino to discover the renowned abbey founded by St. Benedict in the 6th century A.D. This sacred place houses the relics of St. Benedict and his sister, Saint Scholastica. Montecassino also became famous during the battles that took place here during World War II, when the abbey was bombed and destroyed. End your day in Rome.
- Day 8 – Rome – Papal Audience – Vatican Museum
In and around Vatican City
This morning, attend the weekly papal audience* at Vatican City to receive the blessing given by His Holiness, Pope Francis. Later, visit the Vatican Museum** where you will view such historical treasures as the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s restored mural of the Last Judgment. Then it’s on to the breathtaking St. Peter’s Basilica, built on the site where St. Peter was martyred. Known as the grandest of the world’s churches, St. Peter’s is unsurpassed in beauty.
- Day 9 – Rome – Christian Rome City Tour
Begin your day at the Basilica St. Paul Outside the Walls; the remains of St. Paul are located under its main altar. You’ll celebrate Mass before making your way to the catacombs where early Christians fearing persecution hid and buried their dead. Continue on to visit the other major Roman basilicas, St. Mary Major and St. John in Lateran, the former residence of the popes prior to their return to Rome in 1377. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner celebrating the end of a memorable pilgrimage to Italy.
- Day 10 – Rome – Tour Ends
Your tour comes to a close in Rome.
Day 1: Cardinal Hotel St. Peter
Day 2 to 3: Grand Hotel Dei Congressi Assisi
Day 4 to 5: Hotel Parco delle Rose
Day 6: Hotel Scapolatiello
Day 7 to 9: Cardinal Hotel St. Peter
Meals9 breakfasts, 6 dinners
TransportTransport is included.