Rome / Rieti / Fonte Colombo / Assisi
Upon arrival at Rome airport, meet your professional tour escort and travel north through the green Valley of the Tiber, to reach the city of Rieti in approx 2 hrs drive.
Visit the Cathedral. Continue towards Fonte Colombo and visit the Franciscan Monastery know as the Sinai as it has been here that Saint Francis wrote the “Rule “ of the Franciscan order.
Arrive in Assisi in the afternoon. Time to relax before dinner at hotel and overnight.
We have a full day guided tour of this charming town – the pilgrimage centre where St. Francis and St. Clare lived.
Visit the Upper and Lower Basilica of St. Francis (with its Renaissance masterpieces by Giotto and Cimabue,) and the Basilica of St Clare and the Church of San Rufino… In the afternoon, we tour the Church of St. Damiano – where St. Francis probably wrote his famous canticle to the sun and to the moon.
Regain your bus and transfer to Santa Maria degli Angeli… Visit the Church of St. Mary of the Angels with its Chapel, the “Portiuncola” – the rose bush and the cave where the Saint retired for prayer- The very ancient chapel, venerated for an apparition of angels within it, was originally property of the Benedictines of Subasio. It was located on a piece of land known as the Portiuncula; this name became attached to the chapel.
After a long period of abandonment, it was restored by St. Francis. Here he was given a dear understanding of his vocation. He founded here the Order of Friars Minor (1209), “establishing here his home”, Transfer to hotel, dinner and overnight.
Mass will be celebrated at the selected place…
La Verna / Sansepolcro / Assisi
This morning, we make an early departure to discover the Sanctuary of La Verna. Here St. Francis, with a few companions, built a cluster of huts. In September 1224, he received the stigmata and from then on the place became an important sanctuary which harks back to 1263.
We can celebrate Holy Mass in the Chapel of the Stigmata,
We then proceed by coach to Sansepolcro – the so called “Little Jerusalem.” We visit the chapel containing the relics that St. Egidio and St. Arcano bought with them from Jerusalem.
After break for lunch, depart Sansepolcro to return to Assisi for dinner and overnight
Assisi / Perugia / Assisi
We have an early morning tour of Eremo delle Carceri, This is a 1 hour tour which will complete your Franciscan tour
The word “Carceri” (prisons) (from the Latin “carceres”) means a solitary place, isolated, or also, according to the local use: a person who went off to establish himself in isolated places was said that he “imprisoned himself”.
Then leave Assisi to reach Perugia in approx 30 minutes.
Same guide we had in Assisi will follows us in Perugia, to introduce us the beauty medieval city and its treasures.
Perugia is a notable artistic center of Italy. The famous painter Pietro Vannucci, nicknamed Perugino, was a native of Città della Pieve near Perugia. He decorated the local Sala del Cambio with a beautiful series of frescoes; eight of his pictures can also be admired in the National Gallery of Umbria. Perugino was the teacher of Raphael, the great Renaissance artist who produced five paintings in Perugia (today no longer in the city) and one fresco.
Lunch will be served at local restaurant.
Visit the “Palazzo dei Priori” to discover the the life, at late medieval and renaissance times. Return to Assisi in the late afternoon. Dinner is on our own tonight, to discover local food and wine.
Assisi / Greccio / Rome
After breakfast, leave Assisi and travel through the Umbrian Valley and the picturesque cities of Spello and Spoleto to reach the hermitage of Greccio, the “New Bethlehem”. The edges of the building blend into the lush Holm oak woods, that greeted Saint Francis on his solitary retreats.
The sanctuary is famous because Saint Francis chose it as the backdrop to one of the Highest and most lyrical moments in his life: the first recreation of the Bethleherm Nativity in Christianity on Christmas Eve, 1223.
The visit starts from the Chapel of Nativity” and continues through the ancient Convent: the refectory, the dormitory and the cell dug
Mass Celebrated at the Chapel of Nativity
Continue towards Rome ( max 1,5 hrs drive), Dinner at hotel and overnight.
Ancient Rome / Basilicas
We greet the new day in a city nicknamed Caput Mundi (Capital of the World) and The Eternal City, not only because Rome has always been the hub of art, education, high culture and politics in the western world, but because it is also a spiritual capital and a powerful center of pilgrimage.
After breakfast, we will walk through the very core of Roman antiquity. We tour Trajan’s market, Nero’s Golden House, Trajan’s Forum and Column, Arch of Constantine, House of Knights of Rhodes. Next, we proceed to the Mamertine Prisons (where St Peter was held prisoner), the Roman Forum (the civic heart of the Roman Republic), the Coliseum. After a break for lunch, regain our bus for an afternoon tour of the Major Basilicas.
The ceiling of the Basilica of St. Mary Major is said to be decorated with gold that Columbus brought back from the new world. This basilica, the largest in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother, is part of the day’s “Christian Rome” tour, and has beautiful Biblical mosaics, a marble floor, bell tower and one of the oldest shrines (containing a relic from the manger of the infant Jesus) dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. We will also visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran which is the oldest of the major basilicas and ranks first as the actual “parish church” of the Pope (Bishop of Rome). There we will learn about the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs). Tradition has it that these steps, said to be the staircase leading once to the praetorium of Pilate at Jerusalem, are sanctified by the footsteps of Jesus Christ during his Passion. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight
Papal Audience / Vaticam Museums
Leave hotel soon after breakfast . Reach San Peter’s square to attend the weekly Papal Audience
“To me, I say this humbly, the strongest message of the Lord is mercy,” he said. “The Lord never gets tired of forgiving.” ( Pope Francis)
After break for lunch, continue the the day with a guided tour of the Vatican Museums which house what can be described as the most important collections of art in the world. The history and awe surrounding the galleries and all the treasures they contain will truly transfix us. Highlights include The Tapestry Gallery, The Raphael Rooms, and The Sistine Chapel where wewill gaze on Michelangelo’s incredible masterpiece. We will also enter St. Peter’s Basilica which has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world and which has been described as the reason Rome is still the center of the civilized world. Tradition and historical evidence hold that St. Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of this basilica, which American Ralph Waldo Emerson described as an ornament of the earth… the sublime of the beautiful. Next we will have the chance to marvel at Bernini’s beautiful bronze canopy and Michelangelo’s Blessed Mother holding her crucified son, known as the Pieta. Time permitting, we will visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II, Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
Transfer to airport after breakfast, check in and fly back home.