Day 1: Depart USA
We depart from the United States for France.
Day 2: Paris – Nevers
We arrive in France and take a moment to get settled. First, we attend mass at the Sacre Coeur Basilica before departing for Nevers, passing through the Loire Valley. It was here, in Nevers, that St. Bernadette lived for 12 years with the Congregation of the Sisters of Nevers. We will see her incorrupt body at the convent of St. Gildard, preserved miraculously since her death in 1879.
Day 3: Nevers – Paris
The morning begins with mass at St. Gildard Convent after which we depart for Paris. We then see the incorrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure, who received a Marian apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to create the Miraculous Medal worn by millions of Catholics around the world. We continue on to see the Notre Dame Cathedral, L’Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower.
Day 4: Lisieux
We depart for Lisieux in the morning to tour the home of the woman Pope Pius X called “the greatest saint of modern times”, St. Therese who is know as “The Little Flower”. We visit the Basilica of St. Therese and celebrate mass. We continue on to Les Buissonets, her home, and view her relics and personal belongings. We end the day with a tour of the Cathedral of St. Peter and the Carmelite convent.
Day 5: Paris – Rome
From the Paris airport we fly on to Rome to continue our pilgrimage. Upon arrival, we take time to get settled and relax. We take the opportnity to walk down the street from our hotel and enjoy a cappuccino.
Day 6: Vatican
In the morning, we begin by attending a papal audience with Pope Francis. After the audience, we visit the Vatican Museums to see centuries of beautiful artwork and artifacts. View the artwork of Michelangelo such as the Pieta and the Sistine Chapel. We will explore St. Peter’s Basilica in all of its splendor, built over St. Peter’s tomb.
Day 7: Rome
We begin by seeing the Basilica of St. Mary Major, which contains a relic from the manger. From here, we visit the Scala Sancta, the stairs Christ climbed to stand before Pontius Pilate. Those who wish may climb the stairs, as is the custom, on their knees. The Basilica of St. John Lateran, once the residence for popes, is a marvelous site, as is St. Paul Outside the Walls, which shelters the relics of St. Paul the Apostle. We visit the Church of Domine Quo Vadis, where Christ appeared to Peter and gave him the courage to follow him to martyrdom, as foretold in the Gospels. Finally, we visit the catacombs to see where the persecuted Christians practiced their faith in hiding.
Day 8: Rome – Montecassino – San Giovanni Rotondo
Heading south, we pass through the rich Italian countryside of vineyards, orchards and olive groves. We take in the amazing panoramic views as the hills and valleys call to us. We find ourselves in Montecassino, a town founded by St. Benedict in 529. We continue on to San Giovanni Rotundo, the hometown of St. Padre Pio.
Day 9: San Giovanni Rotondo – Monte Sant’ Angel
We celebrate mass at the tomb of St. Padre Pio and take a tour of the sanctuary. We see the old church and the crucifix before which he received the stigmata in 1918. We see the confessional where St. Padre Pio directed people on their path. We stand and pray before Padre Pio’s incorrupt body. Moving on, we have a stunning view of the Gargano Peninsula as we pass by to the Grotto of Michael the Archangel. Saints and popes and people from all over have come to this grotto looking for the protection and intercession of St. Michael.
Day 10: San Giovanni Rotondo – Lanciano – Loreto – Assisi
We travel to Lanciano to visit the Church of St. Longinus, home of a Eucharistic miracle. We marvel at the miracle and celebrate mass before traveling to see the Holy House of Nazareth, the house where Mary first prayed the Magnificent. In Loreto, we tour the Holy House of Loreto one of the most revered Marian shrines in the world.
Day 11: Assisi
The namesake of our Pope, St. Francis, of Assisi is our main focus today as we begin our tour with a visit to his tomb. We will tour the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and view many of his personal possessions. The crucifix that spoke to him, asking him, “Rebuild my Church.” We visit the chapel where St. Francis spent most of his time as well as the Church of St. Clare, where her relics are housed.
Day 12: Assisi – Siena – Assisi
In the morning, we head to Siena and view the city’s Romanesque-Gothic cathedral that was completed in 1380. The Sanctuary of St. Catherine of Siena houses the miraculous Crucifix from which she received her stigmata. We walk the shell shaped Piazza del Campo town square which houses the Palazza Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia two of their many architectural treasures. We continue on to see the incorrupt relics of St. Catherine at the Basilica of St. Dominic. Afterward, we return to Assisi for dinner at your hotel.
Day 13: Assisi – Pisa – Florence
We leave Assisi and begin our travels to Florence. We stop along the way in the Tuscan City of Pisa and tour its famous Leaning Tower. We arrive in Florence, the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. As the birthplace of the Renaissance it contains numerous museums and art galleries which house the artwork of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and other famous artists. Enjoy your leisure time as you tour and explore this marvelous city.
Day 14: Florence
We take a full guided tour of Florence today, seeing the Church of The Holy Cross, where Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli are buried. We walk through the Republic Square and tour the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral followed by an afternoon tour of the artwork at L’Accadamia. Here we see Michelangelo’s statue of David and other historic works.
Day 15: Florence – Padua
Departing Florence, we arrive in Padua and start the day by celebrating mass at the Basilica of St. Anthony. After the mass, we visit his tomb and view his remarkably intact lower jaw and tongue. Gaze at the remkable 14th-century frescoes by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel. We ramble around Padua’s old town center. Afterward, we visit the Abbey of Santa Giustina which dates to the 10th century.
Day 16: Padua – Venice
We depart Padua and arrive in Venice and are intrigued by this city’s famous waterways. We visit remarkable sites such as St. Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs, The Golden Basilica of San Marco, and the Dodges’ Palace. After the tour, enjoy visiting the shops, cafes, and an opportunity to take a gondola ride.
Day 17: Venice – USA
We depart Venice for our return flight home to the USA.