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Mystic Italy
Mystic...Mysterious...these saints' lives challenge us to explore the mystical side ofour faith. From St. Peter to Santo Pio to St. Francis and St. Clare to St. Anthony, we pray for their intercession in our times of need and study their spiritual experiences for clues to help us on our own spiritual journeys. This pilgrimage takes us on a tour of the important places in the lives of these saints of mystic Italy.
Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Assisi and Venice
10 Days - Regions of Latium, Puglia, Umbria and Veneto, Italy
Itinerary
Day 1: Depart the U.S. on an international flight bound for Rome. Meals will be served on the overnight flight.
Day 2: Upon arrival in Italy, we are welcomed in the "Eternal City" by our Tour Director who will transfer us to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 3: This morning, participate in the Papal Audience (if this falls on a Wednesday) or Papal Blessing (if this falls on a Sunday), followed by a visit to the Basilica of St. Peter, the largest church in the Christian world, built over the tomb of St. Peter. Inside this wonderful great piece of architecture are works of Bernini and Michelangelo. We continue to the Vatican Museum with its priceless collection of art and treasures, and the Sistine Chapel where you will be amazed by the unique ceiling, which is one of Michelangelo’s greatest achievements. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 4: Enjoy a panoramic tour of the classic Roman Empire (the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Arch of Constantine, Circus Maximus and more) on the way to one of the catacombs where the early Christians were buried. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the three major basilicas: St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St. Paul Outside the Walls, time permitting. Dinner and overnight in Rome.
Day 5: Travel to Pietrelcina, birthplace of Padre Pio, who was born as Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887. He entered the Order at the age of 16, was ordained as a Capuchin monk in 1910, and is now considered one of the greatest mystics of this century. Then, we're off to San Giovanni Rotondo. Mass will be celebrated at the Church of Our Lady of Grace (Santa Maria delle Grazie) which houses the tomb of Santo Pio. Here you can also see his cell, his confessional, the crucifix from which he received the sacred stigmata, and nearly everything he owned or touched, carefully preserved and labeled. Behind Santa Maria delle Grazie is the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church, completed in 2004; it can accommodate 6,500 people seated at worship and 30,000 people standing outside. The shrine also includes a modern Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) on the forested hillside above. Dinner and overnight in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Day 6: Tour of Monte SantAngelo. Visit the Sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel (Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo), a sacred cave and popular Catholic shrine. Here the Archangel Michael is said to have appeared in 490, 492 and 1656 AD and consecrated the shrine himself. We return to San Giovanni Rotondo and then continue to Assisi, which is spread across the slopes of Monte Subasio. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.
Day 7: Assisi owes its fame to St. Francis, whose dedication to humility and charity became the foundation of the Franciscan Order, and to St. Clare, who along with St. Francis, made a significant contribution to the past and present of the city. Celebrate Mass at the 13th Century Basilica of San Francesco. Then, our walking tour begins with a visit to La Chiesa Nuova, the church built in 1616 on the site of the home of Pietro Bernardone and Lady Pica, the parents of St. Francis, continuing to the Basilica of Santa Chiara which houses the incorrupt body of St. Clare. Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli built over the Portiuncula, the chapel where St. Francis received a clear understanding of his vocation; steps away is the Capella Del Transito which marks the spot where he died in 1226. Dinner and overnight in Assisi.
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Day 10:
Travel to Venice, also known as La Serenissima, or the Most Serene Republic. The famed city of the Doges with its many canals, churches and museums is a treasure trove of art. The breath-taking Basilica of St. Mark the Evangelist, Venice's patron saint, is a testament to Venice's early wealth and power. The Basilica's interior walls and ceilings are covered in gilded mosaics from the 12th and 13th centuries telling stories of the Old and New Testaments. Dinner and overnight in Venice.

Today, we're off on a day tour of Padua, home of Saint Anthony. Padua's sights include the Duomo and the Baptistry, the Basilica of Sant' Antonio and the 12th century Scrovegni Chapel with its frescoes of the Life of Christ painted by Giotto. Later, we return to Venice for a walking tour. Dinner and overnight in Venice.

We bid farewell to Italy as we depart for the airport to catch our flight back to the U.S. for a same day arrival. "Ciao Italia!"
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