6 Day Rome and Assisi

Day 1: USA - Europe. Tour members depart for Rome. Dinner and breakfast are served in-flight.

Day 2: Rome. Arrival at Rome's International airport, where we are met and transferred to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Rome. Vatican Museums and San Peter, Appian Way, Catacombs and San Paul Outside the Walls. Today's sightseeing Pilgrimage starts at Vatican Museums. Walking through the beautiful halls of the Museums, we see unforgettable pieces of art: Candelabra, Maps, pictures and the highest masterpiece of art - "Judgment" by Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel. Continue with a Pilgrimage of St. Peter's Basilica to admire the famous Michelangelo's Pieta. We then board our motor coach and proceed on the Ancient Appian Way, Stop at the Church of Ss Nereo and Achilleo. This Church was built to commemorate the place where St. Peter lost his "Fasciolae" - the bandage he used to cover the injury on his legs - while escaping from Mamertine prison. Next stop, the Domine Quo Vadis - the chapel that stands at the site where, according to tradition, St. Peter met Christ when he fled from Rome to escape martyrdom. We then visit Catacombs of San Callisto, the oldest and most important catacombs of Rome. On the way back to our hotel, we stop at Basilica of San Paul to pray on the tomb of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Mass will be celebrated at a selected location. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Day 4: Assisi. Early morning departure and we proceed north to Assisi. Crossing the green valley, or Umbria, we arrive in Assisi where our sightseeing includes visits to the Church of St. Clare which houses her incorrupt body. One of the chapels contains the crucifix that bowed its head and ordered St. Francis to "repair God's Church." Afterwards, we proceed to the Basilica of St. Francis, built in 1228 to house the Relics of the saint. The "upper" basilica houses beautiful frescoes of Giotto. Before leaving Assisi, we visit the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, containing the famous Porziuncola. This 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 clear understanding of his vocation. He founded here the Order of Friars Minor (1209), "establishing here his home". We then continue south through the Umbrian Valley and return to Rome and our hotel for dinner and overnight

Day 5: Rome. Papal Audience, Ancient Rome. Early morning transfer to San Peter Square to attend the weekly Papal Audience. Afterwards, we continue to the city centre for a walking guided Pilgrimage through the real core of Ancient Rome. We see the magnificent Trajan's Column, jewel of architecture and sculpture made by Apollodorus of Damascus. We then proceed along the Via dei Fori Imperiali (street of the Imperial Fora), the ruins of the fora that the great emperors had built as lasting memory of their power. We see the Forum of Trajan, the biggest and splendid of all, whose markets, true forerunners of the modern commercial centers, offered to the Roman citizen any goods to be found at that time. Continuing on, we reach the Capitoline Hill, once political and religious centre of the town and is today's seat of the Municipality. The stairway leads us to the Piazza del Campidoglio, magnificent result of a single project by Michelangelo, with a copy of the most famous equestrian statue in the world, and the statue of Marcus Aurelius in the middle. Behind Piazza del Campidoglio, we find a natural terrace providing the best panoramic point over the valley of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Walking through the valley of the Roman Forum, great Rome with its important buildings are revealed before your eyes: the Curia, seat of the Roman Senate, the State Archive, the basilicas, palaces of justice, the temple of Vesta and the House of the Vestals - the virgins in charge of keeping the sacred fire always alive. All around are temples, columns and arches of triumph erected to commemorate gods and men of the Roman history. From the Forum, our guide shows us the place linked to the fabulous origins of Rome: The Palatine. Here Romulus founded the town in the year 753 B.C. and emperors settled here, starting with Augustus the great. From valley of the Roman Forum, we admire the Domus Tiberiana, only partially explored, and the ruins of the Imperial Palaces. Leaving the Roman Forum, we find the Arch of Constantine, erected to commemorate the victory of the emperor over Maxentius in the 4th century A.D. Here also is the Coliseum - the everlasting symbol of the greatness of Rome and stage of the historical spectacle of the gladiators. The balance of the day is at leisure to discover the city on our own. We can walk around beautiful fountains and squares of Rome to see the Trevi Foutnains and the Spanish Steps, among others. Return to return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Rome - USA. Early morning transfer to the airport for our flight to home - the end of a most enjoyable pilgrimage.