Tour: TV - 2013 (TV) - 2013 / 2014

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The Colosseum, Rome
The Colosseum, Rome
The Vatican
The Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie
Sistine Chapel
Roman Forum
Visit the Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph
Assisi, the Basilica of San Franceso
The tomb of Michelangelo
St. Peters Square and Basilica

Itinerary

DAY 1Arrive in Rome, Italy

Welcome to Rome! At 5 pm, meet your Tour Director, then enjoy this evening’s welcome dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (Dinner)

Enjoy the gorgeous views of Rome Enjoy the beautiful architecture in Rome Saint Peter 
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DAY 2Rome

Attend the weekly general audience of the Pope (subject to availability). This afternoon, visit ST. PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS and the CATACOMBS. During the persecutions, the catacombs were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. Next, visit ST. JOHN LATERAN BASILICA, the HOLY STAIRS, which were brought from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. As a favorite of pilgrims everywhere, officially these 28 white marble steps may only be ascended on the knees. Then, visit the impressive ST. MARY MAJOR BASILICA. (Breakfast)

Enjoy the beautiful architecture in Rome Saint Peter Enjoy the gorgeous views of Rome Walk through the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem 
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DAY 3Rome

This morning, enjoy a guided visit of the VATICAN MUSEUMS and the SISTINE CHAPEL, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment. Continue to monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA. Cross the Tiber River and visit the COLOSSEUM, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World®, and the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. (Breakfast)

St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City The Sistine Chapel is world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings 
The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum


"Visitors can be a little confused by the Roman Forum; at first glance, it is a rather lifeless array of marble fragments. But we must remember that in ancient times, this space was far more than the temples and monuments whose ruins we can explore today. It was filled with bustling, noisy life as the popular crossroads of the city – the predecessor, in fact, of the modern Italian piazza. Every morning at dawn, average Romans would escape their cramped, dark apartment blocks (called insulae, or “islands”) and spent their days outdoors. "
The statue of Laocoön and His Sons can be seen at the Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums


"In the early 1500s, Rome was full of neglected ruins from the days of the ancient Empire, which still contained artworks buried amongst the rubble. The Renaissance had seen a sudden growth of interest in all things classical, and the popes – cultivated men who were in touch with the intellectual currents of the day – were the richest art collectors in Italy. They began offering substantial cash rewards for any sculptures, until Rome was scoured by freelance treasure hunters on the hunt for pagan masterpieces. The most dramatic discovery occurred in 1506, when a Roman father-and-son team of excavators reported a promising find near the ruined Baths of Titus. The artist Michelangelo himself excitedly hurried over to help with the work, followed by the pope’s official agent, Guiliano da Sangallo. When the excavators brushed away the dirt of 1,000 years, they found an enormous marble sculpture, perfectly intact, of a muscular Trojan hero being attacked by giant snakes. Guilano cried out in amazement, “This is the very Laocoön described by (the ancient Roman author) Pliny!” The sculpture was carted off to the Vatican Museum."
The Colosseum

The Colosseum


"Thanks to Hollywood recreations such as Gladiator, nothing symbolizes the cruelty of Imperial Rome as much as the Colosseum. In truth, the games held there were even more extreme and theatrical than modern film directors dare to suggest. A day at the Empire’s most famous arena was a total entertainment package, mixing bouts of savage violence with solemn religious pageantry, sexual titillation, slapstick comedy and kitschy stage shows."
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DAY 4Rome–Cascia–Assisi

Enter Umbria and stop in the town of Cascia to explore the life of St. Rita, known as the “Saint of the Impossible.” Visit the MAJOR BASILICA, the chapel that houses the tomb of St. Rita, and the MINOR BASILICA, home of the Eucharistic Miracle, which is commemorated each year with the Feast of Corpus Christi. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St. Francis and St. Clare. Here, visit ST. MARY OF THE ANGELS BASILICA, where St. Francis consecrated St. Clare as the “Bride of Christ,” and the PORTIUNCOLA, where he founded the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor in 1209. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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Assisi is a town in the province of Perugia, Italy

Assisi


"Saint Francis may be Assisi’s most internationally famous son, the charismatic preacher who has been the subject of numerous bio-pics. But his female counterpart, Saint Clare, evokes almost as much devotion amongst Italians. Her life story reads like a medieval inversion of The Sound of Music: A beautiful young woman born into a wealthy family, she was betrothed at an early age to a dashing local noble and seemed destined for a conventional life of luxury and pleasure. But her future was transformed in 1210, when she saw the handsome young Francis, espousing the sacred virtues of poverty in the streets of Assisi. Clare immediately cut off her long golden hair, took a vow of celibacy, gave away all her fine clothes and began to dress in a simple cassock. She soon founded her own religious order for women, the Poor Sisters of Saint Clare, which demonstrated a devotion to good works that matches the all-male Franciscan order of monks. In fact, she is often known to Catholics as alter Franciscus, another Francis."
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DAY 5Assisi

Celebrate Mass this morning followed by a guided walking tour of Assisi. Visit the BASILICAS OF ST. FRANCIS and ST. CLARE, and see the crucifix that spoke to St. Francis. A short trip by minibus will take you to the CARCERI HERMITAGE, where St. Francis came to meditate and pray, an oasis of peace and tranquility in the midst of the woods of Mount Subasio. Finally, visit the MONASTERY OF ST. DAMIAN, a Franciscan shrine built on the spot where St. Francis heard the voice of Christ, and where he wrote the Canticle of the Creatures. The convent founded by St. Clare is still intact; here she died in 1253. This afternoon you may wish to join an optional excursion to magnificent Spello. (Breakfast)

[PHOTOS]
Assisi is a town in the province of Perugia, Italy

Assisi


"Saint Francis may be Assisi’s most internationally famous son, the charismatic preacher who has been the subject of numerous bio-pics. But his female counterpart, Saint Clare, evokes almost as much devotion amongst Italians. Her life story reads like a medieval inversion of The Sound of Music: A beautiful young woman born into a wealthy family, she was betrothed at an early age to a dashing local noble and seemed destined for a conventional life of luxury and pleasure. But her future was transformed in 1210, when she saw the handsome young Francis, espousing the sacred virtues of poverty in the streets of Assisi. Clare immediately cut off her long golden hair, took a vow of celibacy, gave away all her fine clothes and began to dress in a simple cassock. She soon founded her own religious order for women, the Poor Sisters of Saint Clare, which demonstrated a devotion to good works that matches the all-male Franciscan order of monks. In fact, she is often known to Catholics as alter Franciscus, another Francis."
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DAY 6Assisi–Siena–Florence

Leave Assisi and enter Tuscany. Stop in Siena to visit beautiful PIAZZA DEL CAMPO, theater of the biannual Palio, Siena’s spectacular medieval-style horse race. Then, enjoy a walk with a local expert through the ancient narrow lanes and visit the SANCTUARY OF ST. CATHERINE and the BASILICA OF ST. DOMINIC. In the afternoon, continue to Florence, “Cradle of the Renaissance.” (Breakfast, Dinner)

Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio See the vineyard covered hillsides of Tuscany The Ponte Vecchio at night 
Siena

Siena


"Siena’s Piazza del Campo is a town square shaped like an oval slopping gently down to the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia, it is divided into sections representing the city’s nine rulers in the 1400s, known (bluntly enough) as the Council of Nine. But the Piazza’s striking medieval ambiance is not only due to the surrounding architecture – but for a race. For most of June, July and August, the entire city is devoted to Il Palio, a series of horse races held in the Piazza whose ancient passions makes the Kentucky Derby seem like a fly-by-night event. The festival’s contours have not changed since the 1100s, when members of the city’s 17 contrade, or town districts, began to compete with one another in track events. The two central races are held every July 2 and August 16, but the pageantry and excitement dominate Siena for the entire summer. "
Assisi is a town in the province of Perugia, Italy

Assisi


"Saint Francis may be Assisi’s most internationally famous son, the charismatic preacher who has been the subject of numerous bio-pics. But his female counterpart, Saint Clare, evokes almost as much devotion amongst Italians. Her life story reads like a medieval inversion of The Sound of Music: A beautiful young woman born into a wealthy family, she was betrothed at an early age to a dashing local noble and seemed destined for a conventional life of luxury and pleasure. But her future was transformed in 1210, when she saw the handsome young Francis, espousing the sacred virtues of poverty in the streets of Assisi. Clare immediately cut off her long golden hair, took a vow of celibacy, gave away all her fine clothes and began to dress in a simple cassock. She soon founded her own religious order for women, the Poor Sisters of Saint Clare, which demonstrated a devotion to good works that matches the all-male Franciscan order of monks. In fact, she is often known to Catholics as alter Franciscus, another Francis."
[CULTURAL]

DAY 7Florence

Follow your Local Guide on a walking tour through Florence’s historical center. Visit the SANTA MARIA NOVELLA BASILICA, admire the Duomo, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and visit sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. Also visit the SANTA CROCE BASILICA with the tombs of Michelangelo, Dante, Rossini, and others. (Breakfast)

Visit stunning Florence and the Ponte Vecchio The Ponte Vecchio at night 
La Piazza Della Signoria

La Piazza Della Signoria


"What’s the best vantage point to ponder the most illustrious town square in Florence, the Signoria? An outdoor table in the venerable Caffè Rivoire – preferably over a delicious, if not painfully expensive cioccolata con pane, a dark and mud-thick hot chocolate. Late at night, when the crowds have gone, you can search the long shadows and imagine that very little has changed here since the 1400s. The Signoria is the most elegant sculpture garden in Europe. Masterpieces include the splendid Neptune Fountain by Ammannati, Hercules and Cacus by Bandinelli and a precise copy of Michelangelo’s David, all strategically poised in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. This grand public space has been the centerpiece of Florence since the 15th Century, the golden age when the city was established as the most beautiful in Europe. Eminent merchants in their ostentatious finery met here to discuss business in the midst of Florence’s raucous daily life."
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DAY 8Florence–Pavia–Milan

Through the Apennine Mountains, arrive in the flat Po area and in picturesque Pavia. Here enjoy a guided visit of the Carthusian CERTOSA MONASTERY, founded by a member of Milan’s Visconti family in the 14th century as a private family chapel, and which housed only 12 monks. Continue to Milan, Italy’s commercial and fashion capital, also renowned for its Duomo, the Galleria, and the Scala Theater. Follow your Local Guide on a walking tour of this fascinating city. Also on the agenda a special visit to the CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE to see Leonardo da Vinci’s world-famous The Last Supper. This evening dinner has been prepared at one of Milan’s fine restaurants. (Breakfast, Dinner)

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping Center in Milan, Italy 
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DAY 9Milan–Padua–Venice

Depart for Padua and meet your Local Guide. Visit the BASILICA OF ST. ANTHONY to see the tomb and reliquaries of this miracle-working saint and patron of lost and stolen articles, and enjoy Mass. Journey on to Venice, one of the world’s most romantic cities. Tonight is your chance to sample one of Venice’s fine restaurants. (Breakfast)

Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world 
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DAY 10Venice

This morning, enter in style by PRIVATE BOAT and start sightseeing with your Local Guide. Visit ST. MARK’S SQUARE and its BASILICA, lavish DOGES’ PALACE and the BRIDGE OF SIGHS. Also watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects in an age-old traditional manner. The afternoon is at leisure. You may wish to join an optional gondola serenade or attend Mass at the Basilica. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with wine. (Breakfast, Dinner)

St. Marks Square 
The Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Bridge of Sighs


"The world’s most poetically-named bridge, Il Ponte dei Sospiri, the Bridge of Sighs, was built in 1614 so that prisoners of the Venetian state could be transferred in secret from the Doge’s Palace to the so-called Nuovi Prigioni, or New Prisons. The wistful name was actually conceived by the English poet Lord Byron in the early 1800s that imagined the horror of prisoners taking their last glimpse of Venice before going underground to captivity. "
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DAY 11Venice

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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