During Italy tour, Find Foundations of Faith in the Eternal City
Upon arrival in Rome, we begin our Italy tour with a drive into the city, crossing the third century Aurelian City Wall from Via Cristoforo Colombo and passing the Caracalla Baths. We stop for a photo at the Circus Maximus and then drive by the Bocca della Verità, the Teatro di Marcello, the Capitoline Hill and across the Piazza Venezia. We check-in at our hotel, where we stay for the entire tour. After breakfast the next morning, we board the bus and go to the Vatican Museums. We will be guided through portions of the museum and enter the Sistine Chapel to view Michelangelo’s ceiling masterpiece. Then our guide will take us into St. Peter’s Basilica, where we will see the Pietà and much more. In the afternoon, we continue our Italy tour with a bus ride to the Catacombs of San Sebastian. Then we visit the basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls, before returning to the city to tour St. Clement’s Basilica. The remainder of the day on our Italy tour is free time. You may explore Rome on your own or take the bus back to the hotel. Our Italy tour continues with a visit to Santa Maria Della Vittoria, where we will view a breathtaking sculpture by Bernini: The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. This amazing sculpture depicts a scene from St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography where she describes her vision of an angel piercing her heart with a golden spear, symbolizing the joy of the love of God. From there we go to the Trevi Fountain, where we follow the tradition of tossing a coin into the fountain, promising to return to Rome again. Then we walk on our Italy tour to the Pantheon, the ancient temple of “all the gods” in Rome, that was later converted into a Catholic Church. Dating back to 125 A.D., this was the first pagan temple in Rome to be consecrated as Christian church. We then enjoy one of the best coffees in town at Tazza d’Oro and continue our walking tour to Piazza Navona. In the afternoon on our Italy tour, we visit the church of Il Gesù and from there continue to the Capitoline Hill for a visit to the Capitoline Museum. The remainder of the day is free time. You may explore Rome on your own or take the bus back to the hotel to rest and relax.
Today on our Italy tour, we enjoy a day out of the Eternal City. Our bus takes us to Pompeii for a full-day excursion exploring the ruins of this ancient Roman city destroyed in 79 A.D. by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Pompeii was primarily a resort town on the coast of southern Italy and had thousands of residents. Wealthy Romans had vacation-type homes and lived there with their slaves, but many fled the town days earlier when the volcano first started trembling. Those who stayed behind didn’t survive the falling rocks, building collapses, and fire-hot volcanic surge. By the time the stones and ash were spent, the city was entirely covered with volcanic material, and wasn’t rediscovered until the 1700’s. After careful excavations that started in the mid 1800’s and still continue today, we can now walk the ancient streets and get a glimpse into this once-forgotten civilization. We return to Rome in the evening.
Experience the Roman Colosseum
This morning is dedicated to a tour of the excavations under the basilica of St. Peter, where tradition holds that his tomb is located. Because only a maximum of 12 people can enter at once, we will visit in shifts. Before and/or after your visit, you may shop or eat in the Prati Quarter. In the afternoon, we will visit St. John in Lateran, see the Scala Santa and then proceed to St. Mary Major. The next day on our Italy tour, we visit the Colosseum, which opened in 80 A.D. and hosted gladiator games and wild animal fights for four centuries. We then head on to the Arch of Constantine, and Arch of Titus. We continue our Italy tour to the Roman Forum, Trajan’s Column, and the Mamertine Museum. In the afternoon, you have free time to explore the Eternal City on your own. Since this is our last night in Rome, we enjoy a panoramic Italy tour of illuminated Rome at night before transferring to the airport for our flight home.