duomo of florence

duomo of florence

Days 1 & 2 – Arrival

We arrive in Florence and check-in to our hotel in the heart of this amazingly preserved Renaissance city for our welcome reception and dinner.  (D)

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

Day 3 – Florence
After our morning orientation, we set out to explore the Renaissance from its roots at the nearly 1,000-year-old baptistery and the Duomo with its magnificent dome designed by Brunelleschi.  After seeing Michelangelo’s David in the Academia, we enjoy a stroll through the many festive piazzas.  (B, L, D)

san gimignano

san gimignano

Day 4 – Tuscany, San Gimignano

Today we visit the Tuscan countryside and the hilltop village of San Gimignano with its medieval architecture, unique with its well preserved tower houses.  We then put on our aprons for our Tuscan cooking class as chef Giuseppina guides us in making handmade pasta according to the time-honored Italian traditions.  (B, D)     

Botticelli's primavera

Botticelli's primavera

Day 5 – Florence
We visit the center of Florentine political life at the Piazza Signoria where we see the outdoor sculptures of Donatello before entering the renown Uffizi Galleries with the works of Botticelli, Martini, and Da Vinci.  At the Basilica of Santa Croce, we visit the final resting place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini.  In the Pazzi Chapel, we enjoy its magnificent acoustics as we lift our voices in song. (B, D)    

basilica of saint francis

basilica of saint francis

Day 6 – Assisi + Umbria

In Assisi we focus on the life of St. Francis as we visit his home town and burial place, the Basilica of San Francesco with its frescos painted by the proto-renaissance artist, Giotto.  Reflecting upon his life, we set aside time for prayer in one of the basilica’s many chapels.   We check into our Umbrian villa for an enjoyable overnight.  (B, D) 

 

Michelangelo's pieta

Michelangelo's pieta

Day 7 – Rome + Vatican City

Arriving in Rome, we spend the afternoon in the expansive Vatican Museum, exploring the Raphael Rooms to see The School of Athens and the amazingly stunning Sistine Chapel with its frescoes of Genesis and the Last Judgment.  Our afternoon concludes at St. Peter’s Basilica housing Michelangelo’s Pieta.  B, L, D.      

colosseum

colosseum

Day 8 – Rome

During the days of the Flavian Emperors the Colosseum was added to the cityscape of Rome.  After visiting this site of ancient gladiatorial contests, we follow the Sacred Way through the Roman Forum.  The afternoon brings us to the Pantheon before we soak up the beauty of the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona.  (B)      

roman catacombs

roman catacombs

Day 9 – Rome

Our day begins with a visit to the Catacombs.  While there we will celebrate Holy Communion as we recall the countless Christians who gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel.  We then visit the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, built by Emperor Constantine over the tomb of the Apostle Paul.  Afternoon at leisure.  Farewell dinner. (B, D)

ancient suburban baths in pompeii 

ancient suburban baths in pompeii 

Day 10 – Depart for USA / Amalfi Coast Extension

Not to be missed is the stunningly beautiful Amalfi coastline.  En route we visit Pompeii as we see this well-preserved Roman city buried in ash with the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79.  Arriving in Amalfi, we marvel at our luxurious seaside view of the Italy coastline. (B, L, D)  

villa cimbrone

villa cimbrone

Day 11 – Amalfi

Several options await you.  Sail along the Amalfi coastline and then to the picturesque island of Capri, or stroll through the gardens of Villa Cimbrone in the World Heritage Town of Ravello.  Enjoy the seaside setting of Amafi and visit the Church of St. Andrew with its Romanesque bell-tower.  (B) 

positano by boat

positano by boat

Day 12 – Amalfi

Our final day is a day of leisure for you to reflect upon your wonderful experiences as well as soak up one last day of enchanting Italy in an idyllic setting.  We join together for our final festive farewell dinner and say “arrivederci” to our Italian experience. (B, D)

gulf of salerno

gulf of salerno

Day 13 – Depart for USA

Return home with lifelong memories and new friends.