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In the Footsteps of St. Francis Back

  • Tour Code : TUR-01529
  • Type : Private
  • Duration : 10 days
  • Departs from : Rome Airport (FCO)
  • Meeting Place : Fiumicino International Airport

Description

This tour is designed for pilgrim groups wishing to visit some of the most important sites connected with the life of St. Francis.

Starting with 3 nights in Rome, you will have time to explore the city, and spend a day visiting the Papal Basilicas of St. Peter's, St. Paul's outside the Walls, St. Mary Major and St. John in Lateran, where St. Francis went to meet the pope to request permission to form his Order.  On Wednesday morning, you will be able to attend the Papal Audience, then decide how you wish to spend the rest of the day (additional tours can be arranged on request).

From Rome, we will travel north to Assisi, stopping at the Benedictine Monastery in Subiaco.  The monastery is beautifully situated in the mountains, built around the cave where St. Benedict decided to form his Order.  St. Francis came here on retreat in 1223-1224 and in the Lower church we find the only known portrait of the saint painted during his lifetime, showing him without either halo or Stigmata.

Arriving in Assisi, you will be staying in a spa-hotel in the center of the town, giving you total freedom to visit the town, relax in the spa, attend mass and pray as you wish.

In the following days, there will be tours of the churches which played an important part in the life of St. Francis, and St. Clare, as well as the town itself.  

Leaving Assisi, we will stay in the town of Gubbio, close to the boarder with the Marche region.  Near here we will visit the La Verna Sanctuary where the saint received the Stigmata from God.

The tour will end with 2 nights in the city of Florence.   We will take a private tour of the city and have some free time for shopping before we take you to the airport for your flight home.

Itinerary

 

Day 1 - 10/8 Arrival in Rome

Where we visit : Rome
Meeting Location : Fiumicino International Airport
Upon arrival in Rome, our representative will meet you for your private transfer to a central hotel.

In the evening, the group will meet together for a welcome dinner at a traditional Roman enoteca in the heart of the city.

Overnight in Rome.
Meals : Dinner
 

Day 2 - 10/9 - Tour of the Papal Basilicas

Where we visit : Rome
This tour will take you to the four Major basilicas of Rome: St. Peter's, St. Paul's outside the Walls, St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran.  The order of the tour will be decided when the calendar for each church has been published.

St. Peter's Basilica is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive sights in Rome today.  This is the second basilica to be built on this site, commissioned by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century over the site of Constantine's original basilica and the necropolis where St. Peter was buried.  Worked on by the greatest architects of the time, including Michelangelo, Bramante, Maderno and Bernini, the size of the structure and the light that floods in from the high windows, strike the visitor as much as the immense papal tombs and gilded decoration.

Like St. Peter's, the Basilica of St. Paul lies outside the ancient walls, over the necropolis where the saint was laid to rest.  It was the only one of the Constantine basilicas to have survived from antiquity in its original form when it was burnt down in 1823.  Thanks to donations from around the world, it was rebuilt just as it had been in just over 20 years, with the original Medieval cloister that survived the fire.  Inside, mosaics of every pope from St. Peter to Pope Francis look down on visitors.

In the city center the Basilica of St. Mary Major, stands on the site where snow fell on an August night in the 5th century.  It was one of the first churches to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary, following the Council of Ephesus in 431, which declared her to be the Mother of God.  Much of the church was destroyed by an earthquake in 1348, but the original, beautiful 5th century mosaics still line the apse walls and the triumphal arch, depicting, scenes from both the Old and the New Testaments.

Not far from here, is the Basilica of St. John Lateran.  The cathedral of Rome and once the official residence of the papacy, it is the highest ranking of all the churches in Rome, known as 'archbasilica' and as the oldest and most important basilica in the world, it holds the title of Ecumenical Mother Church of the Catholic Faithful. Constantine's original basilica was built on the site of the barracks of the Imperial Guard, who had fought against Constantine at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.  Following his victory, Constantine disbanded the guard and razed the barracks, eventually donating the Lateran Palace to the Pope.  Like the other basilicas, St. John's has been rebuilt over the years, much of its current appearance dating to the 17th century, but the original private chapel of the pope, the Sancta Sanctorum, can still be seen across the road at the top of the Holy Steps.

Overnight in Rome.
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 

Day 3 - 10/10 - Papal Audience and afternoon of leisure

Where we visit : Rome
In the morning, make your way across the river to St. Peter's Square.  Although the audience doesn't start till 10am, people will start arriving at around 7am to be near the front when security opens at 8am.

You will have the rest of the day at leisure to explore the Eternal City.  

Overnight in Rome.
Meals : Breakfast
 

Day 4 - 10/11 - Private Tour of the Monastery of Subiaco

Where we visit : Rome, Subiaco, Assisi
In the morning, we will leave Rome and head north, following the Anio River to the town of Subiaco and the monastery founded by St. Benedict

The monastery, built high on a hillside between the 9th and the 18th centuries, stands over the cave where the saint lived as he developed the Rules of the Benedictine Order.  Here we will visit the cave which forms part of the lower church, richly decorated in 13th century frescoes of the ‘Romano Popolare’ school.  The frescoes include an image of Saint Francis of Assisi, the oldest known portrait in existence of the saint, having actually been drawn before his death. This dates back to St. Francis' retreat to Subiaco between 1223 and 1224 and he is therefore depicted without the stigmata and without a halo.

In the upper church we will see 14th century frescoes from the Siena School, depicting the final week of Christ’s life and his Resurrection and 15th century frescoes with scenes from the life of St. Benedict.

Later in the day, we will arrive in Assisi.

Dinner and overnight in Assisi.
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 

Day 5 - 10/12 - Tour of the Papal Basilica of St. Francis

Where we visit : Assisi
After breakfast this morning, you will meet your guide for a tour inside the beautiful Basilica of St. Francis.  Visible across the Umbrian countryside for miles, the basilica and its adjoining monastery, are incredible works of art in themselves, ornately decorated by some of the master painters of the 13th century.

Construction of the church began following the canonization of the saint in 1228 and two years later, the mortal remains of St. Francis were laid to rest here.  The light Upper Church is decorated in colorful frescoes by Giotto and his school, showing scenes from the life of St. Francis.   The Lower Church, which houses the monumental tomb of the saint, contains frescoes by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Simone Martini.

In the afternoon, there will be time to hike up to the Carceri Hermitage, situated 4km above the town on Mount Subasio (bring sturdy shoes).  Throughout his lifetime, St. Francis would come to a cave here to pray.  Over time  he was joined by others who sought the tranquility of the mountain for contemplation.  Today the small community of Franciscans living here, happily welcome visitors who make the walk up from the town.

Return to the hotel for dinner.
 
Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
 

Day 6 - 10/13 - Tour of Assisi

Where we visit : Assisi
 
Today will start with the option to attend mass in English at the Basilica of St. Francis at 9am.

The rest of the morning and lunch will be at your leisure, until the churches re-open in the afternoon.

You will be quite familiar with the town by now, as our guide leads you to some of the town's other churches, which play a role in the story of St. Francis: The Basilica of St. Clare, the first female follower of St. Francis and the founder of the Order of the Poor Clares; the town's cathedral which is dedicated to San Rufino where both saints were baptized and the church of San Daimano where St. Francis first heard the voice of God.

Dinner at the hotel.
Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
 

Day 7 - 10/14 - Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels & Gubbio

Where we visit : Assisi, Gubbio
This morning we will be leaving Assisi.  Our first stop will be at the foot of the hill on which the town is built to visit the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, which is one of the 2 Papal Basilicas which are not in Rome, along with the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

Here we will have time to visit the Porzuincola, the small chapel where St. Francis is said to have founded the Franciscan Order.  A site of pilgrimage since the saint's death, the basilica was built in the 16th century, covering both the Porzuincola and the nearby cell where St. Francis died.

Afterwards we will continue to the Park Hotel Cappuccini, in the Medieval town of Gubbio.  Once we have checked into the hotel, you will be free to wander into the town center and explore, or relax and enjoy the hotel's spa facilities.

Dinner and overnight in Gubbio
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
 

Day 8 - 10/15 - La Verna Sanctuary & Florence

Where we visit : Gubbio, Florence
 
Today we will visit the La Verna Sanctuary where St. Francis received the Stigmata.  High up in the mountains, the sanctuary remains a place of pray and contemplation, surrounded by the woods on the beautiful Mount Penna.

You will be free to move around the sanctuary at your leisure, to pray and to visit the Chapel of the Stigmata and the frescoed corridor that leads to it, built so that the friars can visit the chapel daily, whatever the weather.

In the afternoon we will travel to the Renaissance capital of Florence.  Staying in the heart of the city, close to the Basilica of Santa Croce, the burial place of Michelangelo and Galileo, you'll easily be able to start exploring this incredible city.  Dinner on your own this evening.

Overnight in Florence.
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
 

Day 9 - 10/16 - Private Tours of Florence

Where we visit : Florence
 
Your guide will meet you for a walking tour through the Renaissance beauty of Florence, including the Accademia Gallery, which houses Michelangelo's monumental statue of David.  During the tour, you will learn about the powerful Medici Family, whose patronage of artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, changed the face of the city forever.

In the afternoon, take some time to explore the city on your own and perhaps go shopping in the famous leather market, before meeting up again with the group for a final Italian dinner.

Overnight in Florence.
Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
 

Day 10 - 10/17 - Departure from Florence

Where we visit : Florence
After breakfast, our driver will meet you and take you to the airport in time for your flight home.
Meals : Breakfast

Map

 

Inclusions/Exclusions

Tour Highlights and What's Included

  1. 4-star accommodation
  2. Private Tours with English-speaking guides
  3. Private Air-Conditioned Transportation
  4. Meals as described in the program
  5. Entrance fees as described in the program
  6. Bilingual escort

What's Not Included

  1. Everything not clearly specified under “rates include”.
  2. Food and beverages not mentioned in the program
  3. Gratuities of any type
  4. International fights

Sites and Locations Visited on this Tour

Please contact us today by either phone or email for assistance with this booking.
Email : team@italygroupspecialists.com
Toll Free : 1-866-779-2565

Hotels

Hotel Barberini Rome

Hotel Barberini is located in the historic center of Rome in front of Palazzo Barberini among Trevi Fountain, Via Veneto, Piazza di Spagna and the Quirinale. Our hotel is a perfect synthesis of classic style of settings and modern technologies of the installations and safety: the art of hospitality enhanced by impeccable service..

Hotel Plaza Lucchesi Florence

Set right on the bank of the Arno River, Plaza Hotel Lucchesi is 10 minutes’ walk from Piazza della Signoria. It boasts air-conditioned rooms, a 24-hour reception and traditional restaurant. Offering free Wi-Fi, elegant rooms at the Lucchesi come with a satellite flat-screen TV and minibar. Some have a balcony and/or overlook the Arno River or the Church of Santa Croce..

Park Hotel Ai Cappuccini

The Park Hotel ai Cappuccini is a 17th century monastery which has been cleverly restored. Offering a large indoor pool, the prestigious Park Hotel ai Cappuccini is set in a converted 17th-century monastery, near the historical center of Gubbio. It features the largest wellness center in town..

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