Biblical Rome & Artistic Florence

A 6 Days / 5 Nights Christian Tour In Italy

Itinerary

DAY 1: Rome

Meet and greet at the Airport with our tour escort and transfer to the hotel for check in. After that meet the guide for an orientation tour of Rome including the Mamertine prison (site that records the tradition to be the place where Saint Peter and Saint Paul were imprisoned) and St. Peter in Chains (named for the chains that held St. Peter when he was imprisoned in Rome and in Jerusalem. The church is however best known for the statue of Moses that Michelangelo created for the tomb of pope Julius II). Dinner and overnight at the hotel or nearby.

DAY 2: Rome

Breakfast and visit to the Vatican City (length 4hrs approx.). If the tour dates include a Wednesday in Rome, we can escort the group to St Peter’s Basilica for the Papal Audience in the morning and at the end of the Papal blessing, guided tour of the Vatican Museum. Our Tour-guide will lead you through the treasures preserved at the museums visiting also the Sistine Chapel with the masterpieces of Michelangelo, including the Last Judgement, and St. Peter Basilica. Transfer back to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel or nearby.

DAY 3: Rome

After breakfast meet the guide at hotel and start the Christian tour with Basilicas of Rome and the Catacomb (length 4hrs approx.). The history of these Basilicas comes together the history of Rome, scaring the religious path, the social events and the artistic experience: The Cathedral of Rome and the most ancient Basilica of the western world; St John’s Lateran Basilica. It has been funded by Constantine I as the main church of Rome and subsequently converted to the Baroque style by Francesco Borromini. All Popes have been crowned here until 19th century and nowadays it’s the official seat of the Roman Bishop. The large complex around the Church embraces the Lateran Palace, the Major Pontifical Roman Seminary and the Pontifical Lateran University.

Stop to visit the Holy Stair on the left side of the Square. The Stair that, according to the Christian tradition, was climbed by Jesus to reach the room of the Interrogation with Pontius Pilate before the crucifixion. The 28 steps have been put into effect starting from the highest one, to avoid the builders walk on them and allow only the Pilgrims to kneel down on the stair. Proceed to St Paul Outside the Walls Basilica, rising on the legendary burial place of St Paul Apostle, in the middle of an ancient guest-house on the long way to Ostia.

The Basilica, rebuilt after the fire on 1823, is the second largest Church after St Peter at the Vatican. Here, under the major altar, there’s the tomb of St Paul Apostles and for this reason this Basilica has always been a pilgrimage destination; since 1300 date of the first Holy Year, it has been part of the Jubilee itinerary and seat of the Holy Door’s opening ceremony. After St. Paul outside the Wall Basilica we’ll visit the Three Fountain Abbey raised on the spot where St. Paul was beheaded by order of the Emperor Nero. Legend accounts for the three springs (fontane) with the assertion that, when severed from Paul’s body, his head bounced and struck the earth in three different places, from which fountains sprang up. These still flow and are located in the sanctuary. We will end our tour with the visit to one of the Catacombs of Rome. This can be to St Calisto, St Domitilla or St Sebastian. For their importance, the precious heritage of paintings and sculptures, the Catacombs are nowadays visited by thousands of Pilgrims from all over the world. They are authentic archives of the primitive Church, an attestation of the costumes and rituals of how the Christian doctrine was meant and applied.

Back to city center and visit the of Imperial Rome A leap into the Roman Age (length 3hrs approx.). Welcome to one of the most incredible avenues of the world: Via dei Fori Imperiali. It begins from the slopes of Capitol Hill, behind Venice Square. We start with the visit of one of the most impressive, unknown corners of Rome, the Trajan Market (from outside). It is the first huge, historical commercial area, and was a real shopping centre for the Romans!

Miraculously surviving to our modern age, it preserves the signs of the ancient men and women who inhabited it, using its rooms in many different ways, almost 2.000 years ago. It has been built on six floors covered with vaults. Partially hidden inside the Esquilino Hill, behind the Trajan Forum, today its ambient impact is not so evident due to the collapsing of most of the walls around, but you should know that it was 40 metres tall during the Empire, with corridors and pedestrian passages connecting into other buildings.

Leaving the markets and the Trajan Columns recounting the Roman victory in Dacia region, we continue walking along the Imperial Forum, admiring the Augustus Forum, Tito’s Arch, Settimio Severo’s Arch, Ulpia’a Basilica, Caesar’s Forum and Massenzio’s Basilica therefore we come to the magnificent Coliseum, the Flavius Amphitheatre. Once it was completely covered by white marble, surrounded by columns and statues and it was covered by a huge velario (a tent) protecting the public attending the gladiators show from the sun. In the central platform covered by sand, the sad exhibition of the gladiators fighting to survive against the lions, all around terraces for the common people, the balcony for the Emperor and the Senators...all for the delight of the spectators. Dinner and overnight at the hotel or nearby.

DAY 4: Rome / Assisi / Florence

After breakfast transfer to Florence. On the way stop in Assisi for an half day visit with local licensed guide. Assisi, a quaint magical Umbrian town on a hillside still surrounded by ancient walls, spread on the green slopes of Mount Subasio, birthplace of St.Francis, with a mystical atmosphere of serenity and profound spirituality and where, every step, every stone, reminds us of his life. Saint Francis is the founding father of the Order of Friars Minor more commonly known as the Franciscan Order, and venerated as Saint of the Catholic Church. His tomb is the pilgrimage destination for thousands of believer from all over the world. An interesting visit to Saint Francis’ Basilica with its early Renaissance masterpiece by Giotto showing in 28 splendid scenes of the life of the Saint. Time free for lunch or relax. In the afternoon we will visit St Chiara Church (Saint Claire) a loyal follower of the Saint and founder of the Clarisse Order, San Damiano a very important place during the two Saints life, the Cathedral, the Romanesque St Peter’s Church and St Mary of the Angels Basilica with the enclosed Porziuncola, the thornless bush, the ever-present doves and the cave where St. Francis retired for prayer. Late afternoon leave for Florence for dinner and overnight.

DAY 5: Florence

After breakfast meeting with licensed local guide at Hotel for half day Florence visit on foot into the heart of the Italian Renaissance. Florence keeps an exceptional artistic heritage; Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived in Florence as well as Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio forefathers of the Renaissance, Ghiberti and Angelico, Botticelli and the universal genius of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Great monuments are the landmarks of Florentine artistic culture: Piazza della Signoria and the Cathedral with the Giotto’s belltower and Ghiberti’s large bronze doors at the Baptistry, the medieval churches with bands of frescoes; public as well as private palaces; Palazzo Vecchio (The Old Palace) Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici and the charming Lungarno (the Arno river banks) with Ponte Vecchio (The Old Bridge) and its two rows of artisan shops. The city is so rich in art that our eyes will be rapt by the magnificence of each corner of this small city. Afternoon free to relax yourself walking around narrows an ‘test’ air of art, traditions and history. You can also take the chance to do shopping at famous leather shops.

DAY 6: Florence / Airport

After breakfast transfers to Florence Airport where you will depart for the return flight home, filled with new experiences and stories of this tour.

mamertine prison st peter in chains st peters basilica holy stairs trajan column assisi assisi st mary florence florence baptistery

Biblical Readings

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians ; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. Romans 1:13,14,15
And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul : for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. Acts 23:11
Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged : to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die : but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar ? unto Caesar shalt thou go. Acts 25:10,11,12
And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium : and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli: where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days : and so we went toward Rome. And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns ; whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. Acts 28:13,14,15