"Malta’s capital city Valletta will be the European Capital of Culture 2018"
Malta & Classic Italy18 Days
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare
from your desired Airport
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- One way flight from Rome to Medjugorje
- Centrally located hotels: (or similar)
- ~ 4 nights: Le Meridien, Malta
- ~ 2 nights: Michelangelo, Sorrento
- ~ 3 nights: Hotel Giotto,Assisi
- ~ 2 nights: Machiavelli Palace, Florence
- ~ 2 nights: Biri, Padua
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Wine with dinners
- Assistance of a professional local guide(s)
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Catholic Priest available for Spiritual Direction
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Lunches, Tips to your guide & driver.
Make your way to your local airport, where you will board your overnight flight(s).
Upon arrival, collect your luggage from baggage claims and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where you'll be met by a tour guide and/or driver and transferred to your hotel. Later, your guide will tell you about St. Paul and Christianity in the Maltese Islands. You will attend Mass at a local church before dinner at your hotel.
Malta - The Three Cities - Valletta
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for a full-day guided excursion to the Three Cities of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea, where in 1530 the Knights of St. John settled on the east coast in the creeks of Grand Harbor. Next, see the Miraculous Statue of Jesus Christ the Redeemer in the Oratory of the Basilica, dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary in Senglea. Later, take a typical harbor boat tour from Vittoriosa across the Grand Harbor to Valletta and see its waterfront. You will also see St. Johns Co-Cathedral and Museum in Valletta, and visit the oratory, which houses the famous Caravaggio paintings. Dinner and a restful overnight.
Malta - Mellieha - Gozo
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for a full day’s guided excursion to Gozo, a sister island of Malta. Here you’ll visit the Mellieha Sanctuary of Our Lady, a Marian Shrine. The sanctuary was blessed by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Malta in 1990. The Sanctuary enjoys a picturesque view of the Valley of Our Lady, Mellieha Bay, Comino and Gozo. Later, see Munxar Parish Church, a Baroque style building dedicated to St. Paul, the Bozo Cathedral of the Assumption, and St. George’s Basilica, known as the golden church of the “marble basilica” of Gozo. The relics of St. Clement rest in the Baroque alter in the side chapel of St. Lazarus, one of eleven side chapels within the Basilica. Next, visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’Pinu, Malta’s most important pilgrimage site. The narrow rooms on either side of the alter are full of testaments of the local belief in the intercession of Our Lady. Lastly, return by ferry to Malta, and enjoy dinner and an overnight at your hotel
Malta - St. Paul’s Bay - Mosta - Mdina - Rabat
After breakfast at your hotel, another full day’s guided touring awaits. See St. Paul’s Bay by boat, the Church of the Assumption of our Lady, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Museum in Mdina, the medieval walled city, the Bastions, St. Paul’s Catacombs, and St. Paul’s Grotto. St. Paul’s Grotto is said to be the place where St. Paul took refuge and prayed for three months while trying to convert the Maltese to Christianity following his shipwreck around 60 AD. Pope John Paul prayed in the grotto during his visit in 1990. Return to Malta for dinner and your last overnight.
Malta to Rome
Today you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Rome, also known as, "The Eternal City." Upon arrival at Rome airport, collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrival's Hall, where you will be greeted by a tour escort and/or driver. You will make your way to the bus and transfer to your hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax, or explore Rome on your own. Your tour escort may suggest places to visit. Later in the afternoon, your group will meet in the hotel lobby for a "Meet and Greet" with your fellow pilgrims and depart for Mass. Following Mass, you will attend a welcome dinner. After dinner, you will have the opportunity to walk to St. Peter's Square as a group, for the Rosary (optional).
Rome: Papal Audience - Basilica of St. John the Lateran - Holy Steps - Basilica of St. Mary Major
After a nice breakfast at your hotel, your first sightseeing day in Rome starts! The tour begins with the Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square! The Audience is celebrated each Wednesday by His Holiness, Pope Francis (pending the papal schedule). Following the Audience, there will be free time for lunch, or to shop, or to mail a postcard from the Vatican Post Office. This afternoon, you will visit the oldest of the four major basilicas in Rome, and the home to the relics of Peter and Paul, the Basilica of St. John the Lateran. This Basilica is where Pope Francis was installed as Bishop of Rome, and where he officiates as the Bishop of Rome. Next, you will cross the street to visit the Holy Staircase. Tradition states that this staircase is from Pontius Pilate's palace of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. It is also said this Staircase was brought to Rome by St. Helen in the 4th century. If time permits, you may climb the steps on your knees, in memory of Christ's agonizing Passion. To conclude your day, you will proceed to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. This Basilica contains a relic from the Manger of the Infant Jesus. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
*The Scala Santa is currently under restoration. Thus, the Vatican has displayed an image replicating the stairs in front of the entrance where you will walk in. There are several staircases just to the side of the Scala Santa that you may ascend on your knees. You will still be able to receive the same graces and indulgences by going up any of the alternative stairs.
Rome: St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican Museum - Trevi Fountain - Appian Way - Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls - Catacombs
This morning, you will enjoy an early breakfast before making your way to the largest Christendom Church, St. Peter's Basilica. This Basilica was built on the site where St. Peter, the first Pope and Bishop of Rome, was martyred. Also, it was Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who was the first Pontiff to visit the necropolis since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago. It is here that you will view Michelangelo's Pieta. This stunning marble sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary holding Christ after His crucifixion, death, and removal off the cross before being placed in the tomb. Continue to proceed to the Vatican Museums. At the world-renowned museum, you will see the most impressive of edifices, galleries, and awe-inspiring relics. Additionally, you will observe the Tapestry Gallery, Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo's Masterpiece, the restored mural of the Last Judgment. The final stop on your Vatican tour is at the tomb of Saint John Paul II. Afterward, you will be transferred to the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), where you may enjoy some free time on your own for lunch. Continue on your short journey down the Appian Way, the earliest road of Ancient Rome. This road leads to the Domino Quo Vadis Chapel, the Baths of Caracalla, the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the catacombs of St. Callixtus. The day concludes with a visit to the Basilica of St. Paul, outside the walls. Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, this Basilica is the burial places of Saint Paul the Apostle. Next, make your way to a local restaurant for dinner. Following dinner, feel free to explore the streets of Rome, or return to the hotel for an overnight.
Rome - Monte Cassino - Saint Philomena Sanctuary, Mugnano - Sorrento
Following breakfast, you will board your bus to enjoy the scenic route to Monte Cassino. Passing through the Roman countryside that is known for its villas and vineyards. During the bus ride, your tour escort will share interesting information regarding the spiritual, historical, and cultural aspects of Italy. Monte Cassino, the principle monastery of the Benedictine Order, was founded by Saint Benedict around 530 A.D. Following the tour, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop, before we board the bus to Mugnano del Cardinale for a visit of the Shrine of Saint Philomena. When her remains were brought to the village church at Mugnano from Rome, graces, favors and miracles began to occur among the village people. Miracles continued to occur year after year and in 1837, Philomena was elevated to Sainthood. Drive to Sorrento with its stunning panoramic views of the Bay of Naples, its picturesque narrow streets, parks, villa, and orange, lemon and olive groves. Enjoy some time to relax before dinner and an overnight.
Sorrento - Amalfi Coast - Sorrento
Today you will tour the Amalfi Coast, widely considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world; deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site as an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape. You'll follow the 34 miles of winding roads, making a quick stop to view the breathtaking panoramic view of Positano. Continue on through Praiano where you will drive by St. Gennaro Church, to Amalfi, one of the four maritime Republics of Italy, and view the beautiful Amalfi Cathedral consecrated to its patron, Saint Andrew. Some free time for lunch before your last stop on the Amalfi coast, Ravello. View its interesting Cathedral devoted to Saint Pantaleone, and the Villa Rufolo, a venue for many festivals throughout the year and magnificent gardens. View the Gulf of Salerno and its beautiful coastline. Enjoy the landscape on your return to Sorrento, where you will enjoy dinner and an overnight.
Sorrento - Pompeii - Assisi
After breakfast, board your motor coach to Pompeii, the famous ancient city buried by the ashes of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. You will walk through one of the most important and interesting archeological museums in the world. This is a preserved site of excavated ruins of streets and homes that pilgrims can freely explore. Visit the Shrine of the Rosary of Pompei “La Madonna Del Rosario”, one of the most visited Catholic Shrines. The painting of "Our Lady of the Rosary" with its bronze gilt frame is presented to the pilgrims on the high altar. The venerated painting depicts the Virgin Mary and Child Jesus presenting the Rosary to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena. Inside the shrine there are also two very important relics belonging to the Passion of Christ; a thorn from the Crown of Thorns and a small piece of the Holy Cross. Enjoy some time to relax before dinner and an overnight.
Assisi (The Life of a Saint, that inspired a Holy Father)
Enjoy an early breakfast, followed by a full day of touring the hometown of St. Francis. St. Francis is the "Patron Saint of Animals and the Environment." Additionally, he is responsible for founding the Franciscan Order, and the inspiration for our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He chose his name in admiration of the Saint of Nature, and Servant to the Poor. Known for being a humble man himself, Pope Francis spent most of his life denying the luxuries of life. He preferred to live in simplicity and humility, while giving up all other worldly possessions, just as St. Francis did. As you visit the birthplace of St. Francis, you will become captivated as the atmosphere has not changed since St. Francis began his ministry, in the early 13th-century. You will start your tour at the St. Francis Basilica, visit his tomb of St. Francis, and have the opportunity to view a series of frescoes depicting his life, along with a few of the saint's possessions. From there, you will continue on a walking tour through this picturesque town, including the birthplace of St. Francis, and end with a tour of the Church that honors St. Clare, the foundress of the Poor Clare Sisters. This Saint followed the teachings of St. Francis very closely by also living a life of poverty and humility. Enjoy some free time on your own - you may take this time for additional prayer, shop in the many gift shops or enjoy a nice lunch. After lunch, you will board the bus, which will take you outside of the walls of Assisi, to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This is where St. Francis spent most of life. This Basilica is made up of two structures, both of which you will visit. The first structure, is the "Porziuncola", which is where St. Francis founded his order of the Friar Minor (Franciscans). The second, is the "Capella del Transito", which is the place of St. Francis' death. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Rose Garden where St. Francis and other friars lived, as well as the cave where the Saint retired to pray. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Assisi - Gubbio - La Verna - Assisi
After breakfast, you will drive through the beautiful Umbrian mountains to Gubbio. Enjoy this medieval town with a visit of St. Francis Church, where you will be celebrating Mass. After Mass, visit a town that seems painted onto the hill, a succession of backdrops against which towers and houses stand out, all embraced by walls. The town had been freed by St. Francis from a terrible and fierce wolf who afflicted it. After lunch on your own, continue to La Verna, the place where St. Francis, over the years, had been seven times, the last time in 1224 where he received the stigmata. Here you will be able to pray in the Chapel of the Stigmata, the Basilica and the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels. You will also be able to admire the beautiful artworks of Andrea della Robbia. Return to Assisi for dinner and an overnight.
Assisi - Siena - Florence
Breakfast, followed by a scenic drive to the Tuscan city of Siena. This medieval city is the birthplace of St. Catherine "Doctor of the Church", and the Apostle of Italy, St. Bernardine. Visit of the Basilica of St. Catherine (which is also known as the Basilica of St. Domenico). St. Catherine passed a large part of her life inside the walls of this Basilica. It is here you will also view the incorrupt head of St. Catherine. After, visit the Shrine of St. Catherine, which occupies the site of her family home. Enjoy your walking tour through the Siena including a visit to its Cathedral (Duomo di Siena). Conclude at one of Italy's finest squares, the Piazza Del Campo, where you will be given free time to spend at your own leisure. There are a number of restaurants surrounding the square to have lunch, as well as shops for gifts and souvenirs. Continue on to Florence. Upon arrival in Florence, you will notice immediately that it is the land for art lovers. Some of the most world renowned artists are from Florence such as, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello, and many others. For the remainder of the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to explore the streets of Florence at leisure. In the evening gather for dinner, followed by an overnight.
In Florence, your day begins with breakfast, followed by a guided tour. The tour starts at the Church of the Holy Cross, the Santa Croce, where many nobles are buried, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. Continue to walk by Piazza Signorina, Palazzo Vecchio, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, and Republic Square to the Santa Maria del Fiore. This Cathedral is an iconic piece of architecture of the city of Florence. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 13th century. Next, a visit to L'Accademia, the well-known art gallery. At this gallery, you will have the opportunity to view the work from artists such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pontormo and the ever famous sculpture by Michelangelo, David. This afternoon you will have time to explore Florence on your own. Return to hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Florence - Padua
Following breakfast at your hotel, board the motor coach for your transfer to Padua. This Northern Italian city honors the "Patron Saint of Lost Things and Causes", St. Anthony. You will begin a sightseeing tour of the city, including a view of one of the oldest Universities in Italy, the University of Padua, as well as the Basilica of Santa Giustina, the "Patron Saint of Padua." The tour will conclude at the Basilica of St. Anthony, where you will have the opportunity to visit his tomb. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Padua (Full Day Excursion to Venice)
Today, you will have early breakfast and then board your bus to depart to the magical city of Venice. After Mass, enjoy a tour of the "city paved with water!" Your walking tour includes a visit to St. Mark's Square, the largest square in the city and the site of many government buildings; the Golden Basilica of San Marco, known for the great mosaics that depict the Old and New Testament of the Bible; the Bridge of Sigh, a bridge that will bring eternal love to those who drift below it. You will also have the chance to view the Doges' Palace (Duke's Palace), which served as the seat of the Government for the Republic of Venice for centuries. Return to Padua for dinner and an overnight.
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to Venice airport for your return flights home.*206 Tours Disclaimer:
Occasionally local religious and national holidays, weather, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of events or the missing of certain events/places. Though every effort will be made to follow the itinerary, it should be considered as an indication, rather than a contract of events and places to be visited.
About your trip
Rome has been one of the most powerful and influential cities throughout history, along with being home to the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and the site of the Vatican City. First built in 337, St. Peter's Basilica lies over the tomb of St. Peter and contained within, is a vast array of the most beautiful artwork ever assembled, reflecting the immensity, beauty, vastness, majesty, and glory of God.