October 8: We fly overnight from Cleveland to Milan, Italy.
October 9: Having arrived in Milan, we meet out Christian Expedition Tour Director, who will remain with us throughout our trip. We transfer to our hotel in Turin. We spend the remainder of the day taking in this beautiful city’s sites, including the Cathedral of St John and the Holy Shroud Museum. The Shroud of Turin is believed to have been the one used in the burial of Christ, and to bear his image. We also visit sites including the Shrine of our Lady of Consolation, which contains a famous icon of Mary, the Basilica of our Lady of Help of Christians, the Palazzo Reale, Turin’s Roman ruins, the Mole Antonelliana, and the Mount of Capuchin Monks, where we take in panoramic views of Turin and the Alps. Overnight in Turin.
October 10: After breakfast we board our private coach for the journey to Venice. Upon arrival in Venice we spend the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Venice.
October 11: After breakfast we begin our tour of the sites of Venice. We visit the Doge’s Palace (home of former rulers of Venice), St Mark’s Piazza and Basilica (where the Apostle Mark is said to be buried), the Rialto Bridge, and the Grand Canal. We enjoy a gondola ride before dinner. Overnight in Venice.
October 12: After breakfast we travel to Ravenna, a city with early Christian and Byzantine structures that have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We see the Mausoleum of Galla Placida with its awe-inspiring art before having lunch and some free time and continuing on to Florence. Overnight in Florence.
October 13: Today we see Florence. After breakfast we see the Basilica of Santa Croce, where Galileo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli are all buried. We visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto’s Bell Tower and the Baptistery of St John. We move on to the Piazza della Signoria, where a replica of Michelangelo’s David stands at its original site, before coming to the Galleria dell’Accademia, where we see the real thing. We have free time in the evening to enjoy the city’s other sites, like Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Overnight in Florence.
October 14: We drive through the beautiful Tuscan countryside to Siena. Here we see sites like the city’s magnificent Gothic Cathedral before moving on to Assisi, hometown of Francis of Assisi. Overnight in Assisi.
October 15: After breakfast we visit the Basilica of Saint Clare, the medieval town square, and the Basilica of St Francis with its famous frescoes. We enjoy lunch at a local winery. In the afternoon, we travel to Perugia, where we walk some of the most authentic medieval streets in Europe before returning to our hotel in Assisi in the evening. Overnight in Assisi.
October 16: After breakfast we depart Assisi for Rome. Once there we see the Palatine Hill and the Circus Maximus, the chariot racing grounds of the ancient Romans, and the location of a great number of the early Christian martyrdoms that took place in Rome. We see the Aventine Hill, with its Church of Santa Prisca, named for the early Christian Priscilla (Romans 16:3). After lunch we see sites including the Roman Forum, the Arch of Titus, the Colosseum, Trajan’s Column, and the Mamertine Prison (where Peter and Paul were imprisoned.) Overnight in Rome.
October 17: We visit the Basilica and Catacombs of St Sebastian, where the remains of Peter and Paul were kept during Christian persecutions of the 3rd Century. We move on to the Abbey of Three Fountains, where, tradition has it, the Apostle Paul was martyred, and to St Paul’s Outside the Walls which is believed to be his final resting place. We head on to the Saint John Lateran Church, the seat of the Pope. The steps that Jesus is believed to have ascended when he met with Pontius Pilate are across from this basilica. Finally, we visit the Basilica of San Clemente, which was originally the site of early, secret Christian worship. Overnight in Rome.
October 18: After breakfast we visit the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’s Basilica. In the afternoon, we transfer to the city center where we have free time for the rest of the day to enjoy sites like the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, and the Piazza Navona. On the last night of our tour we gather for our farewell banquet. Overnight in Rome.
October 19: After breakfast we transfer from our hotel to the airport to begin our journey back to Cleveland.