Christian Guided Italy Tour
Footsteps of Peter and Paul Tour
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Day by Day
mondayNew York, Rome
Tour members are welcomed this evening at JFK International Airport for our departing flight to Rome via Jumbo Jet arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
Upon arrival at Fiumicino airport near Rome, we will be met by our escort and make our way to Pozzuoli (Putuoli) on Bay of Naples, where Paul first entered the mainland of the peninsula. We will pass by the ancient amphitheater and have an overview of the seaport of Pozzuoli and the ancient marketplace to recall a small touch of what Paul may have experienced when he arrived. We will check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
wednesdayAmalfi Coast, Naples, Pozzuoli
After breakfast, we will begin our journey with a panoramic tour to Amalfi. The Amalfi Coast, connecting Sorrento with Amalfi, is widely considered Italy’s most scenic stretch of coastline, a of towering bluffs, pastel-hued villages such as Positano and Praiano terraced into hillsides, precipitous corniche roads, luxuriant gardens, and expansive vistas over turquoise waters and green-swathed mountains. Deemed by UNESCO “an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape, with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values,” the coast was awarded a coveted spot on the World Heritage list in 1997.
In the afternoon on our return we will have a panoramic view of the Bay of Naples where we will be able to observe its seaport and have breathtaking views of Mt. Vesuvius. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
thursdayPompei, Minturno, Foro Appio
After breakfast, we depart for Pompeii, where we will be joined by our local guide to have an archeological journey through the ancient city. Buried under a layer of ashes and pyroclastic flow by a sudden eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, the city shows us Roman life frozen in time. It is through understanding the context of this ime period that we can understand Paul’s preaching. People who walked these streets were of the generation of the early apostles,t and Paul’s message had reached there long before the eruption.
Paul walked many a Roman city that looked as Pompeii does, and the imagery of the Epistles to those cities is nowhere more easily pictured. We will visit houses, shops, temples, squares, streets and even some of the darker quarters of the city, such as the “Lupanare” (house of prostitutes) and the “Suburbane Thermae“ (with its graphic frescos). As we make our way north, we will rejoin the ancient Appian roadway traveled by Paul, stopping at the partially restored ruins of the Roman village of Minturno. A quiet site, the open plan of the site, together with the lack of other crowds will allow us to reflect on the implications of understanding the setting and people of these suburban areas to ministry of Paul and the Apostles.
We continue on for our overnight in Foro Appio in the nearby “Mansio Hotel” A mansio was an official stopping place along a Roman road maintained by the central government for the use of officials and those on official business whilst travelling. In such a place, Paul could have hosted the early believers and drawn some encouragement. Our evening will include a unique experience with a dinner based on some ancient traditional Roman recipes.
fridayForo Appio, Romanfora, Palatine, Colosseo, San Clemente, St. Prisca
After a hearty breakfast, we will depart Foro Appio and make our way to the Eternal City. Following some of the high points of Roman history, we will address “how Romans told their story” in “Pompa Processions” and architecture like that of Emperor Trajan’s Column, a jewel of architecture and sculpture. We will begin our walking tour along the Via dei Fori Imperiali and observe the ruins of the Imperial center of Rome.
Other important edifices, like the Forum of Trajan, the biggest and most splendid of markets of its time, became the forerunners of our modern malls and commercial complexes. They offered to the Roman citizen the full array of goods of the Roman world. We will view the Capitoline Hill, the former political and religious center of the town, which today is the seat of the Municipality of Rome.
The stairway opens to the Piazza del Campidoglio, amagnificent result of a project by Michelangelo, built around a copy of the most famous equestrian statue world, that of the stoic Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Behind Piazza del Campidoglio a natural terrace will offer us the best panoramic view of the valley of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. From the Forum we can view the Palatine Hill. Here is the home of the mythical Remus and Romulus who is said to have founded the town in the year 753 BCE. We will view the Mammertime Prison and our visit to the Arch of Constantine, will remind us of the victory of the emperor over Maxentius in the 4th century CE that gave rise to the legalization and later adoption of Christianity.
Our visit to the city center will end at the Colosseum, an everlasting symbol of the greatness of Rome and the stage for the historical fights of the gladiators where thousands of people and animals perished. After a break for lunch, we will visit the Basilica of San Clemente. Clement was an early Roman convert to Christ, and we will take this opportunity to talk about the people that were responding to the first wave of the Gospel in Rome. We will be reminded of the early companions of Paul, traveling to the Aventine Hill to the traditional home of Priscillla and Aquila, (based on a C5th CE document) now located below the Church of Santa Prisca. After our visit, we will make our way to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
saturdaySan Paola Alla Regola, Tres Tabernaes, Saint Paul's Outside the Walls
With yesterday’s sketch of the Roman world and its imperial center in mind, we begin the day following the steps of St. Paul, recalling both his first and second visits to the city, as well as setting the execution in both geography and history. We will begin our visit the Insula di San Paolo alla Regola, an important possible place for Paul’s first visit and house arrest in about 62 CE. This place references the early belief that “Paul took a rented horreum” where he could likely invite, teach and comfort the small but growing Christian community. From this possible site of Paul’s outreach we will travel to the “Abbey of the Three Fountains” – the place of Paul’s martyrdom.
We journey next to the Basilica of “St. Paul Outside the Walls” on the Via Ostiense, the resting place for the body of Paul. After recalling the work of the Apostle Paul, we will continue to the northern end of the ancient Via Appia, to visit the Catacombs of Santa Domitilla. Early Christian art and history are preserved below ground at these early burial and memorial places, with some markings suggesting celebration of the anniversaries of Christian martyrs (following similar Roman customs).
We will board our bus and time allowing continue our Roman visit at Basilica of San John di Lateran, which became among the most important Christians Churches of Rome. When Constantine opened the Roman world to Christianity, his apparent conversion was symbolized by the donation of a significant family property for this Basilica. The important Lateran Baptistery reminds us of the many early converts to the faith, and the process of moving it from a rogue influence to a sponsored and ordered faith. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
sundayVatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome Sights
This morning we will be overwhelmed by the art and beauty found in our visit the Vatican Museums. Your guide will show you the Apartments of Julius II, splendidly decorated by Raphael and his assistants, and then the Sistine Chapel, where you will admire one of the highest masterpieces of art: the Genesis and the Last Judgment by Michelangelo, that have gained their original splendor after the latest restorations.
Leaving the Sistine Chapel and going down the Royal Stairway, projected by Bernini, the guide will conduct you to the Basilica of St. Peter which gathers inside 2000 years of history and famous works of art such as the Pieta by Michelangelo. The visit ends at St Peter’s Square. This afternoon we enjoy some leisure time…. Have lunch at Trevi Fountain, walk on Condotti Street in the fashion district of Spanish Steps, visit Piazza Navona or the Panteon… Return to hotel to relax before a Farewell dinner.
We will be taken to the airport for our flight home. We will cherish the memories of Paul the Apostles life that changed the course of man.
Post-Tour: Northern Italy
Day by Day
mondayRome, Assisi, Florence
This morning we will go through the Umbrian green hills covered in olive groves and vineyards to reach Assisi. Upon arrival in Assisi, meet your local guide and start an unforgettable walk through the narrow streets of the ancient town which sweeps the flanks of Monte Subasio. You will visit the Church of Santa Chiara, the site where St. Francis was born and then on to see the house where he spent the first years of his life. Then, near the ancient city walls, you will visit the Basilica of St Francis, which houses the tomb of the Saint.
This afternoon we continue north to Florence. Check into your hotel for dinner and overnight.
tuesdayFlorence, Accademia Gallery, Free, Florence
This morning discover the cradle of the Renaissance, where one breathes art in the medieval streets, in the craftsmen’s workshops, and in the Renaissance Palaces. the Duomo with the Medici Chapel, the Church of St. Lorenzo, Piazza della Signoria and the Basilica of Santa Croce, a masterpiece of Gothic art and the pantheon of famous Italians such as Michelangelo. Visit the Accademia Gallery, which hosts Michelangelo’s famous David.
The rest of the day is at leisure to explore additional treasures of Florence and shop on your own. The outdoor Market of San Lorenzo boasts leather products, and the Ponte Vecchio, covered with goldsmiths’ shops since medieval times, is a must for Florence’s other specialty, gold jewel. Dinner and overnight in Florence.
Depart Florence after breakfast and drive through the scenic Tuscan countryside to the highway where we travel towards the north and reach Venice. Upon arrival, we transfer to central Venice by private motor-boat to tour the magnificent Piazza and Basilica of St. Mark’s, its marvelous Byzantine-style architecture studded with colored marbles and glittering gold mosaics and housing the tomb of the Evangelist Mark.
Visit also the elaborate Doge’s Palace, the lavish home of the former Venetian rulers with its famous Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners crossed before being led to the dungeons. Enjoy some time at leisure for an optional gondola ride or for shopping. Transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
thursdayVenice, Verona, Milan, Stresa
This morning we begin a long, but wonderful day as we head to Verona. The first glimpse of the city is love at first sight. “There is no world without Verona walls” pens William Shakespeare, who has lent Verona fame and immortality with his tale of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo Montecchi (Montagu) and Juliet Capuleti (Capulet). Reboard our bus and continue to Milan, Italy’s fashion and business capital. You’ll enjoy a panoramic tour, highlighted by the enormous gothic cathedral known as “Il Duomo” and perhaps the world’s premier opera house, the Teatro alla La Scala.
Board your bus to reach your hotel located on the Maggiore Lake. Dinner and overnight.
fridayStresa, Lake Maggiore
Today we enjoy a relaxing day around Lake Maggiore which stretches all the way up into Switzerland. Like all of these prealpine lakes, it’s renowned for being gorgeous, and has attracted celebrity visitors from Napoleon to Ernest Hemingway, to Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
We will board our private vessel as we tour around Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands. Glide by lush lakeside gardens and towns, stopping to view Borromean Palace on Isola Bella. Return to the hotel where the afternoon will be free to relax, explore the area on your own, and to get ready for our early morning departure tomorrow. Dinner at the hotel.
saturdayStresa, Milan, USA
Early morning transfer to the airport for our flight back home. We have walked where Paul and Peter ministered to the early church and to us as well.