Headsets throughout the tour
Scenic Highlights: Tuscany and UmbriaMass/Religious Service: Siena, Assisi, Rome (papal audience on Wednesday, subject to availability)
Local Guides for city sightseeing in Rome, Florence, Siena, Assisi; services of a professional Tour Director while touring
Day 1Arrive in Rome, Italy
Welcome to Italy! Check into your hotel, then the rest of the day is free to explore this ancient capital. This afternoon, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.
This morning, vistas of the Italian countryside form the backdrop of your journey. Arrive in Florence, the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” An included walking tour with a Local Guide features a visit to the Santa Croce Basilica, known for its Florentine artwork and the tomb of Michelangelo. Also enjoy a visit to the impressive Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore with its distinctive dome. Later, join the optional excursion to the Uffizi Gallery. (B,D)
Today, enjoy landscapes of rolling hills, austere rows of cypress trees, terraced vineyards, olive groves, and rural villages on the way to Siena, Tuscany’s most beloved and inviting city. Attend Mass at St. Catherine's Sanctuary, then meet with a Local Guide who will show you more of Siena's treasures, such as the Duomo and St. Dominic's Basilica. In the late afternoon, reach Assisi, home of mystical St. Francis. (B,D)
Enclosed by ramparts and little changed since the Middle Ages, Assisi sprawls prettily across the slopes of Monte Subasio and retains its medieval character. After attending early morning Mass in the Lower Basilica, meet your Local Guide to visit the Basilica of St. Francis, famous for its paintings by Giotto, which date back to the 1300s. Also on the agenda: a visit to the Church of St. Clare, founder of the Order of Poor Clares. Later, why not join the optional excursion to see the ancient towns of Norcia and Cascia? (B,D)
Before leaving Assisi this morning, visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated at the foot of the hills of Assisi and protecting the Porziuncola, where St. Francis is said to have founded the first group of the Order of the Minor Friars in 1209. See the Cappella del Transito (Chapel of the Transit), where the saint died in 1226. Enjoy a comfortable drive back to Rome, with time to enjoy most of the afternoon and evening. (B)
Today, attend the papal audience (subject to availability). Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, or join an optional excursion. (B)
Rome, the “Eternal City,” is a city steeped in history, vibrantly alive and exciting, and absolutely unique! Included sightseeing with a Local Guide starts with St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, followed by an included visit to the Roman Forum and the iconic Colosseum. An optional visit to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel is available. (B,D)
Attend Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, then join your Local Guide for the included visit. Built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, this magnificent piece of architecture was the first of the four major churches constructed in Rome. Next, visit the papal sanctuary of the Scala Santa (Holy Stairs), transported from Jerusalem to Rome around 326 AD by St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother. Officially, these 28 marble steps are ascended in a kneeling position with a prayer recital dedicated to Jesus Christ. Later, visit St. Paul Outside the Walls and the burial place of St. Paul the Apostle. Consider joining the optional excursion to the Catacombs, which were used as places of refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. (B)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Transportation:Scheduled transatlantic flights and airport transfers in Rome if Cosmos issues the air tickets. Touring by private first-class air-conditioned motorcoach.
Buffet breakfasts, 4 dinners
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Years of Experience: 8 years
There's sage travel advice that "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!" That's my goal...to help every traveler experience Italy through an Italian perspective. We'll get to the heart and soul of each town-the sights, sounds, and flavors that make each place so unique. You'll definitely come away with a better understanding of why we say, "Italians do it better!"