Headsets throughout the tourInside visits and special features: Shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description including admission charges where applicable.Sightseeing: Visits to Monte Cassino, Pietrelcina, San Giovanni Rotondo, Monte Sant'Angelo, Lanciano, Loreto, Cascia
Scenic Highlights: Umbria and PugliaMass/Religious Service: Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Lanciano, Assisi
Local Guides for city sightseeing in Rome and Assisi; services of a professional Tour Director while touring
NOTE:Departure September 20 - St. Padre Pio Feast Day in San Giovanni Rotondo (September 23)Departure September 27 - St. Francis of Assisi Feast Day in Assisi (October 4)Departure June 28 - Feast Day of Saints Peter & Paul (June 29) in Rome
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; later this evening, a welcome dinner at your hotel awaits you. (D)
Attend the PAPAL AUDIENCE this morning (subject to availability). Later, join your Local Guide for the included visit to ST. PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS, the burial place of St. Paul the Apostle. Also visit ST. JOHN LATERAN, built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century and 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. These 28 marble steps are traditionally ascended in a kneeling position with a prayer recital dedicated to Jesus Christ. Then, visit the impressive ST. MARY MAJOR and attend Mass. (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 the iconic COLOSSEUM and ROMAN FORUM. An optional visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel is available. (B)
Day 4Rome–Monte Cassino–Pietrelcina–San Giovanni Rotondo
Deeper into the south today, making a first stop in Monte Cassino to see the monastery and visit the ABBEY perched high above the valley. The monastery was the motherhouse of the Benedictines, founded in 529 AD and destroyed four times over the past centuries. The last time it was laid to ruin was in 1944 during the great Battle of Monte Cassino. Then, stop in the quaint town of Pietrelcina, birthplace of Padre Pio, before heading towards Italy’s eastern coast and San Giovanni Rotondo, home to the beloved St. Pio from 1916 until his death in 1968. (B,D)
Day 5San Giovanni Rotondo. Excursion to Monte Sant'Angelo
Attend Mass this morning at the SANTA MARIA DELLE GRAZIE (Old Church). Later, visit the FRIARY of Padre Pio, including his tomb, cell, confessional, and the PADRE PIO PILGRIMAGE CHURCH (New Church). Afterwards, visit the nearby SHRINE OF MONTE SANT’ANGELO, one of Christendom’s most celebrated shrines and where St. Michael the Archangel appeared in 490, 492, and 1656. Return to San Giovanni Rotondo for a second overnight. (B,D)
Day 6San Giovanni Rotondo–Lanciano–Loreto–Assisi
Visit ST. FRANCIS’ church in Lanciano, home of the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle, and attend morning Mass. Afterwards, a guided visit takes you to the LORETO SANCTUARY, including the HOLY HOUSE, where, according to tradition, angels transported the home of the blessed Virgin Mary. Arrive at the hilltop village of Assisi, home of St. Francis and St. Clare. (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 at St. Francis Basilica, famous for its 14th-century paintings by Giotto, meet your Local Guide. On the agenda are visits to the UPPER and LOWER BASILICAS of St. Francis and the BASILICA OF ST. CLARE, founder of the Order of Poor Clares. Next, visit the BASILICA of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated at the foot of Assisi’s hills and protecting the Porziuncola, where St. Francis is said to have founded the first group of the Order of Friars Minor in 1209. See the Cappella del Transito (Chapel of the Transit), where the saint died in 1226. (B)
Travel to Cascia this morning, situated in Umbria and home of St. Rita, the “Patron Saint of Impossible Causes.” Visit the SANCTUARY and the MAJOR BASILICA, the chapel that houses the tomb of St. Rita. Also see the MINOR BASILICA, home of the Eucharistic Miracle that is commemorated each year with the Feast of Corpus Christi. Return to Rome for a final overnight and a farewell dinner. (B,D)
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 daily; 5 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: 10 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!"