Spiritual Treasures of Northern Italy
March 20-27, 2011
Day 1—Sunday March 20, 2011
Today we depart Washington’s Dulles airport on our overnight flight to Pisa. We are served complimentary beverages, in-flight movies, dinner, and breakfast.
Day 2—Monday March 21
This morning we arrive in Pisa where we are met by our guide and private motor coach to explore this university city. We marvel at its amazing architectural structures and visit the famous Leaning Tower. Our ride through Tuscany brings us to our hotel in Florence. After dinner at the hotel, we gather for prayer and introductions of old and new friends.
Day 3—Tuesday March 22, 2011—Florence
After Mass, we visit the Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce, the burial place of Michelangelo, Galileo, and Macchiaveli. We have a walking tour through the Piazza della Signoria, pass the Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi, and Ponte Vecchio. We visit the Loggia dei Lanzi with the statues of “Perseus,” the “Rape of the Sabines,” and “Hercules. We continue through Republic Square to visit the 13th century cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its magnificent Duomo, graced by Brunelleschi’s dome, the crowning glory of Florence. After lunch, we visit the Academy where we see Michelangelo’s famous “David.” Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 4—Wednesday March 23, 2011
After Mass, we drive to Bologna, the capital of the prosperous Emilia-Romagna region. We’ll see the Palazzo del Protesta, the Sala Borsa, Palazzo re Enzo, and the famous 16th century Fountain of Neptune. We’ll view the Medieval Market and Loggia Dei Mercanti, Basilica of San Petronio, the Archiginnasio, the medieval Two Towers, and the complex of Santo Stefano. We stop at the 13th century Basilica of St. Dominic, with the sculptured tomb of St. Dominic, a Renaissance masterpiece, statues by Michelangelo, and famous arch by Niccolo da Bari. After lunch we return to Florence for a free afternoon for shopping or personal adventure. After dinner we gather to reflect on the pilgrimage.
Day 5—Thursday March 24, 2011
This morning, we travel to Ravenna, known as the mosaic city because of the 5th and 6th century mosaics adorning the walls of its churches and monuments. From the 5th to the 8th centuries, Ravenna was the Western capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantium of the West, and seat of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric in the early 6th century. We will visit the Basilica of St. Apollinare in Classe, the Basilica of San Vitale, and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, filled with stunning mosaics. Following lunch and time to explore, we travel to Padua for dinner and overnight.
Day 6—Friday March 25, 2011 -Venice
Following Mass in one of Venice’s beautiful churches, this morning’s walking tour takes us to the Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venetian life and called by Napoleon the drawing room of Europe. We visit the golden Byzantine Basilica of San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Doge’s Palace. This afternoon is free for shopping, lounging at a charming cafe, or a romantic gondola ride through the inner canals of Venice. After dinner at the Padua hotel, we gather for reflection on the pilgrimage.
Day 7—Saturday March 26, 2011
After Mass at the Basilica of St. Anthony where we can visit his tomb, we drive to Sotto Il Monte, the birthplace of Angelo Roncalli, who became Pope John XXIII. We will visit his home and the museum that was his summer residence while he was bishop and cardinal. Time permitting, we will visit the abbey of St. Egidio, a place dear to Pope John XXIII. We go on to Bergamo, nestled in the Alpine foothills. In the heart of Old Town, the Piazza Vecchia is terraced upon the original Venetian fortifications and dates to the fifth century. We see the Palazzo della Ragione (the town hall), the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colleoni Chapel, and the Baptistery. We continue to Milan and gather after dinner at the hotel for some farewell remarks.
Day 8—Sunday March 27, 2011
We leave Milan to return home through Dulles airport in Washington, DC.