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Holy Highlights of France & Italy - Insight Vacations

Holy Highlights of France & Italy

Private Custom Group

Duration: 19 days • Countries visited: France, Italy
Group trip type: Religious

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Day to Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Welcome to Paris

    Welcome to Paris! You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. This evening meet for a Welcome Drink followed by an evening at leisure.

  1. Day 2: Highlights of Paris

    Visit the splendid Notre Dame Cathedral in the oldest part of the city - Ille de la Cite – alongside a local guide. Next we visit the 17th century Place des Vogues with its 36 houses retaining their original appearance and steep slate roofs. Then there is time to relax and see Paris from a different perspective on our highlight cruise of the River Siene. Afterwards we drive along the Champs Elysees with its luxury shops and see the Arc de Triomphe, the fabulous Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. This afternoon is at leisure to explore. (BB)

  1. Day 3: Sacred Paris

    This morning we will celebrate Mass in the nearby chapel of the Daughters of Charity in the Rue De Bac. This is the site where our lady appeared to Catherine Laboure in 1830, with the first Miraculous Medal being struck in 1832. Her incorrupt body lies under the altar of Our Lady in the chapel. We then continue to Sacre Cour dominating the artists’ quarter at Montmartre. The rest of the day is at your leisure to further explore the picturesque cobbled stone streets or perhaps take an excursion to the magnificent Versailles or the Louvre. (BB)

  1. Day 4: Historic Nevers & the St Gildard Monastery

    After an early breakfast, we follow the auto-route through France's great agricultural lands, through the Forests of Fontainbleau - once the private hunting grounds of the Kings of France - and continue south to historic Nevers. Here, lying in a glass casket in the chapel, we see the life-like body of St Bernadette at the St Gildard Monastery. (BB)

  1. Day 5: Place of Healing - Lourdes

    Continuing the theme of St Bernadette, we drive to the foothills of the Pyrenees and Lourdes. This little market town, situated where the mountains meet the plains, became a pilgrimage place of world-renown in the 19C when the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in a series of visions to the young Bernadette. The Virgin created a stream with healing powers which now attracts pilgrims from all over the world, with a special place reserved for the lame and the sick. Tonight the candlelight procession is a moving experience. (BB)

  1. Day 6: Experience Sacred Lourdes

    Today we visit the Grotto of the Miracles, site of the visions, where we can light a candle in prayer. We also visit the underground basilica, one of the world's largest sanctuaries, and the Upper Basilica dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.  We see the fountains, where water may be collected, and the pools which are used for the immersion of the sick. For the energetic, there is the opportunity to walk the Stations of the Cross which overlooks the basilicas. This afternoon perhaps join an optional excursion to the famous Betharram Caves to see the incredible stalagmite and stalactite formations. (BB)

  1. Day 7: Lourdes at Your Leisure

    Today is at your leisure to experience the town. In the heart of the Pyrenees, Lourdes was just a small market town on 11 February 1858, when Bernadette Soubirous met, along the Gave, the “Lady” that made the town a Marian city. Lourdes now receives 5 million visitors from all over the world every year. (BB)

  1. Day 8: Flight to Rome

    After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for a flight to Rome (flight not included).On arrival in Rome, we are transferred to our hotel. (BB)

  1. Day 9: Highlights of Ancient Rome

    This morning we set off on our in-depth sightseeing trip alongside a local guide. We start at the Vatican Museums, the treasure house of the Catholic faith with vast collections of ancient and Renaissance art, continuing to the Sistine Chapel, where we admire the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo and wonder at his emotive ‘Pieta’ inside the magnificent St Peter’s Basilica.  We also see Bernini’s ‘Popes Altar’ above the spot where St Peter is reputed to have been crucified. We now cross the river to ancient classical Rome and visit the world’s largest Roman arena, the Colosseum, the scene of many gladiatorial contests. We also look out over the Roman Forum, the centre of ancient public life. (BB)

  1. Day 10: Sacred Rome

    Today we visit the Catacombs where ancient Christians worshipped in secret and escaped to avoid persecution – it was also used as an underground burial place. Next we visit the Basilica of St Paul without the Walls - built on the site of St Paul’s Tomb – and see the interior, celebrated for its great works of art. (BB)

  1. Day 11: Rome at Your Leisure

    Spend the day exploring Rome at your own pace. You may choose to wander through the vast parklands of the Villa Borghese - the villa now houses a beautiful art collection – and don't miss the fine view over Rome from the terrace of the Pincio Garden. Perhaps you’d like to spend some time in the boutiques of the Via del Corso, the Via Nazionale or the elegant designer stores in the neighbourhood of the Spanish Steps. (BB)

  1. Day 12: Padua – Home of St Anthony

    Leaving Rome this morning, we travel through the Umbrian hills and continue north to Padua, home of St Anthony - the well-known patron saint of lost articles. Originally from Lisbon, he came to Italy where he became famous for his gift of preaching where crowds flocked to hear him. (BB)

  1. Day 13: Venice Magic in a Day

    Today we head to magical Venice, known as the ‘romantic city’ and Europe’s most unique destination. Venice is built on 117 small islands and has some 150 canals and 400 bridges, which create a vast network of fascinating narrow alleyways. With its impressive ancient buildings rising out over the water, the city of Venice is an unforgettable experience. Our orientation journey shows us the Grand Canal, St Mark’s Square, Palace of the Doges and the Bridge of Sighs. We then return to our hotel in Padua. (BB)

  1. Day 14: Basilica of St Anthony & Holy Town of Assisi

    This morning we visit the Basilica of St Anthony, a world centre for pilgrims, we also see the Tomb of St Anthony. Our journey then continues through the Appennines to Assisi where we see the Church of St Mary of the Angels and enjoy a guided visit to St Francis’ Basilica, where St Frances lived for most of his life. (BB)

  1. Day 15: Sacred Highlights of Assisi

    This morning we awake to the atmospheric sounds of chapel bells, cobblestone footsteps and a tangible spirit of St Francis preserved within the walls of this holy town. After breakfast our first stop will be St Damien’s Church (San Damiano), built on the site where St Francis heard the voice of Christ speaking through the crucifix, “Go and repair my church which you can see is falling down.” We then visit The Hermitage, an oasis of peace and tranquility in the woods where St Francis often withdrew to spend many hours in prayer. The rest of the day is at leisure to wander through the ancient streets or spend further reflective time at the Hermitage. (BB)

  1. Day 16: Gubbio & Ancient Loreto

    This morning we travel into a medieval world for a charming stop at Gubbio, where St Francis tamed the ravenous fox that was destroying the village livestock. Here we view the immense 14th century Palazzo dei Consoli, the basilica and tomb of the incorrupt St Ubaldo, and San Francesco church with its 17 frescos of the Virgin Mary. We arrive in Loreto - in ancient tradition the sanctuary of Loreto preserves the Nazarene House of the Virgin Mary. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. (BB)

  1. Day 17: Lanciano & San Giovanni Ratondo

    We visit Lanciano, scene of the Eucharistic miracle in the 8th century, and continue our journey to the small village of San Giovanni Rotondo. This is where the recently-beautified Franciscan stigmatist, Padre Pio, spent a lifetime of prayer & penance. His list of supernatural gifts included, reading of souls, prophecy & miraculous healing. Our trip includes the Tomb Room, Confessional of Padre Pio & the Crucifix from which he received his stigmata. (BB)

  1. Day 18: Pilgrimage Sites - San Giovanni Ratondo & Monte Sant’ Angelo

    This morning, we travel to the small town of Monte Sant’ Angelo to visit the shrine of Archangels St Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. This is the place where the Archangel Micheal is said to have made four separate appearances, mostly at the end of the fifth century. It is one of the earliest Christian sanctuary sites in Europe and visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. (BB)

  1. Day 19: Farewell Rome

    This morning, we travel back to Rome where we are transferred to the airport to meet your onwards flight. (BB)

Meal guide: BB = Buffet Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel Dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch

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