Experiencing Picturesque Italy
Upon arrival in Rome, we meet our tour escort and driver and transfer by motor coach to our hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Rome on your own, enjoy some local cuisine and walk along the streets from your hotel, with its many shops. Dinner and overnight are in Rome. After breakfast at our hotel, we enjoy a panoramic tour of Rome, including a visit to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, to see the Holy Steps where Luther received his insights into the meaning of faith. Then we visit the highlights of Christian Rome, including the Colosseum the largest amphitheater in the world, which symbolizes the eternity of the Roman civilization. We will also walk through the Forum that will take you to the Mamertine Prison, where St. Paul was incarcerated. Dinner and overnight are in Rome. We begin our sightseeing today with a tour of the Vatican City and the Basilica of St Peter. We then view the magnificent frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, well known around the world for its magnificent ceiling beautifully decorated by Michelangelo. Then we visit a catacomb complex on the Old Appian Way. We continue to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to see the tomb of the Apostle Paul and the Church of Three Fountains, the site of his execution. Dinner and overnight are in Rome.
Explore Rome, Florence, & Venice
This morning, we depart Rome for Assisi, a beautiful medieval town and home of St. Francis and Clare, who wished to return to the simplicity of the early Church. Later, we journey by motor coach down to the lower town to visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Degli Angeli, the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, where the Porziuncola and the Transit chapels are preserved. We will continue to Florence for dinner and overnight. After breakfast, we tour Florence and the Cathedral and Giotto’s bell tower. At the adjacent Baptistry, we admire Ghiberti’s bronze Gates of Paradise before walking to the church of Santa Croce via the Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio. Our next stop is the Accademia to view Michelangelo’s statue of David. Then we enjoy a guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery. Dinner and overnight are in Florence. This morning we depart Florence for Padua and visit the recently restored 14th century Scrovegni Chapel that houses Giotto’s frescoes depicting stories from the life of the Virgin and Christ. We continue to the beautiful city of Venice for dinner and overnight. Today we enjoy a walking tour of Venice, includes visits to the Byzantine St Mark’s Basilica and the Doges Palace. The rest of our day is at leisure. Dinner and overnight are in Venice.
See the Oberammergau Passion Play
After breakfast we depart Venice for Oberammergau (approx. 6.5 hours) by motor coach. Dinner and overnight are in the Oberammergau area. Oberammergau is not only known for its World Famous Passion Play, but also for its woodcarving craft and for its colorful and attractive frescos known as Lüftlmalereien. In the morning we have time at leisure to explore the lovely village, the museum, the parish church and a woodcarving workshop. Then we take our seats at the Passion Play Theater for the early afternoon performance. All the actors, musicians, and singers as well as the backstage staff are either born in Oberammergau or been residents for more than 20 years. Between the different scenes of the life of Jesus Christ we can admire “living pictures” – scenes from the Bible presented as still life. After 2.5 hours it is time for a dinner break, which is waiting for us in a local restaurant. After dinner, we have the opportunity to stroll around in the village and to do some shopping. Later this evening, the second part of the play starts and will end at approximately 11:00 pm. We go to our hotel in the Oberammergau area for overnight after the play.