Inner Faith Travel – PILGRIMAGE TO MALTA & ITALY 2018

PILGRIMAGE TO MALTA & ITALY 2018

2nd September - 22nd September 2018
Tour dates: 2nd September - 22nd September 2018
Hosted by: Fr John & Carolyn Mathes

PILGRIMAGE TO MALTA & ITALY 2018

Day 1: Tuesday 4th September 2018 Arrive in Malta

Today we arrive in the beautiful Mediterranean Island of Malta and embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures and Christian history. We will be walking where the Apostle Paul walked! We transfer to a lovely hotel for dinner and our lodging for the next three evenings.

Day 2: Wednesday 5th September 2018 Valletta, Harbor Cruise, St. Thomas Bay A full day of guided sightseeing includes 7,000 years of history beginning in the walled capital city of Valletta, a World Heritage site. Dotted with quaint cafés and shops, the city is today one of Malta’s main tourist attractions, hosting among others, the majestic St John’s Co-Cathedral, the imposing bastions and a treasure of priceless paintings. Enjoy the history told of the Knight’s of St. John of Jerusalem, a Crusader order who defended the westward Islamic campaign into Europe. Relax on your harbor cruise providing a stunning snapshot of Malta’s Grand Harbor, often described as the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. Drive to the ramparts where you begin a tour viewing some of the palatial inns and residences en route to St. Thomas Bay, a possible shipwreck site of the Apostle Paul.

Day 3: Thursday 6th September 2018 Mdina, Mosta Church, Dingli Cliffs, Rabat, St. Paul Bay, Catacombs After breakfast, we have a full day excursion on Malta. The first stop will be a visit to St. Paul’s and the site of the shipwreck. Our tour will take you from the point of the shipwreck, along the route said to be taken by St. Paul where he preached, where he baptised the first Maltese at San Pawl Milqi Chapel (meaning “St. Paul welcomed”), to the place where he rested. Paul stayed for several months in the town of Rabat, here we will visit the St. Paul’s Grotto, the actual place where the saint is known to have stayed. Next a visit to the “Mosta Rotunda” a magnificent domed church in  Mosta. Enroute to Rabat, we will visit St. Paul’s Church and Grotto, a church founded in 1575 over the ancient caves where according to some traditions, the Apostle Paul was held captive. After a lunch break, we will walk through the streets of Mdina, Malta’s first capital where we will visit the Cathedral dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. Mdina is also located in the highest elevations of Malta where magnificent views of the entire island are possible. Concluding our sightseeing on the western shore, we view the spectacular Dingli Cliffs before turning  toward our return route. The last stop of the day will be the Catacombs of St. Paul, a fascinating labyrinth of 3rd-century AD subterranean tombs and the earliest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta.

Day 4: Friday 7th September 2018 Markets & Grand Master’s Palace.   We visit some of the markets for a morning of shopping before we visit the Grand Master’s Palace built between 1573-1578. It is the site of the President’s Office and seat of the Maltese Parliament. It was also the residence of the Grand Master of the Order of Knights of St John.

Day 5: Saturday 8th September 2018 Arrive Rome, Catacombs   We fly to the Rome airport and transfer to our lodging for the next five nights. This afternoon we will take an afternoon tour of the Catacombs where thousands of Christians were buried in a remarkable 4 tiered series of galleries. (night Rome)

Day 6: Sunday 9th September 2018 Forum, Mamertine, Coliseum, Ostia Antica We begin our walking tour at the ancient Roman Forum, where our guide will divulge its secrets. We will visit the Arch of Titus which commemorated the sack of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70. We will view the Mamertine Prison exterior, where tradition says the Apostle Paul was imprisoned. The Roman church would say that Peter was imprisoned here as well, but there is no imperial evidence that Peter was ever in Rome. Next, we visit the Coliseum, where     thousands of people and animals perished during gladiatorial games. The Coliseum first opened in AD 80 and within 100 days of its opening, 5000 wild beasts perished here. The slaughter of both humans and animals continued for three more centuries. Historians believe the Coliseum could hold between 40,000 and 80,000 people depending on how close the seating was. The floor has recently had a plank placed over the middle making it accessible for people to walk over the labyrinth of brick cells, ramps, and elevators used to transport animals and gladiators into the arena. Hear the stories of the games that have fascinated people for hundreds of years. Additional sights include the Arches of Constantine and Titus, Circus Maximus and the beautiful marble monument called the Wedding Cake. We conclude our day at the ruins of Ostia Antica, which provides an    excellent example of city life in classical times and the Ostian Gate, today called the Gate of St. Paul. (night Rome)

Day 7: Monday 10th September 2018 Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s, Scala Santa, Abbey of Three Fountains, St. Paul Outside the Wall After breakfast you will begin a full day of site seeing. First visit Vatican City where you will see the Basilica at St. Peter, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with stunning works of art at every turn. After some free time for lunch, you will stop at The Abbey of the Three Fountains, the traditional site of Paul’s martyrdom and the ancient street that he walked on. Next, visit the 4th century Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the site of Paul’s tomb, and the Scala Santa, where Martin Luther made his stand against the practice of indulgences. This fascinating museum houses the Steps from   Pilot’s Judgment Hall in Jerusalem brought to Rome by Helena, the mother of Constantine. (Night Rome)

Day 8: Tuesday 11th September 2018 Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius, Naples Leave early in the morning to drive to Pompeii and see one of the most significant proofs of Roman civilization which was unexpectedly buried in the thick layer of ash and lava which poured down from the devastating eruption of Vesuvius. It was the year 79 A.D. See Mt Vesuvius from a distance.

If time on the way home visit Naples to see the Castel dell’Ovo (Egg Castle), dominates the Neapolitan seafront from its island position, Church of San Francesco di Paola, and other sites. Return to Rome for the night.

Day 9: Wednesday 12th September 2018 Rest Day in Rome

After breakfast (9am) Although we have already visited the old city of Rome we are dropped off in the old city at the Pantheon to walk around and explore in small groups. Stroll around taking lots of photos, check out the many churches, squares and streets. Around 4pm we return to the hotel for a rest and to prepare for the next couple of days on the road. (Night Rome)

Day 10: Thursday 13th September 2018 Frescoes, Assisi, Florence After breakfast you will say “Arrivederci Roma” and board your coach and travel through scenic Umbria to the ancient walled hillside village of Assisi. After lunch you will enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful, medieval town, which will include the Basilica San Francesco, decorated with some of the most renowned frescoes in the world. The stories of the sacrificial life of St. Francis will be an encouragement to us all. Our home for the next three  evenings is in the beautiful city of Florence, the heart of charming Tuscany.

Day 11: Friday 14th September 2018 Beautiful Florence, Michelangelo’s David You will spend the morning enjoying a guided tour of Florence, one of the world’s greatest artistic capitals, which will include the Piazza della Signoria, Duomo, Baptistry, Giotto’s bell tower (Duomo from inside, the other sites from outside only), and a visit to the Accademia Galley, home of Michelangelo’s David. A stop will also be made on the hillside overlook across the river from Florence where we will enjoy a panoramic view of the beautiful red-tiled roof cityscape. This afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy shopping, visiting more galleries or strolling on the famous Pont Vecchio, the old bridge which spans the Arno River. Remember that Florence leather shops are the best in the world and bargains on excellent quality goods are abundant.

Day 12: Saturday 15th September 2018 Saint Gemignano & Siena

San Gimignano, known as the “city of beautiful towers,” had 72 towers in its heyday. Now 14 remain, and, rising above Tuscany’s Elsa Valley, they make the town look like a mediaeval dreamscape. Take in the fresco-covered Collegiate Church, and the views from atop 177-foot Torre Grossa and a walk through the township. Arrive in Siena, heading first to the Basilica of San Domenico. Admire the Renaissance artwork inside with your guide before taking off on a walking tour. Hopefully we might visit a winery and taste the local wine.    Overnight in Florence.

Day 13: Sunday 16th September 2018 Pisa & Verona

The sightseeing this morning includes a tour of Pisa where you will see the Baptistery, Duomo and the famous Leaning Tower in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Time for a photo-stop. This afternoon we stop in romantic  Verona, medieval setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with a walk through the historic center/shopping district to see the famed balcony of Juliet. Our lodging for the next two evenings will be in Venice Mestre.

Day 14: Monday 17th September 2018 Charming Venice

Start the morning sightseeing in style as your guide takes you by private boat along the Giudecca canal to meet your resident expert. Highlights of your walking tour are St. Mark’s Square and the Byzantine splendour of St. Mark’s Basilica (see tomb of St Mark), lavish Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Afterwards enjoy Venice at your own pace, or join an optional gondola ride through the picturesque canal system, visit the many charming shops and take photos galore. (night Venice)

Day 15: Tuesday 18th September 2018 Venice – Padua – Milan Scrovegni Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni), with its priceless frescoes by Giotto. Walk through the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua (known simply as Il Santo). The town centre is an attractive place to explore, with many historic streets to wander. Mid afternoon we drive to Milan stopping two nights.

Day 16: Wednesday 19th September 2018 Milan

Explore Leonardo da Vinci’s city and see the monument to Leonardo da Vinci in Piazza della Scala, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo da Vinci”, visit to the Duomo di Milano (cathedral) and other historical sites. We stop the night in Milan.

Day 17: Thursday 20th September 2018 Flying home

Summary of Tour

COST:    $8485 per person twin share

TIPPING EXPENSES:   $310

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1285

DEPOSIT   $500 (non refundable) to be paid as soon as possible to confirm your seat

FINAL PAYMENT is due before Monday 4thJune 2018

 

Included services for round trip:

· Meeting and assistance upon arrival/departure

· Airport transfer to/from first/last hotel

· Round trip as per programme by a/c coach

· Hotel accommodation based upon double occupancy in a double room (bath/shower and toilet in room) including all              service charges and taxes   

· Meal plan: 16x breakfast buffet + 16x dinner

+ 1x wine tasting with light lunch on day 12

· Comprehensive sight-seeing tours and excursions including English-speaking tour guide for Malta + Italy

· All entrance fees according to itinerary

· Porter fees hotels in/out (1 piece per person)

· Head-set system

Business Class upgrades available on request

 

If you wish to extend by travelling onto  London or else where, Inner Faith Travel are happy to give a very competitive quote.

Prices do not include: Travel insurance, Beverages at meals, drinks and most lunches.