See centuries of art, architecture and religious history in two of Italy’s most ancient cities: Assisi and Rome. On this pilgrimage, students experience the center of Catholicism by spending time in Vatican City, visiting famous basilicas and cathedrals, seeing holy relics and even attending a Papal Audience at St. Peter’s Square. Each day is spent immersed in European culture and reflecting on Italy’s impact on the world.
Begin the pilgrimage through Catholic historical sites on a trip to Assisi. Travel through the Italian countryside in the region of Umbria, which is known for its picturesque rolling hills and charming towns. Stand in the place where the Franciscan movement began at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Porziuncola. On a guided tour in Assisi, learn where St. Francis was born and founded the Franciscan Order of Friars as well as the women’s Order of St. Clare. View the basilicas dedicated to these orders and gather in the Piazza del Comune to see history that dates back to Etruscan times, including the Temple of Minerva.
Explore both the surface-level and underground construction of Vatican City. Descend into the city of the dead, beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, on a Scavi tour to see where the saint himself is buried. Journey through the Vatican Museums on a guided tour, where the most magnificent art collections in the world are on display. Visit the Catholic pilgrimage site, St. Peter’s Basilica and take in Michelangelo’s heart-wrenching sculpture, The Pietà, of Jesus being held by his mother Mary after the crucifiction. At the Sistine Chapel, view Michelangelo’s Old Testament painting that covers the entire ceiling and his “Last Judgement” fresco on the altar wall.
While in the Eternal City, receive blessings from the Pope in a Papal Audience, wind through ancient burial grounds, celebrate Mass and tour all four of the papal basilicas. Find the burial place of martyrs and uncover holy relics in the Catacombs that tunnel for miles under Rome. See the mosaic portraits of the popes at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, constructed on the burial grounds of St. Paul. Mother Mary’s shrine in Rome, the Basilica of St. Mary Major, has a crypt preserving wooden relics of the nativity of the baby Jesus. Visit the mother of all churches, the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
Take a moment each day to admire the culture, history and architecture of Rome. Continue traveling back in time to the Colosseum, known by some as a symbol of martyrdom, an amphitheater that seated thousands of spectators who cheered on the battles between men and beasts in ancient Rome. With a guide, explore the ruins of the Roman Forum, which was the central location for day-to-day religious, political and social activities for centuries. At the Church of St. Peter in Chains, see Michelango’s sculpture of Moses and the “Miracle of Chains” painted onto the ceiling by Giovanni Battista Parodi. Find time during this pilgrimage to enjoy the authentic Italian cuisine and taste every flavor of gelato.
Take off from home to travel to Rome.
Arrive in Rome and travel by motorcoach along the Umbrian countryside to Assisi. Experience the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and view the Porziuncola, the small church within the Basilica where the Franciscan movement began.
Go on a guided tour to learn about the history of Assisi. See multiple historical landmarks, including the Basilica of St. Francis, Basilica of St. Clare and the Piazza del Comune. At the end of the day, travel by motorcoach to spend the evening back in Rome.
Begin with an exclusive Scavi tour through the necropolis underneath St. Peter’s Basilica, where the tomb of St. Peter is located. Afterwards, enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican Museums to see the famous Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Get the chance to experience Italian Mass at a local church.
Attend a Papal Audience at St. Peter’s Square for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. See the ancient Catacombs of Rome and enjoy guided visits of two of Rome’s major basilicas: the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Also today, celebrate Mass in English at a local church.
Explore more religiously significant sites with a tour that includes the Holy Steps, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and the Church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. In the afternoon, learn about ancient Rome with tours of the incredible Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Commemorate the end of the trip with a visit to the Church of St. Peter in Chains and a farewell dinner at a Roman restaurant.
Return home with life-changing experiences to share.
During our seven days in Italy, we introduce students to over a thousand years of history and cultural experiences. Home to some of the world's most famous artists, architects and religious figures, Assisi and Rome provide educational insight into the people and places that have influenced civilizations across the globe. Students are encouraged to critically think about the role of Rome and the Catholic Church throughout history to gain a deeper understanding of the world today.
Quality, safe hotels with twin or triple occupancy corresponding to the destination.
All transportation is provided throughout the program.
Airfare covers round-trip flights from major airports.
Two meals are provided daily, breakfast and dinner, featuring local cuisine.
Interactive learning experiences designed to expand educational and career goals.
Customized experiences developed by travel experts to promote learning and engagement.
Scheduled activities, experiences and guided tours are all included.
Full-time Tour Directors are on site for the duration of the trip, for an all-inclusive experience.
Tips for bus drivers, guides, Tour Directors and meals.
Advanced student security software that integrates geofencing, logistics, communication and more optimized safety features.
Dedicated 24/7 staff availability, supporting students every step of the way.
International travel insurance is provided for protection in case of accidents, illness, flight interruptions or baggage loss.
Experience understands there is a growing concern over the COVID-19 outbreak and travel. We are attentively monitoring the situation and following updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Department of State.
Public health authorities are focusing on prevention efforts and actively testing anyone whose symptoms are compatible with COVID-19. It is important to note that for travel and community settings, the CDC reports a low risk of exposure for those who are in the same environment for a prolonged period of time and without close contact as someone with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. Learn more about the CDC Exposure Risk Categories.
To alleviate any uncertainty, Experience is implementing an Upcoming and Future Travel Policy for 2020. This policy allows our programs to adjust their travel dates and plans to provide more flexibility for travelers and relieve any immediate concerns. As the situation evolves, we will remain in contact with group leaders to keep them informed and adjust any travel plans as needed. We want to assure all group leaders, parents and travelers that we will not send programs to destinations that are deemed unsafe by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) or the U.S. Department of State. The health and safety of our travelers is of the utmost importance and always a main concern on our educational tours. We will continue to stay informed and safely navigate the situation.