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.
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. Journey to 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. Visit the mother of all churches, the Basilica of St. John Lateran. At Mother Mary’s shrine in Rome, the Basilica of St. Mary Major, view the crypt that preserves the wooden relics of the nativity of the baby Jesus. See the mosaic portraits of the popes at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, constructed on the burial grounds of St. Paul. 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.
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 Sistine Chapel, view Michelangelo’s Old Testament painting that covers the entire ceiling and his “Last Judgement” fresco on the altar wall. Find time during this pilgrimage to enjoy the authentic Italian cuisine and taste every flavor of gelato.
Arrive in Rome and travel by motorcoach along the Umbrian countryside to Assisi. Experience the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, view the Porziuncola, the small church within the Basilica where the Franciscan movement began, and see where St. Francis died at the Chapel of the Transit.
Celebrate Mass to start the day in a service conducted in Italian. Spend the rest of the day on a guided tour with a local specialist to learn about the history of Assisi. Begin in the Piazza del Comune to see history that dates back to Etruscan times, including the Temple of Minerva. View the Basilica of St. Francis and Basilica of St. Clare to learn where St. Francis was born and founded the Franciscan Order of Friars as well as the women’s Order of St. Clare. After the tour, enjoy some free time in Assisi.
Journey from Assisi back to Rome. 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, a structure built on the burial grounds of St. Paul. Discover Mother Mary’s shrine in Rome, the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where there’s a crypt preserving wooden relics of the nativity of the baby Jesus.
Attend a Papal Audience at St. Peter’s Square if it’s a Wednesday and the Pope is currently in Rome. On a guided tour with a local specialist, see the symbol of Rome’s eternity, the Colosseum, where gladiator combat took place. Continuing with the guide, take in the triumphal Arch of Constantine and explore the ruins of the Roman Forum, which was once the heart of the Roman Empire. Before dinner, visit the Church of St. Peter in Chains to see Michelango’s sculpture of Moses and the “Miracle of Chains” painted onto the ceiling by Giovanni Battista Parodi.
Journey through the Vatican City on a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, where the most magnificent art collections in the world are on display. At the Sistine Chapel, view Michelangelo’s Old Testament painting that covers the entire ceiling and his “Last Judgement” fresco on the altar wall. 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. After the tour, go to the mother of all churches, the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Nearby, visit the Holy Stairs that many believe Jesus climbed on the day he was sentenced to death.
Engage in service learning with a focus on humanitarian activities, based on current availability and group interest. Explore the Piazza Navona, full of spectacular fountains among them the Fountain of the Four Rivers. After dinner, walk to the Spanish Steps and stop at the Trevi Fountain to toss in a coin to ensure a return to the Eternal City.
Return home with life-changing experiences to share.
Note: Activities are subject to change based on availability.
During this week in Italy, students are introduced 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.
At Experience, we make sure everything is covered – from housing to technology and beyond – to provide the best experience for our students.
Quality, safe hotels with twin or triple occupancy that are centrally located.
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.
Scheduled activities, experiences and guided tours are all included.
Customized experiences developed by travel experts to promote learning and engagement.
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.
International travel insurance is provided for protection in case of accidents, illness, flight interruptions or baggage loss.
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.
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.