Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Travel Program

Come explore the history and culture of Italy with Saint Joseph’s College this Spring!

Wonder at the beauty of Rome, take in the history of Florence, and relax in the serenity of the peaceful Tuscan countryside. The itinerary is perfect for both first time visitors to Italy and experienced travelers alike. It combines some of the ‘must see’ cities as well as quaint villages and dazzling countryside, bespoke experiences which affords a glimpse of ‘real Italy.’

Day 1 – Friday 28th Feb 
Board your flight from USA

Day 2 – Saturday 29th Feb
Welcome to Rome! The group is greeted at the airport by an experienced, bilingual and personable tour leader who will accompany you throughout the trip. After transferring to the city centre it will be straight into the action with a guided visit of the Colosseum. Tonight enjoy an included dinner of Roman fare including a glass of the local vino.

Day 3 – Sunday 1st March
This morning is free for those who may wish to attend mass or enjoy personal pursuits. This afternoon you will be able to visit St Peter’s Square where the Papal Blessing normally occurs on a Sunday. From here you will be joined by an expert local guide for a stroll by some of Rome’s most romantic spots such as the Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and  the Spanish Steps. Your tour leader will help you track down the best gelato in Italy! Free evening.

Day 4 – Monday 2nd March
This morning you bid arrivederci to Rome and head for the Umbrian countryside. First stop is at the mesmeric hilltop town of Orvieto. This medieval citadel is utterly compelling and home to many secrets, including the hideaway kitchen of a local chef, often on Italian TV, where you will learn how to make proper pasta. Included lunch partly cooked by the group! Later you wind your way up to Montalcino, home to the celebrated Brunello vineyards. This will be your base for two nights. Free evening.

Day 5 –  Tuesday 3rd March
This morning you have the chance of truly taking a path less traveled with a gentle hike (3 miles) through the vineyards, olive groves and wild oak woods that finishes by plunging down into a secluded valley where the singular Abbey of Sant’Antimo awaits. Those not desiring to do the walk will be offered alternatives. Afterwards there will be a stop at Bagno Vignoni where the Medici family harnessed waters from an ancient spring to fill their great outdoor swimming pool. Your tour leader demonstrates where to soak tired feet! This afternoon you will visit one of the smallest and most perfect renaissance towns in Italy, Pienza. Free evening.

Day 6 – Wednesday 4th March
Today is your day for Florence. The group is joined by a hand-picked local guide who’ll bring this most magnificent renaissance city to life with a stroll through the historic centre and a visit to Santa Croce where Michelangelo is buried. There is time for personal exploration. Perhaps you’d like to follow in the footsteps of Dante to the Ponte Vecchio, visit one of the world famous museums or simply shop the leather markets! Tonight’s destination is a family run ‘agriturismo’ in the depths of the countryside. This is not a regular hotel but converted farmhouses and provides a genuinely rural experience. There is a fine restaurant on site and your dinner is included tonight.

Day 7 – Thursday 5th March
Slow down a little today and enjoy the delights of being in the one of the loveliest places on the planet. The location affords you the possibility of country pursuits such as horseback riding or truffle hunting, but you may wish simply to collect yourself on a stroll through to nearby villages. This afternoon there is a talk about the wine and oil produced on the property and a look at cellars. An optional extra advanced cooking class will be offered for epicureans and a gourmet Tuscan dinner is included tonight.

Day 8 – Friday 6th March
Today the group rolls back towards the neighbouring region of Umbria for a day visiting one of the most lovely and meaningful towns in Europe. Assisi is the erstwhile home to St Francis. You will hear all about the life and times of the saint and visit the church of his follower St Clare. A meander leads you to the world famous basilica frescoed by Giotto and a monk will guide you through this stunning shrine to the tomb. Free evening.

Day 9 – Saturday 7th March
Return to Rome for a final highlight. An entertaining and expert local guide will take the reins for a tour of the Vatican Museums where all paths lead to the Sistine chapel. You will marvel at the works from antiquity, through to the medieval maps and renaissance wonders but the indubitable highlight here is the work of Michelangelo in frescoing the chapel’s ceiling and alter wall with its scenes of  Creation and Universal Judgement. Tonight a farewell meal is included.

Day 10 – Sunday 8th March
Your tour leader accompanies the group to the airport and bids a fond farewell.

Total cost of the trip is $2,900 per traveler.

Deposit of $500 due by December 1, 2019 to reserve your spot.

What’s included?

  • 24-hour Services of Easygoing Tour Leader
  • Tours led by local guides during city excussions, with a a monk leading the group through the Basilica of St. Frances of Assisi.
  • Use of Vox tour audio sustem throughout
  • Breakfast every day, 3 traditional Italian dinners, a gourmet dinner, a cooking class with lunch, and a winery tour
  • Lodging at 3 or 4-star establishments, with 2 nights in picturesque Italian Farmhouse
  • Entrance fees Roman forum & Colosseum, Orvieto funicular, Sant’Antimo Abbey, Santa Croce basilica, St Francis’ basilica, St Clare’s Basilica, and Vatican Museums & St Peter’s Basilica

Additional Optional Activities
There will be 1 advanced cooking class offered on an optional basis for an extra charge

Not Included
Airfare – do not book any flights until the trip is confirmed in December
Personal travel insurance