Italy: Orvieto, Assisi, Florence & Rome - Saint John's Abbey Travel Tours (# 2000)

September 7-16, 2021

Must be Physically Able to Travel

Magi Travel tours require participants to be able to do a considerable amount of walking (3-5 miles per day), sometimes on uneven, rough or hilly terrain. If you have mobility issues, you must travel with someone who is physically able to assist you and they will also need to register for the trip. Magi Travel Tour Coordinators, Hosts and Tour Guides are unable to assist individual passengers with mobility issues. Please note that scooters cannot be accommodated on this tour.

Daily Itinerary

Tuesday, September 7, 2021: USA to Rome

Overnight, transatlantic flight (purchased separately). 

Wednesday, September 8: Orvieto

Morning arrival at Rome Airport (FCO). Transfer to Orvieto, on the southwestern corner of the green Umbria, on the border with Tuscany and Latium. Accommodation at your first-class hotel located in the historic center.

Afternoon walking tour of this important ancient Etruscan city, dramatically located on the summit of a tuff hill. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance have determined the most salient characteristics, with narrow streets and elegant buildings, defensive walls built of tuff stone and a magnificent 13th-century “Duomo."

Welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Orvieto. (D)

Thursday, September 9: Assisi

Excursion to Assisi, the magical town of Saint Francis built on pink stone on the slopes of Mount Subasio. Visit the Basilica of St. Clare and St. Francis’ Basilica, a fundamental reference for art history and spiritual message in Europe and in the world, consisting of two superimposed churches and a crypt, and hosting admirable frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto.

In the afternoon stop at a winery in Montefalco for a visit of the cellars and tasting of the famous “Sagrantino,” one of the best Italian red wines. Return to Orvieto in the late afternoon.

Dinner is on your own this evening. (B, wine tasting)


Friday, September 10: Florence

Full-day excursion to Florence (approx. 2hrs by bus), the living museum of Italian Renaissance. Visit the Accademia Gallery, the center of art known from the medieval time which houses the magnificent statue of David by Michelangelo. Then walk to the lovely Piazza del Duomo to admire Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Giotto’s bell tower and the Baptistery’s incomparable bronze doors by Ghiberti, known as the Gates of Paradise. You will then see Piazza della Signoria, the city’s most beautiful square with marvelous statuary and fountains, the Palazzo Vecchio and the 14th-century Ponte Vecchio.

Remainder of the afternoon free for shopping: countless shops laden with jewelry of Florentine gold and silver, exquisite leather goods, chic fashion houses and the straw market where you will find great bargains.

Return to Orvieto in the early evening, dinner at a local trattoria. (B,D)

Ponte Veccio

Saturday, September 11: Sabina, Rome

After breakfast, leave Orvieto and travel to the Sabina region, a land of olive groves and hilltop villages.  Head to a nearby farm to learn the secrets of homemade pasta and local specialties, taking part in a fun “hands-on” cooking class. Visit the Benedictine Abbey of Farfa, once one of the most powerful abbeys in Europe, surrounded by a little medieval village.

After lunch we continue to Rome, Italy’s capital, a sprawling, cosmopolitan city with nearly 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. Accommodation at our 4-star centrally-located hotel.

Evening and dinner on your own. (B,L)

Benedictine Abbey of Farfa

Sunday, September 12: Imperial Sights and Classic Rome

Morning guided tour of ancient Rome. See the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill and the Arch of Constantine. Finally visit the Colosseum, the Flavian amphitheatre dating back to 80 AD, a masterpiece of ancient architecture where Christians were literally thrown to the lions.

In the afternoon, go on a walking tour to visit the most famous and charming squares of Rome: the Trevi Fountain, a grandiose late Baroque monument; the Spanish Steps, dominated by the majestic stairways of Trinità dei Monti; and the Pantheon, an ancient building perfectly preserved, founded in 27 BC by Agrippa, a former temple then converted into a church. Free time to stroll around the scenic Piazza Navona, a large square built on the site of Domitian’s Stadium, adorned by the Baroque masterpiece, Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers. Return to the hotel.

Dinner on your own. (B)

Trevi Fountain

Monday, September 13: Castel Gandolfo

Morning excursion to Castel Gandolfo to visit the Apostolic Palace, the former summer residence of the Popes, recently opened to visitors by Pope Francis. We will admire the Papal Apartment, paintings, relics, liturgical vestments, uniforms and other curiosities. Also on display are the sedan chair of Pope Pius IX and the BMW used by Pope John Paul II. On board a comfortable ecological vehicle we will then discover the Barberini Gardens, the natural and archeological treasure of the Pontifical villa. Free time for lunch.

Return to Rome in the afternoon, time free for independent activities.

Dinner on your own this evening. (B)

Castel Gandolfo 
Tuesday, September 14: Papal Basilicas, Vatican (private visit)

Early transfer to St. Peter’s Basilica for a private Mass in the Vatican Caves. We will then visit the Basilica, the world’s largest basilica built on the tomb of the apostle Peter, constantly revised during the centuries and decorated in Baroque style by Bernini. See Michelangelo’s statue of the “Pieta” and the famous baldaquin crowning the pontifical altar. Continue our guided tour of Rome by bus, visiting some of the other main basilicas.

In the evening experience a special private tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel “after hours,” a unique chance to visit—without the usual crowd—treasures like the Raphael rooms, the Gallery of the Tapestries, the Gallery of the Geographical Maps and the Sistine Chapel, masterpiece of Renaissance art, and the place where the conclave meets, with the magnificent Last Judgment by Michelangelo.

Dinner at a local restaurant near the Vatican. (B,D)

St. Peter's Basilica Dome 


Vatican Museums 

Wednesday, September 15: Castel Sant'Angelo

Originally the Mausoleum of Hadrian, Castel Sant'Angelo was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle beginning in the 14th century. It is connected directly to the Vatican by an elevated passage which served as an escape route for popes in danger. It is now a museum where you can see the former Papal apartments, chapels and large halls with frescoes and sculptures, as well as the area once used as a prison, the courtyard used for executions and the armory. On the roof is the iconic statue of St. Michael the Archangel and one of the most beautiful views of the historic city center and nearby Vatican. 

The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure in Rome for personal activities or for shopping.

Farewell dinner this evening at a special Roman restaurant with music. (B,D)

Thursday, September 16: Departure

Morning transfer to Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport (FCO) for departure. (B)


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Group Meals: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

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