Saturday, September 29, 2018 - DEPARTURE: Delta Flight 474 departs New York-JFK at 9:07pm. This overnight flight arrives in Venice, Italy on Sunday morning.
Sunday, September 30, 2018 - ARRIVAL - BOLOGNA: After arriving at Venice Airport, we'll have a great lunch at a local restaurant and then head south to Bologna. Bologna is the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and is known for it's well preserved architecture and churches along with its large university. We'll check into the Excelsior Hotel and after freshening up we'll have Mass together. We'll conclude our arrival day with a great dinner at a local restaurant not far from our hotel. Bologna is widely considered the center of gastronomy in Italy and so our meals will be a real highlight of the trip.
Monday, October 1, 2018 - BOLOGNA: This morning we will have a full city tour of the main sites of Bologna - the University and the churches. The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in continuous operation. We'll get guided visits of Bologna's most well-known and important churches: the Basilica of San Petronio, dedicated to the patron saint of Bologna, which is the largest church built of brick in the world; San Giacomo Maggiore, a 13th century basilica housing numerous important Renaissance works of art; and the Basilica of San Domenico, where St. Dominic is buried. We'll celebrate Mass to conclude our morning. This afternoon, we'll head up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, situated high above the city of Bologna, where tradition states an icon of the Virgin Mary painted by St. Luke is present. The day will end with more great food at a local restaurant in Bologna.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - EMILIA-ROMAGNA - RAVENNA: This morning we'll check out of our hotel and drive through the countryside around Bologna to see what is at the heart of this food producing region - cheese, meats, wine, and balsamic vinegar. We'll have a tour that shows how these wonderful products are made and aged and of course have time for some tastings! This afternoon we will head west to Ravenna, near Italy's Northwest. Ravenna has strong historical roots, having served as the capital of the Roman Empire in the 5th century. We'll check into the NH Hotel and then head out to dinner on a quaint backstreet of Ravenna.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - RAVENNA: Ravenna is well known for its well preserved Roman architecture along with its Byzantine architecture and famous mosaics. We'll begin our day heading just outside of Ravenna to the town of Classe, to see one of the most classical and well preserved examples of Byzantine architecture - the 6th century Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe. We'll then head back to see another Byzantine classic - the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, which houses the remains of its namesake and some impressive mosaics. We'll celebrate Mass to conclude our morning. This afternoon, we'll continue exploring the rich church architecture of Ravenna seeing: the Neonian Baptistery, the Chapel of St. Andrew, the Mausoleum of Galla Placida, and the Basilica of San Vitale. Tonight we'll have free to explore Ravenna's great restaurants on our own.
Thursday, October 4, 2018 - PADUA - VENICE After checking-out from our hotel we'll head north to Padua. Situated just west of Venice, it is most well-known for being the site where St. Anthony spent the last five years of his life and died. We'll celebrate Mass here and have a chance to pray at his tomb. We'll then be able to pray at the tomb of St.Luke in the Abbey of San Giustinia. Then we'll make the short journey west to the picturesque city of Venice. We'll board water taxis, which will take us to the Hotel Bonvecchiati - this 4 star hotel just steps from St. Mark's Square, will be our home for the last 3 nights of our pilgrimage. After checking-in, we'll meander through the narrow streets and over the canals to have a great Venetian meal.
Friday, October 5, 2018 - VENICE: Venice is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. This morning, we'll walk over the Grand Canal to begin with Mass at Santa Maria della Salute, a magnificent 17th century basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary out of gratitude for the city's deliverance from the plague outbreak. We'll head back to St. Mark's Square to have a tour of the Basilica of San Marco, the 10th century famous church that is well-known for its gold ground mosaics. We'll continue on to see Doge's Palace, just adjacent to the basilica. This afternoon, we'll take a memorable gondola ride and then have a great dinner at a local Venetian restaurant.
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - VENICE: We'll have the morning free to explore Venice and its many islands as well as have some time to do some last minute shopping. This afternoon we'll see a few more of Venice's wonderful churches, including Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, which houses some spectacular Renaissance art and sculpture. We'll celebrate our last Mass together and then we'll conclude our pilgrimage with a great dinner at a traditional Venetian restaurant, celebrating a great pilgrimage with excellent food and wine!
Sunday, October 7, 2018 - RETURN: Delta flight 475 leaves Venice at 1:20pm and arrives in New York - JFK at 4:50pm.