Day 1 – Tuesday, 17 September
We will depart in the morning from Dublin to Pisa. Upon arrival we will meet our tour escort and transfer to the four-star Grand Hotel Astoria or similar where we will stay for three nights on a half board basis.
Day 2 – Wednesday, 18 September
This morning we will travel the short distance to the medieval town of Lucca. We will have a walking tour of the charming city, often referred to as ‘The city of one hundred churches’ and regarded as the one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. We will celebrate Mass in the Cathedral of San Martino. Legend has it that the Volto Santo, a simply fashioned image of a dark-skinned, life-sized Christ on a wooden crucifix, was carved by Nicodemus, who witnessed the crucifixion. A major object of veneration, the image is carried through the streets every 13 September at dusk during the Luminaria di Santa Croce, a solemn torch-lit procession marking its miraculous arrival in Lucca.
In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to walk the city walls, enjoying views of one of Italy’s most endearing small cities.
Day 3 – Thursday, 19 September
This morning we will travel to Florence and celebrate Mass in the Duomo, famous for its breathtaking works of art and its bell-tower. Afterwards we will have a walking tour of Florence and will understand more why it is often referred to as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’ with its extraordinary art and architectural masterpieces. We will stroll through the narrow-cobbled streets with their elegant 15th and 16th century palaces and see the medieval candle-lit chapels and fresco decorated churches.
In the afternoon we will have time at leisure with the opportunity to visit the famous Uffizi Gallery, home to the world’s greatest collection of Renaissance art (payable locally).
Day 4 – Friday, 20 September
This morning we will depart Montecatini and travel to the charming city of Verona. After free time for lunch we will enjoy a panoramic tour of the city and celebrate Mass in the famous Duomo - one of Verona’s most sacred Catholic sites which attracts thousands of visitors each year who come here to worship and to admire its beautiful architecture. After time at leisure, we will continue to Lake Garda where we will stay for three nights in the four-star Garda Sporting Club Hotel. After our day of travelling we will have evening meal in the hotel.
Day 5 – Saturday, 21 September
We will celebrate morning Mass in the town of Riva del Garda and enjoy a day at leisure to explore the picturesque town or simply relax by the pool. This evening we will have dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 6 – Sunday, 22 September
This morning we will celebrate Mass at the Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona - a place of silence and meditation. A holy tradition dates the birth of the Shrine of Madonna della Corona to 1522, the year when the sculpture of the Madonna venerated here was miraculously transported through angelic intervention from the island of Rhodes. Today the remarkable church continues to be a popular pilgrimage site.
We will return to Lake Garda for lunch, have the afternoon at leisure and come together for evening meal in our hotel.
Day 7 – Monday, 23 September
This morning we will travel to Venice, the great maritime republic which was once the richest city in the world during the 15th century. We will celebrate Mass in St. Mark’s Basilica and afterwards enjoy a guided tour, admiring its luminous mosaics. St. Mark’s Basilica is truly an unforgettable sight and considered one of Italy’s best loved tourist attractions.
After free time for lunch and personal sightseeing we will we continue to the four-star Villa Pace Park Hotel where we will stay for one night on a half board basis.
Day 8 – Tuesday, 24 September
This morning we will transfer to Venice airport for our return flight to Dublin