Day 1 – May 12
Afternoon departure from Toronto via Rome to Athens.
Day 2 – May 13
Upon arrival in Athens we are transferred to our hotel in Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 3 – May 14
This morning we tour Athens, the capital of Greece and the foundation of democracy. We visit to the Acropolis, the Parthenon, Erectheum and view Athens atop Mars Hill where St. Paul once stood. We continue to the House of Parliament, the Tomb of the Uknown Soldier, Olympic Stadium, and Presidential Palace. Some free time in the afternoon for shopping and individual sightseeing. Dinner and overnight in Athens.
Day 4 – May 15
After breakfast we travel west to Corinth with a short stop at the Corinth Canal. In Corinth we visit the Archeological Museum, the Market Place, the Bema, and the Temples. We visit the ruins of the church of Corinth and see the pillars, steps and public worship place where St. Paul preached. We than travel to Mycenae where the remains of the ancient city date back to the Bronze Age to see the Lionesse Gate and the Tomb of Agamennon. Return to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 – May 16
Today we travel northwest past Thermopylae where we learn of the famous Spartan battle in 480 BC. We then travel north and we arrive in Berea to view the synagogue where St. Paul preached. We stop at “bema” surrounded by mosaics of St. Paul. We than continue to Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – May 17
After breakfast we discover Thessaloniki, the ancient walled city, where we visit St. George’s Basilica, built over the synagogue where St. Paul preached. We visit the beautiful basilicas of St. Sophie and St. Demetrios, dedicated to the early Christian martyrs. We than see the Arch of Galerius on the Via Egnatia where we can look over the second largest city of Greece from the Old City Ramparts, some dating back to Roman times. Dinner and overnight.
Day 7 – May 18
This morning we travel to Phillipi where we visit the Baptistry of St. Lydia, the first convert of St. Paul on European soil. We will visit the old walls and the Byzantine castle. We also view the Roman-era crypt where St. Paul was imprisoned and explore Phillipi’s famous Acropolis, Market Place, the Basilica of St. Paul and Theater. Continue to Neopolis, the site of St. Paul’s first landing in Europe. The harbor is particularly picturesque with the brightly colored fishing boats moored along the waterfront. Return to Thessaloniki for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 – May 19
Today we continue through the mountains to Meteora. We see the world famous Byzantine monasteries that are perched precariously on the summits of gray rock pinnacles of varied and beautiful shapes. Their history dates back to the 14th century when the monks sought refuge in the cliffside caves. Continue to Kalambaka for dinner and overnight.
Day 9 – May 20
After breakfast we travel to scenic Delphi, religious center of the ancient Greek world. We walk the Sacra Via to the Athenian Treasury, Theater and the Temple of Apollo, where the oracle performed her prophetic rituals. We visit the Museum housing magnificent ancient treasures. Continue to Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 10 – May 21
Early morning we are transferred to the airport for a flight to Rome. Upon arrival in Rome we go direct to Vatican to see St. Peter’s Basilica built on the site of martyrdom of St. Peter. Mass, some free time, dinner and overnight.
Day 11 – May 22
This morning we attend the Audience with the Holy Father. In the afternoon our tour of Rome takes us to the Basilica of St. Peter’s outside the walls, displaying relics of the chains that bound St. Peter when he was imprisoned. We continue to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, take in views of the Coliseum, Forum Romanum and Trevi fountain. Mass in one of the churches in Rome. Dinner and overnight.
Day 12 – May 23
This morning we travel to Florence, the cradle of Renaissance. En route we stop in Assisi, the city of St. Francis. We visit the upper and lower basilica dedicated to St. Francis and celebrate Mass. Continue to Florence for dinner and overnight.
Day 13 – May 24
Morning guided tour of Florence takes us to the church of Santa Croce, a visit to the basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza Signora and Ponte Veccio. After lunch continue to Padua where we visit Basilica of St. Anthony, his tomb and celebrate Mass. Dinner and overnight in Venice.
Day 14 – May 25
Full day in Venice. We relish the sights and sounds of this serene city including canal cruise by motor launch to St. Mark’s Square. We view the bridge of Sighs, Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. Afternoon Mass, some free time for shopping before our return to the hotel in Venice for dinner and overnight.
Day 15 – May 26
In the morning we are transferred to the airport for a flight via Rome to Toronto. Evening arrival.