Sacred Art in Italy, March 1-10, 2019

Cost: $3299-double occupancy, $3699-single occupancy

Trip price includes:

  • Airfare: Cincinnati-Rome, Florence-Cincinnati
  • 4 nights lodging in Rome (with breakfast) and 4 nights lodging in Florence (with breakfast)
  • Transfers from airport to hotel in Rome, and from hotel to airport in Florence
  • Rome Metro (bus/subway) pass
  • In Rome: Admission to the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel, Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, Borghese Museum, Colosseum/Forum, and a guided tour of the Catacomb of Priscilla
  • Day-trip to Assisi: Round-trip train ticket from Rome to Assisi, and local transportation in Assisi
  • In Florence: Admission to Accademia and Uffizi Museum
  • Day trip to Ravenna: Round-trip train ticket from Florence to Ravenna
  • Also included is the “expert” guidance of your trip directors, Cecelia (Ceil) Dorger and Joe Zalot.
    • Dr. Dorger earned her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Louisville with a concentration in Italian Medieval and Renaissance sacred art, especially images of the Virgin Mary. Ceil is an adjunct professor at the Athenaeum of Ohio where she teaches a course in Sacred Scripture/Sacred Art. Since 1988 she also has been teaching art history courses at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. Ceil raised her family in Fort Thomas, Ky with Ken, her husband of thirty-six years, and she loves to travel–especially to Italy!
    • Dr. Z Travel is owned and operated by Joe Zalot, Ph.D. Joe is a Staff Ethicist at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, and a former university professor. He is a veteran of 26 foreign trips including eleven to Italy, eight to France, three to Germany and two each to Poland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. He has also made individual trips to England, Ireland, Israel, and Kenya. Joe has led nine travel groups (both parish pilgrimages and student travel/education courses) to Rome, five groups to Paris, and individual groups to Munich, Berlin, and Krakow (Poland).


  • In Rome – Hotel Lirico, Via del Viminale, 31, 00184 Rome, Italy
  • In Florence – Hotel Diplomat, via Luigi Alamanni 9, 50123 Firenze

Itinerary (subject to revision)

Friday, March 1 – Depart Cincinnati for Rome

Saturday, March 2

  • Arrive in Rome, private transfer to hotel
  • Introductory visit to Vatican City/St. Peter’s Basilica

Sunday, March 3

  • Mass at the Church of Santa Susanna (American Church in Rome)
  • After mass, see the sculpture St Teresa in Ecstasy at the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria (across the street from Santa Susanna)
  • Borghese Museum
  • Catacomb of Priscilla
  • Free time in the Trevi Fountain area. The Trevi Fountain area is very touristy and you find a lot of restaurants and souvenir shops in the vicinity.
  • Optional evening visits near the Trevi Fountain:
    • Pantheon
    • Church of San Luigi dei Francesi – see Carravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew, The Inspiration of St. Matthew, and The Martyrdom of St. Matthew
    • Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva – see St. Catherine of Siena’s tomb

Monday, March 4

  • Climb the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica (opens at 8:00AM)
  • Art of St. Peter’s Basilica – Michelangelo’s Pieta, Bernini’s baldachino (and many Bernini sculptures)
  • Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel/Pinacoteca
  • Colosseum and Forum

Tuesday, March 5 – Day trip to Assisi

  • Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli – see the Porziuncola (St. Francis’ chapel) as well as the site of St. Francis’ death
  • Basilica of St Francis (San Francesco) – see St. Francis’ tomb, relics from his life, and art of the upper basilica
  • Basilica of St Claire (Santa Chiara) – see the Cross of San Damiano, the one that spoke to Francis and said “Rebuild my church”
  • Free time for shopping and/or wandering around the old town of Assisi

Wednesday, March 6

  • Papal audience (assuming Pope Francis is in Rome)
  • Free time for sightseeing and souvenir shopping in the Vatican City area
  • Italo train to Florence (early afternoon)
  • Accademia ­– see Michelangelo’s David 
  • Enjoy the Ponte Veccio at night and see the sights across the Arno

Thursday, March 7

  • Uffizi Museum
  • Afternoon–many options to choose from
    • Florence Duomo (Cathedral) – museum and climb the dome
    • Basilica of Santa Croce (burial place of the Italian Renaissance stars including Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Ghiberti, and Alberti)
    • San Marco (convent, church, and museum)
    • Casa Buonarotti (where Michelangelo lived)
    • Bargello (sculpture museum)
    • Church of Santa Maria Novella (Masaccio’s The Holy Trinity)
    • Masaccio murals in the Brancacci Chapel at the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine
    • The Medici Chapel (Michelangelo’s Day and Night sculptures)
    • Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens

Friday, March 8

Option #1: Day-trip to Ravenna (recommended option for art lovers)

  • San Apollinare in Ravenna – remarkable mosaics of the life and mission of Christ in early Christian mosaics.
  • San Vitale – spectacular early Christian historic mosaics

Option #2: Day-trip to Venice

Saturday, March 9 – Free day

  • Catch the artistic treasures in Florence that you have not yet seen (see the Thursday afternoon list)
  • Day-trip to Siena
  • Half-day trip to Pisa, climb the Leaning Tower! (one-hour train ride from Florence)
  • Fiesole – ancient Roman ruins and hilltop town with spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside (15-minute bus ride from Florence)
  • Stroll, shop, eat lunch for several hours – enjoy La Dolce Vita! (the good life)
  • Mass for Sunday and final group dinner

Sunday, March 10 – Return to Cincinnati








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