Papacy Catholicism Tour
Study Religion in Italy & France
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For hundreds of years, the Catholic Church has been integral to Rome. You’ll find the epicenter of the religion here in a small part of the city, a sovereign state of its own called Vatican City. The best way to explore the Catholic sites here, is to establish a base camp in Rome for the first part of the week. You’ll land in Rome today where your guide will meet you to begin your tour.
On your first evening in Rome, you’ll head to Piazza Navona, one of the most vibrant public spaces in the city. Your guide will give you an overview of the area and you’ll have time to explore everything here on your own. There are shops, restaurants, historic buildings and more surrounding the Fountain of the Four Rivers which was built in 1651. Look closely at the fountain because you’ll see the pope’s coat of arms featured in the design, a testament to the omnipresence of the church in this area.
On your first full day in Rome, your guide will lead you on a tour of the most famous churches in Rome outside of Vatican City. There are three basilicas in Rome – St. Mary Major, St. John Lateran and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls. There are dozens if not hundreds of other smaller churches in the city too.
In the afternoon, the group will see a few of the traditional tourist sites in the city including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and Palatine Hill before ending the day with a visit to the Campo de Fiori market.
On your third day, you’ll finally head to Vatican City, the home, heartbeat and global headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. Your day will start with a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. This enormous church can hold 20,000 churchgoers, and is the place where the pope hosts Mass.
After touring the basilica, the group will gather in St. Peter’s Square, a large, open-air square in front of the basilica. You can explore the area, have a quick bite to eat, and take in the surroundings. After lunch, the group will tour The Sistine Chapel which is part of the papal palace. The chapel is probably most famous for its ceiling painted by Michelangelo in the 1500s. After a full day of tours, the group will return to the hotel in Rome for dinner.
Another full day in Vatican City is on tap for today. You’ll start with a tour of the Vatican Museums. This network of museums houses one of the largest collections of works of art in the world. You’ll see numerous paintings by many of the greats, sculptures, relics and more. Touring the museums will take up most of the day.
In the late afternoon, the group will tour the Vatican Necropolis, which is essentially an underground cemetery where many Christian martyrs are buried. Also here are the tombs of several past popes and may even contain the bones of St. Peter himself. After your tour and a quick early dinner, the group will pack their bags and board a train for an overnight trek to Avignon, France.
Before the papacy moved permanently to Vatican City, popes lived here in Avignon, France. Once you arrive, you’ll tour the Palais des Papes which was the papal palace for hundreds of years. Six popes were chosen here at the Palais des Papes. Once the Catholic Church returned to Rome for good, the Palais des Papes was no longer used. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The group will spend the evening in Avignon. You might choose to attend Mass at the Avignon Cathedral which dates back to the 1100s, before dining with the group to end the day.
The group will board the train again for a six-hour ride to Paris today. Once you arrive, you will board a sightseeing bus for viewing of several of the City of Light’s most famous sites. You’ll see Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysee and the Arch to Triomphe to name just a few. You’ll spend the night in Paris and dine with the rest of the group on a traditional Parisian meal.
After a long week of sightseeing, and seeing with your own eyes the center of the Roman Catholic Church, it’s time to return home. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel and deliver you to the airport where you’ll depart for home from Paris.
The Roman Catholic Church is roughly 2,000 years old. For a great many of those years, the church has considered Vatican City as its headquarters and heartbeat. Visit many significant sights in Vatican City, Rome and France during your week of global travel.
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