Schola Choir Pilgrimage to Italy With Dennis Rybicki


Deacon Dennis Rybicki


July 8, 2018 to July 20, 2018

Departs from:

Chicago O’Hare

Arrival City:

Rome, Italy

July 08 Sunday –  Depart for Rome 

Depart Chicago O’Hare International Airport ( or Detroit) on our overnight flight to Rome. Complimentary meals and beverages will be served on board.

July 09 Monday  – Arrive –Rome – Assisi    

Arrive at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport, proceed through Passport Control, claim your luggage, and meet your tour guide inside the baggage claim aria. Upon exit from customs we will board our  comfortable motor coach and soon we are  on our way to Assisi, one of the high points of any travel experience. After a two and half-hour ride, we will see Assisi on a mountaintop. The narrow lanes, the Shrines of Saint Francis and the overwhelming art dedicated to its young friar – a rich young man who turned to God after an illness and established an order that has grown stronger over the centuries. Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Crowned by the magnificent dome designed by Alessi, this great Basilica was built in 1569. It enclosed the shrine of the “Porziuncola” or the Little Portion Chapel around which the first Franciscan community was centered, the place where Clare received the habit from Francis, and the Capella Del Transito, which marks the spot where the Saint died. You will see the statue of Saint Francis in the courtyard where thornless roses bloom. After our visit we continue to Assisi for hotel check-in. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Assisi.

July 10 , Tuesday   : Visit the Sites of St. Francis & St. Clare

After early breakfast, transfer to the Basilica of St. Francis to Celebrate Mass at the Tomb of St. Francis, at which we will. After Mass, visit the Basilica of St. Francis. Our local guide will take us to explore the Basilica complex, which is actually composed of two churches built one atop the other. Beneath both churches is the crypt that houses the tomb of St. Francis. The lower Basilica dates from 1228 to 1230, and is richly decorated with beautiful stained glass windows, and paintings done by some of the most important artists of the 13th and 14th centuries. In the upper Basilica, built from 1230 – 1253, we will marvel at the monumental frescoes painted by Giotto, which depict scenes from the life of the saint. Continue to visit the Basilica of St. Clare, the first and most important heroine of the Franciscan movement, view her remains and see the miraculous Crucifix. Independent lunch. Return to the hotel to freshen-up. Late afternoon, walk to the Basilica of St. Francis for rehearsal and formal concert . Dinner and overnight at hotel in Assisi.

July 11, Wednesday : Assisi – La Verna – Florence

After breakfast and check out, we depart Assisi to visit one of the greatest worldwide holy places, the Francisca Heritage of La Verna. It is located among the Tuscan Appenines, and surrounded by a secular wood. Its history dates back to the year 1220- It would be a intensive journey rich of  spirituality. Continue to Florence. Check in at the hotel, dinner and overnight.

July 12, Thursday   – AM/Highlights of Florence; Academy of Fine Arts – PM/At Leisure 

Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, our local guide will be ready to take you to visit the Accademia, which holds the superb “David” by Michelangelo. Then, we continue to visit the beautiful Piazza Del Duomo and the delicately patterned green, white and pink Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore, crowned with its magnificent Dome by Brunelleschi; Giotto’s Bell Tower; the Romanesque Baptistry of St. John with the exquisite bronze doors by Ghiberti, which Michelangelo called the “Gates of Paradise”; and the 13th century Franciscan Church of the Holy Cross, which holds the Tombs of the greatest of Florentine men. Independent lunch. This afternoon , after time to refresh and rest, we will perform our second Italian concert , followed by a good restaurant dinner !

July 13, Friday-  Florence /Siena /Florence   

Breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, we  depart Assisi and drive through the gentle Tuscan hills to the city of Siena. Siena, a city that is self-contained and still rural in parts behind its medieval walls. Upon arrival, we will focus on the beauty of Siena, where Saint Catherine (1347-80) lived as a lay-affiliate of the Dominican Order. St. Catherine is well known for her intellect and mystical visions of Christ. Visit the Basilica of St. Dominic, which contains the incorrupt head of this beloved Patron saint of Italy. Our walking tour of Siena continues to the Cathedral di Santa Maria, better known as the Duomo, enjoy a guided visit of the Duomo, a gleaming marble treasury of Gothic art. Siena’s Duomo was built between 1215 and 1263 in the form of a Latin cross, with a dome and bell tower. Large in scale and ornately decorated inside and out, Siena’s cathedral is one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture. The dome was painted in dark blue with golden stars in the late 15th century, and is topped with Bernini’s gold “lantern”. The exterior and interior are constructed of striped white and greenish-black marble, with addition of red marble on the facade. The Cathedral contains valuable pieces of art including the “Feast of Herod” by Donatello and works by Bernini and the young Michelangelo. It makes this Cathedral an extraordinary museum of Italian sculpture. Continue on to visit Piazza del Campo (Il Campo), the site of the famous Palio horse races, built at the convergence of the city’s principal roads, the Banchi di Sopra, Banchi di Sotto, and Via di Citá. The market also used to take place here. We will best experience the beauty of Siena by walking through its historic streets. Perhaps you will enjoy relaxation and refreshment at one of the outdoor cafés in the Piazza del Campo, surrounded by remarkable Patrician buildings.Return to Florence. Options for the afternoon are:

1- we experience a cooking lesson, starting from the visit at “San Lorenzo” food market where we can learn how to choose and buy what we need to prepare a real Florentine meal, then we reach the cooking class location and we start putting our hands on the ingredients to create our own meal, driven by the expert Then we will obviously eat the meal that we prepared !,

2- We will visit the Uffizi Gallery , which houses what may be the most important collection of paintings in the world.

3- Or, maybe we would like; the famous shop-lined bridge, Ponte Vecchio; and the adjacent “Straw Market”; or shop for leather, gold or other Florentine souvenirs. Dinner at leisure  tonight  . Return to the hotel

July 14, Saturday    – Florence – Rome Tour of the Three Major Basilica of Rome St. John Lateran & St. Mary Majo

Check out and drive to  Rome- Upon arrival we meet our local guide and tour to the Cathedral of St. John Lateran, the first Christian church to be consecrated. It was founded by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century and was home to the Popes for many years prior to the present Vatican residence. Continue  with a visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the four major Basilicas built by Pope Sixtus III (AD 432-440). View the impressive interior with its remarkable mosaics in the nave depicting scenes from the Old Testament. View relics of Jesus’ manger from Bethlehem and the high altar, which contains the remains of St Matthew the Evangelist. The mosaics above the entablature are among the most ancient Christian mosaics in Rome. Possible 15-minute informal recital at one of the basilicas.. Dinner . Overnight at hotel in Rome.

July 15  Sunday  -– AM/Solemn Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, Angelus / Palestrina

After a good breakfast, we will be transferred to San Pert’s basilica to attend the 10:30 am international Mass, followed by the “Angelus” – The Urbi et Orbi   ( to Rome and to the World)  Papal Blessing ! Break for independent lunch. In the afternoon, you have the chance to drive a short distance and reach a hilly village named “Palestrina” Here, was born Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestina, also known as “Princes Music” having been the greatest  producer of Sacred  Polyphony Music “ – You have the chance to visit his house-museum where thousands of “compositions” have been collected.- You can perform in the Village’s Cathedral where the young Pierluigi used to sing and you can meet with the local choirs which preserves the “Palestrina style” way of singing. – Dinner will be served in a local restaurant, based on local recipes Return to the hotel for overnight

July 16  Monday – – AM/,Catacombs,  St. Paul’s outside the walls ;PM/Tour of baroque fountains and squares of Rome

After breakfast, we depart on  our journey to learn about the great history of Rome, the  “Eternal City.” Its history, evolving over 2,500 years, will be made visible for us by the Roman ruins, 15th century churches, 17th century palaces and 20th century monuments. We start driving and walking along the ancient Appian way, the “Regina viarum “ ( queen of the streets) which is still very well preserved. Stop at the Catacombs for a visit. Continue to  the magnificent Basilica of St. Paul. It was built by Constantine in the 4th century on the site of St. Paul’s tomb. After having been totally destroyed by fire in 1823, it was rebuilt on the original basilican plan of early Christian churches. Surrounding the nave are the medallions of each Pope, from Peter to Benedict XVI. )  Free time for an independent lunch.  Continue with a walking guided tour:  Visit the   the beautiful and lively Piazza Navona, with time to browse through the artists’ stalls to buy a painting or just look…and a chance to buy one of Rome’s most famous products, a “tartufo” (ice cream) . Our second stop is at the church of St Luigi de’Francesi, to admire the imposing work of Caravaggio’s St Mathew paintings-  , continue to the Pantheon and finally to the Trevi Fountain, and toss in a coin to ensure your “Arrivederci, Roma.”This is the time to visit the local shops and street vendors. Rome is ours!  Return to the hotel for relax a little bit, before the late afternoon concert at the church of St Ignatius or St Agnese.  Finally we enjoy a farewell restaurant  dinner and overnight at hotel

July 17 – Tuesday  : AM/Tour of the Vatican Museums; Sistine Chapel; St. Peter’s Basilica – PM/Solemn Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica

After breakfast, begin your morning of sightseeing with a visit to one of the great art collections in the world, the Vatican Museums. Walk in the footsteps of the Princes of the Church through the richly decorated galleries. Continue on to the Sistine Chapel, the private chapel of the Popes, where Michelangelo best expressed his genius in monumental frescoes Daily Itinerary tour continues  in St. Peter’s Basilica. Take in the awesome architecture and the statuary adorning this largest of all Christian churches, including Michelangelo’s magnificent “Pieta.” Pray at the new tomb of Blessed John Paul II, in St. Sebastian’s Chapel. On your own, with time permitting, you may wish to go to the Vatican Crypt to see and pray near the tomb of St. Peter and where numerous pontiffs are buried, among incredible works of art.  Independent lunch.  Free time for independent lunch in the Vatican area. Or return to our hotel for refresh and rest, before the 5 pm Solemen mass at San Peter’s basilica, during which we have the chance  of singing – Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

July 18, Wednesday : AM/Tour of Ancient Rome- PM free : Optional Opera at Caracalla Bath

Buffet breakfast at your hotel. Begin your day with a visit to the Church of St. Peter in Chains to see the original chains in which St. Peter was brought captive to Rome and the statue of Moses, one of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces. Then, we continue to the ancient Roman Forum. See the Arch of Titus and the Arch of Constantine and proceed to the outside of the Coliseum for a fascinating explanation of its history. Continue on to the grandiose white marble monument of King Victor Emmanuel II, often called the “Wedding Cake.” See the Trajan Column and the Market (the ancient Roman equivalent of a department store). Independent lunch.. We enjoy a free afternoon  – This evening the dinner is on our own.  Those who wish to have an unforgettable show experience, can attend an evening Opera at the open theatre whish has as a set the 2000 years old walls of the Caracalla Bath !Overnight at hotel in Rome. (B,)

July 19. Thurdsay   Return from Rome

Breakfast at your hotel. Then, you will be transferred to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport for your return flight home. Arrive on the same day.

What's Included

Roundtrip Non-Stop Flight – Wide-bodied trans-atlantic jets.

Porterage of Baggage – Your bags will be put on buses and taken up to your room for you.

Air-Conditioned Motor Coaches – Ride aboard a brand-new, private, air-conditioned motor coach.

Guides Knowledgable of Historical and Biblical Context of Sites Visited

Customized Guidebook – Complete with study on where you have been and where you will go on your tour.

Superior First Class Hotels – We stay at only the best hotels the area has to offer.

Group Photos and More – Get a group photo and tons of photography opportunities!

Two Meals Daily 

Comprehensive Sightseeing – With plenty of time and opportunity for pictures.

Limited Trip Size – We strive to make your trip special and unique, so this trip offers limited group size.

Entrance Fees to Places Visited – Walk right past the ticket booth with all your Entrance Fees paid in advance!

For More Information

To sign up for this tour, please click “Book Now” Below!