Sacred Italy: A Mystical Journey through History

Roma, Lazio
Monday, August 19, 2019

Sacred Italy: A Mystical Journey through History
Monday, August 19, 2019 - Monday, September 09, 2019

Rome Marriott Park Hotel
06 658821
54 Via Colonnello Tommaso Masala
Roma, Lazio 00148
Italy

Map and Directions

Join Grand Master Julie Scott, other Rosicrucians, and friends on this journey of a lifetime through Sacred Italy, following the 2019 AMORC World Convention in Rome.

As pilgrims in this mystical land, we will immerse ourselves in the world of the Sacred Feminine, Francis of Assisi, the Pythagoreans, and the Neoplatonists, and will learn about many other traditions that have flourished here, including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, and Normans. 

Together we will explore Assisi, Venice, Florence, Ostia, Cumae, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, the Amalfi Coast, and then on to Sicily (with cultures dating back to pre-history), to visit Palermo, Taormina, Syracuse, and Agrigento.

In addition to its exceptional history and mysticism, we will also experience some of the most inspiring art and architecture in the world, its sacred symbolism, and the breathtaking beauty of this land.

DETAILED ITINERARY


August 19, Rome, Assisi: We will begin our time together with a short meeting at the Marriott Rome Park Hotel before we head to the lovely village of Assisi. Our first stop will be the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli, the most sacred site in the world for the followers of Saint Francis. It is here that he received his vocation and renounced worldly attachments. This is also where he made his transition. Following our visit to the Basilica, we will have lunch and then check into the serenity of our monastery rooms. There is time to rest and explore before we have dinner together at the monastery. (You my wish to visit, on your own, the beautiful Mostra Maria Exhibition on the Via Santa Maria delle Rose, which is in a building that was originally a Temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Vesta. (L,D) 

August 20, Assisi: We will spend a full day in Assisi, the town of Saint Francis, visiting the Temple of Minerva, originally built in the first century BCE and now used as a church; the twelfth-century Assisi Cathedral, where Saint Francis, Saint Claire, and many of their original disciples were baptized; the thirteenth-century Basilica di Santa Chiara (Saint Claire); the Cathedral Museum and Crypt of Saint Rufino (the patron saint of Assisi); and the thirteenth-century Basilica di San Francesco, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the major pilgrimage sites of the world. We will have dinner together at the monastery. (B,L,D)

August 21, Assisi, Venice: After breakfast, we will travel from Assisi to Venice, the beautiful city of waters, where we will check into our lovely hotel, situated on the Grand Canal of Venice. Following our lunch together, the afternoon and evening are free for relaxing in our gorgeous hotel or wandering the streets of Venice. (B,L)

August 22, Venice: We will start the day with a visit to the legendary Saint Mark's Basilica. We will experience its mosaic-covered interior and Byzantine treasures while a local guide fills us in on how this collection came to be. We will continue over the Bridge of Sighs to the Doge’s Palace to explore the former political heart of Venice. After a delicious lunch together, the afternoon is free. We will meet for dinner together before experiencing the canals of Venice in gondolas! (B,L,D)

August 23, Venice, Florence: Today we will drive through the lovely Tuscany countryside to Florence. Upon our arrival, we will visit the Galleria Dell’ Accademia, with its world-famous sculpture of Michelangelo’s David. Following our check-in at the beautiful Hotel Bernini Palace, the evening is free to rest or to explore this magnificent city on your own. (B,L)

August 24, Florence: Following a delicious breakfast, we will learn about the fascinating city of Florence, with visits to the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy; and the Magi Chapel in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, where leaders, such as Cosimo de Medici, Marsilio Ficino, and Pico della Marandola, met to expand the Renaissance. After lunch in the Piazza della Signoria, we will visit the Galleria degli Uffizi, with its extraordinary collection of art, including Botticelli’s Birth of Venus; and the fascinating Galileo Museum, with its extensive collection of scientific instruments from the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. (B,L)

August 25, Florence, Ostia, Rome: After breakfast in the hotel, we will drive to Ostia, near Rome, to explore the Archaeological Park of Ancient Ostia, Rome’s ancient harbor town. The archaeological park includes major Roman ruins, including two Mithraic Temple. We will have lunch together at the site before heading to Rome to check into the Starhotels Michelangelo Hotel, located just outside the walls of St. Peter’s Square. The afternoon and evening are free to explore on your own. (B,L)

August 26, Rome: We will begin our day together in the most ancient part of Rome, where we will visit a still intact Mithraeum under the Basilica of San Clemente. We will continue through Rome on foot, passing the Colosseum and entering the Roman Forum, the center of daily life in ancient Rome. Passing the stunning Victor Emmanuel Monument, we will continue up Capitoline Hill where we will have an opportunity to visit the Capitoline Museums with their extraordinary art and architectural collections. After lunch, we will continue to the Pantheon, one of the best preserved of all ancient Roman buildings, having been in continuous use since its dedication in 126 CE. We will then head back to our hotel walking through the Piazza Navona over the Ponte Sant’Anglo, past the Castel Sant’Angelo, and entering Vatican City through Saint Peter’s Square. Following a brief rest at our hotel, we will conclude our time together in Rome with dinner, followed by an illuminated night tour of Rome. (B,L,D)

August 27, Rome, Cumae, Naples: After breakfast, we will travel from Rome to the coastal city of Cumae, 12 miles west of Naples. Cumae was the first Greek settlement on the mainland of Italy and was one of the major oracle centers of the ancient Greeks and Romans.  We will explore the Cave of the Sybil and the nearby Roman ruins, including the Temple of Isis, discovered in 1992. After lunch, we will take a glass bottom boat tour of Baia Archaeological Park’s submerged Roman ruins. Following our check-in at the conveniently located Starhotels Terminus, the evening is free to explore Naples Old Town on your own. (B,L)

August 28, Naples: This morning we will have a guided tour of Naples Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our tour will include the Museo Cappella Sansevero, with its hidden esoteric symbols, and the Pio Monte della Misericordia, to admire Caravaggio’s masterpiece, The Seven Acts of Mercy. After our lunch together, we will explore the National Archaeological Museum, with its exceptional collection of objects from Pompeii and Herculaneum, both doomed cities covered in ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE. You will have the evening free to relax or continue exploring Naples on your own. (B,L)

August 29, Naples, Pompeii, Sant’Agnello: This morning we will travel to the beautiful seaside village of Sant’Agnello, near Sorrento. En route we will visit the ruins of Pompeii, the ancient city destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. After the eruption, the city and its citizens were deeply covered by ash and volcanic pumice rock – and then left untouched for 1,600 years until Pompeii was re-discovered. The result – after much excavation – is a remarkable view of what a city in ancient Rome was probably like, as much had been preserved in those packed layers of ash and pumice. We will have a guided tour through this amazing archaeological site, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will walk through the Roman Forum, Market Place, and the House of the Vettii to see narrow streets and luxurious villas frozen in time. Highlights of our visit will be the Temple of Isis, one of the oldest in Italy; and the Villa of the Mysteries, famous for the series of frescos, which are believed to show the initiation of a young woman into a Greco-Roman mystery cult. We will then continue on to charming Sant’Agnello, where we will check into our sanctuary for the next couple of days, the lovely and tranquil Villa Crawford (built by American author Francis Marion Crawford), on the sea overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. We will have dinner together at the Villa Crawford. (B,L,D)

August 30, Sant’Agnello, Sorrento, Capri: Today we will have the morning free before heading to Sorrento's port to sail to the enchanting island of Capri for lunch.  Weather permitting, we will visit the Blue Grotto, a miracle of equilibrium between water, light, and reflections of wonderful sea floors, where we will have time for swimming and snorkeling. We will enjoy dinner together at the Villa Crawford. (B,L,D)

August 31, Sant’Agnello, Amalfi Coast, Paestum, Positano, Naples: Today we will check out of our hotel at sunrise to drive along the Amalfi Coast, one of Europe's most beautiful shorelines, on our way to Paestum, to view the magnificent temples attributed to Hera, Athena, and Apollo, and to visit the exceptional collection of the Museo Archaeologico di Paestum. The initial temple dedications to feminine deities indicate that this site was originally sacred to pre-historic earth-goddess traditions. Following our visit to this beautiful site, we will return to the Amalfi Coast for our visit to the charming village of Positano with its legendary Black Madonna in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Following our sea-side lunch, we will return to Naples to check into our staterooms for our overnight ferry ride to Palermo, Sicily. We will enjoy dinner together. (B,L,D)

September 1, Palermo, Tindari, Taormina: Upon arrival in Sicily, we will visit Palermo Cathedral, which was built in 1185 by the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo on the site of an older basilica, which had been used as a mosque in the ninth century. Then we will visit the Palace of Count Federico (descendant of the Emperor Frederick II of Swabia), where a family member will show us through the family’s private residence, including the Ballroom, which was once the most important Masonic Temple in Italy. Dating back to the twelfth century and with an Arabic-Norman origin, this palace is one of the most important buildings in Palermo. We will then travel south to the Greco-Roman town of Tindari, founded in 395 BCE. Here we will visit the sanctuary of the Madonna of Tindari, with its famous Black Madonna, and the Greco-Roman archaeological park of Tindari, in its beautiful and peaceful setting.  Following lunch in Tindari, we will continue on to Taormina where we will check into the stunning Atahotel Capotaormina, situated on the Ionian Sea. You will have the evening free before we have dinner together.  (B,L,D)

September 2, Taormina: This morning after breakfast at the hotel, we will embark on an exciting guided adventure to Mount Etna, the highest (elevation approximately 11,000 feet) and largest active volcano in Europe. We will take a cable car, then jeeps, to the opening of the lava flow at the summit of the volcano, where we will have a short walk around the volcano. Following lunch at the base of Mount Etna, we will return to Taormina in the early afternoon for time to relax and reflect before heading to Southern Sicily. We will have dinner together at our lovely hotel.  (B,L,D)

September 3, Taormina, Siracusa, Ortygia: Today our journey takes us to Southern Sicily. Following a relaxed lunch at the Archaeological Park Siracusa, we will visit the ancient Greek theater (which is said to be the burial site of Archimedes), the Paradise Quarry, the Altar of Heron, and the Roman amphitheater. We will then visit the Archaeological Museum which contains artifacts dating from the Bronze Age to the fifth century BCE. After checking into the lovely Antico Hotel Roma 1880, in the center of historic Ortygia, you will have the evening free.  (B,L)

September 4, Ortygia: After breakfast, we will take a walking tour of charming old Ortygia, including the Piazza Archimede (the heart of Ortygia island), the Duomo di Siracusa (built on top of the remains of a Doric Temple dating back to the fifth century BCE), the Church of Santa Lucia (the patron saint of Syracuse), the Fonte Aretusa (a natural spring), and the Palazzo Bellomo Regional Gallery, which is housed in a beautiful building dating back to the twelfth century. We will conclude our walking tour with a stroll past the Temple of Apollo, in the center of town, to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the historic food market of Ortygia. After lunch, we will walk along the Alfea Promenade to the harbor, where we will board a boat to sail around old Ortygia. You will have the evening free to continue exploring this enchanting ancient city on your own. (B,L)

September 5, Ortygia, Agrigento: After breakfast, we will head westward towards the Valley of the Temples located within the historic city of Agrigento. After checking into our gorgeous hotel, the Villa Athena, we will visit the archaeological park, where we will have lunch and tour the most important temples here, dating from the fifth century BCE and all constructed in the Doric style. There will then be free time to explore the site on your own, including the Kolymbetra Gardens, a refreshing garden built in 480 BCE, or to return to the hotel. We will enjoy dinner tonight at our hotels, each with a stunning view of the Tempio Della Concordia.  (B,L,D)

September 6, Agrigento, Selinunte, Palermo: After breakfast, we will travel to Selinunte, where we will enjoy a delicious lunch on the coast. Following lunch, we will explore the archaeological site – an ancient Greek coastal city that today contains the ruins of an acropolis and numerous temples. The city was founded in the seventh century BCE and was destroyed in 409 BCE by the Carthaginians. Selinunte is set in a tranquil and scenic setting, with an ambience that offers a lovely impression of what an ancient Greek city was probably like. Following our visit, we will head to the beautiful city of Palermo, where we will check into the Centrale Palace Hotel. You will have the evening free. (B,L)

September 7, Palermo, Rome: This morning is free to relax or explore, before we have our last Sicilian lunch together. Then we will head to the airport to return to Rome to check into the lovely Grand Hotel de la Minerve, in the Piazza della Minerve. The evening is free. (B,L)

September 8, Rome: Today we will break into two smaller groups to explore the Underground Basilica of Porta Maggiore* and Saint Peter’s Basilica. (One group will visit the Porta Maggiore first, and the other will visit Saint Peter’s Basilica first). Dated to the first century BCE, Porte Maggiore is the only known historical site associated with the Neo-Pythagoreans – a school of mystical Hellenistic philosophy based on the works of Pythagoras and Plato. The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican (better known as Saint Peter’s Basilica) is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. This evening we will enjoy our Farewell Dinner in the rooftop restaurant of the Grand Hotel de la Minerve. (B,L,D)

*Please note that the forty spaces that are available each day for the visit to the Underground Basilica di Porta Maggiore have been filled by our group as of July 13, 2018. If you register for the Full Tour after this date, then you will be waitlisted for the visit to this site. There is the possibility that we will be able to add another group of twenty, and we will not know this until closer in. 

September 9, Rome, Home: Today we say Ciao to friends, old and new! (B)

LODGING

Assisi: Hotel dei Priori, Camere Calocci, Monasterio San Giuseppe or Casa Tel Terziario - 2 nights

Venice: Bauer Palazzo - 2 nights

Florence: Hotel Bernini Palace - 2 nights

Rome: Starhotels Michaelangelo - 2 nights

Naples: Starhotels Terminus- 2 nights

Sant'Agnello - Villa Crawford or Hotel Corallo - 2 nights

Stateroom on the Ferry – 1 night 

Taormina: Atahotel Capotaormina or Bel Soggiorno – 2 nights

Ortega: Antico Hotel Roma 1880 or Gutkowski Hotel – 2 nights

Agrigento: Villa Athena or Colleverde Hotel - 1 night

Palermo: Centrale Palace Hotel – 1 night

Rome: Grand Hotel de la Minerva – 2 nights

INCLUDED

All breakfasts and lunches.

Dinners where indicated. 

Entrance fees for all visits mentioned in the itinerary

Flight from Palermo to Rome

Motorcoach Transportation

Ferry Transportation

English Speaking Guide

Baggage Handling

NOT INCLUDED

Airfare to Italy

Visa if needed

Travel Insurance

Personal items and expenses

Ground Transfers before and after the tour begins

Tips to guides, bus drivers, porters, and housekeepers

This itinerary is subject to change and any changes made will be to enhance your experience!



 

Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • Cost

    Full Twenty Day Tour (August 19 to September 9) - $9,750 per person Double Occupancy 
    (Single supplement is $3,000)

    (The Full Tour begins at the Marriott after breakfast on August 19 and ends after breakfast on September 9.)

    Highlights Nine Day Tour (August 19 to August 27) - $4,750 per person Double Occupancy
    (Single supplement is $1,500)

    (The Highlights Tour begins at the Marriott after breakfast on August 19 and ends after breakfast on August 27.)

    The $1,000 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration. 

    The last day to register is April 15, 2019. 

    The final payment is due on May 15, 2019. 


    The registration fee includes:

    LODGING

    Assisi: Hotel dei Priori, Camere Calocci, Monasterio San Giuseppe or Casa Tel Terziario - 2 nights

    Venice: Bauer Palazzo - 2 nights

    Florence: Hotel Bernini Palace - 2 nights

    Rome: Starhotels Michaelangelo - 2 nights

    Naples: Starhotels Terminus- 2 nights

    Stateroom on the Ferry – 1 night 

    Taormina: Atahotel Capotaormina or Hotel Bel Soggiorno – 2 nights

    Ortega: Antico Hotel Roma 1880 or Gutkowski Hotel – 2 nights

    Agrigento: Villa Athena or Colleverde Hotel - 1 night

    Palermo: Centrale Palace Hotel – 1 night

    Rome: Grand Hotel de la Minerva – 2 nights


    AS WELL AS:

    All breakfasts and lunches

    Dinners where indicated

    Entrance fees for all visits mentioned in the itinerary

    Flight from Palermo to Rome

    Motorcoach Transportation

    Ferry Transportation

    English Speaking Guide

    Baggage handling

    WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IS:

    Airfare to Italy

    Visa if needed

    Travel Insurance

    Personal items and expenses

    Ground Transfers before and after the tour begins

    Tips to guides, bus drivers, porters, and housekeepers





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