Italy Tour – March 2023

March 26, 2023 – April 7, 2023

All roads lead to Rome.”

This ancient proverb not only reflects the influence that Rome had at the time of Christ, but it also reflects the significant influence of the Italian culture on shaping the world we know today.

Roman culture influenced the life of Jesus and the Apostles. Paul’s road also led him to Rome. Sharing the Gospel in the city of Rome was perhaps his most ambitious logistical goal—bringing “good news” to the capital of the world! Rome was where he was imprisoned and later martyred. The Church in Rome is where Paul sent his most comprehensive theological treatise.

Not only did the story of salvation come to us through Rome, but much of our culture, language, arts, and science are also rooted in that Mediterranean nation. We still marvel and benefit from its inventions, art, and music.

Join us on the road that leads to Rome. We begin the journey in the north at Venice and travel south through Florence to Rome. And for those staying for the optional extension, we will go further south to visit Naples, Pompeii, Castel Gondolfo, and more.

We will immerse ourselves in Italy’s sights, sounds, and tastes. We will enjoy outstanding accommodations and savor amazing cuisine. And along the way, our guide will inspire and educate us on how the Body of Christ was birthed, struggled, met opposition, and yet grew within this culture.

The lasting impressions of what we see and hear will be enhanced by fellowship with other CMDA families and friends. We intentionally limit the tour size to make the experience more intimate and memorable.

Won’t you register today and join us on the road that leads to Rome?

Tour includes the following

  • Nine nights lodging
  • Hotel city tax and porterage at hotels
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Entrance fees to museums and other sites
  • Bus transportation throughout the tour
  • Use of Whispers headsets to hear the tour guide
  • Tips to guides, drivers and hotel staff
  • Government-licensed tour guide throughout the tour
  • International Travel Insurance from Saturday, March 25 – Wednesday, April 5, 2023 (allows for an extra day of travel at the beginning and end of the tour). Additional days are available for $7 per person per day. This coverage includes Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Medical Expenses, Disability Income, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Crisis Management, including the expense and coordination of a security evacuation, Personal Property, and General Liability.

Optional Three-Day Extension Includes

  • Three nights lodging
  • Hotel city tax and porterage at hotels
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Entrance fees to museums and other sites
  • Use of Whispers headsets
  • Tips to guides, drivers and hotel staff
  • Government-licensed tour guide throughout the tour
  • International Travel Insurance from Tuesday 4 – Saturday, April 8, 2023 (allows for an extra day of travel at the beginning and end of the tour). Additional days are available for $7 per person per day. This coverage includes Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Medical Expenses, Disability Income, Emergency Medical Evacuation, Crisis Management, including the expense and coordination of a security evacuation, Personal Property, and General Liability.

Tour Package Does NOT Include

  • International flights
  • Airport baggage transfer
  • Lunches
  • Beverages

Travel Arrangements – NOTE WE FLY IN AND OUT OF DIFFERENT AIRPORTS
Arrival to Italy

  • Fly IN TO Venice (Venice Marco Polo – VCE), transfer to the hotel no later than Sunday, March 26, 2023

Departure from Italy

  • Fly OUT OF Rome (Rome – Fiumicino “Leonardo da Vinci”- FCO)
  • Tour Only – Depart Tuesday, April 4, 2023
  • Tour and Extension – Depart on Friday, April 7, 2023 (flights after 11 a.m.)

You may consider arriving a day or two before the tour begins to recover from jet lag or staying a few days to enjoy Rome on your own. Kim Hodge can assist with additional hotel nights before and after the tour if you need them.

Travel Agency
Travelers are welcome to make international flight arrangements through their preferred travel source, or World Travel Service, Inc. is available to assist. Direct Number: 865-777-1600 

Visas and Passports
Each participant must have a valid passport. Passport expiration date must be six months days beyond the last day of the tour.

CMDA requests a photo of the first two pages of your Passport be emailed to Kim Hodge (kim.hodge@cmda.org) 60 days prior to travel. If you prefer, you may also copy and mail to Kim’s attention at CMDA P.O. Box 7500 Bristol, TN 37621-7500.

No Visa is required for U.S. citizens to enter Italy as a tourist.

Detailed Itinerary
For a detailed itinerary, click on the “Schedule” link.

Activity Level
The activity level for this tour is moderately strenuous. You should be able to walk several miles on uneven terrain without difficulty. If you have mobility issues, this tour may not be for you. If you have questions, please contact Kim Hodge before registering.

Main Tour
Double Occupancy (per person)

  • CMDA Member and Spouse/Family $3,380
  • Non Member $3,680

Single Occupancy

  • CMDA Member $4,075
  • Non-Member $4,175

Optional Extension

  • Double Occupancy (per person) $1,060
  • Single Occupancy $1,284

Cancelation Policy
Cancellations and requests for refund must be submitted in writing to the Christian Medical & Dental Associations at the address below or by email.

Cancellation charges:

  • Before or on November 24, 2022, $200 per person
  • November 25, 2022 – January 19, 2023 $400 per person
  • January 20 – February 3, 2023, $900 per person
  • February 4 – March 10, 2023, $1,600 per person
  • On or after March 11, 2023, No Refund

Breakfasts and dinners included. All lunches are “on your own”

Hotels for main tour:

Hotels for extension:

Tour Hosts:

  • Bill Reichart, MDiv, CMDA VP of Campus & Community Ministries, and wife Lauren
  • George Courtney, CMDA VP of Stewardship Development, and wife Rose

Sunday, March 26 Arrival Venice / Mestre
Upon arrival at Venice’s airport, transfer to the hotel located in Mestre. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Antony , or similar. (2 nights)

Monday, March 27 Mestre / Venice / Mestre
Soon after breakfast, you will be transferred by bus from Hotel Antony in Mestre to the Tronchetto station in Venice, and from there, you will proceed by boat to the Piazza San Marco and meet your local guide. Enjoy a tour of the magnificent Piazza and Basilica of St. Mark’s, its marvelous Byzantine-style architecture studded with colored marbles and glittering gold mosaics and housing the tomb of the Evangelist Mark. Visit the elaborate Doge’s Palace, the sumptuous home of the former Venetian rulers with its famous Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners crossed before being led to the dungeons.

There will be some time at leisure for an optional gondola ride or shopping.

In the afternoon, visit “The Waldesian: Eight centuries of history” in the centrally located “Palazzo Cavagni.” The Waldesian Church of Italy is the oldest protestant Church of the world. Or walk on your own throughout the “calle” (streets) and squares where the Italian Reformer Paolo Vergerio used to make speeches against the Church of Rome.

Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Tuesday, March 28 Mestre / Ravenna / Florence
Early morning departure towards the south. Reach Ravenna in approx. 1.5-hour drive and meet the local guide for a walking tour. See the Mausoleum of GallaPlacidia, which hides a ceiling of infinite stars, and the refined composition that decorates Neonian Baptistery. Some time at leisure for lunch before continuing south to reach Florence in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Grand Hotel Mediterraneo. or similar. (2 nights)

Wednesday, March 29 Florence
Your guide will meet you at the hotel this morning and stay with you for a full day guided tour of the city. You will see the famous “Gates of Paradis Doors” of the Baptistery of St. John (entrance excluded), the religious essence of the city, the remarkable Duomo, the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Piazza Della Signoria, and the Basilica of Santa Croce, a masterpiece of Gothic art and the pantheon of famous Italians such as Michelangelo and Machiavelli. The tour ends at the Accademia Gallery, which hosts Michelangelo’s famous David. The rest of the day is free. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Thursday, March 30   Florence / Siena / Assisi
Depart Florence soon after breakfast. Drive through the scenic Tuscan countryside to reach Siena in a 1.5-hour drive. Enjoy Siena’s major treasures, including its fabulous marble gothic cathedral. After lunch, you will board your bus and continue south to reach Assisi in approx. 2.5-hour drive. Dinner and overnight at Grand Hotel Assisi, or similar. (2 nights)

Friday, March 31 Assisi
After a short bus ride, your group will meet your local guide and start an unforgettable walk through the narrow streets of the ancient town. You will visit the Church of Santa Chiara. You will then reach the very heart of the town, the Piazza del Comune (Town Hall square). Then, you will visit the Basilica of St Francis. Some time at leisure for lunch before transfer by bus to the Basilica of Santa Maria Degli Angeli to see the small Portiuncola chapel and the site where St. Francis died in 1226. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Saturday, April 1 Assisi / Ancient Rome
Early morning departure towards south to reach Rome in 2.5 hours drive.

Upon arrival, meet your local guide and take a walking tour of Ancient Rome’s real core. Our guide will show you along the Via Dei Fori Imperiali from Trajan’s Column. You will see the Forum of Trajan. On foot, you will reach Capitoline Hill. The stairway will lead you to the Piazza del Campidoglio. Behind Piazza del Campidoglio, you will find a natural terrace providing the best panoramic point over the valley of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

From the Forum, the guide will show you to the place linked to the fabulous origins of Rome: the Palatine. From the valley of the Roman Forum, you will admire the Domus Tiberiana. Leaving the Roman Forum, you will find the Arch of Constantine.

The tour ends at the Colosseum (internal visit). Transfer your hotel to located in central Rome. Some free time to relax or to discover the city on your own.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel Diana, or similar. (3 nights)

Sunday, April 2 Paul’s Sites / Fountains and Squares
This tour is a combination of the most interesting sites, which are linked with the life of the Apostle Paul in Rome.

ABBEY OF THE THREE FOUNTAINS

The place of Paul’s martyrdom, where tradition has it, that three different springs gushed out at each spot touched when Paul’s head fell.

CATACOMBS OF SAN SEBASTIAN

Located on the Ancient Appian Way, this is where the bodies of Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter were kept during the Christian persecution of Valeriano (253 – 260 AC), which gave the first Christians the opportunity to venerate the tombs of the two Apostles. This is the reason why this place is still today called MEMORIA APOSTOLORUM. To prove this, there is a lot of “grafiti” in Latin and Aramaic in the catacombs and in the Basilica of San Sebastian. The Basilica was built over the catacombs during the “Costantinianum Peace” in the name of the two Apostles.

ST PAUL OUTSIDE THE WALLS

St. Paul Outside the Walls is a Benedictine Abbey that shares its name, origins, and centuries of history, both joyful and sorrowful, with the adjoining Basilica. Visit the Basilica, where the bones of Paul have recently been found. You will leave Rome with the real spirit of first Christians in your mind and in your Heart.

The rest of the day is at leisure to have the opportunity to discover the Baroque center of Rome on your own. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Monday, April 3 Vatican & Early Christian Churches
Meet the guide at your hotel and transfer to the Vatican Museum.

Passing through the Court of the Pigna, designed by Bramante in the 16th century, you will enter the Belvedere Palace to reach the heart of the museum, the Belvedere Courtyard. Proceeding with the visit, you will quickly pass the secondary galleries to reach the Greek Cross Room, where the splendid Sarcophagi of St. Helene and St. Constance are housed. Walking through the Galleries of the Candelabra, of the Maps, and of the Tapestries, you will reach the Apostolic Palace, the oldest section of the complex of the Vatican Palaces. Your guide will show you the Apartments of Julius II, splendidly decorated by Raphael and his assistants, and then the Sistine Chapel, where you will admire one of the highest masterpieces of art: the Genesis and the Last Judgment by Michelangelo, which have gained their original splendor after the latest restorations. Leaving the Sistine Chapel and going down the Royal Stairway, projected by Bernini, the guide will conduct you to the Basilica of St. Peter, the most important temple of Christianity, which gathers inside 2000 years of history and famous works of art such as the Pietà by Michelangelo.

The visit ends at St. Peter’s Square, embraced by the colonnade, an architectural masterpiece by Bernini, under the symbolic protection of the “Cuppolone”, as the Romans call Michelangelo’s dome.

The afternoon is dedicated to visiting two of Rome’s most influential Christian Churches, San John di Lateran and the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. These churches are symbolic of the importance that Constantine placed on his adopted new faith. The properties for both were donated by Constantine’s family, signifying that importance.

You will also visit the Santa Scala, the Holy Steps, which are reputed to be the steps that Christ went up when he was called for a meeting with Pontius Pilate. A visit to these steps was recorded as one of the sites that Martin Luther visited when he was called by the Pope to Rome.

Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Tuesday, April 4
For those not staying for the extension, you will check out of the hotel and transfer to the Rome airport for your return flight home.

Optional Extension:

Tuesday, April 4 Rome / Pozzuoli / Naples (Pizza Lunch) / Sorento Hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, depart to Pozzuoli. Known today as Pozzuoli, Puteoli was the main harbor for the Roman Empire. Here, we will have the opportunity to view the third largest Flavian Amphitheater in Italy before visiting the port area to see the Church and plaque commemorating Apostle Paul. Proceed to Naples to enjoy a lunch with a wonderful Pizza. After lunch, depart to Sorrento to enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Tower, or similar in Sorrento area. (1 night)

Wednesday, April 5 Sorento / Pompeii / Minturno / Ford Appio
After breakfast, depart for legendary Pompeii for a walk through the archeology of an ancient city. Pompeii was buried under a layer of lava by a sudden eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D. This was a town whose daily life has been petrified. It appears as if the inhabitants were under a spell with gestures, secrets, and panic felt during their last moments. Visiting this “frozen city” may be similar to what Paul felt when he walked through similar streets from this Roman world. Walk through the houses, shops, temples, squares, streets and also the “Lupanare” (a house of prostitutes with frescoes showing erotic scenes) and the “Termae Suburbane ” (i.e., Suburban Baths, with erotic frescoes), among which are the only saffico-pictures of the Roman world. In his letter to the Romans, Paul expressed his anger by shouting aloud against the corruption and perdition of the Romans (Rom. 1:26). Depart for Minturno to visit the ruins of a well-preserved Roman village located on the Appian Way. St. Paul would have traveled on this ancient road on his trip to Rome. The dinner tonight is at Foro Appio Mansio Hotel, or similar. (1 night), where you can enjoy a special dinner with the menu of St. Paul.

Thursday, April 6 Foro Appio / Castel Gondolfo
After breakfast in Foro Appio, drive to the very picturesque town of Castel Gandolfo. The town for the summer residence of the Pope located on the Alban hills and overlooking the volcanic Lake Albano. Castel Gandolfo is considered one of Italy’s most scenic towns. Day at leisure in Castel Gandolfo to enjoy one day around the city or some relaxation on the shores of the lake.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Castel Vecchio, or similar. (1 night)

Friday, April 7 Castel Gondolfo / Rome Airport (flights after 11 a.m.)
This morning depart from Castel Gandolfo to FCO Airport for your flight back home.

PLEASE NOTE WE FLY IN AND OUT OF DIFFERENT AIRPORTS

Arrival to Italy

  • Fly IN TO Venice (Venice Marco Polo – VCE), transfer to the hotel no later than Sunday, March 26, 2023

Departure from Italy

  • Fly OUT OF Rome (Rome – Fiumicino “Leonardo da Vinci”- FCO)
  • Tour Only – Depart Tuesday, April 4, 2023
  • Tour and Extension – Depart on Friday, April 7, 2023 (flights after 11 a.m.)

You may consider arriving a day or two before the tour begins to recover from jet lag or staying a few days to enjoy Rome on your own. Kim Hodge can assist with additional hotel nights before and after the tour if you need them.

Questions?
Please contact Kim Hodge for additional details or questions:

Mail:
Kim Hodge
CMDA
PO Box 7500
Bristol, TN 37621

Phone: 423.844.1063

Email: Kim.Hodge@cmda.org

Questions?

Please contact Kim Hodge for additional details or questions:

Mail:
Kim Hodge
CMDA
PO Box 7500
Bristol, TN 37621

Phone: 423.844.1063

Email: Kim.Hodge@cmda.org