Day 1: Arrival in Rome, Italy
All roads lead to Rome; welcome to the eternal city. Upon arrival at Fiumicino airport, you will meet your driver and Tour Director for your transfer to your hotel. You will drop off your bags and continue to the Vatican for your tour visiting the Vatican Museum, home to many historical and artistic masterpieces. Enter the Sistine Chapel and admire Michelangelo's Frescoes wrapping all the walls around you. Conclude your tour with a visit to St. Peters Basilica, where you will find "Pieta," the only work of Michelangelo signed by him. Overnight in Rome.
This morning touring will start at the Legendary Coloseum famous as the place of spectacle and death. You will also see the Roman Forum, which was a place where Romans would meet to discuss politics and religion as well as to shop. Circus Maximus also shows the glory of Imperial Rome, being a chariot racing stadium that could accommodate 150,000 spectators! Overnight in Rome.
Day 3: Naples and Cruise Embarkation
Today you leave Rome behind and drive south towards Naples. Upon arrival, you will pass by Pozzuoli, the old port where Paul landed on his way to Rome. Then you will visit ancient Pompeii, dating almost to the time of Paul, where you can see the spectacular ruins that were covered by ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. After your tour, you will drive to Civitavecchia Port for your cruise embarkation onboard Atlas Voyager.
Day 4: Livorno, Tour Assisi & Florence
This morning upon disembarkation, you will drive to Assisi. Upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to celebrate Mass in one of the local churches. After Mass, you will continue to visit St Francis Basilica, Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, Basilica of Santa Chiara, and the tombs of St. Francis and St Clare. Then you will drive to Florence. Upon arrival in Florence, you will enjoy a walking tour of this beautiful city, and we will see the Galleria del Accademia house to the famous statue of David, Duomo, with its pink, white and green marble façade and Brunelleschi's famous dome. After you tour Florence, you will have some free time before you return back to your cruise ship.
Day 5: Marseille, Aix en Provence Wine Tasting
This morning you are docked in Marseille on the South Coast of France. Your tour today will take you to Aix-en-Provence, the famous Rose wine region of Southern France. You will earn about the history of the area, and you will have the chance to taste the local wine with an included wine tasting in one of the wineries.
Day 6: Barcelona Tour & Montserrat Monastery
Welcome to Barcelona, a historical and artistic city, sitting on the Mediterranean side of Spain. It is the capital of Catalonia and became famous for the architectural masterpieces by Antoni Gaudi that can be seen all around the city, such as the Park Guell, la Sagrada Familia, and Casa Batllo. Your tour today will take you through the most important sites of the city, including the central and largest square of Barcelona "Plaza Catalunya," the most expensive avenue in Spain "Passeig de Gracia." Gaudi's masterpiece Casa Batllo + Mila, and of course the crown jewel work of Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia. After you tour Barcelona, you will continue to the Abbey of Montserrat, a monastery sitting on the mountain of Montserrat in Monistral de Montserrat. Is it an Abbey of the Order of St. Benedict dating back to the 10th century, now housing approx. 150 monks. Pilgrims from all over the world line up to visit the Basilica and to see the Black Madonna statue, or "La Moreneta," which means "The little black one" in the local language. To get to the peak of the mountain and visit the monastery, you will take the Aeri de Monserrat cable care up 1350m. During the journey, you will enjoy stunning views of the Llobregat River and Valley.
Welcome to Valencia, the port city of Spain, located on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, which is also the biggest on the Mediterranean western coast. During your short tour of the city today, you will see the awe-inspiring architectural landmarks designed by the world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava including the City of Arts & Science with its futuristic buildings of outstanding architectural impact. Such buildings are the Opera house, the Science Museum, and the Agora. Later you will go into the old town to see the Plaza de Virgen, the Cathedral of Valencia and the Lonja, a gothic style group of buildings originally used for trading silk from all over the Mediterranean. Last but not least, you will visit the "Sistine Chapel" of Spain, the Church of St.Nicolas of Bari and St.Peter the Martyr. It is called the "Sistine Chapel" of Spain because of the painted dome with the lives of St.Nicolas and St.Peters that resembles the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The church is a magnificent combination of the best example of Gothic Architecture and Baroque decoration. One of the rectors of the church was Pope Callixtus III, before becoming the Pope.
Day 8: Costa del Sola/Malaga, Spain
This morning you are at the world-famous Costa del Sol and the port city of Malaga. Golden sand beach and high rise hotels decorate the coastal area. If you look above the city's skyline, you will notice two hilltop citadels known as the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro. In this gorgeous city, you will also find the birthplace of the famous painter Pablo Picasso, located at Casas de Campos complex. Your tour today will include a visit to the palatial fortification of Alcazaba built during the occupation of the city by the Moors. During your tour of Alcazaba, you will see stunning gardens, palaces, and labyrinth walls. You will then continue with a city tour of the most important landmarks starting from the mains square called the Plaza de la Merced and continuing to the Cathedral of Malaga known as "La Manquita" ( the one-armed lady) because one of its towers was never built. Profit the remainder of the day to relax on the beautiful beaches and explore on your own.
Welcome to Gibraltar, the southernmost country of continental Europe located on the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, it is an overseas British Territory. Its location has great strategic significance as the city is situated right on the straight that half of the world's seaborne trade is passing through. For the short time that you will be in Gibraltar, don't miss the Rock of Gibraltar, the Natural Reserve, where you will find the Apes Den or visit the St.Michael Cave.
Day 10: Lisbon, Portugal – disembarkation and continue to Fatima.
Upon disembarkation in Lisbon, you will meet your driver and guide and commence a short-city tour of Lisbon's most significant landmarks. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, a coastal city, probably one of the most vibrant European cities that combines traditional heritage with modernism. Your guide will give you a brief overview of Lisbon's rich history and culture as you walk through the cobblestones streets and view Lisbon's oldest district, "Alfama," Sé Cathedral, Commerce Square, and Rossio Central Station. Afterward, you will have some free time to explore on your own and have lunch before you continue to Fatima. Upon arrival in Fatima, you will settle in your hotel and meet your fellow pilgrims for the evening holy Rosary at the Chapel of Apparition.
Day 11: Full Day Fatima
Your day begins with a visit to the Chapel of Apparition, the site where the Virgin Mary appeared first in 1917. Your guide will then take you to the Basilica of Our Lady of Rosary, where you will find the tombs of the shepherds three children Fransisco, Jucita, and Lucia that Our Lady appeared to. A very unique feature of the Basilica is the fifteen altars, one for each of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. Your tour will conclude with the stations of the Cross along the via Sacra. Overnight in Fatima
Day 12: Wine tasting and Winery visit in Tomar area & Lisbon
This morning you are leaving Fatima behind, you will drive to the nearby town of Tomar. Tomar has a long and rich wine history. According to historians, the most significant contributors to the viniculture of the area were the Christian Order of the Knights Templar. The Templars played an important role in the development of Portugal as an autonomous state in the twelfth century. At the same time, Portugal helped the development of the Order and preservation of its legacy during its years of persecution. Portugal was the first place in Europe where the Templars settled. In 1160, they built the Tomar fortress in central Portugal (Ribatejo region). The Templars had a special interest toward grapes and winemaking and always planted vast vineyards around their fortresses. They studied the processes of wine fermentation, ripening, and storage. You will have the opportunity to visit one of those vineyards planted by the Order and taste this historical wine. Then you will continue to Lisbon for your last night of the tour with a special farewell dinner.