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Treasures of Italy & Israel
from a Christian Perspective


18 Day Inclusive Escorted Package


Day 1Depart USA
Overnight flight to Rome.

Day 2 • Arrive Rome
We are met by our host and transferred to our hotel for the next three nights.  The remainder of your day is free with many things to do and see.  Time will allow the opportunity to take a walk past the famous Spanish Steps, visit the amazing Pantheon and view the Trevi Fountain. Throw in a coin to ensure your return trip to Rome!  Dinner is included this evening.

Day 3 • Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter Basilica, Scala Santa and Church of Priscilla
After breakfast you will begin a full day of site seeing. First visit Vatican City where you will see the Basilica at St. Peter, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with stunning works of art at every turn. After some free time for lunch, you will visit the 4th century Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the traditional site of Paul’s tomb, and the Scala Santa, where Martin Luther made his stand against the practice of indulgences. This fascinating museum houses the Steps from Pilot's Judgment Hall in Jerusalem brought to Rome by Helena, the mother of Constantine. The practice today is to climb the steps on your knees, stopping to pray on each step.  Our last stop today will be the Church of Prisca, where it is said that below the church are buried Priscilla, Aquilla and a number of other martyred saints. It has perfect acoustics for a hymn of the faith and scripture reading of Paul's tribute to his long-time friends of the ministry.  Additional sights include the Arches of Constantine and Titus, Circus Maximus and the beautiful marble monument called the Wedding Cake.

Day 4 •  Forum, Mamertine Prison, Coliseum, Catacombs
We begin our walking tour at the ancient Roman Forum, where our guide will divulge its secrets. We will visit the Arch of Titus which commemorated the sack of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70.  We will step inside the Mamertine Prison, where tradition says the Apostle Paul was imprisoned. The Roman church would say that Peter was imprisoned here as well, but there is no imperial evidence that Peter was ever in Rome. Next, we visit the Coliseum, where thousands of people and animals perished during gladiatorial games. The Coliseum first opened in AD 80 and within 100 days of its opening, 5000 wild beasts perished here. The slaughter of both humans and animals continued for three more centuries. Historians believe the Coliseum could hold between 40,000 and 80,000 people depending on how close the seating was. The floor has recently had a plank placed over the middle making it accessible for people to walk over the labyrinth of brick cells, ramps, and elevators used to transport animals and gladiators into the arena. Hear the stories of the games that have fascinated people for years. We conclude our day at the Catacombs where thousands of Christians were buried in a remarkable tiered series of galleries. 

Day 5 • Frescoes, Assisi, Montecatini
After breakfast you will say “Arrivederci Roma” and board your coach and travel through scenic Umbria to the ancient walled hillside village of Assisi. After lunch on your own, you will enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful, medieval town, which will include the Basilica San Francesco, decorated with some of the most renowned frescoes in the world. This afternoon, we travel on to the spa village of Montecatini Terme, our place of lodging for the next two nights in the heart of Tuscany.

Day 6 • Beautiful Florence, Michelangelo’s David & Free Time
After breakfast, you will spend the morning enjoying a guided tour of Florence, one of the world’s greatest artistic capitals, which will include the Piazza della Signoria, Duomo, Baptistry and a visit to the Accademia Galley, home of Michelangelo’s David. A stop will also be made on the hillside overlook across the river from Florence where we will enjoy a panoramic view of the beautiful red-tiled roof cityscape. This afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy shopping, visiting more galleries or strolling on the famous Pont Vecchio, the old bridge which spans the Arno River. Remember that Florence leather shops are the best in the world and bargains on excellent quality goods are abundant. It may be the time to purchase those special Christmas gifts.

Day 7 • Pisa & Venice
Being Sunday, we begin the day with a time of praise, worship and a challenge from God's Word. Later this morning, we enjoy free time for lunch and a tour of Pisa where you will visit the Baptistry, Duomo and the famous leaning tower in the Piazza dei Miracoli. This afternoon, we travel northward through colorful Tuscan countryside, past Bologna and on to romantic Venice where we overnight just outside the city for two nights in Venice Mestre. 

Day 8 • Venice
After breakfast, we'll begin sightseeing on a leisurely walking tour of Venice. We'll visit the city's most famous landmarks such as the Basilica of San Marco, St. Mark's Square, the Bridge of Sighs and the Doge's Palace. The remainder of the day is on our own to stroll through a labyrinth of criss-cross canals, arched bridges, palaces, charming waterside restaurants and little quiet piazzas.  For those who wish, your tour host may arrange a private glassblowing presentation at the famous Murano Venetian glass makers. Shoppers will enjoy the vast array of beautiful pieces of glass available in the city's many fine stores. During your free time, you may also choose to board a gondola for a relaxing canal cruise.

Day 9Italy to Israel
We fly from Venice to Ben Gurion Airport where we will be met by our Israeli guide who will accompany us during our entire stay in Israel. We travel northward to our hotel for one night in the coastal area near Tel Aviv. The remainder of the day is free to walk along the Mediterranean, relax, and have dinner. The time is right for a personal devotional with the sunset over the “Great Sea.”  Enjoy a time of prayer of thanks for safety and the special blessings ahead, a prayer for the people of this land, and a good night’s rest.

Day 10 Free Day
The day is free for you to explore on your own in nearby Tel Aviv, enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean, rest and relax in preparation for the wonders in store for you. 

Day 11Caesarea, Megiddo & Nazareth
After breakfast, we travel by private motor coach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized. We’ll see the Roman Amphitheatre and aqueduct, and then journey on to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Next we travel through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have unearthed 20 levels of civilization. We drive through the area of Cana and Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, where we visit the Nazareth Village - a wonderful recreation of Biblical times with costumed guides. We will have dinner and overnight lodging for the next two nights in the Tiberias area on the Sea of Galilee.

Day 12 Capernaum, Dan, Caesarea Philippi & Mount of Beatitudes
Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to two valuable northern sites emphasizing the loss of God's blessing on Israel. Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan worship and Caesarea Philippi which is also the site of Peter’s Confession.  In order to save valuable time, a box lunch will be provided. In Capernaum we will visit the ruins of an ancient synagogue and Peter’s home. Then we travel on to the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes and the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea. After viewing the ancient Fisherman Boat at an operating Kibbutz, we enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Sea of Galilee.  A brief scripture reading and devotional on board brings to life the experiences of Jesus and the fishermen disciples concluding a wonderful day.  

Day 13 Jordan River Baptism Site, Beth Shean & Dead Sea
We begin our day with a visit to the Jordan River Baptismal site. Next we travel southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. Like Jericho, it has been almost continuously occupied throughout history. After defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. During the intertestamental period, the city was renamed the "Scythopolis". Archaeologists have uncovered a huge number of ruins of the Roman/Byzantine Scythopolis. During the time of Jesus, Scythopolis was one of the chief cities of the Decapolis -a league of ten cities sharing Greek culture and government. Following the fertile Jordan Valley southward, your guide will point out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey,” the Kibbutz system and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. We pass ancient Jericho, view from a distance this city famed as the oldest in the world, before coming to our lodging for the evening at the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth. Spend time in the special spa and enjoy a dip in the Dead Sea for a relaxing float before dinner.

Day 14 • Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Scrolls, Abraham's Tent 
Our day begins with a cable car ride to the mountain top fortress of Masada. Here our guide will treat us to the history of the famous zealot stand. Afterwards we proceed to Ein Gedi, "Spring of the Goat," an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Because of its warm climate and abundant supply of water, the site developed a reputation for its fragrant plants and date palm groves. This is where King David hid from Saul, and where God defeated the enemies of the Israelites by praise and worship led by King Jehoshaphat. Next, we visit Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. This afternoon we will take part in the Genesis Land/Dinner in Abraham's Tent, where we enjoy a trip back in time: a reliving of life in the time of the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, and authentic food. Our lodging for the next four nights will be in Jerusalem.

Day 15 Around Jerusalem, Bible Times, Holocaust Museum
Passing by the Protestant Cemetery, we visit the "Upper Room" just outside the Zion Gate where the disciple whom Jesus loved laid his head on His breast and where later Thomas cried, "my Lord & my God."   An interesting and educational time awaits us at the Israeli Museum. Walk through collections of centuries old Israeli artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a then a guided walk through an accurately detailed model of Biblical Jerusalem will help to prepare you for what you will experience in the following days.
We conclude the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, for a needed reminder of what the Jews have suffered as a people.

Day 16 Jesus' Steps, the Last Days - Messianic Lecture
Today we walk where Jesus walked; beginning the day with a panoramic view of the city, Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from atop the Mount of Olives and then the Garden of Gethsemane. How many have wished to be whisked back in time to get a glimpse of our Lord or hear His voice if only for a moment? To walk between the ancient olive trees, read the scriptures of Jesus' prayer and take time for personal reflection is important here. Next we visit the
House of Caiaphas where Jesus was beaten and spit upon.  See a pit where he may have been held for the evening and the ancient hillside steps he walked as he was taken to be condemned.  On our way into the city we will visit the Wailing Wall and then the fascinating Rabbinical Tunnels leading us through the Second Temple era.  The tunnel and exhibit give a clear understanding of the amazing construction of the Temple Mount, giant stones, water supply and Roman street where our Lord was led to judgment.  Before exiting the tunnel we see the immense cornerstone rejected by the builders. We move on to the Judgment Hall of Pilate, hear of those who conspired against Him and are reminded of His brutal beating and humiliation.  From here we will also be able to see the Pool of Bethesda, Stephen's Gate and St. Ann’s Church. This evening we enjoy a special lecture by a local believer prior to dinner, giving us a perspective of Messianic life in Israel. 

Day 17 Way of Suffering, Garden Tomb, Pentecost, Bethlehem
While walking along the Via Dolorosa, we are reminded of His way of suffering along with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  Our guide will explain the differing opinions on the route that Christ was led and the actual place of crucifixion and burial is a very interesting study. The climax of the day is the area of Golgotha (place of the skull) and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrate the resurrection with communion and a time of praise. This afternoon we visit the Southern Wall Excavations. This southern side of The Temple was the main entrance for the common folk, whereas the Priests and Levites had their own entrance from the higher eastern side. Parts of the giant stairs, which led to the Temple Mount from the courtyard have been unearthed along with the purification pools. From here Jesus entered the Temple Mount and drove out the vendors and money exchangers who were exploiting the people. It is also likely that this is the place that Peter stood and preached and where thousands were saved and baptized on the Day of Pentecost. We will enjoy a challenge from God’s word and a song before an optional time this afternoon.  Those who wish may stay in the city marketplace for shopping, while
others may choose to spend the remainder of the day surrounding the birth of Christ, with a visit to Bethlehem.

Important Note: Although the itinerary above obviously emphasizes the spiritual aspect of this marvelous country, our guides are also experts in and passionate about the miracle of the return of the Jews and the restoration of the state of Israel.  This fact, along with many modern day topics (military, politics, education, and other cultural aspects), will be woven into the commentary in order to give you well rounded information.

Day 18Home
A very early morning departure for the Tel Aviv Airport for our flight homeward will allow for arrival home by early afternoon.

Price Includes: Tourist class & superior tourist class (3-3 1/2 Star) lodging in Italy, 4 star hotels in Israel, breakfast daily, 14 dinners, 1 lunch, modern transportation, all gratuities, sightseeing as listed, special escort throughout.

Jordan and Egypt 3-day post-tours are also available.

Not Included:  air fare, travel insurance.   

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