1st day: ARRIVE TEL AVIV – MOUNT CARMEL / Transfer to Nazareth
On arrival in Tel Aviv you will be met by your guide. Drive through the coastal plain to Mount Carmel and, if time allows, visit the Monastery of Stella Maris overlooking the Mediterranean the bay of Haifa. Drive through the Valley of Armageddon to your hotel in Nazareth for dinner and overnight.
2nd day: NAZARETH, CANA, MOUNT TABOR
Theme: The Annunciation
Drive to Nazareth, the site of Mary’s home and the town where Jesus lived as a child. At Nazareth, celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Annunciation, and visit the Byzantine Church of St. Joseph and Mary’s Well. Continue to visit Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle at the request of His mother [John 2:1-11]. There visit the Franciscan chapel where those who wish to can perform the renewal of their wedding vows. Drive to Mount Tabor the site of the Transfiguration, with time to reflect on Christ’s Humanity and Divinity, good preparation for the journey to Jerusalem where Jesus was to suffer the crucifixion and resurrection. Continue to your hotel in Nazareth for Dinner and overnight.
3rd day: TIBERIAS: SEA OF GALILEE / BANIAS / NAZARETH
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
The day starts at the Mount of Beatitudes, scene of Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount. Then to Tabgha where Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 and onto the site known as “Peter’s Primacy”. Here, after His resurrection, Jesus met with His disciples and told Peter to “feed my lambs; feed my sheep.” [John 21:9]. A short drive away is Capernaum, from where Jesus launched his Ministry; see the synagogue which dates to the time of Jesus and the church built over the site of Peter’s home Visit Magdala, were a first century synagogue and a complete first century city have been found. In the afternoon drive up to Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus told St. Peter “You are the Rock, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Nazareth.
4th day: YARDENIT / SHEIKH HUSSEIN / JERASH / MOUNT NEBO / AMMAN
Visit the Baptismal site of Yardenit, here you can renew your baptismal vows then continue to Sheikh Hussein and cross to Jordan, with the first stop visit to the uniquely preserved Roman city of Jerash, popularly called the Pompeii of the East. There we see the Elliptical Forum, the street of columns, the Temple of Artemis and Roman theatres. Drive on to Mount Nebo where Moses viewed the Promised Land. You can see the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Judean hills beyond. Also see the remains of Byzantine church with their mosaic floors. Continue to your hotel in Amman for dinner and overnight.
5th day: AMMAN / PETRA
Drive to Petra via the Desert Highway. After lunch walk through the dramatic “ciq” or canyon to visit Petra. See the Treasury, carved in the pink stone, and continue past the Roman theatre, the Corinthian Tomb and Palace Tomb. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Petra
6th day: ALLENBY / JERICHO / QUMRAN / DEAD SEA / JERUSALEM
After Breakfast visit the Baptismal Site in Bethany beyond the Jordan, declard World’s Heritage by Unesco in 2016, then cross to Israel through Allenby Bridge, visit the oasis Town of Jericho then continue to Qumran, located on the Dead Sea’s northern shore, and the place where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. Now a national park, the caves were used for storage purposes by the Essenes, the sect that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1947, a young Bedouin shepherd discovered manuscript fragments in the caves hidden for centuries in airtight jars. Have time for a swim in the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem.
7th day: BETHLEHEM / SHEPHERDS’ FIELD / EIN KAREM
Drive to Bethlehem to visit the Shepherds’ Field and continue to Manger Square which stands in front of one of the oldest of Christian churches, the Church of the Nativity. Bending low, we enter the Church and descend into the Grotto of the Nativity. Beneath the Altar, a 14 pointed Silver Star marks the exact spot surrounded by the Latin inscription: HICDE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). A short drive takes us to the village of Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist, to visit the church that commemorates his memory. We then pray the Mystery of the Rosary on the walk up the hill to the Church of the Visitation.
8th day: MOUNT OLIVES / OLD CITY / MOUNT ZION
We start the day at the Mount of Olives to take in the panoramic view of Jerusalem. Walking down the “Palm Sunday Road” we visit the beautiful little church, Dominus Flevit – “The Lord wept.” It was here that Jesus wept over Jerusalem [Luke 19:41] prior to His death. At Gethsemane we ponder Jesus’ final night. The Garden contains trees, the roots of which go back to the time of Jesus. We visit the Church of All Nations and pray at the “Rock of Agony,” a section of bedrock identified as the place where Jesus prayed alone in the garden on the night of His arrest. Walk the Way of the Cross at the Antonia Fortress, where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate. From there He was taken through the city to be crucified. The Stations of the Cross lead us to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Later we take route Jesus was taken along as a prisoner to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas where Jesus was interrogated and imprisoned and now called the Church of Peter in Gallicantu. Overnight in Jerusalem.
9th day: JERUSALEM – ROME
Free morning and transfer to the airport in time for the flight (16.30). Arrival in Rome and transfer to the Hotel for the overnight.
10th day: ROME
The visit to the Catacombs of St Callixtus in which dozens of martyrs, 16 pontiffs and many Christians were buried. Guided tour of the Tiber Island, the only island in the Tiber, home to the ancient temple of Aesculapius, god of medicine, transformed into the current medieval church of San Bartolomeo. Through the ancient Cestius and Fabricio bridges you reach the Trastevere district where you visit the Basilica of St Mary in Trastevere.
11th day: ROME
Guided tour of the Basilica of St. Peter, the most important temple of Christianity that brings together 2000 years of history and famous works of art such as Michelangelo’s “Pietà“. In the afternoon meeting with the guide for the thematic itinerary on Caravaggio: the famous “twin churches” S. Maria di Montesano and S. Maria dei Miracoli, the Basilica of S. Maria del Popolo where two works by Caravaggio are kept ( Crucifixion of S. Pietro and Conversione di S. Paolo) and the churches of S. Agostino (The Madonna of Pilgrims), S. Luigi dei Francesi (Cappella Contarelli) and S. Ivo alla Sapienza.
12th day: ROME – PHOENIX
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport in time for flight.