back to Italy


Rome and Assisi with Papal Audience

‘After I have been to Jerusalem, I must also see Rome’

(Acts of the Apostles). 

Spend four nights in Rome, just a stroll from St. Peter's Square, and four nights in the heart of Assisi's old town on this nine day pilgrimage. Full sightseeing and all guided tours are included with the experience of attending a Papal Audience with reserved places to witness the Pontif bless those who attend. The Papal Audience is not a one-to-one meeting – you’ll be part of a crowd of hundreds or even thousands of people. However, it is possible to meet the Pope, and even if you don’t manage to talk to him, it’s still a very memorable experience. The excitement of the crowd is infectious, and there are times when it feels almost like being at a concert!

In Rome, our guide will take you through the streets of 'The Eternal City' from a guided tour of St. Peters, with its sculptures by Michelangelo, through the Medieval Quarter to the magnificent Piazza Navona and the outrageously large and ornate Trevi Fountain. Enjoy tours of the ancient Roman road the Via Appia to the Catacombs of St. Sebastian and the stunning basilicas of Saint Mary Major (Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore), a Major papal basilica as well as one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome and the largest Catholic Marian church in Italy. Also, visit the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano) defined as “the mother of all churches in the world.” Every turn is a wonder of architecture steeped in history.

Pilgrims have been coming to Assisi since the 13th century to venerate St. Francis, who was born and buried here, but you don’t have to be religious to enjoy the beauty of this postcard-perfect town. Framed by the long, undulating hills of Umbria and the forests of Monte Subasio, Assisi is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world and one of Italy’s most spell-binding gems. Assisi isn’t just home to UNESCO World Heritage sites, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The entire town basks in this coveted status because of its plethora of art and historically significant buildings, like the Basilica di San Francesco. The basilica, in particular, has such a collection of frescoes and paintings that it rivals many art museums.


  1. Travel to Rome (D, DR)

    Morning: meet your fellow group members and check-in for your direct flight to Rome. Direct flights are available from both Heathrow and Manchester. On arrival meet your local Tour Manager and check-in at your hotel for a four-night stay. You will be situated just a stroll from the Vatican City and St. Peter's Square.

    Evening: welcome drinks followed by three-course dinner in a local restaurant close to your hotel. A nice opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  2. St Peter’s Basilica & the Medieval Quarter (B, D)

    Morning: a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica. Consecrated in 1626 several renowned architects designed the temple, highlighting the works of Bramante, Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. Study extremely impressive pieces of art, including St. Peter’s Baldachin, a large bronze baldachin designed by Bernini, The Pietà, a sculpture by Michelangelo and the statue of St Peter on his throne. St. Peter has his right foot worn down due to the touches of the devoted. You will also see the tombs of several popes including John Paul II.

    Afternoon: transfer to the Medieval Quarter to explore sites such as the magnificent Piazza Navona, built on the site where the Stadium of Domitian (86 AD) once stood, with its three ornate fountains. Also see the Pantheon, the best-preserved ancient building in the city, this former Roman temple is a marvel of architectural harmony and proportion. It was entirely rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian around AD 120. After, we walk through the streets of Rome to the Trevi Fountain the most beautiful fountain in Rome. The origins of the fountain go back to the year 19 B.C., in which period the fountain formed the end of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct. Throw a coin and you will return to Rome!

    Evening: dinner in a local restaurant.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

  3. Papal Audience and the Catacombs of St. Sebastian (B, D)

    Morning: early stroll to St Peter's Square to take your seat for this morning's Papal Audience. The Audience with the Pope consists of small teachings and readings mainly in Italian but also in English and sometimes. The Pope will give a greeting in each language. At the end of the Audience the Pope will pray together with those attending the Audience, the Our Father prayer in Latin. This Prayer is normally printed on the back of the Papal Audience Ticket. At the end of the prayer he will impart his Apostolic Blessing upon the crowd which also extends to loved ones that are sick and suffering and blesses any religious articles such as rosary beads that people have brought with them for the purpose of the blessing.

    Afternoon: drive part of the Via Appa Antica, one of the most famous ancient roads. It was built in 312 B.C. by Appius Claudius Caecus. In its entirety it spanned 350 miles(563kms) stretching from the Roman Forum to modern day Brindisi. Large stones made up the bulk of its construction. It allowed trade and access to the east, specifically Greece. Then take guided tour of the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, used as a burial pagan place, then at the end of the 2nd century, they were transformed as a Christian Necropolis dedicated to the Saints Peter and Paul. Only in the 4th century did the catacombs take the current name which derives from the name of the Saint placed here after his death (298).

    Evening: dinner in a local restaurant.

    Please note that this is planned for when his holiness is in Rome. Plans may change and the audience can be cancelled at short notice or attended by a cardinal in the event of his holiness being ill.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

  4. Basilicas di Santa Maria Maggiore & San Giovanni in Laterano and the Holy Stairs(B, D)

    Morning: visit of two major basilicas of Rome. The Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore) is a Major papal basilica as well as one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome and the largest Catholic Marian church in Italy. The Basilica of Saint John in Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano) is defined as “the mother of all churches in the world.” You will visit the museum, which collects precious liturgical furnishings, sculptures, and ornaments of an ancient basilica. It was the first Christian basilica built in the city and the Pope’s main place of worship. After, cross the road to see the Scala Santa. According to an ancient Christian tradition, Saint Helena (†335), the mother of Constantine, had the stairs transported from Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem to Rome. It is believed that Jesus climbed these stairs several times the day he was sentenced to death, thus, they are known as the “Scala Pilati” or “Scala Sancta” (the Holy Stairs or Pilate’s Stairs). The first written testimonies to this renowned memory of the Passion are found in a passage from the Liber Pontificalis dating from the time of Sergius II (844-847) and in a Papal Bull issued by Pope Pascal II (1099-1119).

    Afternoon: free to wander at your leisure and explore Rome under your own steam and see other places of interest that you may wish to visit. Our Local Guide will offer a range of suggestions and ideas.

    Evening: dinner in a local restaurant.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

  5. Scenic drive through Umbria to Assisi (B, D)

    Morning: journey through the hills of Umbria to Assisi. On arrival stop in the large piazza dominated by the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.  The church was designed by the architect Galeazzo Alessi in collaboration with Vignola. A gold statue of the Madonna stands out against the sky on the top of the church.

    Afternoon: continue to the old town of Assisi and in the mid-afternoon check-in to your centrally located hotel for a three-night stay. The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax or wander and enjoy the local architecture and views.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

  6. Assisi - St. Francis Basilica, Old Town and Basilica of St Clare (B, D)

    Morning: walk for a guided tour of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Divided into two parts: one is known as the "lower church", built in the rock on one side of Mount Subiaso between 1228 and 1230, and the other as the "upper church", built above it between 1230 and 1253, in the Gothic style. The bell tower is in Romanesque style. The two churches, united under the same name of "basilica", have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000. The body of St. Francis was secretly transferred to the crypt in 1230 and was so well hidden that it was only rediscovered in 1818.

    Afternoon: a walking tour of the Old Town including the New Church (Chiesa Nuova), built on the site of St Francis' house. After, continue to the basilica of St Clare is built in the second half of the 13th century. Three large flying buttresses characterize the construction. The interior is simple and bare. A flight of steps leads down to the Crypt, which contains the mortal remains of St. Clare. The chapel of the Crucifix contains the famous Byzantine crucifix (12th century), which, according to the tradition, is supposed to have spoken to St Francis in the church of St Damian.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel. Being in the centre, enjoy a stroll at your leisure after dinner.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

  7. Sanctuary of La Verna & Stigmata procession (B, L, D)

    Morning: drive to visit one of the most important Franciscan sanctuaries situated in the Tuscan Apennines. Standing on Mount Verna, which Saint Francis of Assisi chose as its location, the monastic complex is today the end-point of pilgrimages from every corner of the world. It all started when Francis met Count Orlando Cattani, the local feudal lord, who was persuaded to donate the mountain of La Verna to the friar. The sanctuary's location, standing on a cliff amidst the greenery of the Casentino woods, makes it one of the most beautiful in Italy, and its close connection to Saint Francis makes it one of the most significant. Even Dante wrote and recounted the story of the final seal, the stigmata that Francis received.

    Afternoon: you will have the opportunity to wander at leisure before joining the daily procession marking the occasion of the Stigmata before returning to Assisi.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

  8. The Eremo (Hermitage) Delle Carceri & San Damiano (B, D, DR)

    Morning: journey above Assisi to the architectural complex called “Hermitage of Carceri” developed around a grotto in which Saint Francis of Assisi used to retreat in order to pray. The Hermitage of Carceri is a place of memory, kept alive by the Franciscan friars who still live there; and a place of witness, as well, permeated with spirituality. After, continue to San Damiano, a church with a monastery built in the 12th century and was where Saint Clare built her community.

    Afternoon: free to explore the Old Town of Assisi, its wonderful architecture, hillside views as well as soaking in its unique atmosphere.

    Evening: farewell drinks to reflect on all that we have seen, and toast new-found friends followed by dinner in the hotel.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

  9. Return to the UK (B)

    After a leisurely breakfast travel to Rome for your afternoon direct flight to the UK.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, AT = Afternoon Tea, D = Dinner, DR = Drink 

Essential Information

Included excursions

  • Rome - guided tour of St Peter's Basilica
  • Rome - guided tour of the Medieval Quarter with Piazza Navona, Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain
  • Rome - Papal Audience*
  • Rome - guided tour of the Catacombs of St. Sebatian
  • Rome - guided tour of the Basilicas di Santa Maria Maggiore & San Giovanni in Laterano and the Holy Stairs
  • Assisi - guided tour of Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli
  • Assisi - guided tour of St. Francis Basilica, Old Town and Basilica of St Clare
  • Assisi - visit to Sanctuary of La Verna & Stigmata procession
  • Assisi - visit the The Eremo (Hermitage) Delle Carceri & San Damiano

*Please note that this is planned for when his holiness is in Rome. Plans may change and the audience can be cancelled at short notice or attended by a cardinal in the event of his holiness being ill.

Optional excursions

None! – all excursions and extras as listed above and below are included!

Included extras

  • Hotel porterage
  • Personal audio guiding system
  • Services of a Local Guide on all excursions
  • Coffee & dolce on one afternoon

Included meals & drinks

Meals: a buffet breakfast each morning and all dinners. In Rome dinners will be a short stroll away in local restaurants allowing for a true, authentic local experience. In Assisi all dinners will be in the hotel. On one afternoon we include tea, coffee and dolce (something sweet).

Drinks: welcome and farewell drinks. All other drinks will be at your own expense.

Our team in Italy

Our dedicated McCabe Tour Leader is there solely for our guests. They will escort all excursions and be available in the hotel for any queries and offer local advice, hints and tips for you to get maximum enjoyment of your time with us. They will also lead worship on some occasions, for those who wish. On each excursion we also enjoy the services of expert local guides who bring these wonderful Italian treasures to life.

Your journey

The flight is direct to Rome with British Airways from London Heathrow. Flight upgrades, for that extra comfort and ease through the airport, as well as regional connecting flights from some UK airports can be arranged at a supplement. An overnight stop at Heathrow may be required which we can assist you with. Please enquire at time of booking.

Flight departs Heathrow: 10:35 

Flight returns: 18:25 

Length of flight to Rome: two hours and 40 minutes

Flight times maybe subject to change and are confirmed with your final paperwork.

Your accommodation

Eight nights’ accommodation four in Rome just a short stroll from St. Peter's Square and four in Assisi in the Old Town.

Your hotels


Just a few hundred metres from St. Peter's Square, alongside the Vatican walls and within walking distance of the Basilica and Vatican Museums. This small hotel has just 38 rooms so there is no city hotel hustle and bustle. The hotel also has its own chapel with daily worship. The hotel is simple but comfortable and has an excellent location.

Hotel facilities: a restaurant with  breakfast buffet, elevator to all floors and a panoramic terrace giving you a breathtaking view of "the most beautiful square in the Western world", here you can sit and feast your eyes on this scenery.

Your hotel room: spacious rooms with air-conditioning/heating, television and complimentary WiFi.

Hotel bathrooms: private bathroom with shower, washbasin and hairdryer.

View the hotels website from the link below.

Hot Hotel (


The San Giacomo Hotel is built over a site dating back to around year 1000 a.c. According to historians and archeological remains found in this area of Assisi and in the foundations, this site was designated as an accommodation for the workers who built up the Basilica of St. Francis. The hotel is located in a strategic and wonderful position in Assisi town center, just 100 meters away from the Basilica itself.

Hotel facilities: a comfortable lounge bar, TV room, lift and a restaurant.

Your hotel room: simply yet comfortably furnished with flat screen TV and complimentary Wifi.

Hotel bathrooms: shower cubicle, hairdryer and complimentary shower gel and shampoo.

View the hotels website from the link below

Hotel San Giacomo Assisi

Practical information

Entry requirements

British Citizen and EU Citizen Passport holders can currently enter Italy freely with no restrictions or other documentation required. Stays within the EU can be up to 90 days (can be spread over multiple visits) within any 180-day period.

Please note your passport must be valid for three months after your return from Italy.

Full details of entry requirements and any required vaccinations will be detailed in your final paperwork 14 days before departure.

For the latest and most up to date travel advice including entry requirements please consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office travel advice website.

Health & wellbeing

For travel within the EU you should ensure that you have the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is free of charge.  You can apply for the GHIC card by calling 0191 218 1999 or applying on line at…

The level of cover offered by the GHIC card varies by country visited and is only applicable in state-run health facilities. In some countries coverage may just be a partial contribution.

Adequate insurance cover will be required for all hospital emergencies and doctors’ visits.


In Rome in May and September the average daily maximum temperature during your stay should be around 24 to 26 degrees centigrade and early mornings and late evenings temperatures can drop to 16 degrees. In November the temperature range is still mild from 10 degrees in the morning and evening to a daily high of 18 degrees. Rainfall is usually a short shower on just a few days of each month.


Dress is casual throughout the holiday. You may wish to take one or two smarter items for the evenings. Cool casual clothing is recommended in the day-time with evenings being smart/casual. As the sightseeing visits require a certain amount of walking, we suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with a good sole for the cobbled streets.


There is a certain amount of walking (and stairs) involved on a daily basis on this holiday so please make sure you pack comfy footwear for this so that you are prepared. Your Local Guides will keep you updated on a daily basis with what to expect the following day. If you are finding it difficult to keep up, then please make sure you tell your Local Guide and Group Leader who can help you to find places to rest and relax and then you can re-join the group at a later stage.

Some streets in towns and villages that you will visit will be cobbled. We suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with good grips or trainers. For your guided walking tours in Rome and Assisi you must be prepared to be on your feet for up to 90 minutes without the need to sit down and walk two to three flights of stairs unaided.

The McCabe Educational Trust

The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on some of our pilgrimages. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £20 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Travel insurance

Ensuring that your holidays are appropriately protected is one of our main priorities. That’s why we have specifically chosen Holiday Extras as our *preferred travel insurance provider to ensure that you are protected before and whilst you are travelling. Holiday Extras offer McCabe Travel guests favourable rates for single trip, multi-trip and annual policies.

For more information or to obtain a quote click below for their website

Or call them on 0800 083 3551 to speak to a friendly advisor.

Please quote AG628 upon calling to receive the best rates

Full financial security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website here

Read reviews


Upcoming Pilgrimages

We have no tours scheduled to this destination at present. Please contact us if you would like to lead or join a tour.

Send to a friend

    Viareggio Carnival

    Prices from £1,999 pp

    Read more

    Travel club

    A portfolio of tours with our regular travellers in mind

    Read more