Italy, Gonzaga & the Vatican

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Faith enrichment.
Inspiration.
Personal growth.

With ancient culture dating back nearly 3,000 years, Italy has some of the most fascinating history in all of Europe.

As the seat of the Catholic Church, it provides an unparalleled opportunity for religious exploration.

In partnership with Gonzaga University’s renowned Florence campus, Holy Names Academy is invited to experience beauty, social diversity, fascinating traditions and ancient culture, while putting faith into action.

You’ll marvel at, and gain an understanding for, the achievements, wealth and authority that have defined the Catholic church for more than 2,000 years.

Studying at Gonzaga University’s Florence campus is an exclusive offering to Quo Vadis students. Widely considered one of the best collegiate study abroad programs around, time spent with faculty and staff will deepen your understanding of the Italian culture, inspire you to learn more, and offer a compelling glimpse into your potential university life.

Through this partnership you will gain access to local Florentines including those who will welcome you into their home for an exchange of homemade food and language lessons, as well as those in need who you will have the opportunity to serve.

You will discover how embracing service, education, culture and friendship will help you form enduring connections to this ancient nation, its diverse people and your own faith.

Program Snap Shot

Smaller group. Bigger impact!

Program length:  9 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $4,295
Program Departs: week of June 24, 2019

Minimum Group:  25 Paying Travelers

Program priced from SEA-TAC


Program Highlights:
  • Vatican City: The smallest country on Earth
  • Meet with a Priest who lives & works in the Vatican
  • Explore the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums
  • Provide meaningful service work to communities in need
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Craft, bake & devour your own hand-made pizza
  • Walk through Florence guided by renowned faculty from Gonzaga University
  • Attend mass at Gonzaga in Florence
  • Get a taste of college life abroad by experiencing campus culture
  • Participate in a soccer game with locals and refugees
  • Study Italian culture & history with GU professors
  • Enjoy being a distinguished dinner guest in a Florentine home at “Pasta for English” night
  • Examine timeless masterpieces at the Uffizi Gallery
  • Marvel at Michelangelo’s “The David”
  • Wonder at the awe-inspiring Duomo
  • Gain optional college credit

ITALY - La Dolce Vita - Educational Travel Program -  Quo Student Travel

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LEAD this Adventure!

Full Program Itinerary

Day One: Bon Voyage!
Today we depart the U.S. for Rome, Italy
Day Two: Benvenuto, Italia!
This morning, we arrive in the “Eternal City,” Rome.

We’ll waste no time, as we begin our adventure with an active exploration of “Roma, Eterna!”

  • Our first-hand introduction to Italian culture begins by experiencing many of Rome’s most iconic sites.
  • Expert local guides will explain the past and present significance and importance of these sites, including: Hadrian’s Pantheon, St. Patrick ChurchChiesa del Gesu a Roma (St. Ignatius Loyola’s Grave), the newly restored Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
  • The monumental, ornate and historic Piazza Navona is known for, among other things, being a fantastic place to enjoy GELATO. Here, we’ll get our first life-changing taste of authentic Italian ice cream!

Tonight, we’ll dine like joyful Romans at our “Welcome to Italy” dinner.

Day Three: Vatican City
We’ll wake this morning and step into the world’s smallest country and the heart of the universal Catholic Church: Vatican City.

  • There are few experiences in life more powerful and memorable than an in-depth and hands-on experience of the Vatican.
  • We’ll have an expert guided tour of the Sistine Chapel, with its breathtaking frescos by Michelangelo, and the Raphael Rooms, which established Raphael’s reputation in Rome. We’ll also explore the priceless masterpieces in the Vatican Museums, and witness first-hand some of the most holy and famous sites on earth.
  • Next, Quo Vadis students will have the unique opportunity to meet with an official Vatican emissary, a Catholic Priest who lives and works in the Vatican
  • Following our visit to the Vatican, we’ll enter St. Peter’s Basilica, and learn why it is the most important church in the Catholic faith.

This afternoon, we will take part in a service project in conjunction with local Roman students.

Day Four: City of Monuments & Ruins
Some of Rome’s most epic highlights await you today!

  • This morning, we’ll explore another of Rome’s icons: the Colosseum. Here we will discover the truth about whether Christians were really fed to lions to entertain the Roman citizens.
  • The Colosseum is fascinating to the modern-day visitor. With the assistance of our local Roman expert, we’ll marvel at the construction and learn what the tunnels under the arena were used for. (“How did they flood the floor of the Coliseum to stage sea battles?” An excellent question for our guide.)
  • Next, it’s on to the Roman Forum where we’ll walk through ancient ruins dating back more than 2,000 years. Our guide will explain the layout of the Forum and the fascinating purpose of the various buildings.
  • Our exploration isn’t complete without traversing Palatine Hill and Fori Imperiali.

This afternoon is about application of what we are learning and discovering.

  • After lunch, we’ll apply the inspiration that springs from all this antiquity as we take part in a hands-on art lesson with a local Roman artist. There is no better souvenir than creating your own masterpiece to take home!

Before setting the stage for the next phase of our adventure, we’ll set aside extra time after dinner for discussion, reflection and journaling.

Day Five: Pisa and the Beach!
Today we’ll explore one of the most iconic cities in Italy: Pisa!

  • The Italian countryside rolls by our window as we marvel at the many ancient Italian towns along the way. You’ll note the progression of architectural styles through the region, culminating in the Romanesque style made so famous in Pisa.
  • Our drive has its rewards, you’ll note, as we approach one of Europe’s most iconic buildings, the Leaning Tower.
  • There will be time to explore, and you may find yourself posing for a picture as you demonstrate your strength by “holding up” the tilting monument.
  • Pisa is one of Italy’s great souvenir stops, so we will take a little time to shop the local vendors.

La dolce Vita! For a “postcard perfect” afternoon, we’ll make our way to the Mediterranean coast for some time on the beach near Viarregio!

Next, we’ll make our way to spectacular, beautiful & culturally rich Florence!

At dinner tonight, you’ll have a chance to practice using some of your new Italian words & phrases.

Day Six: Florence
This morning, we’ll encounter the city of the Medici, Firenze! Our introduction to this majestic city is made possible only for Quo Vadis students through our partnership with Gonzaga in Florence

  • Meet legendary Professor Mercedes Carrara for an architectural touof this famous Renaissance city.
  • Prepare to be in awe as we visit the magnificent Santa Maria Novella – the city’s first great basillica and principal Dominican church with its adjoining cloister and chapter house.
  • After marveling at its treasures and gothic frescoes, we move on to the acclaimed Accademia Gallery, where the most famous of Michelangelo’s works is on display – the Statue of David.
  • Gain an understanding of the impact of these key sites on the Florentines, past and present.
  • Enjoy lunch in Florence as a college student would with the infamous “Bruno’s Special” at La Spada Ristorante.
  • Florence is known for its historic craftsmanship. Watch tradition come alive as we learn from a typical Florentine craftsman. We’ll participate in a hands-on leather workshop with a local shoemaker!
  • This afternoon, experience a unique aspect of life as a Catholic student in Italy: attend a private welcome mass at Gonzaga University’s Florence Campus.

Take part in more than dinner tonight at Teatro del Sale. This eclectic, creative venue is home to art, culture & food. Artists, performances & entertainment converge in a distinctly Italian way. The meal is served family-style, leading to conversations and an organic cultural exchange.

Day Seven: Art and Man
Today we will gain a deeper understanding of Italian history and culture as we tour the Uffizi Gallery

  • The Uffizi is home to many of the most important & valuable masterpieces in human history.
  • Marvel at Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” as well as masterworks by Leonardo da VinciRaphaelCaravaggioMichelangelo and Titian, to name a few.

No trip to Florence is complete without a chance to stroll through Ponte Vecchio, known for its small shops and merchants.

Florence will have a profound impact on you, but next, you’ll make an impact on Florence as we embark on an afternoon of meaningful community service.

  • Immediately after, your group will pause to reflect on the work that’s taken place, the impact it had on those served, and its impact on you.

Pasta for English: This is a truly special night in Florence. You’ll be welcomed into the home of a local family who’ll teach you the true art of Italian pasta-making. In turn, you’ll provide an English lesson. The ensuing cultural exchange will deliver benefits that last for years to come.

Day Eight: Firenze!
As the capital city of the Tuscany region, Florence is one of the most visited and beautiful cities in Italy.

  • Today, you’ll immerse yourself in historic gothic architecture at Il Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as Il Duomo, or simply, “the cathedral.” This historic cathedral was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982!
  • Later, you’ll descend into the Cathedral Santa Reparata, which was the original Florentine cathedral, on top of which Il Duomo was constructed.
  • As the largest and most elegant garden in Italy, Boboli Gardens offers both beauty and history.  Home to 16th and 17th century sculptures, fountains, palazzos, and Roman-era antiquities, you’ll step back in time as you make your way through this breathtaking collection of outdoor art.
  • You’ll also trek high up on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River to the historic Piazza Michelangelo.  From this vantage point, you’ll take in the most phenomenal views of the city.
  • Cap your experience with a true cultural interaction when you gather with a group of local students and refugees to practice the universal language of friendship: soccer!
  • Finally, we’ll enjoy an Italian farewell dinner and reflect upon the many ways that our experiences in “The Boot” have inspired us, taught us and transformed us.
Day Nine: Arrivederci!
This morning we’ll depart the birthplace of the Renaissance and transfer to the airport to begin our journey home.

Buan viaggio!

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