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Campania, Florence, and Rome

Campania, Florence, and Rome

Campania, Florence, and Rome

Visit the sacred sites of early Christianity and monasticism, walk through temples of the gods, marvel at Renaissance masterpieces, swim in the waters of ancient heroes, and let wonder be your guide as Italy becomes your classroom.

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Visit the sacred sites of early Christianity and monasticism, walk through temples of the gods, marvel at Renaissance masterpieces, swim in the waters of ancient heroes, and let wonder be your guide as Italy becomes your classroom.

Living a Classical Education

You'll visit the sites where Christianity first blossomed in the early churches of Rome. With fellow students you will witness the architecture, frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures that were modeled after a vision of God as you visit Saint Peter’s and the Vatican in Rome, climb towards the celestial spheres in Brunelleschi’s dome, encounter the determined glance of Michelangelo’s David, the radiance of Botticelli’s Spring, and Fra Angelico’s Annunciation that proclaims the message of Christ.

During this tour you will feast at traditional Italian meals in the fellowship of locals and friends, swim in the pristine waters of the Mediterranean, walk through ancient Greek temples and towns in Paestum and Herculaneum, pray in thousand-year-old churches, catacombs, and monasteries, and seek to discover a more meaningful internal purpose as you experience the beauty of the world, history, and lives of saints.

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Day 1

Welcome to Italy

Your Alithea guide will meet you at the airport and bring you to the starting point of our journey, Florence. We’ll use our drive as an orientation to Alithea’s style of travel and a consideration of Pilgrimage. After checking into our hotel in Florence, a Renaissance Palazzo, we’ll head out for a pre-dinner stroll to discover the city of Dante, Brunesceschi, Michelangelo, and the artists whose vision of humanity helped shape our lives today. 

For dinner this evening, we’ll dine alla Fiorentina. We’ll celebrate our first night in Italy with a traditional Florentine meal in a family restaurant famous for it’s Florentine steak, gnocchi, and wine.

Travel time: ~3.5 hrs.

Day 2

Dante, Fra Angelico, and Medieval Florence

After a time of prayer and reflection our morning will continue as we walk through the square of Santa Annunciata and familiarize ourselves with the life of the citizens of the city in medieval times. Our walk with our local guide will walk us through the history of the city and the foundations of Renaissance. Our morning will include visits to the Baptistry with its marvelous mosaic ceiling and the Duomo Museum with its many treasures including the original 'Gates of Paradise' by Ghiberti. The zenith of our morning's activities will be to ascend to the top of Brunelleschi's dome where we will quite literally stand on top of one of the city's greatest achievements.

Our afternoon will continue with a visit to Dante’s house whose work, the Divine Comedy, leads us towards a beatific vision of God. Walking through some of the city's most important streets we'll slowly stroll towards San Miniato where we'll arrive just in time for vespers, the last service of the evening still chanted by the monks in their thousand-year-old church. This evening we’ll dine in the Ultra Arno, the quaint neighborhood of Florence that still feels like a small Italian town.

After breakfast in our hotel, a former Renaissance palazzo, we’ll take a stroll with our local guide to the monastery of Saint Mark's. Here we'll glimpse the prayerful life of a medieval monk as we contemplate the incredible frescoed scenes from the life of Christ as painted by the school of Fran Angelico in the cloistered cells of the former monastery.

Day 3

The Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's David

Our morning will begin with a visit to the spectacular Uffizi Gallery, which contains the greatest collection of Renaissance art held anywhere in the world. As our guide leads us through the museum, we’ll witness a transformation from the medieval and Byzantine style iconic paintings that once adorned churches to the humanist and Renaissance paintings of Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci.

After our morning museum visit, we'll break into small groups to continue to explore the city.

We'll regroup in the later part of the afternoon for one final stroll through the city as we strive to understand the conditions and vision of beauty that led to the Renaissance. Together, we’ll experience how the Christian religious life of the city inspired a fresh vision of the beautiful, the good, and the true. Our walk will conclude at the Accademia Gallery where we’ll see Michelangelo’s David and his spectacular ‘unfinished’ statues.

Day 4

High Speed Trains, Pompeii, and Southern Italian Hospitality

After breakfast this morning we’ll leave our Renaissance palazzo behind to take the high-speed train down to Naples. Our bus will meet us at the station where we’ll load up our luggage before enjoying a pizza lunch, alla Napolitano, Italy’s region most famous for the Italian dish that we’ve all come to love.

After lunch we’ll travel by bus for a visit to nearby Pompeii. This ancient Roman town was destroyed and subsequently saved by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in the first century A.D. Our local guide will walk us through this astonishingly preserved town, where we’ll feel like time-travelers as we explore the stone streets, wander through beautifully frescoed homes, walk through temples and theatres, and learn about the daily life of the citizens.

In the late afternoon we’ll arrive at our beautiful Agriturismo, a seventeenth-century villa, farm, and vineyard, where we’ll have just enough time for a quick swim in the pool before a family-style meal with food produced by our wonderful Italian hosts.

Travel time: ~4 hrs.

Day 5

Ancient Greek Temples, Mozzarella Making, and Italian Cooking Classes

After breakfast in our Agriturismo we’ll continue our classical pilgrimage with a guided visit of the ancient Greek city at Paestum. As we enter the high stone walls, we’ll see some of the best preserved Greek temples anywhere in the world. The temples to Poseidon, Hera, and Athena offer an insight into modes of worship that bestowed the highest honor on the divine in nature and humanity. Walking these ancient stone streets and meandering through the foundations of homes, theaters, and marketplaces, we can almost hear the voices of those who once filled this city named for the god Poseidon and the rustle of the waves in the nearby sea.

The second part of our morning will be dedicated to observing the Italian tradition of making buffalo mozzarella by hand. For today’s lunch we’ll taste some of that same mozzarella as we enjoy another slow-food farm to table experience.

This afternoon we’ll head for a relaxing swim in the nearby sea before regrouping for a cooking class alla Italiana. This evening we’ll eat what we cook and celebrate with local musicians as we enjoy our family style meal.

Travel time: ~45 mins.

Day 6

Saint Benedict and the Origins of Monasticism and the Vatican Museum

This morning we’ll depart early to drive to the mountains of Subiaco where Saint Benedict first dedicated himself to a life of prayer focused on the goodness of God. It was here, on the side of the cliff overlooking the beauty of the surrounding mountains, that the saint founded his first monastic community and developed the monastic rule that would not only guide Christians towards a life of work and prayer but also help to shape all of Western civilization.

Our morning of pilgrimage will follow in the steps of countless others, including Saint Francis who visited this pilgrimage site in the thirteenth century. We will begin our morning at the lower, more recent monastery of Saint Benedict, then we’ll walk up the stone path to the monastery of the Holy Cave, Sacro Speco, where Saint Benedict first lived and which houses a stunning cycle of frescoes dating back to the eighth century. Here we’ll take time for quiet reflection, to encounter the monks, and to consider Benedict’s fuga mundi, flight from the world, and his dedication to a life of prayer and work.

After lunch with the monks we’ll continue our journey to the Eternal City, Roma Eterna. We’ll check into our hotel, an elegant convent dating back to the 17th century, then head out for an evening stroll through the city before dinner and an evening visit to the Vatican Museum. 

Travel time: ~4.5 hrs.

Day 7

Early Christianity, Rome’s oldest Churches, and uncovering the secret treasures of Rome

After breakfast this morning, we’ll head over to Saint Peter’s to pray and reflect in the church built over the place Saint Peter was crucified. This cornerstone of the Catholic faith will lead us upward and inward we see Michelangelo’s pieta and the magnificent dome over the papal altar. This morning we will divide into two groups and as one is guided through the Basilica of Saint Peter with our local guide the other will descend through the excavated layers to the tomb of saint Peter, providing a continuous thread between our own life of prayer and the worship of early Christians and martyrs persecuted for their faith. After our visit to Saint Peter's and the Scavi we will break for lunch. Our afternoon will bring us with our local guide to some of the greatest surviving monuments in the city. Together we'll see the Pantheon and explore the underground history of the waters that have been flowing into the city for the last two millennia.

This evening we’ll raise our glasses in toasts, reflections, and the fellowship of our friends as we enjoy a final feast together.

Day 8

The Eternal City

The eternal city is a place of enchantment and wonder, where every corner reveals another layer, every ancient stone points to a fragment of time, and the overwhelming history and beauty of the city is an experience of civilization, humanity, and religion that for millennia have served as the foundation of our own.

This morning, after breakfast, we will begin our visit to this magical city with a visit to San Clemente. This spectacular basilica from the eleventh century is an image of Christian pilgrimage and the many layers of Rome. It was built above an early fourth century church, which was built above a Roman villa, temple, and ancient city streets. This morning, beginning at street level, we’ll descend through each of those now excavated underground layers and seemingly travel back in time more than two-thousand years.

After our visit to San Clemente, our local guide will bring us through the Roman Colosseum, Forum, and Capitoline hill for an introduction to the temples, games, and civic life of ancient Rome. We’ll be free throughout the later part of the afternoon to explore the city in small groups before we regroup to share our adventures over a quintessential dinner alla Romana at a family-run restaurant and then conclude our day with an evening stroll where we will see the Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and Hadrian’s Temple. La Dolce Vita.

Day 9

Say not fare well but fare forward

Those interested will wake up early this morning for a photographic stroll through the city as we watch the sun rise over the forum, Colosseum, and Pantheon. After an early breakfast in our hotel we’ll say farewell to the Eternal City and head to the airport for a final goodbye and to catch our flight home.

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sample Itinerary
· Day 1  
Arrive in Rome, get settled into the Villa Lante, our beautiful convent residence. This afternoon we’ll stroll through the city visiting Santa Maria in Cosmedin, the Capitoline, and the Pantheon before celebrating our first night with a traditional Roman dinner.

· Day 2
This morning we’ll visit the Forum and Palatine, taking time to read excepts from Cicero, Plutarch, and Livy.

· Day 3
Today we’ll travel to Subiaco to visit the first Monastery of Saint Benedict. Returning to the city after lunch, we’ll stop to see Santa Costanza, Saint Agnese outside the walls, and the Catacombs of Priscilla.

· Day 4
This morning we’ll visit the Scavi of Saint Peters, tour the Basilica, then visit the Vatican Museum.

· Day 5
After breakfast this morning, we’ll depart for Pompeii, the ancient Roman city destroyed (and preserved) by the eruption of Vesuvius.  

· Day 6
Students who wish to attend Sunday services this morning may do so. In the later part of the day we’ll regroup to visit Saint Peter in Chains, San Clemente, and conclude the day with vespers.  

· Day 7
This morning we will visit the Borghese Gallery and make a tour of churches with the works of Caravaggio in Rome.

· Day 8
We’ll depart by train for Florence. After checking into our hotel, we’ll visit the central market for lunch, have a walking tour through Medieval and Renaissance Florence, and conclude with a visit to the Accademia and Michelangelo’s David.

· Day 9
This morning we’ll visit San Marco, visit the Baptistry and climb Bruneleschi’s dome. This afternoon we’ll be free to explore the city in small groups before regrouping for vespers in San Miniato.  

· Day 10
This morning we’ll visit the Uffizi Gallery followed by a free afternoon with small group visits to Dante’s house, the Bargello, and Santa Croce. This evening we’ll celebrate with a Tuscan feast.

· Day 11
Depart Florence, fly home.

12 Days In Turkey

· Istanbul, 3 days: Hagia Sophia, Hagai Irene, Chora, Patriarchate, underground cistern, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace

· Cappadocia, 3 days: Gorem church, underground city and churches, open air monastery, Hittite Pottery lecture, and hot air balloon ride.

· Pergamon, 1 night: an ancient Roman city where Paul preached and one of the churches of Revelation.

· Sardis, stop only: One of the oldest synagogues, one of the churches of Revelation to whom it is written:  “If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”

· Loadacia, (2 nights in Pamukkale): one of the churches of Revelation, to whom it is written: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.”

· Hierapolis: archeological site of the ancient city and the monument to the martyrdom of St. Phillip.

· Miletus: one of the stops on St. Paul’s third missionary journey.

· Ephesus, (3 nights Kusadisi): the Basilica of Saint John, Ephesus, House of Mary, and Basilica of Mary

· Tarsus, (possible extension): the birthplace of St. Paul, center of stoic philosophy, where paul trained at the gymnasium

· Antioch, (possible extension): the church of St. Peter (one of the oldest churches in the world), center of Paul’s missionary journeys, and first site where Christians took the name.


Guided by the image of the Incarnation, that “God was made flesh and dwelt among us” in order that we might become like Him, a pilgrimage is more than a trip to the places of the bible, to the sites of the early church, or to the homes of the saints, it is a journey that seeks to place the image of Christ in us that we might be made more like Him.


The antidote to consumer travel, the goal of pilgrimage is for travelers to stand as Moses before the burning bush, to be transformed, and to have their own lives taken up and changed by the spiritual realities they seek.

Each day will incorporate suggested readings from scripture and the writings of the early church, time for private or shared reflection and prayer, and meals that celebrate the joy of God in neighbor.

A prayerful understanding of place

For Christians, place is never just the created, natural order, nor is it pure, spiritual reality, it must always be both. A pilgrimage encounter with place must both seek God in place, in the finite and particular, through the lives and examples of the Saints and it must require travelers to take those footsteps themselves, each traveler must seek to move through place to God. From this perspective, pilgrimage is an image of prayer, it seeks to turn the body, the footsteps, the act of every traveler into the image of prayer.


The modern country is the geographic center of many of the events of the bible and early church. It is in in Turkey that Abraham circumcised Isaac, that Jacob wrestled the angel, that Paul and Peter founded the church of Antioch, that Byzantine Christianity thrived for more than thousand years, and to this day it is the home of the Armenian Apostolic tradition, the Assyrian church, and it is the only county where Aramaic, the language of Christ, is still spoken.


To challenge the apathy and aimlessness of our current cultural moment with mental discipline and rigorous training.


• Early morning workouts
• Rucking
• Pre-dawn Mount Kerkis hike
• Hike to Cave of Pythagoras
• Underwater rock hauling
• Megalo Seitani hike
• Ice baths
• Roasted lamb or goat on a spit
• Big meals with an abundance of food, roasted meats, wine, toasts, and a spirit of fellowship and conviviality
• Camaraderie, contemplation, and conversation
• Open-water swims and spearfishing (optional)


SQ4 coaches men to achieve a higher level of fitness and athletic excellence by blending the principles of ancient philosophy with the empirical depth of modern exercise science designed to permanently enhance their life, mindset, habits, and physique.


The key to a lasting fitness transformation is understanding the layered nature of man.  The SQ4 methodology is based on the ancient understanding of man and virtue that transcends cultures and epochs:

• Psyche – Life – Courage
• Nous – Mindset – Wisdom
• Pneuma – Habits – Temperance
• Soma – Physique – Justice


It's not merely a trip to historic site of the classical world; it's a calling to an embodied experience.

Written by
Nate C.


• Daily pilates
• Biking the trans humana ancient shepherd paths
• Cooking lesson
• Winery and Olive Oil visits
• Castel del Monte of Frederick II
• Visits to locals towns
• Relaxing evenings of wine, food, and a spirit of celebration
• Practicing keeping the body young with age
• Meeting with local pottersSpa and self-care


More than a trip to Italy, this weeklong travel-retreat will focus on being healthy physically and mentally through activities that nourish and rejuvenate. Whether detoxing from cell phones, work, or other daily demands, this is an opportunity to be in the moment, to enjoy delicious Italian food, wine, and the fresh perspectives provided by a stunning Italian landscape.


Self care doesn’t just mean pampering, it means intentionality. Pilates trains your body to make intelligent movements that support your body all day, every day. Travel encourages a perspective of vulnerability, of stepping into the new and beautiful in order to rediscover the new and beautiful within yourself. From this perspective, an experience of the ‘importance of place’ in Puglia is equally to realize that connectedness within yourself.


All breakfasts, all lunches, and all dinners.
Bus and high-speed train transportation between activities, sites, and cities
8 nights in family-run boutique style hotels.
Entrances and local guides to more than 15 different sites
Your friendly Alithea tour manager for the duration of the tour.
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For further questions don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.



Pack Light

Alithea hotels are boutique, family-run and centrally located in the historic centers where the ancient roads are too small for buses. That often means needing to walk between our bus and hotels and on occasion between our hotel and train station. Between destinations we will be required to carry our own luggage which may include significant stairs and no elevator. We encourage our travelers to take a simple carry-on size bag with a small backpack for outings.

Come Prepared

Alithea tours are outrageously fun. Come prepared to live in the moment. We will walk, talk, celebrate, dine, and make beautiful discoveries together. This is a physically strenuous high energy trip designed for the immense energy and interest of students. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns before booking.

Bus and Travel Time

On our Italian pilgrimage, we will take the bus and high-speed train in order to arrive at the spectacular destinations we’ll be visiting. We’ll not only use this time to relax and enjoy the view but also to prepare with our Alithea guide for the sites we’ll visit next.


For further questions don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.

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Reserve Your Place

Campania, Florence, and Rome

Campania, Florence, and Rome

A $500 deposit is required to reserve your spot. All deposits and discounts (if applicable) will be applied to the total tour price. Deposits are refundable within 30 days of payment.

*Read our refund policy here
A Christian Classical Approach to Travel
Travel encourages a living experience of art, history, and ideas that transforms the classroom into an immersive experience of truth, beauty, and goodness. Museums, meals, archeological sites, and foreign languages are not merely artifacts that help students consider the world, they cultivate a love of wonder, moral imagination, and a rich understanding of the truth. More than a student trip, travel is an invitation to become a lifelong practitioner of the loves that shape the soul.
The Prayerful Traditions of Europe
Rather than treating churches and monasteries as defunct historical monuments, Alithea and Oakdale Academy invite students to approach them as places of prayer and worship