Paul’s journey to Rome that concludes the book of Act is one of the most exciting stories in ancient literature. It recounts the fateful shipwreck that occurred west of Crete. Our tour will pick up the story on the island of Malta where Paul and the other 275 survivors came ashore. From Malta we will visit each of Paul’s stops on his way to Rome mentioned in Acts 28. We first ferry to Sicily to see the archaeological wonders of Syracuse, Argrigento, and Taormina. After the ferry crossing of the Strait of Messina, we come to Reggio Calabria. In the Naples area we will see the volcanized remains of Pompeii, the fabled Naples Archaeological Museum, and the port of Puteoli where Paul made landfall. We will then follow the Appian Way to Rome, stopping at the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. Our four days in Rome are packed with visits to all the major archaeological sites. Our twelve days will be filled with fascinating sites, beautiful scenery, and exquisite food, so I invite to join me as we sail and walk in Paul’s footsteps.
Apr 27, Wednesday
Depart USA – Fly Malta (MLA)
Apr 28 Thursday, Arrive Malta
Arrival to Malta and transfer to the hotel. Please be ready at the lobby of our hotel at 13:00 to begin a half day (5 hours) guided tour. Transfer to Maritime Museum to see the Roman Period Anchors. Take (weather permitting) Fregatina Boats (multiple boats will be used as 1 boat take maximum 6 people). Go up to Upper Barakka Garden (photo stop) by lift. Visit St John’s Co Cathedral St Paul’s Shipwreck Church. Transfer back to hotel and end of tour. Dinner & Overnight in Malta. After dinner, lecture by Mark Gatt on the Shipwreck of Paul (if available).
Apr 29 Friday, Malta
07:30 am Full day with English-speaking guide by coach. Today we will tour the Island of Malta—the place where Paul was shipwrecked and where he spent three months before departing, as a prisoner, to Rome (Acts 28:1, 11). Transfer to Bugibba Jetty, meet Mark Gatt there, take a private luzzu (weather permitting.) Visit Salina Bay and St. Paul’s island. Walk up to the statue, take a few pictures, brief explanation why this place erroneously became the traditional shipwreck site. Visit the archeological excavations at San Pawl Miqli. Transfer to Rabat. Visit St. Paul’s Grotto, St. Paul’s Church, and the Domus Romana.
Apr 30, Saturday: Malta – Ferry to Pozzallo – Agrigento – Syracuse
We will have a very early check-out and pick-up (and boxed breakfast) in order to catch the 05:00 ferry to Sicily. Upon our arrival at 06:45, we will be met by our driver in Pozzallo and drive to Agrigento for lunch and a visit to the World Heritage Site of the Valley of Temples. Then we will proceed to Syracuse for dinner and overnight (B,D)
May 1, Sunday: Syracuse – Taormina
After breakfast at hotel and checkout, we will enjoy a morning guided visit the archeological park with its theater and amphitheater. After lunch we will have a walking tour of Ortygia island before driving to Taormina where we will have dinner and overnight. (B,D)
May 2, Monday: Taormina – Ferry to Reggio Calabria
After breakfast and check-out at the hotel, we will enjoy a guided visit of the beautiful town of Taormina including the ancient Greek theater. We will then drive to Messina for lunch and to catch the afternoon ferry to Reggio Calabria. Upon arrival, we will meet our guide and driver and visit the Museum of Magna Grecia. We will also have a walking tour to view some of the ruins of ancient Rhegium, ending at the Cattedrale di Maria SS Asunta where a statue commemorates Paul’s visit. Our bus will then take us north for dinner and overnight in Lamezia Terme. (B,D)
May 3, Tuesday: Reggio Calabria – Pompeii
After an early breakfast and checkout, we will drive up the coast of Italy to Pompeii. After lunch, we will have an extended guided visit to the famous city buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Dinner and overnight in Naples area (B,D)
May 4, Wednesday: Naples – Pozzuoli
After breakfast, our driver will take us to the Naples Archeological Museum for a morning tour that includes many of the objects found at Pompeii. After lunch we will begin following Paul from the ancient port of Puteoli, visiting the Rione Terra, Temple of Serapis, the temple of Augustus converted into a Christian cathedral, and the amphitheater. You will end the afternoon by walking along Paul’s path out of the city towards Capua, passing ancient tombs and walking on part of the ancient road that still survives. Dinner and overnight in Pozzuoli. (B,D)
May 5, Thursday: Capua – Minturnae – Formia – Terracina
After breakfast and check-out, our bus will take us to ancient Capua where Paul and his party joined the Via Appia. From there you will drive to Minturnae for a brief tour of the archeological site. After lunch we will continue along Paul’s route through the ancient towns of Formiae, Itri, and Fondi to Terracina. We will dinner and overnight at the ancient Forum of Appius (Borgo Faiti) where the Christians from Rome came to meet Paul. (B,D)
May 6, Friday: Appia Antica – Rome
After breakfast at our hotel, we will follow the Via Appia north from the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns. We will then continue through Ariccia to the outskirts of Rome where we will walk another stretch of the Appian Way as it approaches Rome. After lunch we will visit the Circus of Maxentius, the Catacombs of Domitilla and the church of Quo Vadis. Our bus will then take us past the sites where Paul would have been handed over to the Roman authorities before checking into our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (B,D)
May 7, Saturday: The Vatican and Early Christian Rome
Breakfast at our hotel. Our guide and driver will take us to Vatican City where we will begin with a tour of the famous Vatican Museum. We will concentrate our attention on the Pio Christian Museum of early Christian art and artifacts, but will also see some of the most famous rooms, statues, and of course the Sistine Chapel. We will exit the museum into St. Peter’s Basilica, thought to be St. Peter’s final resting place. After lunch in the Vatican area, we will cross the Tiber to visit the ancient hippodrome now preserved as the Piazza Navona, the famous Pantheon, as well as the more modern iconic Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps before ending at the Ara Pacis. Our final visit today is the Mausoleum of Augustus, which is right next to the Ara Pacis. Transfer back to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (B,D)
May 8, Sunday: Imperial Rome
After breakfast your local guide will take you on a full-day walking tour of the center of ancient Rome. In the morning we will visit the Roman forum and Palatine hill, as well as the Mamertine prison. After lunch we will walk by the imperial fora to visit the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine. At the end of the guided tour, our coach will return us to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
May 9, Monday: Rome of the Martyrs
Following breakfast at our hotel, our final day in Rome will consist in a tour of important early Christian sites. First , we will trace the final hours of St. Paul, visiting the church of Tre Fontane and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls where he was purportedly executed and buried. After lunch we will visit the Milvian Bridge where Constantine’s famous victory took place, the early church and tomb of Santa Costanza, and the Basilica and early baptistry of St. John Lateran. Dinner and overnight in Rome. (B,D)
May 10, Tuesday: Rome Airport – Fly Back
Breakfast at hotel and check-out. Transfer by private bus to the Fiumicino airport. Depart for home.
Carl Rasmussen is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Dropsie University (now the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania). Dr. Rasmussen has spent 16 years of his adult life living in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey, where he taught and led academic study programs. Since his retirement from Bethel University, Dr. Rasmussen has continued to teach and lead adult study tours in Turkey, Greece, and Israel. Each year he spends time in Jerusalem, where he is Adjunct Professor at the Jerusalem University College. [More Bio]
Prof. Glen L. Thompson is Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament and Historical Theology at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong. A graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, he served as a Lutheran pastor before enrolling in Columbia University where he earned M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees (1990) in ancient history. Since that time Dr. Thompson has served in numerous academic and administrative positions, including ten years as Professor of History at Wisconsin Lutheran College, before accepting his current position in Hong Kong in 2012. [More Bio]
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