It is our absolute pleasure to share highlights of our tour of Italy with you. Below, please find links to the glowing press coverage that we received, photographs of each location we toured (all taken by the amazing Eric Manougian of Silver Coast Media), and brief descriptions of the events, performances, and fun we had along the way!
ROME! The boy choristers meet Pope Francis, bring their talents to the Eternal City, and train to survive the life of a gladiator.
What is there to say of Rome that hasn't been said before? It is the Eternal City, the home of our Holy Father, the Pope, and work of art that is somehow ancient, medieval, and modern. In quick succession, we toured Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Saint Peter's Basilica, and Vatican City.
The highlight, of course, was the General Audience with the Pope, in which six of our choristers rode in the Pope Mobile with Pope Francis. Shortly afterwards, the full choir sang for, met, and took a photo with His Holiness.
Later, the boys toured the Vatican Museums, gazed up in wonder at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and trained like gladiators.
The boy choristers also sang a beautiful concert with the Sistine Chapel Choir at San Carlo al Corso, minutes away from the Pantheon, and a beautiful Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore that was filmed by EWTN.
Florence! The boy choristers scale the Duomo, read Dante, and visit their "old" friend David.
The city of Florence held sway over our choristers' hearts and imaginations.
Less busy than Rome, there was still no way to ignore the draw of the Duomo. First captivated by the bronze doors of the baptistry so expertly crafted by Ghiberti, the boys' imaginations were set afire by his rival's dome. Brunelleschi's mark on the city - and on our boys' hearts - was clear from the first moment Santa Maria del Fiore came into view.
Exploring the Uffizi, the catacombs between the city and Rome, and the views from within and atop the Duomo were unforgettable experiences! That's not to mention the largest collection of Michelangelo statues and, of course, who could forget David?
Venice! The boy choristers travel the seas like Marco Polo, live like a doge, and sing like the angelic mosaics of San Marco.
One of the most remarkable cities in the world, Venice felt like a playground of history. The storied place that the Venetian Republic held as the center of trade between Europe, Asia, and Africa was written upon the city's stones.
Lucky us, we strolled the canals and passageways in the early mornings before they filled with our fellow tourists. Here, we toured the Doge's Palace, sighed at the Bridge of Sighs, and ate lots of gelato.
In Venice we learned what a joy it is to get lost. Never have GPSs failed more -- and we absolutely loved it. Each narrow street or canal opened onto a square with a delicious restaurant, a beautiful church, or a delightful scene of life in Venice. Exploring Murano and Burano was wonderful -- and colorful!
Little can compare to the majesty of singing Mass in Saint Mark's. A true melding of Eastern and Western Christian traditions was plastered into the walls, ceiling, and domes before our very eyes. What an honor for the boys to brings their voices and faith to such a beautiful house of worship!