Authentic Italy

What is God doing through Cru in Italy?

Registration for the 2022 tour has closed.
Check back in the fall for the 2023 dates.

Registration for 2022 is now closed

October 1-8, 2022

COST: $2990 + airfare per person
Only 12 spots available

Hold your spot with an $800 non-refundable deposit by June 24, 2022

Balance of $2190 due by July 25, 2022

Register & Pay Deposit



What is God doing through Cru in Italy?

Join us on a journey of discovery with Cru’s Italian ministry, Agape Italia. You will see the places where God is at work through Agape Italia in Rome, Florence, and Bologna. You’ll hear about the rich Christian heritage of Italy, its urgent spiritual needs, and ways that you can have an impact through involvement with Agape Italia.

Come with us! 

  • meet Italians whose lives have been changed by Jesus
  • minister to students, refugees, professionals, and professors alongside our Agape Italia staff
  • enjoy leisurely dinners of great food in good company
  • see the Roman locations associated with the Roman Empire and the early Christians
  • learn the spiritual history of Renaissance Florence
  • visit the oldest university in the west in Bologna
  • learn to make pasta, Italian appetizers, and tiramisu, taught by true Italian mamas
  • shop in the street markets of Florence
  • enjoy a private visit to an artisan workshop that creates unique works of art using ancient mosaic techniques
  • did we mention the food?

You’ll be part of a small group of 12 people for an intimate look at authentic Italy. We’ll travel the way Italians do—by train—not in a tour bus. You’ll be personally guided by Agape Italia’s staff.


Included in the $2990 price:

  • 7 nights lodging in four-star hotels in Rome and Florence
  • All ground transportation by train, bus, metro, and taxi
  • All admissions
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners (for other dinners together we’ll split the check)
  • A special artisan gift

Not included:

  • Airfare
  • Final night hotel on October 8th in your departure city
  • Additional days you schedule in Italy before or after the tour

Special Note:
To combat jet-lag and be ready to “hit the ground running” with us on Day 1, we recommend you arrive in Italy 1-3 days before the tour begins. If this is your first visit to Italy, you could use those days to visit major sites which this tour does not include, such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican. We can connect you with an excellent local tour guide who will create a custom visit for you.

Hold your spot with an $800 non-refundable deposit by June 24, 2022
Balance of $2190 due by July 25, 2022

Your Hosts


Haswell and Maria Beni

Maria Nolfo came to Christ as a student in Rome through Cru/Agape Italia. She joined our staff and eventually met Haswell Beni while on an Agape Italia summer mission to Malawi. They later married, and have served with Agape Italia together since 1992.



Kenneth McGraw

A native Texan, Kenneth met his wife Alicia while they interned for our student ministry in Bologna. They moved back to Italy permanently in 2019, where they reach out to University of Bologna students with the good news of Jesus.



Daryl and Ceil Wilson

42-year veterans of Cru, Daryl and Ceil have served in eight different Cru ministries. Since 2012, they have spent part of each year in Italy, connecting American Christian professors with students and professors in Italy.



Italy—though post-Christian like the rest of Europe—has a rich Christian history. Today God is building upon these ancient foundations through Agape Italia and other Italian believers. Each day of your trip will acquaint you with a different aspect of God’s work in Italy. (Planned events are subject to change.)

Day 1: Foundations

Meet your hosts at 11:00 a.m. at NH Collection Vittorio Veneto Hotel overlooking the Borghese Gardens in Rome. After a welcome lunch, we’ll visit Trajan’s Market, with a spectacular terrace view over ancient Rome, as we ponder the foundations of Italian culture and our own Christian faith.

We’ll visit nearby ancient monuments. Then we’ll wander up to the Pantheon area to hear the spiritual stories behind the most complete ancient building in Rome, plus the famous paintings of St. Matthew by the Baroque painter Caravaggio in a nearby church.

Day 2: Family Life Ministry and Refugee Ministry

After attending church in Rome, we’ll explore places connected with the early Christians in Rome, including the Catacombs of Priscilla.

In the evening we’ll enjoy aperitivo together while you learn about the cultural differences and spiritual needs of Italy from Agape Italia’s national director, Franco Bosio. Families are the foundation of Italian society, but they are under threat from post-modern cultural changes. Franco will introduce you to Italians who serve alongside him in our Family Life ministry, building strong marriages and leading Italians to Christ.

After a performance by a classical guitarist, a special Middle Eastern dinner will be prepared for us by refugees from Afghanistan who are now believers and serve in our ministry to other refugees. You’ll hear their compelling stories of how God worked to bring them to faith in Jesus.

Day 3: Athletes in Action

In the morning, we’ll explore the layers of Christian history in Rome at the Basilica of San Clemente, where a 12th-century basilica is built on top of a 4th-century basilica, which is built on top of an ancient Mithraic temple.

After lunch, we’ll visit Foro Italico, Italy’s sport university, and Rome’s Olympic stadium as we hear how God is using sports to reach Italians with the gospel.

Day 4: Pasta-making and Humanitarian Projects for Malawi

We’ll take the fast train for our journey north to Florence, where you’ll settle into Grand Hotel Cavour, just two blocks south of the Duomo in the center of the city. You’ll be welcomed by Agape Italia’s Florence staff at a reception on the hotel’s rooftop terrace with a bird’s-eye view of Florence’s medieval and Renaissance skyline.

After lunch together, your host Haswell Beni will take you on a walking tour through the historic center of Florence. We will end up at St. James Episcopal Church, where you’ll learn how to make a three-course Italian meal, including home-made pasta, with our team of real Italian mamas.

You’ll meet Italians who work together on humanitarian projects in Haswell’s home village in Malawi. You’ll hear how seeing Jesus’ love put in action is leading not just Malawians, but also non-believing Italians toward a relationship with Jesus. Then we’ll feast together with your new Italian friends on antipasti, pasta, and tiramisu that you made yourselves.

Day 5: Professor and Student Ministries

We’ll ponder the lovely devotional frescoes of Fra Angelico at the former monastery Museo San Marco.

You’ll hear how Christian professors from America who are connected to Cru’s faculty ministry are sharing God’s love with Italian students and professors. You can watch Dr. Phil Bishop put this in action as he lectures to students at the University of Florence.

Free time in the afternoon gives you an opportunity to shop in the markets and wander the medieval streets of Florence.

Over dinner, you can connect with our Italian staff who run the student ministry at the University of Florence. 

Day 6: Daytrip to Bologna

We’ll catch a morning train and tunnel through the Apennine Mountains for the 35-minute journey to Bologna, site of the oldest university in the West (it was founded by Christians in 1088!). We’ll lunch with our staff team, who will explain the spiritual needs of the city and its students.

You’ll have a chance to visit the campus area and engage with students. Then you can sample what Bologna has to offer: climb the medieval tower in the center of town, or simply shop in Bologna’s beautiful shopping district.

Day 7: Agape Italia National Office and Arts and Film Ministry

We’ll breakfast with the team who runs the vital operations side of the ministry. You’ll hear about our various projects to translate evangelism and discipleship materials into the Italian language, so Italian believers can grow in their faith and share it with other Italians. We’ll also tell you about Agape Italia’s ministry among the arts community in Florence.

Then we’ll view the famous sculptures in the Duomo museum, including one in which Michelangelo carved his own face on the figure of Nicodemus laying Jesus in His tomb.

After lunch together at Mercato Centrale, and some time for shopping in the nearby street market, we’ll visit the Medici-Riccardi Palace, whose chapel hosts the stunning fresco The Journey of the Magi. The famous Florentine Medici family had their own faces painted onto the characters in the fresco.

Back at the hotel, we’ll meet Agape Italia staff and filmmaker Alessandro Amico. He will show us the short films Altro Mare and the award-winning Unforgivable and explain how they are used to begin spiritual conversations with Italians as they ponder themes of sacrifice and their own need for forgiveness.

In the evening, we’ll enjoy a memorable Italian dinner together, and we’ll invite you to paint yourself into the spiritual picture of God’s work in Italy by investing your time, talents, and treasure with Agape Italia.

Day 8: Arrivaderci

On our final day together, we’ll visit an artisan workshop which uses ancient techniques to hand-craft unique mosaic works of art.

We’ll lunch together before saying goodbye. You can return to Rome by train for a flight out of Rome Fiumicino Airport, or stay another night in Florence and depart from Florence Peretola Airport. Or take a train to another beautiful destination in Italy.


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