In Italy, religious guest houses are reopening after coronavirus lockdown

Trevi fountain
Matteo Trevisan | NurPhoto | AFP

Pilgrims and tourists alike are invited to stay at monasteries and convent houses.

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It’s long been something of a best kept secret that one of the most economical ways to visit Italy is to stay in one of its many guesthouses run by religious orders.

Now, the convents and monasteries that welcome pilgrims and tourists alike are suffering from a decrease in visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, and are eager to let the world know that they are open for business.

Catholic News Service (CNS) reported that all but a handful of the country’s religious guesthouses have reopened. 

Fabio Rocchi, president of the Italian association of religious guesthouses, said that of the 1,700 guesthouses he is in touch with only “140 have closed their doors to hospitality definitively,” according to CNS.

While reservations normally need to be made far in advance, many of the guesthouses now have vacancies. Ilaria Arcella, who manages the Casa San Giuseppe for the Daughters of St. Joseph in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, told CNS that the guesthouse reopened at the end of May, and only has a 40% occupancy rate as the end of August approaches.

A monastery or convent stay is a unique alternative to a hotel stay. Guests enjoy affordable rates, in historic buildings, often amid period furnishings. For those on a religious pilgrimage, living among monks and nuns and attending daily Mass in the guesthouse’s chapel are as central to the trip as visiting the country’s great Catholic churches.

The website Monastery Stays provides details on rooms available, booking services, and guest reviews. Here are just a few charming, affordable places to stay in Rome listed on their website.

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