This is the Trevi Fountain crowd today, mid-June, with Italy open to American tourists.
My last pilgrimage group departed Rome on February 16, 2020.
That group was one of the last US pilgrimage groups in Rome, because after that week, there were tons of cancellations.
Rome seemed fine to those of us here. My daughters and I even made a video saying “Rome is open for business” trying to encourage people to visit. The video made the rounds in Italian media and even the Italian government.
Unfortunately, a few days later, Rome was most definitely not open for business, and the video seemed a little ridiculous after that.
Now, 484 days later, Rome is again open for business and my next group is starting to arrive in Rome for our pilgrimage that begins tomorrow.
Sixteen months later. Crazy.
This will be the 141st group pilgrimage I’ve led since I started The Catholic Traveler in 2004. Having such a huge part of who I am taken away from me for so long was not easy. It was hard mentally, physically, and even spiritually.
Thankfully I had streaming and social media available to share the Rome I love with those unable to travel.
Starting tomorrow I get to show people, in real life(!!!), the Rome I love and the Rome I discovered during the last 484 days. And I cannot wait.
I will be busy living in the moment and taking nothing for granted, but I will also be sharing The First Post-Pandemic Pilgrimage to Italy with all of you. I know there are lots of people watching. Not just those looking to travel again, but those who run companies that take people traveling (hi! 👋) and even the media (you all have my number 😉).
When I say this is the first post-pandemic pilgrimage to Italy, well, I don’t know for sure, but it definitely feels like the first.
Hotels were not ready. Museums are still not ready. Restaurants are shocked and very emotionally thankful to have a group coming. My guides are admittedly out of practice too – but they are the best, so no need to worry.
But, either way, I’m quite confident it’s the first post-pandemic pilgrimage to Italy with a group from the US.
It sold out in about a week. So I announced two more. One for August and one for October. August is now waitlist only and October has only 4 spots left. Then we also announced another for September, with a podcast theme, that one is almost full as well.
Thanks so much for being here!