Traveling to Italy After Months of COVID Restrictions

Traveling to Italy
Famous Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (Basilica Papale di San Francesco) with Lower Plaza at sunset in Assisi, Umbria, Italy. All rights reserved.

Resuming travel after the tumultuous uncertainty of lockdowns and COVID-chaos is a topic worth touching on. Traveling to Italy in particular, we feel, is a good place to start for travelers warming up to the idea of heading back abroad.

To many, Italy is the epitome of beauty, art, flavor, sites, and history. And now, we’re reporting that it’s also a haven of self-discovery as many of us return to travel.

Traveling to Italy to See Rome and Florence

Italy travel—and all of the monuments, food, and exploration of cobbled streets that comes with it—is an exceptional start for getting back abroad after being home-bound for a while. 

In an interview by Insider Travel, Mari Elena Rossi, a director for the Italian National Tourist Board, speaks about the simplicity of getting to Italy. More specifically (and of interest to us), Elena touches on visiting Rome and Florence. These two cities of great cultural interest are indeed open to travelers, once again standing as ideal hubs for exploring nearby towns and villages. 

If you look at the itinerary for our upcoming journey with bestselling author Phil Cousineau, La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life of Mythic Italy with Phil Cousineau, you’ll discover that Rome and Florence are indeed two highlights of our pilgrimage through Italy with Phil. 

Our journey to Italy presents the perfect example of why it’s an ideal time to visit these lands. La dolce vita means “the sweet life”, epitomizing all we hope to experience within Italy’s embrace. On our tour, we prioritize the heart of Italian culture in its myths, art, literature, fashion, and crafts. These are the things that make up an interesting life well spent, or, “the sweet life”.

Things haven’t been so sweet for many of us lately. Many have felt stuck at home, were perhaps separated from loved ones, or even knew people struggling with illness.

Wise men and women are calling these COVID times a collective right of passage—a rebirth of sorts. The times have forced us to go within, to question our lives, it’s contents, and where we want to go next. We’ve learned that slowing down isn’t all so bad.

At Sacred Earth Journeys, we have for years assisted the type of self-discovery and care necessary for these times especially. That’s why a journey as potent as this one to Italy is important to us and our participants. It has the capacity to reignite all that is sweet in life, to assist its participants in staying in the right lane on this “collective right of passage”. 

Exploring the Sweet Life in Italy

Rome, Lazio, Italy – Scene in Piazza Navona at sunset on a summer day with people strolling. All rights reserved.

Our journey actually begins in Rome. Is that a surprise? After all, Rome is the Eternal City, the vibrant capital and cultural juggernaut of Italy.

With master traveler and scholar Phil Cousineau, you’ll hit the ground running with exciting visits to sites such as the Roman Coliseum, Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. Having a foundational understanding of history and civilization, while visiting places where “things happened”, is as important to the sweet life as the delicacies such civilizations produced.

After exploring some picturesque northern Italian towns like Orvieto and Assisi, we eventually make our way to the city where scholars, artists, and scientists rediscovered the glories of the classical world: Florence. Being the heart of the Renaissance, Florence is perhaps most symbolic of our sacred quest into la dolce vita, for in this city the myriad pleasures of life are on full display. 

We journey to Duomo di Firenze, the Cathedral of Florence, and even walk in the footsteps of Dante Aligheri, the father of the modern Italian language and author of the Divine Comedy, by visiting his thirteenth-century home-museum. 

Traveling with Phil Cousineau is a massive boon to the mission of visiting Italy as a pilgrim as opposed to a “typical traveler”. According to Phil, a typical traveler might enjoy an afternoon walking to visit sites and casually snapping some photos along the way. The pilgrim, however, looks “through the facade of a culture and into its soul.” This is quoted from a charming video we created of Phil speaking on the essence of sacred travel. 

He continues: “By ‘the soul’ I mean the essence of the place; whatever’s true about the culture, the city…We all long to do that. We long to believe there’s something beyond the veneer of our own lives, nevertheless the veneer of a culture.”

Phil believes there’s a sacred component of travel that goes beyond a more classic vision of, for example, monks singing Gregorian chants on their way to Jerusalem. Sacred to Phil is simply something that is worthy of our reverence and respect. By taking a breath, slowing down, and paying attention, we can discover the sacred existing within people, landscapes, and places all around us as well as in the new places we travel to. 

Why Italy? Why Now?

Ponte Vecchio Bridge and the Arno River in Florence at dusk. All rights reserved.

Italy is now welcoming back travelers. Given its renown and popularity as a tourism hub, we believe traveling to Italy through a sacred lens as a pilgrim is a powerful endeavor in these times. 

The journey we’ve crafted with Phil Cousineau, to take place in April of 2022, offers a rare opportunity to visit the country, already a fascinating and fun prospect, while training the pilgrim’s eyes Phil speaks of. 

As Phil wrote in his classic The Art of Pilgrimage, “The time has come to set out for sacred ground that will stir our sense of wonder. It is down the path to the deeply real where time stops and we are seized by the mysteries. This is the journey that we cannot not take.”

~Jacob Lopez, staff writer