by ARoadRetraveled /
ARoadRetraveled's picture
Dec 09, 2008 / 5 comments

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is mingle with the locals, ask questions about the town or city I’m visiting, inquire about interesting buildings, history, and anything unusual or out of the ordinary locals would like to share with me. Once in a while I strike gold when I hear about legends and mysteries passed down from generation to generation, often lost on today’s youth. I feel very blessed to be privy to such gems that normally are not found in travel guide books or Wikipedia.

In this episode, I was told by someone I briefly met about an interesting legend of religious nature that allegedly took place over a millennia ago right where the convent I unknowingly booked to stay at in Assisi now stands. I’m thrilled to share this captivating legend with you in the show, but I also discovered some fascinating clues inside a 13th century fresco on the façade of the convent that were not only related to the aforementioned legend, but rich in religious and non-religious symbols that when researched, revealed surprising information.

Later in the show, I talk about why I like to stay at convents instead of hotels when I’m traveling, and what it’s like hanging out with the nuns and monks in Italy.

Staying at convents should not be thought of as a place only for pilgrims and the religious minded. While some only serve those on a religious retreat and pilgrimage, many convents also serve to accommodate travelers, tourists and visitors alike. I find staying at convents no only extremely economical, but safe, comforting, and spiritually uplifting no matter what my religious or non-religions background I may have. In many cases that I’ve encountered, hospitality is the only income many of these religious houses receive. Be sure to first check with convents regarding potential curfews or other requirements and restrictions, as convents differ in their policies. I discuss some of these in the show.

When traveling to Europe on a budget, I highly recommend giving convents a try. The nuns or monks at the convents I stayed at have always been friendly, kind and generous. I still stay in touch via e-mail with many nuns I befriended in Assisi.

Ep.#7 unCONVENTional




Simone di Santi is the Road Retraveled Editor for Wandering Educators.


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Comments (5)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 9 months ago

    Simone - thanks for this fascinating video! your photos were incredible - and for sure, we'll be staying in convents and monasteries next time we're in Italy. Thanks!


    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • Kalinago English

    14 years 8 months ago


    What  a wonderful video - thanks so much for sharing.  I now know where my next vacation will be!

    For those traveling to Thailand, I can recommend a buddhist monastery that accepts westerners for 10 day Vipassana retreats (not a drop-in type of visit though, serious meditation and no speaking for 10 days).

    The place is called Wat Suan Mok and it's near Surat Thani.  You should try to get there for 30/31st of each month.   

    Sorry, no telephone numbers, internet or booking - you just turn up and sign a sheet of paper that agrees to participate, eat hot vegetable curry twice a day, meditate all day-walking, sitting, yoga, do heavy chores, sleep on a concrete slab, wake up at 5.30.

    Heaven comes in the form of hot springs which you use to ease your aching joints in the afternoon. ;-)




    Karenne Sylvester

    Kalinago English


  • ARoadRetraveled

    14 years 8 months ago


    Hi Karen,

    Thank you for such great information about the monastery. Sounds like an amazing place to experience.



    “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” - Paul Theroux

  • ameliaspirit

    14 years 9 months ago

    Please share any information about finding out about monasteries that are open to people from the outside staying with them.


    thanks so much,


  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 9 months ago

    Hi Amy! I interviewed the good folks at Monastery Stays - I'd check there. Anyone is welcome there. 


    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

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