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Rome Reports

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Arrival of tourists transforms a deserted Rome


The deserted landscape of a few months ago has been gradually changing. Tourists have been returning to Rome and the Vatican, even if they can't be physically present at the pope's events.

ALEJANDRA GARCÍA
Tourist
“Obviously one hopes—now with my baby—to go to one of the pope's Masses or a papal blessing. It's kind of strange that everything's online, but we also appreciate it.”

Alejandra traveled to the Vatican from Spain with her five-month-old baby, to express gratitude for her birth and good health.

ALEJANDRA GARCÍA
Tourist
“My baby was born three days after the state of emergency was declared. I went into labor the same day they declared a state of emergency. Fortunately, everything went well, and I think these things that happen—for example, the birth of a baby—remind you that, although everything seems to be going wrong, there's always a light on the journey.”

In the middle of the new normal, there are those who don't fail to be impressed by the sight of the Vatican with less tourists than usual.

CARMELA MONSALVE
Tourist
“Strange. It's strange. The previous times I've been here, the whole square was so packed, that you couldn't move. Seeing it now—this empty—is also kind of sad. It's as if the world stopped turning, but we'll enjoy it and take all the pictures we want without anyone bothering us.”

Carmela is a nurse. Serving others is her passion. She, like many other health workers, carries with her the scars from being in the front lines against COVID. She emotionally remembers one of her cases.

CARMELA MONSALVE
Tourist
“Initially, they told me this patient was stable, and we had to see how his condition developed. Out of nowhere, we saw that his vital signs were decreasing. The only thing we could do was hold his hand and tell him he could rest. He passed away three minutes later.”

It's an experience that's marked her life, but it has also taught her to give the best of herself when most necessary. That's why a trip to Rome like this one is a well-deserved break in the middle of a storm that, as a nurse, she's had to live through in these difficult months.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

Translation: CT