Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mad about Monasteries

Ever since they were founded in the Middle Ages, some monasteries have made it part of their mission to offer lodging and meals to travellers. Today, many still do so. Costs vary, but are usually cheaper than commercial accommodation. In addition, visitors have the advantage of spending time in a quiet, clean environment that lends itself to contemplation.
Robert J. Regalbuto has written a guide to monasteries across North America called "A Guide to Monastic Guest Houses." It lists monasteries that accept guests in every U.S. state and Canadian province. Even in expensive destinations like New York City, it is possible to find shelter in a convent or monastery. The book is available from
Staying in a monastery is a good way to keep expenses down in places like Italy, France, Britain and Spain as well. Eileen Barish is the author of a book called "The Guide to Lodging in Italy's Monasteries" which lists this type of accommodation throughout the Italian peninsula. Rates start at about $30 a night, with meals for a few dollars more. Her Website is, and it gives information about monasteries in several European countries.
Finally, the Website actually allows you to book rooms in monasteries. An example of one of the places listed is a monastery near Rimini on Italy's Adriatic Coast, where a single room costs about $50.
The majority of monasteries that accept guests are Roman Catholic, but there are also some belonging to the Anglican and Orthodox traditions where guests are welcome. Even some Buddhist monasteries take visitors. In all cases, guests or all faiths and of no faith are welcome.


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