I have been researching a possible trip to Rome for my father and me. I wish that the dollar - euro exchange rate were different, but post-war American prosperity could not last forever.
Something that I discovered during my searching was Monastery Stays—an information and reservations site for all of the religious housing accommodations in Italy. This is not for a traditional monastery stay, where you would participate in the life of the community. In such cases, people sometimes leave donations, but the “cost” of such stays usually involves minor labor. Rather, these religious communities have prepared certain rooms that they offer to guests for an inexpensive rate. It makes money for their community; instead of making vestments, candles, or coffee, they run a hostel service. We’ll definitely consider a monastery stay, as it seems a lot cheaper than Roman hotels. Plus, I would rather our tourist money help to support such communities. Evidently, some of the religious houses offer dinner for reasonable rates, too. What could be better than an Italian meal convent-cooked by nuns?
I have heard that such accommodation is available elsewhere in Europe, but I have never taken advantage of it. The unfortunate thing behind this is that these communities have extra rooms because their orders are dying. I have no problem with their making money and offering inexpensive hospitality, but they make use of mostly empty religious houses. Were Western Europe spiritually healthy, most of these institutions would not have any room for guests. The end is near, indeed . . .