From an early age, Rosemary Mondo had strong ties to her Italian heritage. First generation Americans, Rosemary and her brother grew up with the strong influence of their parents’ Sicilian roots. Traveling frequently from their home in Syracuse to Italy, Rosemary didn’t consider herself Italian-American, but an Italian growing up in America.
Now, Rosemary shares her cultural experiences with others through Via Mondo, a full-service travel agency and tour company. Her company focuses on visiting Italy and select other countries through tailor-made health and wellness trips.
“I’ve always had this international flare,” Rosemary said. “It was just in my blood.”
After earning a master’s degree in Italian through Middlebury College in Florence, she decided to share her love for Italy with others.
With the support of her parents and brother, business owners themselves, Rosemary left her position as sales director and operations manager for a bicycle tour company in Boston to launch Via Mondo, her own service for guided and independent tours.
“I always knew I had it in me, the spirit of doing something myself,” Rosemary said.“The best way to learn how to run a company is to run a company.”
In 2014, Rosemary launched her business, an independent travel agency offering both guided group trips as well as independently-planned itineraries. A certified yoga instructor and trainer, Rosemary accompanied group tours and offered Kripalu yoga classes throughout the day.
Being a business owner didn’t come without challenges. Shortly after her website’s debut, it was hacked. After that, Rosemary started thinking about focusing more heavily on the market niche of health tourism.
“[Health is] what I am passionate about. You can’t create something that you aren’t passionate about,” she said.
The revamping of Via Mondo included more wellness-focused accommodation and amenities. Rosemary sought out health-conscious hotels. Not only does she want her guests to experience the height of Italian culture, she wants them to eat and sleep well and exercise.
Organizing itineraries based on her travel experiences, past guided trips and the traveler’s budget and needs, Rosemary incorporates a variety of activities, including volunteerism. It not only helps those who benefit from it, she explained, but is good for the spirit of the volunteer. She aims for her travelers to become disconnected from phones and social media and get back to the basics of their health.
In addition to her yoga certification and travel agency experience, Rosemary is a certified wellness specialist, and is working toward certification as a wellness practitioner.
Via Mondo currently offers trips throughout Italy to Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia. The company also showcases trips to the Caribbean, North America and other regions of Europe. In the future, Rosemary would like to add trips to Australia and New Zealand, and isn’t opposed to taking travelers to other countries. She’s gone with groups to Thailand, Africa and China, as well.
Wherever Via Mondo takes Rosemary and her clients, health will be at the core of each experience.
“The definition of a wellness trip is maintaining or jumpstarting your healthy lifestyle,” Rosemary explained. “People are looking to get out and away and help themselves become more centered and balanced.” SWM
Special thanks to lululemon for Rosemary’s outfit.
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