"We wanted to let you know we returned home from our adventure, and all we can say is thanks! Everything that was set up by you and your team went flawlessly. From rooms, to shuttles, to flights, everything went perfect." ~ Rob & Michele
By Riley Bunch – featured in Syracuse Women’s Magazine December issue
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
Wander. Peruse. Return.
Via Mondo Travel & Wellness Vacations are designed to magnify a travelers’ experience. Over the years, I have sailed on cruise ships, taken bus tours, active adventure outings, volunteer trips and solo vacations. While every one of them were unique and different, I was looking for a deeper experience. Via Mondo sets out to deepen these experiences on each tour or custom vacation. I discovered through research, studies and my own travels, that vacationers were looking for personal, hands on experience, flexibility, and guidance like myself. The words, “wander, peruse, return” are the essence of these tours. Via Mondo would like guests to have the chance to wander an area on their own, peruse sites and material with scheduled visits and activities, and return with fond memories and cherished friendships.
While thinking about the concept, I wanted to create a name to have a significant meaning, which encompasses the entire idea. It so happens that Mondo means ‘world’ and ‘via’ means path or avenue in Italian. With these two words together, the name was perfect. Via Mondo takes you around the world along the path of discovery.
On our guided tours, we use vans to transport you from city to city or town to town. When possible, we’ll arrange public transportation with the group to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum. A group of 13 guests is ideal and a perfect number to mingle and work with. We believe seven passenger vans give added comfort that outweighs their cost. There are no buses with us, unless we are taking public transportation.
To bring all these options to you on one guided tour, we created these semi custom tours to make your trip unforgettable. We’ve organized forms and details to get to know you and your interests. With our global connections, we can create a unique package to suit your travel needs.
We stay away from easy and popular venues; instead, we take you to places unknown, which require more planning. Easy to get to areas and popular venues are left up to you in your free time, although we’ll be happy to arrange the excursions for you. These guided tours put you in the driver seat.
There is nothing in the travel industry that puts all these opportunities together. Via Mondo tours are not active adventure tours, bus tours, culinary tours, women only tours, singles tours, or any other type of tour familiar to travelers. They are all this and more. These tours enhance your connection with the place you visit. There is no other word to describe such a unique and personalized tour other than “Lifestyle.” We are focused on and dedicated to providing you with a unique experience. Touring has never been this awesome. We plan to change your perception of touring and help you come to love it, the Via Mondo way.
The Via Mondo Turtle
The turtle symbolizes longevity, prosperity and good fortune. The turtle churns up words like sure and steady, wisdom, guide, mentor, persistence and the continuation of life. The design of the turtle was a discussion I had over the phone with my brother, who had sketched the concept a few years back. I wanted to tie in the meaning of mondo with the meaning of turtle.