From an early age, Rosemary Mondo had strong ties to her Italian heritage. First generation Americans, Rosemary and her brothers 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 focused on wellness vacations and tailor-designed packages. 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 brothers, 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.”
Rosemary launched her business, an independent travel agency offering both guided group trips as well as independently-planned itineraries a few years later. A certified yoga instructor, Rosemary accompanies many hosted tours and offered Kripalu yoga classes throughout the day.
She later refocused her attention towards a full service travel agency with an emphasis on wellness travel and tailor-designed trips. 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 disconnect 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 like Piedmont, Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia. The company also showcases trips to the Caribbean, North America and other regions of Europe. Rosemary added trips to Australia and New Zealand, places she’s visited multiple times and completed her Aussie Specialist certification. Along with Travel Leaders and the 18 years of travel industry networks she’s built, she has the world at her finger-tips confident in taking travelers around the world. She’s sent groups to Thailand, Africa and China, as well.
“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.”
~ Riley Bunch and edited by Via Mondo