Rome is hosting a gathering that would be unusual in almost any other city-- a festival showcasing possible pilgrimage destinations from 31 different countries.
The Journeys of the Spirit Festival, or JOSPFest, is bringing over 120 exhibitors from 31 countries to the Italian capital to promote their particular locations as destinations for pilgrimage.
“We’re trying to spread the word about pilgrimages and the beauty of traveling,” said the press officer for the festival, Rosamaria Mancini.
“We think that people are looking for a type of tourism that’s a little bit deeper. We think that people don’t just want the sun and the sand, that people are looking for something that stimulates them in some sort of way,” Mancini told CNA June 2.
The organizers predict that over a million people will descend on Rome to take part in the festival. For those in the tourist business there are numerous seminars, debates and trade shows.
For everybody else, there are stalls all around the city advertising hundreds of destinations as well as numerous cultural events. One event sure to draw a crowd will be a performace by Spanish tenor Jose Carreras, who will perform at Rome’s Piazza di Spagna on the evening of Saturday, June 4. In addition, a 57-piece orchestra will be playing every day at the nearby Piazza Navona. All events are free and open to the public.
This year’s theme connecting all the events is “The Pilgrim Lifestyle.”
“The pilgrim lifestyle is really an interesting way of life,” said Mancini.
“The idea with a pilgrim lifestyle is that the values that come along with that journey of the spirit – building bridges, interacting, dialogue, being respectful, being kind - those values don’t have to end after you finish your pilgrimage. You can use them and implement them in your everyday life afterwards.”
This is the third Journeys of the Spirit Festival in Rome. Organizers are hoping to make it an annual event.