Covid-19 in Italy: In tourist-free Rome, a hotel opens its doors to the homeless

It's a full house at Hotel Marco Polo but the guests aren't here to see Rome's tourist attractions.

One hotel near Rome's central Termini train station is full, despite the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic, however its guests are not tourists.

The Marco Polo hotel is busy once again, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica, thanks to a collaboration with Rome's S. Egidio community, a lay Catholic charity devoted to social service.

The guests of the hotel on Via Magenta include homeless people, a recently-released former prisoner, unemployed people struggling to make ends meet, and students studying for exams.

The S. Egidio community contributes to the operating costs, allowing the hotel to provide shelter for those in need as well as giving it a chance to stay open when many other hotels in Rome face going out of business.

The brothers who have run the hotel for 20 years - Lorenzo and Diego D'Amario, 38 and 42 - say they are now catering to "tourists by chance and out of desperation."

The hotelier brothers say that the funds from S. Egidio are nominal but that it helps to pays the hotel's bills until the coronavirus crisis passes and tourists can eventually return to Rome.

Diego told La Repubblica that he and Lorenzo - both long-term collaborators with S. Egidio - are happy to stay open as well as helping those "who are worse off than us."

"I will never be able to forget the sight from a few weeks ago when a homeless man was found dead, due to the cold, in front of the entrance to a closed-up hotel just a stone's throw from ours," said Diego.

Lorenzo told La Repubblica that the hotel's message of solidarity has also spread to the nearby Cornetteria Faleria whose owners arrive with "trays full of brioches and crossaints, a kind gift for our guests' breakfast."

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Address Via Magenta, 39, 00185 Roma RM, Italy

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Covid-19 in Italy: In tourist-free Rome, a hotel opens its doors to the homeless

Via Magenta, 39, 00185 Roma RM, Italy