American Couple Stuck in Italy During Lockdown for Months Finally Gets to Visit Pompeii

Their anniversary trip turned into an over two-month stay.

Marvin and Colleen Hewson

Colleen and Marvin Hewson waited years to see Pompeii, but when they showed up over two months ago, they were told it was closed due to the coronavirus. Earlier this week, they were first in line to get in.

"We have been patiently waiting since then for the ruins to open," Colleen Hewson told The Associated Press, while at the site.

The Hewsons, from Michigan, landed in Italy in early March, just as COVID-19 was sweeping across the world, and throughout the European country. The retired couple was there to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and Marvin's 75th birthday — a trip of a lifetime returning to the ruins that Marvin visited when he served in the U.S. Navy in the 1960s.

Marvin and Colleen Hewson

They arrived in Rome on March 5, but by the time they made their way south to Pompeii, the famed site had closed and Italy was placed under lockdown. They were stranded, the AP noted, and settled into life in the small town, walking more than 7,000 steps per day, looking upon the archaeological ruins from afar, learning Italian, and picking oranges and lemons from a tree near their Airbnb (and making limoncello, of course).

"We made a great connection with our Airbnb host family," Colleen told the wire service while Marvin said the quintessential Italian activities "helped to pass the time."

"We looked at real estate. It would be a dream," Marvin added. "We saved a lot of money because all of the stores were closed. We really are thinking of coming back."

Pompeii visitors getting temperature checks
A visitor gets her temperature taken before entering the archaeological site of Pompeii. KONTROLAB/Getty

Earlier this month, Italy reopened businesses, including shops and restaurants, after the whole country was placed on lockdown in early March. Italy has recorded more than 231,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 33,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's tracking of the virus.

As a whole, Europe plans to start lifting restrictions on tourists entering in June.

After the Hewsons finally visited Pompeii, the AP reported, they headed to Rome where they planned to do some sightseeing before finally going back to Michigan.

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