Almost four months have passed since the world nervously watched our beautiful Italy enter into one of the strictest national quarantines that had been (and even now, has been) enforced, thanks to COVID. Italians are sometimes stereotypically notorious for not following rules very well. Yet this time they banded together as a country and followed the instructions and preventative measures set forth by our government. They stayed home and kept their distance for months. By early June our country was able to piano piano (little by little) start to return to a post-covid normal. Now, as we enter July, Italy has opened back up for tourism for many EU countries as well as several others. Many visitors are able to experience traveling in Italy in a dream-like manner.
Unfortunately, as our American clients are aware, the recent spike in cases in the USA has kept it off the list for now. Yet, we are incredibly hopeful that will change soon.
One of the things that makes Bella Vita Travels so special is that we aren’t tourists. We are locals. Living in Italy, we have been here throughout the quarantine and the gradual reopening. This means that we are in a uniquely special position to let you know exactly what is going on here regarding COVID, day by day.
This month, our blog will focus on what the situation is here in Italy currently and what new rules are being implemented or relaxed as we look to a future open to travelers from all over the world.
Though in Italy many of these decisions are made at a regional (like states in the USA) level, others are more standard nationally, one of the biggest being public transportation.
Post COVID lockdown, traveling in Italy is freely allowed throughout the country from region to region (for those of us allowed in). But perhaps the biggest change is the assurance of a safe distance. You will find trains, busses and other mass transit with seats blocked off to guarantee a safe distance is kept between travelers. This also applies to benches and seats in waiting areas. You’ll also find marking on the ground measuring off appropriate distance. There are also arrows to help with the “flow of traffic” so to speak. They help to make sure that people waiting on line, entering and exiting far enough apart from each other.
Another big thing: masks are required for everyone over 6 years of age. Anytime you are in any form of public transport or ticket office, it is obligatory to wear a mask. You will be denied entry or access if you do not have one on.
Museums and Historical Sites
Museums have also started reopening. As of June, and for those of us traveling in Italy, this is an incredibly unique experience. They are at a fraction of their capacity of what is seen in a “normal” summer season. Eerily beautiful experiences, like the Sistine Chapel almost empty (pictured above), the Uffizi with only 10 people in a room. It’s startling, but it gives us peace to see that we can return to our old lives, and perhaps take a little more time to appreciate these incredible places that we can see daily. Maybe one of few things we can thank COVID for!
Black dots have been glued to the floor in front of major works of art. That way people know where to stand ensuring social distancing. Ticket sales have been more than halved so museums can remain uncrowded. Pompeii, for example, only admits 400 people a day. Groups are only allowed in less than 10 people in many museums. Masks, of course, are required as well. It’s our new summer accessory, we could say!
As we continue throughout July, we will keep you informed of what life is like right now traveling in Italy, and how we are gradually, slowly, eagerly returning to our “new” normal in this beautiful, resilient country.