Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Traveling in Italy Now

 Updated in accordance with Decree-Law No. 44 of 22 April 2021. The measures shall remain in effect until 31 July 2021.

 

TRAVEL ABROAD AND FROM ABROAD TO ITALY


In view of the prevailing healthcare scenario, Italian citizens are discouraged to travel abroad except for reasons of necessity.

There are also strong restrictions for traveling from abroad towards Italy.

In case you are still planning to travel to Italy  from a foreign country, you need to refer to the rules and restrictions listed on “Focus: Italian citizens re-entering Italy and foreigners in Italy” of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

FACE MASK AND DISTANCING


Throughout Italy, it is mandatory to wear a mask in public places indoors. The mask is also mandatory outdoors, except in cases where you are isolated from people who do not live togethet. In Lazio it is mandatory to wear a mask outdoors in any situation.

Those who are not required to wear masks:
- people who are carrying out sports activities
- children under the age of 6
- people with disabilities or conditions incompatible with the use of a mask; carers or care workers are not obliged to wear masks, in the event that the mask makes it impossible to interact between carers/care workers and persons with disabilities. The use of the mask is also recommended inside houses, in the presence of non-cohabiting people.

It is mandatory to maintain the safe distance of at least one metre from non-cohabiting people.

Some squares or streets may be closed to the public throughout the day or at certain time slots to avoid gatherings. Access to these squares or streets is allowed only to reach open shops and private houses.

It is recommended to limit travel, by public or private transport, for reasons of work, study, health, for reasons of necessity or to take advantage of services not suspended.

It is also recommended to download the Immuni app, created by the Ministry of Health and the Minister of Technological Innovation to limit the spread of Covid-19.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT


The means of public transport can operate with 50% of passengers.

 

TRAVELLING BY CAR


It is possible to travel by car without limitations together with spouses, cohabitants and stable relationships.

Non-cohabiting people

You can travel by car with up to 3 non-cohabiting people including the driver. Everyone in the car must wear a mask.
The passenger seat next to the driver must remain free. Passengers must sit on opposite sides of the rear seat leaving the centre seat free.
If the car has several rear rows, it can accommodate a maximum of two passengers per row seated on opposite sides of the seat, leaving the centre seat free.

 

TRAVEL AROUND ITALY


To ensure the safety of residents and tourists, the Italian government has introduced a classification of regions based on the colours white (minimum risk), yellow, orange and red (maximum risk).

Each colour corresponds to specific precautionary measures which regulate the freedom of movement within the region, movement between regions, and the opening of businesses, restaurants and cultural sites.

Movement between different regions in the white and yellow zones will be permitted.

Movement between different regions in the orange and red areas is allowed only for reasons of work, healthcare or proven urgency, with a self-certification indicating the reason for the move, or upon presentation of a COVID-19 green certification.

 

COVID-19 GREEN CERTIFICATIONS


Movement between regions in the orange or red zone is allowed if you possess a COVID-19 green certification, with which you can prove:

  • that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19
  • that you have recovered from COVID-19 infection
  • that you have tested negative in a rapid molecular or antigen test

Vaccination and recovery certifications are valid for six months, and the negative test certificate is valid for 48 hours. Certifications issued in the Member States of the European Union are recognised as equivalent, as are those issued in any third country that follows vaccination standards recognised by the European Union.

 

MEASURES VALID IN THE REGIONS IN THE YELLOW ZONE


The following measures are valid in Abruzzo, Alto Adige, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Tuscany, Trentino, Umbria, Veneto.

 

MOVING OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

You can move outside your home only between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. You can go outside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. only for reasons of work, healthcare or proven urgency, with a self-certification indicating the reason for the move.

 

PUBLIC PLACES

Bars, pubs, restaurants, ice cream parlours, pastry shops shall remain open. They must display a sign indicating the maximum number of people allowed inside at any particular time.
Table service in restaurants is permitted only outdoors, for both lunch and dinner. Up to a maximum of 4 people per table may sit together, unless they are cohabitants. Home delivery of food is permitted and, until 10 p.m., take-away meals are also allowed, with consumption on or near the premises prohibited.
From 1 June it is possible to eat at a table in indoor locations from 5 a.m. until 6 p.m.

There are no time limits for restaurants in hotels and other hospitality establishments, as long as the service is limited to customers staying on the premises.
Bars, restaurants and similar businesses remain open within service and refuelling areas along motorways, in hospitals and at airports.

Discotheques and dance halls are closed.

Amusement arcades, betting shops, bingo halls and casinos are closed.

 

SHOPS

The shops shall remain open, and must display a sign indicating the maximum number of people allowed inside at any particular time.
The shopping centres shall remain closed on public holidays and days before public holidays, except for grocery stores, pharmacies, drugstores, newsagents and tobacconists.

 

HOTELS AND ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES

The accommodation facilities are open, subject to compliance with social distancing, and as per protocols and guidelines adopted to prevent or reduce the risk of contagion.

 

MUSEUMS AND PLACES OF CULTURE

Museums and other cultural institutions shall remain open on the weekends. . To visit them, you must make prior reservations online or over the phone.

 

CINEMA, THEATERS AND CONCERTS

It is possible to attend the shows in cinemas, theatres, concert halls and other venues, including outdoor venues. The maximum number of spectators must not exceed 50% of the maximum authorised capacity, and in any case, may not exceed 1,000 people for outdoor performances and 500 people for indoor performances. The seating plan must ensure a distance of at least one metre between spectators.

 

SPORTING EVENTS

From 1 June, sporting events are open to the public. The maximum number of spectators must not exceed 25% of the maximum authorised capacity, and in any case, may not exceed 1,000 persons for outdoor facilities and 500 persons for indoor facilities. The seating plan must ensure a distance of at least one metre between spectators.

 

TRADE FAIRS, CONFERENCES AND CONGRESSES

From 15 June, trade fairs are allowed. From 1 July, it is also possible to organise conferences and congresses, subject to compliance with precautionary health measures.

 

SPAS, THEME PARKS AND AMUSEMENT PARKS

From 1 July, the activities of spas, theme parks and amusement parks are permitted.

 

MEASURES VALID IN THE REGIONS IN THE ORANGE ZONE


In Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia, Sicily, Aosta Valley

  • You can move outside your home only between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. You can go outside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. only for reasons of work, healthcare or proven urgency, with a self-certification indicating the reason for such movement.
  • You can leave your house to visit relatives or friends only once a day between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. A maximum of 4 people, or 4 people accompanied by children under 18 years of age or by disabled or dependent persons living with them, may leave the house. These movements are allowed only within the municipality of your residence. Those who live in municipalities whose population does not exceed 5 thousand inhabitants can travel outside their municipality up to a distance of 30 km, but cannot go to the provincial capital cities.
  • It is allowed to move freely only within one's municipality. Those who live in municipalities whose population does not exceed 5 thousand inhabitants can travel outside their municipality up to a distance of 30 km, but cannot go to the provincial capital cities.
  • Bars are open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. and restaurants from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., but only for take-away. In any case, it is not permitted to consume food or drinks near the premises. Restaurants have no time restrictions for home delivery. It is forbidden to eat or drink in the streets and parks between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • The shops are open; shopping centres are closed on weekends. Inside shopping centres, pharmacies, drugstores, grocery stores, tobacconists, newsagents, bookstores, nurseries and other shops for necessary goods may remain open.
  • Museums, exhibitions, theatres, cinema halls, gymnasia and swimming pools are closed.

 

MEASURES VALID IN THE REGIONS IN THE RED ZONE


In Sardinia

  • It is possible to leave the house only for reasons of work, healthcare or for proven urgency within one's Municipality. Those who live in municipalities whose population does not exceed 5 thousand inhabitants can travel outside their municipality up to a distance of 30 km, but cannot go to the provincial capital cities.
  • Bars are open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. and restaurants from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., but only for take-away. In any case, it is not permitted to consume food or drinks near the premises. Restaurants have no time restrictions for home delivery. It is forbidden to eat or drink in the streets and parks between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • The shops and shopping centres shall be closed. Pharmacies, drugstores, grocery stores, tobacconists, newsagents, bookstores, nurseries and other shops for necessary goods may remain open.
  • Barbers, hairdressers and laundries will be open. Beauty salons are closed.
  • Museums, exhibitions, theatres, cinema halls, gymnasia and swimming pools are closed.
  • Exercise or sporting activities are allowed in the vicinity of one's home.

 

For detailed information at local level, please consult the websites of the Italian Regions and Autonomous Provinces, as well as contact the respective editorial offices.

Abruzzo – Basilicata – Calabria – Campania – Emilia-Romagna – Friuli Venezia Giulia – Lazio – Liguria – Lombardy – Marche – Molise – Piedmont – Puglia – Sardinia – Sicily – South Tyrol – Tuscany – Trentino – Umbria – Valle d’Aosta – Veneto


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Reading the news today about the rising death toll from the Coronavirus in Bergamo, one of our favorite cities in Italy is so overwhelming. Debbie and I traveled there from Bologna in 2016 and enjoyed taking the Funicolare di Bergamo Alta to the upper city where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Ristorante Lalimentari. It is a beautiful place. The people of Bergamo have suffered the most deaths in this crisis in Italy. Please read the story on the attached link below:

https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-italy-army-transport-coffins-bergamo-morgue-crisis-video-2020-3

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November 2109 Update

Well, now it's been 3 years since our last trip to Italy after going 4 times between 2011 and 2016. We spent 9 weeks there during those 4 trips. We haven't felt comfortable leaving our 13 year old English Setter, Sandie, in a kennel for extended periods now that she has some health issues. Still, we may have yet another Italian adventure in us in the future.

While I was looking through my posts here recently, I realized that some of the train travel illustrations may be outdated, but that most of the commentary still applied. Websites may look different, but you can still navigate them easily to set your itinerary, reserve lodging and buy some train tickets.

Hopefully, in the near future, we will be up for another trip to the country we love the most to visit - Italy! There is so much we have yet to see.  Both of us can still imagine traveling to the towns where our grandparents and/or our great grandparents emigrated from in the early 1900s. Mine came to the US from Pedavena (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g776154-Pedavena_Province_of_Belluno_Veneto-Vacations.html) in northern Italy in 1904. My wife's traveled from Atena Lucana ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atena_Lucana ). So, you see, we still travel imagining.

There is a lot of interesting and useful information for you here. Remember, "Italy Is Waiting For You - Get Going!"


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

US Government Issues Travel Advisory for Italy - Be Aware

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/italy-travel-advisory.html

We were in Florence on the day of the Paris terror attack on November 19, 2015. Immediately, we noticed the presence of heavily armed police and soldiers in all of the most tourist frequented areas of the city. It was somewhat unnerving for us, but we spent the last 4 days of our two week trip doing/seeing everything we planned. We traveled back to Milan by train to see Michelangelo's Last Supper and to catch out flight back to Boston. We saw many more heavily armed soldiers in Milan, but thankfully there were no incidents.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Benvenuto in Italia! Welcome to Italy! Such an exciting greeting! It's one I've missed for the past two years. We have taken a break from what was becoming a yearly pilgrimage to Italy. Having  sold our home and bought another, our time has been taken up moving and making improvements. Also, our English Setter, Sandie, dislocated her hip which has required a long rehabilitation. We haven't been comfortable leaving her at the kennel.

Of course, I still receive all of the email alerts with plane fares from Boston to Florence or Milan. At first glance, the prices this year seem to be the lowest in the last four years! That seems to be at odds with the stories of higher fares across the board. A closer look tells us that choosing our own seats now comes at a price. On Swiss and Lufthansa it's $35 each both directions ($140). Say the alert or advertised price is $550 RT, we'll have to add $140 to that so two of us can sit together. Still, the total ticket price of $690 each is not bad. We like travelling to Italy in the "shoulder" period of late October-November because airfare and lodging are much less expensive. We have paid as much as $1400 RT (2014) each travelling in September, and $1252 (2011) in June/July, but when we went to Italy in November 2015 & 2016 we paid about $650 RT each. All of these flights took place before airlines starting to charge for the "privilege" of picking your seats.

Debbie and I are talking a bit about a shorter 8 or 9 day trip to Italy in the future, but we are still worried about our dog, so it's not on the front burner yet. Still, it's good to keep the dream alive. We're looking at visiting a few places we have yet to see and maybe a return to the Sorrento/Amalfi Coast area which we liked. Puglia might be another region for us to see. And, I have yet to visit the town where my grandparents emigrated from - Pedavena which is north of Venice. And, the area where Debbie's grandparents were from down near Naples.

Planning is half the fun, so even if you're not ready to go this year, take a few minutes every day to do some research. Familiarize yourself with the Trenitalia train site, TripAdvisor forums, Hotel.com and any other helpful site you can find. It's all within your grasp. And, it's fairly easy to do.

Be sure to check out all of my posts here for tips on trains, apartments, city buses, museums, taxis and more. Just the photos are worth a look. Have fun! Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

No Trip in 2017; Revisiting Our Italy Trips Plus Great November 2017 Airfare!

British Airways November 2017 fare: $453.99 round trip from Boston to Milan (Linate Airport)!!!

For the first time in four years, we are not going to Italy in the Fall. Upon our return last November, we closed on our "new" house and put our "old" house on the market. So here we were loading U-Haul trucks throughout December for our move, right after we received an almost immediate offer on our house. With improvements also to be made on the new place, we knew we would have little time or inclination to travel too far this year.

That leaves me with no travel planning this summer which has left kind of a void in my favorite pastime - booking plane tickets, reserving fast train seats and renting self-catering apartments or a hotel room in Florence, Bologna, Sorrento, Milan or Cinque Terre. Suffering some withdrawal pains here suddenly, I decided to share some more photos from our four Italy adventures in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

I hope you find something to whet your appetite and to urge you on to Italy. I know there are still places we'd like to visit. We would also like to spend a week in a couple of places that we have already gone to like Riomaggiore and Sorrento. Of course, we love Florence still, and I have really been excited about Bologna after visiting on two trips and would love to spend more time there, too. So many places, so little time...

One surprising development today, is that airfares for November 2017 are even lower than we have ever paid. Yesterday, I was alerted to a British Airways round trip fare to Milan's Linate Airport for $453.99 each! And, the flight times and durations were also very good (no long layovers). Since we traveled last November on Aer Lingus for $667.00 RT each with only two carry-on bags, the British Airways fare represents considerable savings of $$426 (for 2 RT tickets) even if we have to pay extra for our carry-ons (which I have yet to research).

Still, we won't plan a trip for this year, but you still could! Now would be the time to start your search for a great airfare, lodging, train tickets, individual tours or car rentals. Please see past posts here for great worthwhile information on making plans and reservations. Italy IS waiting for you - get going!

Now, here on some photos from our four trips to whet your appetite:

2011 Cinque Terre

2011 Lucca

2011 Cinque Terre

2011 Greve in Chianti

2011 Venice

2011  Venice

2011 Florence

2011 Florence

2011 Florence

2015 Siena

2015 Siena at Cane e Gatto

2015 Milan at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

2015 Milan Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

2015 Milan

2015 Milan

2015 Milan

2015 Varenna, Lake Como

2015  Lake Como

2015 Varenna, Lake Como

2015 Florence

2015 Florence Sasso di Dante

2015 Florence Palazzo Pitti

2015 Florence Palazzo Pitti

2016 Bologna

2016 Bologna

2016 Sorrento

2016 Sorrento View of Vesuvius from Sorrento

2016 Modena

2016 Modena Lunch

2016 Almafi

2016 Almafi

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Traveling to Italy? Don't be an Ugly American!





   You've probably heard stories about Americans being loud and obnoxious while traveling abroad. We've witnessed that type of behavior first hand more than once while traveling in Italy. Debbie and I are fairly quiet people, so this is not a problem for us, but we do try to be excellent ambassadors for the US while we travel. While our Italian skills are very limited, we rarely start our conversations in an osteria or a shop with "Do you speak English?" We've taken a couple of night school courses like "Italian For Tourists" and have language apps on our phones which really come in handy. It's always fun to make an effort to speak the language, and most of the time it is appreciated. Don't be surprised if the server corrects your Italian a bit, usually with a laugh or a smile. How else will you learn?

   A few other quick notes on how not to be an Ugly American: Don't ask everyone for the price in dollars; know the exchange rate and try to figure it out yourself. Try to be respectful in the way you dress. Saying things like "That's not how we do it in the States," gets fairly tiresome to hear.  Most of what happens in Italy won't be how you do it at home, so the best thing to do is get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the wonderful culture. And, there are so many great coffee bars in Italy, that there is no reason to go to McDonald's or Starbucks. Come on, you're in Italy, after all.

Photos below are mostly places you'll miss if you only seek out familiar restaurants...

If you get a chance, check out Smarter Travel's blog for a lot of useful advice and information.


La Stella Ristorante in San Gimignano.

Lucca dining al fresco.

On the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

At the Duomo in Florence.

Off the beaten path in Florence.

Off the beaten path in Florence 2.

Having snacks and a glass of wine in Cinque Terre.

Lucca lunch.

At Cane e Gatto for lunch in Siena.

Aperitivi and cocktails in Milan.

Lunch in Bergamo.

Wine and snacks in Bergamo waiting for the funicolare.