Thursday, August 26, 2021

Lodging for Our April 2022 Trip is Reserved

Still planning our 2022 adventure to Italy. Since my last post, I have managed to reserve all 21 days of lodging for our stay. Each booking made through Booking.com has a cancellation date near to our departure date so that should we need to "un-reserve" any booking we won't lose out. There was only one booking, the one in Bologna, where we have already had to pay a deposit. We rented the same great apartment in 2016 and aren't worried about cancelling if we must because the owner is very kind and accommodating. The two nights in Milan are at a small hotel (Hotel Charly https://www.hotelcharly.com/ ). All of the others are self-catering apartments. In my next post I'll let you know about the places we've reserved with names and prices.


Here's the rundown on cities we'll be staying in:

1. We fly into Milan Linate Airport (we'll stay in Milan for  one night) 

2. Take the train to Verona (for 5 nights)

3. Take the train to Venice (where we have visited twice before) (2 nights)

4. Take the train to Bologna (where we stayed in 2015 & 2016) (3 nights)

5. Take the train to Cortona (where we have not visited) (5 nights)

6. Take the train to Florence (where we have spent several weeks in 4 trips) (4 nights)

7. Return by train to Milan for our flight home (1 night at the same place we stayed on day one)

These arrangements could all be held hostage by COVID the way things are looking today in the US and elsewhere. Hopefully, we won't have to change our plans too drastically, but we are already prepared to reschedule to the fall of 2022 if necessary. For that reason, among others, we haven't booked our flights and won't do that until January or February. Most of our train transportation will be on regional trains, 2nd Class, so we won't have to make reservations for those trips. A couple longer distances, we will reserve seats through Trenitalia on faster (and more expensive) Frecciargento or Frecciarossa trains, but we can't do that until 60-90 days in advance. Usually then, there are great discounted fares still available.

So, we're still planning to be in Italy in 2022! Will you be there, too?


Bologna



Sunday, June 27, 2021

Planning for Our 2022 Trip to Italy. Are you Planning Your Trip Yet?

 Two weeks ago, while sitting on our patio, my wife Debbie and I started talking about returning to Italy for the 5th time in 10 years. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that we visited Tuscany for the first time in 2011, and then again in 2014, 2015 & 2016. Each stay averaged 17 days. We are fortunate to be retired and able to lengthen the duration of our trips. This time we began talking about 30 days, or so. The only thing holding us back on a trip that long was our feeling toward the end of our 2016 trip of a bit of weariness and a  desire to get home to our dog, Sandie. Everyone has a set of circumstances to consider and/or barriers to overcome when travelling away from home. In our case, the situation with our now aging and ailing dog, sadly,  makes it likely that she will not be with us much longer. With that in mind, we have decided to plan for a 20 to 30 day adventure.


Our patio in Massachusetts

As in past trips, we'll stay mostly in self-catering apartments with all the amenities of home. So, the first order of business is to choose our itinerary. We have favorite cities we have visited that we'd like to see again like Florence, where we have made a few Italian friends over the years and Bologna which we also loved. Both are fantastic places to use as a base for day trips, as well as offering a multitude of attractions like fabulous museums, churches, restaurants, etc. Florence & Bologna are also very walkable, but also, both have excellent, easy to use as long as you follow the rules, public transportation systems. We have never rented a car during our 9 plus weeks in Italy. Train travel in Italy, is so efficient and economical.


Debbie & Barry in Florence, 2014

Our first quick attempt at choosing places on our 2022 itinerary with the number of days() in each place looked like this: Milan (1), Varenna (4), Florence (5), Cinque Terre (7), Venice (3), Bologna (5), Venice (3) and back to Milan (1), for a total of 29 days. Another itinerary had us spending several days in Sorrento and the Amalfi coast (again), but we took that off the list to spend more time in places we haven't gone before like Verona and Cortona.

Today, two weeks later, our more finalized itinerary has changed to a big loop of these cities, in order of visits: Milan (1), Verona (5), Venice (2), Bologna (3), Cortona (5), Florence (4) and Milan (1) for a total of 21 days. These day totals don't include flight days. We eliminated Cinque Terre, which we loved on two previous trips, to reduce the pace and a couple long train trips. We're trying for a leisurely stay. Attempting to do/see too much often is not a good thing. 


Florence, Italy


We're looking at an April-May 2022 trip. We are hoping that the last vestiges of COVID19 will be gone by then. Since we've been in Italy in the months of June, July, September, October and November, we thought that experiencing spring time there would be a beautiful change. Maybe, there will be a few less people like us (tourists) and the temperatures will be more moderate than in other months.

What we haven't included on our itinerary, so far, is a definite list of day trips from Verona, Bologna, Cortona and Florence. So far, ideas include Desenzano at Lake Garda, Padova, Arrezzo, Fiesole (again & again on Bus #7) and Parma (again). More on the day trips in a future post.


Porticos of Bologna



Right now, we're searching Booking.com for accommodations, because it gives us a chance to reserve apartments now without paying a deposit and free cancelation of reservations up until a week or two before arrival date. It is necessary to give Booking.com credit card information. We used this in 2016 and it worked so well. ( I do not receive any compensation or benefits from any sites I favor on this blog).

Another thing we're considering is flying Business Class as a major splurge, something we rarely do. We have always flown Economy. This may well be our final journey to Italy; we'd like to be a lot more comfortable getting there and back. 

More to come as our planning develops. Peace, and remember "Italy is Waiting for You - Get Going!


Here we are in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

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