Should you travel to Italy? But of course! Is the answer really that simple, no. But I’d like to share my experience from my most recent trip at the end of October 2021. Keeping in mind how quickly things change, this is just a snapshot of that time. I am constantly checking infection rates, vaccination rates, and restrictions in the hope that my tours with Adventures in Italy will go as planned in May, 2022.
I travelled from Toronto to Syracuse, NY, to meet up with my mom, and we then flew to NY (JFK) and then on to Rome. Italy required a passenger locator form to be filled out in advance, and a negative antigen COVID test presented upon checking in for our first flight of the day. No one asked for the passenger locator form, but I would absolutely have all my ducks in a row. You never know when you’ll be asked to show what so make sure you check before you go that you have all your documentation, test results, vaccination records, etc. handy at all times.
Masks are required at all times in the airport and on the plane except when you’re eating or drinking. People were good about doing this, which made me feel good. Even when it was not-so-great, I just kept telling myself “at the end of all of this is ITALY!”
Once we got to Orvieto, I found the requirements for mask-wearing and proof of vaccination very similar to what’s happening right now at home for me in Canada. To go into a store, restaurant, museum, church…really, anywhere, masks are required. Proof of vaccination is required for entry into the Duomo, or to eat indoors at most every restaurant. For my peace of mind, for our safety and the safety of our friends and hosts in Orvieto, I am requiring that all Adventures in Italy travellers be fully vaccinated. The Orvietani were so happy to have visitors, and happy to remind you to pop on a mask in their shop to keep everyone safe! People still stop on the street to say hello, passegiata is still a thing, but done with a little more distance and care.
I was really curious to get back to Orvieto and see what was happening there. I knew that some of the businesses and restaurants had changed locations, but I didn’t know for sure what was open or closed. I was pleasantly surprised to find Orvieto mostly the way I left it in September 2019. A few more empty shops, but all of the places we visit as part of our tours have survived. One of my favorite restaurants, formerly right next to our lodging, has moved. Auguri to Giovanni on his new restaurant! Same great menu but beautiful, larger space.
Another congratulations to Federico and Hanna on their new shop! If you’ve travelled with us before with Sue Spargo, the leather shop where we get the base and handles for your bag, and just an all-around amazing leather shop, has moved. Larger space, but out of our neighborhood. Makes for some good exercise getting down the Corso each day to spend some time with them.
The last big change as far as Adventures in Italy is with our chef, Lorenzo. He has closed up his kitchen in town and is doing classes from his farm in Baschi, Casa Segreta. He came and picked us up and we joined him on the farm for the day. There’s guest accommodation so our cooking class was comprised of a couple from West Virginia, three students, and the two of us. Still a full menu and waaaayy too much food!
For our return trip. we also needed COVID tests to re-enter the USA (and Canada.) We opted to do our testing at the Rome airport. It was easy, and an antigen test came back in about 20 minutes. There are other options, and when you travel with Adventures in Italy, I will help you source a test at a convenient time and location. We presented our tests at check in in Rome, and didn’t need them again. Just a side note, I would recommend the most direct route you can afford. Each country has it’s own set of rules, so flying through multiple European countries might prove difficult. Especially with how quickly things are changing, the requirements may even change while you are away! But as long as you are top of the latest procedures and exercise a little, okay, A LOT, of patience, Italy can be a safe, enjoyable feast for the senses! A presto!
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Michelle Logue leads cultural and creative adventures in Orvieto, Italy. With a mandate to provide "travel that transforms", Adventures in Italy gives guests an immersive experience. After more than 15 years of return trips, Orvieto has become a welcoming home base surpassing the typical Italian vacation.
Adventures in Italy operates trips in May and September, with two options: Artistic Enrichment nurtures creative expression, while Discover Orvieto invites visitors to focus on the history and culture of Orvieto and live as locals. Find out more about tours and special offers by following Adventures in Italy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and visit www.adventuresinitaly.ca
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.