So many of our Bar and Bat Mitzvah families, wedding couples and tour groups have asked me this question – given that Italy was a hot spot for the coronavirus, is it a good idea to plan a trip to “the boot?”
First let me say that since early spring until as recently as several weeks ago, information on travel within Italy and travel to and from Italy has been confusing at best – that’s because the Italian government has been working hard analyzing data in a good faith effort to provide up to date information for all of us. So what do we know?
Here at our Italian Jewish Cultural Center (IjCCC) and our synagogue, Ner Tamid del Sud (“The Eternal Light of the South”) the coronavirus forced the cancellation of all of our events, March through June. That meant that our wonderful Bar and Bat Mitzvah families were unable to join us in our mountain top synagogue and our wedding couples had to make other plans. Two tours, Southern Italy through Jewish Eyes, have been rescheduled to 2021 – all for good reason. Italy, Europe’s most preferred tourist destination became the most feared European country with regard to the spread of the coronavirus.
Gratefully the situation has improved. As was done in the US and in Canada, government officials and Italian citizens worked in tandem to “flatten the curve” and as of this writing, the “Restare a Casa,” the stay-at-home self- quarantine has been relaxed. We are still wearing masks and although here in agricultural Calabria where the population Is low, the area hardly crowded, and the number of coronavirus cases well below those in northern Italy, we have complied with requirements that we wear masks, social distance and not gather in large groups.
The good news is that as of mid-May to early June many businesses are open throughout Italy including restaurants, shops, hotels, museums and other tourist venues. Churches, synagogues and mosques are open and beach-goers are enjoying sand, sea and sun – all at a safe distance,
As of June 3, international travel from the US to Italy is now available. Airlines have specific regulations regarding points of departure and arrival so check before you book. And the TPG travel site reports that unlike other countries and even some U.S. states, the Italian government says that, thanks to months of an all-country complete lockdown, a fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival will not be mandatory.
Finally, airline ticket prices are at their most reasonable ever and (at a safe distance!) we open our arms to you. Come join us here in the most beautiful, historic and, friendly of all the European countries. Benvenuti a Italia!