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TOURISM

Come and holiday in Italy, foreign minister tells Germans

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio is appealing to Germans to shed their coronavirus fears and spend their holidays in Italy this summer.

Italy is planning to reopen to European tourists from early June and scrap a 14-day mandatory quarantine period as part of a phased exit from its coronavirus lockdown.

“Come and visit our beaches, our sea, our mountain villages, enjoy our cuisine. We are ready to welcome you with a smile,” Di Maio said in an interview with Germany's leading Bild daily due to be published Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Germany aims to lift warning against worldwide travel by mid-June

The government enforced an economically crippling shutdown in early March to counter a pandemic that has so far killed more than 32,000 people in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries in the world.

The shutdown halted all holidaymaking in a country heavily dependent on the tourism industry.

Di Maio said Italy was “ready to receive tourists from Europe with the necessary security”, citing a significant drop in coronavirus cases.

“From mid-June to September it will be possible to travel in Italy without any problems,” he said, adding that “clear health protocols are in place in the accommodation facilities”.

Germany still has a warning in force until mid-June against taking foreign holidays despite the easing of regulations among European partners.

But Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has indicated Germany will be prepared to ease the travel warning sooner for Europe than for other countries.  

With the tourism sector reeling, the European Commission last week urged EU countries to gradually reopen shuttered internal borders and to treat each member state according to the same criteria.

 

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TOURISM

Falling Christmas decorations cause ‘irreversible damage’ to Italy’s Verona Arena

The Verona Arena, one of Italy’s most iconic landmarks, was closed to the public after a giant steel Christmas decoration collapsed while being taken down on Monday.

Falling Christmas decorations cause 'irreversible damage' to Italy's Verona Arena

The accident happened in the late morning of Monday, January 24th but was only revealed to national media late in the evening. 

Verona’s Archaeology and Fine Arts Superintendent, Vincenzo Tinè, told Ansa that the steel comet fell to the ground as it was being lifted out of the amphitheatre.

The structure – 82 metres in length and weighing around 78 tons – reportedly defaced a section of the arena’s stands, with Tinè describing the damage to the venue as “irreversible” earlier on Tuesday. 

Local police sealed off the area immediately after the accident, and prosecutor Alberto Sergi was reportedly set to launch an official inquiry into the collapse.

Repair works were expected to take weeks, and it wasn’t known how long the arena would remain closed to the public.

Well-known figures from Italy’s art world commented on the accident, with controversial art critic Vittorio Sgarbi saying the steel comet, which has been used as part of the building’s Christmas decorations since 1984, should “never be let into the arena again”.

A Roman amphitheatre dating back to around 30 AD, the Verona Arena is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved ancient buildings of its kind.

To this day, the building is used as a venue for some of the most important large-scale opera performances in the world.

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