Italy is now allowing visitors from within the EU, and travel from further afield is expected to restart from early July. There are still few flights available to the country for the time being, but as tourism slowly restarts, people are increasingly thinking about where to safely spend a summer holiday.
The Italian government stressed that there is still some risk involved in travelling as it reopened borders on June 3rd, and health authorities regularly remind us that the virus hasn’t gone away.
According to the latest government data, there were 202 new infections recorded in Italy on Wednesday June 10th, and 71 deaths. But almost half of the new infections, and 32 of the deaths, were in one region: Lombardy.
Meanwhile, seven regions reported zero new cases: Puglia, Trentino Alto Adige, Abruzzo, Sardinia, Valle d'Aosta, Calabria, and Basilicata. All have consistently reported very few (or zero) new daily infections for some weeks.
The latest numbers (as of June 10th) and distribution of current infections around the country are shown in the map below.
This map shows the weekly change (as of June 10th) in the number of new infections being reported by region.
Red means the area has a “prevalence of cases above the national average”. In the yellow and orange zones the figure is above average but falling, and the green areas show a weekly increase below the national average.
Despite these large variations, unrestricted travel between Italian regions has been allowed since June 3rd – including travel to and from Lombardy. There are currently no “red zones”, or any travel restrictions at all, within the country.
Italy's southern regions largely escaped the worst of the pandemic.
This was noted in a new study, which included a European travel map, drawn up by researchers in France and published on the EsadeEcPol academic portal. It divides the continent into what the researchers say are safe and unsafe regions for travel this summer, along with possible “air bridge” routes. Only urgent travel should be allowed to and from the red areas, they suggest.
Notably, they've only marked the very southern part of Italy and Sicily – but not Sardinia – as “safe”.
The sparsely populated southern regions of Basilicata and Molise had some of the lowest numbers of infections and were the first to declare zero new cases.
Though every part of Italy has suffered to some extent, some cities with a high population density have not seen major outbreaks. But for those who would rather avoid the crowds and not risk potential exposure, the following map illustrates just how much emptier some parts of Italy are than others.
While most foreign tourists flock to Italy's major cities – particularly to Rome, Florence, and Venice – many of the least-populated areas on the map, such as Sardinia and rural Tuscany, also happen to be popular holiday destinations.
Though visiting Italy's quieter and less-affected south and ilands may seem like the safest option this summer, it's also worth considering the large regional differences in healthcare provision, as well as the local rules visitors will need to follow.
See all of The Local's reporting on travel to Italy at the moment here.