As Italy announced this week that it would allow travel to resume from mid-May onwards, the tourism minister said the country would open to “everyone”, but “above all” to those from outside the EU – adding that US tourists are some of the highest-spending visitors to Italy.
He did not give further details, or a firm date for travel to restart from the US.
The government did confirm that the long-awaited resumption of tourism into Italy from the USA will come with the requirement for a ‘health pass”, showing that the traveler is fully vaccinated, has recovered from Covid, or has recently tested negative. Further details of the scheme are yet to be announced.
Meanwhile Italy is still under a US State Department ‘Level 4’ travel warning due to the health situation.
And it’s not yet known which coronavirus rules Italy will keep over summer, with restrictions including mandatory mask-wearing in public and a 10pm curfew still in place nationwide.
So have these rules and uncertainties put American travelers off visiting?
Well, they certainly haven’t deterred readers of The Local who responded to our survey. Your answers to the question ‘will you travel to Italy when it’s possible?’ mostly ranged from ‘yes’ to ‘absolutely yes!”
Of around 150 people who answered our questionnaire within 24 hours, over 90 percent said that they intend to travel to Italy again as soon as possible, even though some have concerns.
Many told us they already had their flight and hotel reservations ready.
“100% ready. We are fully vaccinated and have booked a trip for July to Sicily. We are ready to provide any data needed, including getting a test if needed,” said Mark Herbert in Colorado.
“Although we can travel to Costa Rica or Hawaii, we miss Italy, the people and of course the cuisine. We have been worried that another summer shutdown could be hard for the restaurants to recover from. We would rather take our holiday funds to Italy.”
- ‘Green pass’: How to get Italy’s coronavirus immunity card for travel
- Italy’s green pass ‘will be valid for US and UK visitors’, says tourism minister
“Undoubtedly. We cannot wait,” said Philip R. Piccigallo and Rose Giambrone-Piccigallo, who are also fully vaccinated. “We are Italian Americans, second generation, whose grandparents were born in Italy. We have visited more than 40 times.”
A large number of people said their long-planned trips had been rescheduled due to the pandemic.
“I’ve been wanting to take my parents on a trip, show them what it is I love so much about Europe. It’ll be their first time in Europe and my second trip to Rome. We had it all planned out last year for early summer, but then the pandemic happened and it was all canceled,” said Judith Negron in Middletown, Connecticut.
“We’ve planned the trip again for this year and are hoping to have a go at it when the borders open.”
Concerns about travel
Of those who do not plan to travel, the most common reason given was that people did not want to be vaccinated.
Nine percent of those who responded were against getting vaccinated, and another seven percent said they believe the concept of vaccine passports is unfair, though some said they would travel if only a negative test result is required as expected.
A smaller number said they were concerned about the health situation in Italy.
The country is emerging from its third wave of infections, but still has a high number of new cases and deaths, and a relatively slow vaccine roll-out, with just over ten percent of the population fully vaccinated.
“My concern would be around how many people plan on travelling; realistically it will be busy given the state of everyone’s pandemic fatigue. I also am concerned about the focus on getting US tourists in for economic reasons, when Italy still needs to vaccinate the majority of their population,” said Carrie Borowy in Vermont, who plans to visit her partner in Italy.
Others were put off by the Italian health rules, currently including a 10pm curfew and compulsory mask-wearing in public, both indoors and outdoors, while some said they were concerned about how welcome tourists will be in the country.
“My family has done the right things during the pandemic and feel that since we have taken the correct precautions and gotten the vaccine, we are ready to see the world again,” said Heath Paukette in Allendale, Michigan, who is planning a family vacation. “My only concern is how Americans will be received in Italy.”
Reasons for visiting
While more than half of those who answered were planning a vacation, people gave a wide range of reasons for their planned trips.
There was a significant number of second-home owners and people who had family in Italy who they have not been able to see in more than a year, since travel from outside the EU was suspended in March 2020.
“We’ve been carefully watching the news via outlets like The Local and took an “educated gamble” one month ago, booking flights from Denver to Turin via Frankfurt on Lufthansa,” said Tom Winter in Boulder, Colorado.
“This will be our first trip back to our property in the Val di Susa for over a year. We weren’t worried about the home, the structure is 400-years old and survived Napoleon. But it’s been tough not to be able to visit. We love the village and the people in it.”
- ‘How our Italian village kept its sense of community throughout lockdown’
- ‘What happened when I bought a house in Italy during lockdown – without viewing it’
- Life in Italy: ‘How our shopping habits have changed since we moved from the US’
Others said they plan to travel for work, to study Italian, to retire, to get married, or to buy property.
“My wife and I have been waiting to move to Italy,” said Michael Parr in Sacramento, California, who plans to “retire in Italy, get my dual citizenship, and buy a house.”
Several readers said they were planning their postponed weddings in Italy, or helping family members plan theirs.
Natalie dePasquale, from Miami, is particularly determined to travel as she is planning to get married in Tuscany this September.
“Nothing will stop me,” she said.
A big grazie to everyone who took the time to answer our questionnaire – it was great to hear from so many people who love Italy and can’t wait to return. You can keep up with the latest news updates in our Italian travel section.