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San Marino offers tourists Sputnik vaccine for €50

San Marino, an independent micro-state in northern Italy, announced on Wednesday it would offer the Russian Sputnik Covid-19 vaccine to tourists for 50 euros.

San Marino offers tourists Sputnik vaccine for €50
San Marino has approved the Sputnik vaccine while the EU hasn't. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The fee, equivalent to $61, covers both doses of the vaccine, Health Minister Roberto Ciavatta told a press conference.

The jab will be made available to anyone who books a hotel for at least three nights and returns within three or four weeks for the second injection.

The scheme, which launches from May 17th, will give San Marino “a real possibility to attract a kind of tourism that none of us would have ever before thought possible to attract,” Foreign Minister Luca Beccari said.

READ ALSO: Inside San Marino, Europe’s least-visited country

People in the old town of San Marino in 2017. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

The Russian vaccine has not been authorised by European Union authorities, but San Marino is not a member of the bloc and has been dispensing it since early March.

While those still waiting to be vaccinated in Italy might be tempted to cross the border and get a shot, unless the European Medicines Agency approves Sputnik the vaccine will not allow you to benefit from the EU-wide “Covid passport”. 

Only vaccines cleared by the EMA are included on the travel pass, and while Sputnik is under review it has not been approved for use in Italy or the rest of the EU.

READ ALSO:

The tiny hilltop republic of San Marino, landlocked between Le Marche and Emilia-Romagna, has around 34,000 citizens and since starting the vaccination campaign has administered 36,000 doses and fully vaccinated some 22,000 people.

In a statement on Monday, health authorities said San Marino had reported no new infections in the previous 24 hours. Beccari said Wednesday that the republic was close to being “Covid free”.

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TOURISM

TRAVEL: Why Venice is named among Europe’s cheapest city break destinations

The Italian city of Venice has been named the third-cheapest place for a city break in Europe - a survey result that might surprise some visitors. Here’s why it may not be as costly as you'd think.

TRAVEL: Why Venice is named among Europe’s cheapest city break destinations

A new survey of 100 different cities in Europe by the Omio transport booking website has revealed that Venice is the third-cheapest destination for a city escape, in terms of being the most affordable and having the highest number of free activities and attractions.

The ranking will no doubt come as a surprise to many, due to the city’s reputation as an expensive destination geared towards luxury travel – and the fact that Venetian residents have been leaving the city’s historic centre in droves partly due to high housing costs.

The objective of the study was to identify the best tourist destinations to visit on a reduced budget, due to the current economic climate of inflation and rising prices affecting almost all daily costs.

It also aimed to show tourists that they can save a lot of money if they organise their travel by taking advantage of free offers and opportunities, as well as thinking carefully about where they go.

“Believe it or not, it is possible to have a cheap holiday in Venice,” the study’s authors wrote, advising travellers to “follow a few simple tricks to turn some of Venice’s most expensive places into low-budget havens”. 

READ ALSO: How much does it really cost to live in Venice?

Venice was found to have a total of 136 free tourist attractions, 22 free museums, and 58 guided tours rated as “affordable”. The study also highlighted the city’s 186 public drinking fountains, which local authorities this summer urged visitors to use in order to cut down on bottled water purchases. 

The study however did not include the cost of accommodation, and it put the cost of a 24-hour public transport ticket in Venice at €21.88: several times higher than the prices listed for other cities at the top of the ranking.

Venice is promoting the use of its network of water fountains amid efforts to combat plastic waste. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

The average price of a beer in the floating city also seemed comparatively high at €4.38, though this was below the European average price of €4.91.

Travellers can expect a meal for two in an average restaurant to set them back around €61 – that is, as long as they don’t wander into any of the tourist traps notorious for rip-off prices.

READ ALSO: Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

Overall Venice got a score of 82.3 percent to take third place, whilst Bruges in Belgium came in second with 93.6 percent and Granada was first with 100 percent.

Further surprises came in the ranking for other Italian cities: Florence was rated the 10th cheapest European city break destination, with 113 free attractions, 17 museums with free entrance, and a 24-hour public transport ticket costing 4 euros.

Meanwhile Naples – where the cost of living is comparatively low – was rated as being slightly more expensive to visit, in 12th place. Tuscan tourist hotspot Pisa came in 13th place, while the northern city of Turin was 23rd.

Milan was 30th on the list, which the study said has 372 free tourist attractions, but higher costs for food and drink

Rome came in 37th place – despite the survey saying the capital has a huge 553 free attractions, 34 free museums, and ten times more public drinking fountains than Venice (1,867).

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