TRAVEL: Italy reports surge in bookings for ‘smart working’ summer holidays

More people are planning to rent holiday homes in Italy this summer, taking advantage of being able to work remotely and enjoy more time away, according to a new report.

TRAVEL: Italy reports surge in bookings for 'smart working' summer holidays
Working with a view. Photo: Ostap Senyuk/Unsplash

The rise of the so-called ‘holiday working’ trend has seen a spike in bookings of longer durations in holiday home rentals across Italy, according to new figures shared by Idealista.

Instead of a holiday lasting a week or ten days, more people are booking longer stays of around three weeks, revealed Marco Celani, CEO of Italianway Research Centre – which analyses bookings made on their holiday home rental site.

“We are aiming for 25 million bookings in 2021, and periods of stay are being extended to three weeks. The Adriatic, Sicily, Sardinia and small towns are doing well,” he said.

READ ALSO: Can Americans travel to Italy for tourism this summer?

Contributing to the boom in bookings is the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and the easing of restrictions, according to Celani.

Additionally, the promise of the upcoming ‘green pass‘ to allow travel has translated into a 33% increase of bookings compared to last year, with peak earnings of €80,000 per day, the findings showed.

Some 35% of the 43,000 nights booked from 1st January – 15th of April 2021 are for holiday working purposes, the report added.

The average length of stay is 19 nights with a budget of €3,243, corresponding to an average rate of €170 per night.

The figures have encouraged the tourism site so much that they have added a section titled, ‘Holiday Working – perfect accommodation for smart working’.

READ ALSO: ‘Smart working’? Here’s what you need to know about going self-employed in Italy

Monopoli in Puglia is one destination high on the ‘Holiday Working’ bookings list. Photo by reisetopia on Unsplash

‘Smart working’ has become the buzz word since Covid-19 hit Italy over a year ago, forcing a change in how businesses operated and dragging the country into a new digital era.

Italy wasn’t previously reputed for its digital flexibility, with many people moving to the country noting the widespread internet connectivity problems.

However, the need to work from home has transformed how people work and live, providing new opportunities for people to freelance in Italy and moving teaching and learning online (DAD – Didattica a Distanza).

READ ALSO: Do you know your DAD from your DOP? The most common Italian acronyms explained

It’s also encouraged some Italian towns and villages to offer financial incentives to those willing to relocate there to work remotely, in the hope of injecting new life and boosting the economy.

And it looks as though it’s also paved the way for more people in Italy to leave the cities and choose a safer, calmer place to carry out their work or continue studying while enjoying a break from the crowds.

In fact, the report revealed that this year, people are looking to book ‘holiday working’ breaks with extended family, beginning as early as May and June.


Receiving the most amount of bookings are destinations off the beaten track, with a reported increase in stays in isolated places, only reachable by car or ferry.

“Top performers continue to be destinations where it is possible to book houses outside historic centres but with all services within easy reach, such as Termoli in Molise, Muravera in Sardinia and Monopoli, Castellana Grotte and Lecce in Puglia,” said Celani.

Other places receiving a swell in bookings are Sirolo in the Marche, Marone on Lake Iseo, Bormiese and Valdisotto in Lombardy and Andora and Sanremo in Liguria.

Both the sea and the mountains are attractive to people in Italy taking advantage of the ability to work remotely in a destination of their choosing.

And it’s not just the summer season that’s expected to experience this new trend – as the site has also seen a hike in bookings for October, meaning ‘holiday working’ is set to continue until autumn 2021.

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EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Venice is introducing a new system to discourage day-trippers in hopes of curbing problems with overtourism in the popular hotspot. Here is what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

After years of discussing a possible “tourist tax”, the city of Venice has confirmed it will make day-trippers pay from €3 to €10 for access to the city centre starting on January 16th.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the goal of the new tourism fee is to discourage day tourism at certain times of the year and encourage overnight tourism. Day-trippers will have to pay a fee, but those who stay overnight continue only to have to pay the city tax of €2 to €5, according to a government press release.

The Commission and the City Council will now examine the regulatory text for the final green light scheduled for the summer.

“We are the first in the world to introduce this system, and we are aware that not everything will work well from the beginning, but we will be ready to improve in the course of work. We want to guarantee the tourist the best quality of the visit and make sure that the city is able to give visitors all the services they need”, said Tourism Secretary Simone Venturini.

READ ALSO: After flooding and coronavirus, is it time Venice stopped relying on tourism?

How much will I have to pay?

The contributo di acesso, or access contribution, will cost from €3 to €10, depending on factors such as tourism numbers for the day and season.

The city will determine a certain threshold of tourists, after which people will be required to pay higher sums. Travellers are encouraged to book in advance to avoid price increases.

Does the payment have to be made in advance?

The government said that nobody would be denied entry to Venice, meaning a pre-registration is not necessary. However, the mayor said that those who book their visit in advance would be “rewarded”. The reward will likely discount the fee.

How will the system work? Where do I pay?

According to the City of Venice, the payment is an alternative to the city tax. It will be required from every person that goes to the old city centre of Venice, as well as other major tourist destinations and islands in the region.

READ ALSO: 16 surprising facts about Venice to mark 16 centuries of the lagoon city

A single payment guarantees access to the old town and the smaller islands.

Tourists will be able to pay through an online and “multilingual” platform where they will receive a QR code to present in case of controls. Tickets should also be available to buy in connection with public transport – so if you are arriving by train, it will be possible to buy the train ticket and the entry pass together.

Who is excluded or exempt from the payment?

There are several exceptions to the payment, according to the website. Among them are residents from the Comune di Venezia, those who work or study there, and those who own homes in the city.

Additionally, exceptions include those born in the Comune di Venezia, children under six years of age, people with disabilities and their accompanying person, public workers, volunteers, people visiting family members, prisoners, or attending funerals, and many others.

Residents of the Veneto region “up to the thresholds that will be set by a specific Council resolution” are also exempt.

Those who stay overnight and, therefore, already pay the city tax through their hotel or short-term rental booking are also exempt from the fee.

The city of Murano, in the metropolitan region of Venice (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

What about people arriving on cruises?

Venice is a very popular stop for cruise ships and people visiting the city on a cruise tour will also have to pay the fee as they disembark in the old town. However, the City of Venice said they might determine a lump-sum measure in agreement with the relevant carriers.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

Which smaller islands are included?

Only one ticket and payment is required for those travelling to multiple islands, including Venice. The islands that are part of the group are:

  • Lido di Venezia
  • Pellestrina
  • Murano
  • Burano
  • Torcello
  • Sant’Erasmo
  • Mazzorbo
  • Mazzorbetto
  • Vignole
  • S. Andrea
  • La certosa
  • S. Servolo
  • S. Clemente
  • Poveglia

What if I simply don’t pay?

If you fail to produce proof of payment or that you are exempt from the fee, the sanction is from €50 to €300. The fine is the same in the case of people making false statements trying to obtain exemptions or reductions.

Additionally, visitors who don’t pay in advance will have to pay the full €10 fee.

For more info click here.