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COVID-19 RULES

Dining outdoors and hiking: How visitors plan to holiday in Italy this summer

As the summer holidays draw closer we asked whether you'd be spending your Italian holiday differently this year. Many readers responded with optimism, but some are hesitant about the ongoing Covid situation.

Some visitors to Italy plan spend most of their time outdoors this summer.
Some visitors to Italy plan spend most of their time outdoors this summer. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP.

As Italy continues to relax its anti-Covid measures in a bid to boost its pandemic-hit economy, the country is gearing up for its strongest summer season in the past couple of years.

We asked in a recent survey whether you’d still be travelling to Italy this summer despite the health situation country’s restrictions still in place and most of you said yes, although many had reservations.

READ ALSO: ‘I hate masks’: Why some visitors choose not to travel to Italy this summer

Out of those who are still going ahead with their travel plans, we wanted to know whether your trip to Italy would look different this holiday and how.

A large proportion of the 215 respondents said their travel plans would be unaffected by Italy’s health measures, and many of you said you intend to explore new parts of the country.

“The Cinque Terre is a new area I will be visiting. I’m going to an outdoor concert (Andrea Bocelli) and will try get some paddle boarding in,” wrote Tina Morgan.

Shona Stewart, from Essex in the UK, said: “We’re trying different day trips, for example Imperia from San Remo and Tellaro from La Spezia.”

Liguria remains a popular destination for visitors coming to Italy this summer.

Liguria remains a popular destination for visitors coming to Italy this summer. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Several of you told us that you’d be travelling by public transport to get around Italy too.

“We hope to take a train trip to Venice, Vicenza and Padua, plus a few days on the Adriatic at Alba Adriatica with grandchildren,” said Debra Camastro, from Florida, USA.

Jan Bennett said they’d be using the train and the bus for their upcoming Italy holiday, while Kat Lync from Los Angeles in America said she will be traveling by train to Caserta and Naples from Rome.

READ ALSO: Will tourism in Italy return to pre-pandemic levels this year?

But others have expressed concern over using public transport in light of the ongoing, albeit improving, Covid situation.

“I will not be using train transportation to get to new regions as I would normally do when traveling with family. I do not feel confident enough,” wrote Mary Jones from the USA.

Jesse Voccia from Los Angeles in the US echoes this concern, saying, “I’m very concerned about contracting Covid on trains or in crowded public areas. We are staying in isolated areas planned around nature rather than museums and restaurants.”

While many of you have plans to travel to parts of Italy for the first time and try out new activities, plenty of respondents said they’d still avoid crowds and would opt to wear masks.

Some foreign visitors still intend to mask up in Italy this summer, regardless of whether it's required.

Some foreign visitors still intend to mask up in Italy this summer, regardless of whether it’s required. Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP.

“No group tours such as food tours or farm tours where one is transported in a small van with 8-10 people for example,” wrote Rosemary Murtagh.

Kathy Freise from Virginia in the US said she’d be “staying in one place mostly”, while another reader anonymously said they would be “spending more time outside. Wearing a mask all the time”.

They added that they had “purchased a face shield that I might wear if I feel the need to. Will not be dining indoors or shopping as much.”

Jennifer Gray from Missouri, USA, said they will “avoid heavily touristed spots – in Florence I will spend time outside of the city rather than museums.”

Some plan to wear masks in all spaces in Italy, even where there is no longer the requirement to do so. “I will mask while in public spaces, both in the open and enclosed spaces,” wrote Marlowe Ng from California, USA.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

Keeping away from crowds, dining outdoors when going to restaurants, and spending more time in private accommodation is on the agenda for many travellers to Italy this summer.

Many foreign visitors say they'll stick to outdoor dining in Italy this summer.

Many foreign visitors say they’ll stick to outdoor dining in Italy this summer. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP.

“We will only eat outside, will avoid crowds (the best places!),” said Joseph Stone.

“I won’t eat inside so hope that even with the rain there are outdoor eating options,” added Michelle Camicia.

For Darryl Ainsley from Canada, he will “probably do more walks in the countryside, fewer museums. Outdoor eating only, unless case counts are very low.”

One anonymous reader from the US said they also intend to spend their holiday “hiking and not spending time indoors,” and another unnamed respondent from Australia said that they would be “not travelling outside to other regions, staying quiet, in place.”

“We plan to stay at home and avoid people as much as possible,” said Jesse Voccia.

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MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

Here are the remote Italian villages worth seeking out in 2022, according to a list compiled by one of the country's leading tourism associations.

MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

A total of 270 villages across Italy have been recognised as being especially tourist-friendly this year by the Italian Touring Club (Touring Club Italiano), one of the country’s largest non-profit associations dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism throughout the territory.

‘Orange Flag’ status is awarded if a village is judged to have significant historic, cultural and environmental value, as well as for being welcoming to visitors and outsiders, according to the initiative’s website.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

Villages can apply for the status if they are located inland with no coastal stretches; have fewer than 15,000 inhabitants; have a well-preserved historic centre and a strong sense of cultural identity; demonstrate sensitivity to issues of sustainability; have a well-organised tourist reception system; and show an intention to continue to make improvements to the town.

The list is updated annually, and in 2022 three new villages gained orange flag status for the first time: Dozza in Emilia Romagna, Manciano in Tuscany, and Sasso di Castalda in Basilicata.

See below for the map and a list of the Orange Flag villages according to region:

Montepulciano in Tuscany has 'orange flag' status.

Montepulciano in Tuscany has ‘orange flag’ status. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

Abruzzo – 7 villages

Civitella Alfadena, Fara San Martino, Lama dei Peligni, Opi, Palena, Roccascalegna, Scanno.

Basilicata – 6 villages

Aliano, Castelmezzano, Perticara Guard, San Severino Lucano, Sasso di Castalda, Valsinni.

Calabria – 6 villages

Bova, Civita, Gerace, Morano Calabro, Oriolo, Tavern.

Campania – 5 villages

Cerreto Sannita, Letino, Morigerati, Sant’Agata de’ Goti, Zungoli.

READ MORE: Six Italian walking holiday destinations that are perfect for spring

Emilia Romagna – 23 villages

Bagno di Romagna, Bobbio, Brisighella, Busseto, Castell’Arquato, Castelvetro di Modena, Castrocaro Terme and Terra del Sole, Dozza, Fanano, Fiumalbo, Fontanellato, Longiano, Montefiore Conca, Monteleone, Pennabilli, Pieve di Cento, Portico and San Benedetto, Premilcuore, San Leo, Sarsina, Sestola, Verucchio, Vigoleno.

Friuli Venezia Giulia – 7 villages

Andreis, Barcis, Cividale del Friuli, Frisanco, Maniago, San Vito al Tagliamento, Sappada.

Lazio – 20 villages

Arpino, Bassiano, Bolsena, Bomarzo, Calcata, Campodimele, Caprarola, Casperia, Collepardo, Fossanova, Labro, Leonessa, Nemi, San Donato Val di Comino, Sermoneta, Subiaco, Sutri, Trevignano Romano, Tuscania, Vitorchiano.

Liguria – 17 villages

Airole, Apricale, Balducco, Brugnato, Castelnuovo Magra, Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena, Dolceacqua, Perinaldo, Pigna, Pinion, Santo Stefano d’Aveto, Sassello, Seborga, Toirano, Triora, Vallebona, Varese Ligure.

Lombardy – 16 villages

Almenno San Bartolomeo, Bellano, Bienno, Castellaro Lagusello, Chiavenna, Clusone, Gardone Riviera, Gromo, Menaggio, Pizzighettone, Ponti sul Mincio, Sabbioneta, Sarnico, Solferino, Tignale, Torno.

Marche – 24 villages

Acquaviva Picena, Amandola, Camerino, Cantiano, Cingoli, Corinaldo, Frontino, Genga, Gradara, Mercatello sul Metauro, Mondavio, Montecassiano, Montelupone, Monterubbiano, Offagna, Ostra , Ripatransone, San Ginesio, Sarnano, Serra San Quirico, Staffolo, Urbisaglia, Valfornace, Visso.

Molise – 5 villages

Agnone, Ferrazzano, Frosolone, Roccamandolfi, Scapoli.

READ MORE: These are the 20 prettiest villages across Italy

San Gimignano has long been an orange flag destination.

San Gimignano has long been an orange flag destination. Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP.

Piedmont – 40 villages 

Agliè, Alagna Valsesia, Arona, Avigliana, Barolo, Bene Vagienna, Bergolo, Candelo, Canelli, Cannero Riviera, Cannobio, Castagnole delle Lanze, Cherasco, Chiusa di Pesio, Cocconato, Entracque, Fenestrelle, Fobello, Gavi, Grinzane Cavour, Guarene, La Morra, Limone Piemonte, Macugnaga, Malesco, Mergozzo, Moncalvo, Monforte d’Alba, Neive, Orta San Giulio, Ozzano Monferrato, Revello, Rosignano Monferrato, Santa Maria Maggiore, Susa, Trisobbio, Usseaux, Usseglio, Varallo, Vogogna.

Puglia – 13 villages

Alberona, Biccari, Bovino, Cisternino, Corigliano d’Otranto, Locorotondo, Oria, Orsara di Puglia, Pietramontecorvino, Rocchetta Sant’Antonio, Sant’Agata di Puglia, Specchia, Troia.

Sardinia – 7 villages

Aggius, Galtellì, Gavoi, Laconi, Oliena, Sardara, Tempio Pausania.

Sicily – 1 village

Petralia Sottana

Tuscany – 40 villages

Abetone Cutigliano, Anghiari, Barberino Tavarnelle, Barga, Casale Marittimo, Casciana Terme Lari, Casale d’Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Castelnuovo di Val di Cecina, Castiglion Fiorentino, Certaldo, Cetona, Chiusi, Collodi, Fosdinovo, Lucignano, Manciano, Massa Marittima, Montalcino, Montecarlo, Montefollonico, Montepulciano, Monteriggioni, Murlo, Peccioli, Pienza, Pitigliano, Pomarance, Radda in Chianti, Radicofani, San Casciano dei Bagni, San Gimignano, Santa Fiora, Sarteano, Sorano, Suvereto, Trequanda, Vicopisano, Vinci, Volterra. 

Trentino Alto Adige – 8 villages

Ala, Caderzone Terme, Campo Tures/Sand in Taufers, Ledro, Levico Terme, Molveno, Tenno, Vipiteno/Sterzing.

Umbria – 10 villages

Bevagna, Città della Pieve, Montefalco, Montone, Nocera Umbra, Norcia, Panicale, Spello, Trevi, Vallo di Nera.

Val d’Aosta – 3 villages

Etroubles, Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Introd.

Veneto – 12 villages

Arquà Petrarca, Asolo, Borgo Valbelluna, Cison di Valmarino, Follina, Malcesine, Marostica, Montagnana, Portobuffolè, Rocca Pietore, Soave, Valeggio sul Mincio.

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