Italy is reopening to tourists next week! Maybe?

First up, check out today's podcast all about the Swiss Guard as today is the swearing in ceremony for the new guys.

Now, about Italy reopening

You may have heard that the Italian Prime Minister announced that Italy will open to tourists on May 15th.

This is certainly exciting news, but there's a lot that needs to be clarified and a lot that just doesn't make sense.

Many figured the reopening would be incremental, maybe starting with other countries in the EU, for example. It's being reported that he was specifically speaking to the EU, the US, and Israel, but it's possible others will be included.

The requirements will be either vaccinated, recovered, or those who test negative 48 hours before arrival.

Once in Italy you should be able to travel between "yellow" regions – most regions are currently yellow.

A few things to keep in mind...

We have a 10 PM curfew, but that may expire on May 15th.

We have an outdoor mask mandate, that certainly will not be fun in the Italian summer, and will also be difficult to enforce on tourists – but possibly quite lucrative.

At least until June, all cafes, restaurants, and bars can only serve at outdoor tables. While dining outside is one of the joys of dining in Italy, it greatly reduces the number of tables at each restaurant.

There's the issue that Italy is still way behind in vaccinations. Depending on the region, Italy is currently only vaccinating those 54 and up. That means most of the Italians that tourists will interact with, in restaurants and hotels, for example, will be unvaccinated.

Keep in mind too that the US State Department currently has Italy at Level 4, Do Not Travel.

So it is starting to feel exciting, but if you are booking flights, and hotels, and pilgrimages, just know that nothing is certain yet.

It's always best to stay flexible – but I do hope to see you soon!

The Papal Audience is back!

Just in time for the tourists to return, next Wednesday, the Papal Audience returns to the intimate setting of the San Damaso Courtyard. This is one of the greatest things to come out of the pandemic. It is by far the best location for a papal event I’ve experienced. What is so amazing is that pretty much anyone who wants, can meet the Holy Father – not guaranteed of course.

Read more about that here.

Know anyone ready to come to Italy, share this with them.