The Italian government announced on May 14 that the country was reopening its borders to American tourists holding either a proof of vaccine or antibodies, or a 48-hour-old negative PCR test.
Reached recently in Rome, Maria Elena Rossi, Director of Marketing and Promotion for the Italian National Tourist Board, confirmed that such travelers no longer need “a specific reason to enter the country.” United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, and Alitalia are running so called “Covid-tested flights,” she explained, “the only way to enter the country (via Rome or Milan) from the United States and not be subjected to a quarantine.”
The whole country may be open, but only the islands of Capri and Ischia in Campania, where the entire population has been vaccinated, have been deemed Covid-free. Hotels have had to adhere to strict protocols and restaurants have reopened for indoor dining at 50% capacity.
“There is a strong trend towards villa rentals in rural areas such as Tuscany and Umbria,” said Ms. Rossi. “They offer more privacy and an easier experience for families.”
TuscanDream co-founder Carolina Casini was in Los Angeles last March when news of the pandemic arose. She was wrapping up her summer 2020 bookings including weddings, luxury villa rentals and personalized trips, all within her native Tuscany. Suddenly her flight back to Italy was canceled. It took her a week to find a way home.
Ms. Casini didn’t panic. Not when a client called later in the month to postpone a wedding and not when others asked to be reimbursed. In the end, most bookings were postponed first to 2021 and more recently to 2022. Because she knows each villa owner personally—she handles about 60 homes, she was able to communicate with them and secure credits for her clients.
I grew up in Tuscany and still live there,” she said, “So in 1999 when we founded the company, I decided to focus on what I knew best.”
At this point in time, she is busy booking travelers for August and the fall. She is launching a motorcycle retreat for October but for 2022, she’s planning a cooking course with Tuscan mamas and even a baseball training trip to take advantage of the stunning baseball field in the Grosseto area.
“American travelers emailed as soon as the country opened,” said Ms. Casini, “But they needed some time to plan their trip.”
Ms. Casini is now fielding requests ranging from August 2021 through Summer 2023.
In Tuscany yesterday, the curfew was moved to midnight and will be canceled on June 21st. Because rules are updated regularly, best to check the site of the Italian Embassy in Washington before booking your trip and work with a travel agent.
Up-to-date information here: