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Ciao from Italia! August 2021

Ciao ragazzi! We arrived in Italy yesterday and I thought I would post some occasional updates since I know folks are interested in "on the ground" information these days.

We flew from Seattle to Frankfurt then on to Naples with Lufthansa. At check-in in Seattle, we were asked for our vaccine cards or negative test (we're fully vaxxed) at the counter, that was it. Boarding at the gate was just your boarding pass and passport as normal. We were stamped into the EU in Frankfurt and weren't asked to see a thing at passport control or at the gate. Nothing in Italy since we were already stamped in. We do have the PLF filled out with our QR codes but have not been asked for them.

We spent last night in Naples and took the ferry to Ischia today for the night 5 nights. So far, we have only eaten outdoors (by choice, not because of the green pass), and have taken a cab and the ferry so have not been asked for the green pass anywhere we've gone.

Almost everyone is wearing masks. Outside, sometimes they are pulled down under chins or noses, but everyone either has one on or has one around their wrist/forearm for easy access. We were actually whistled at by two men in uniform at the port in Naples to put ours on--oops! We were outside so thought we were okay. Social distancing is not really much of a thing, so keep that in mind if that will bother you. So far so good!

Posted by
39 posts

Gr8 ... happy to hear .... we'll be going there soon also ... anyone going into the Colosseum are required to wear the N95 or PP2F mask supposedly as their 95% effective ... any news on types of masks as their 2 euros ($2.40) there ... can't find them in our stores here as all hospitals are in need etc. ... Ebay has em .... also the Chinese KN95s supposedly didn't test well ....

Posted by
18897 posts

If you're in the US, check your local Home Depot, Walmart or Costco. All have been reported as having masks, but that naturally varies from store to store.

Posted by
47 posts

For high quality N95 masks, check the Masks4Canada website which lists Cdn manufacturers (that hopefully ship to the US). We have bought them and find them to be of very good quality.

Posted by
39 posts

Ooops ... i need to make a correction on those N95 type masks (95% protection) ... they were for the Necropolis at the Vatican not the Colosseum .. so sorry!

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks for the report. We will be in Italy in late September, can hardly wait! Happy Travels

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for the report! Heading there next month and growing increasingly nervous. What's the "green pass"?

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
201 posts

Thanks for the well wishes everyone! So far it feels pretty normal in my opinion. We've had our temp checked a few times and of course masks are a thing but otherwise normal. The green pass means you'll need to show proof of vaccination in order to enter museums, eat indoors at restaurants, etc.

Posted by
53 posts

Alas, I was to have flown to Italy yesterday, but in the end decided to postpone until next year. Glad to hear you're enjoying things so far. As far as you can tell, your CDC card is sufficient for entering museums/indoor dining, etc.?

Posted by
201 posts

So far we have not been asked to show our vaccination cards at all, but we haven't visited museums or dined indoors yet. We head to Rome on Wednesday, so I'm assuming we will be asked there for some of the sites we plan to visit. But, as far as I have read and heard, Italy has made it clear that they are accepting the CDC cards as our green pass.

Posted by
11 posts

I am currently in Venice, today I visited the Basilica of San Marcos, the Campanile, and Doge’s Palace. We were able to get in showing our CDC card and passport.

Posted by
193 posts

Just curious as it makes Nervous carrying our passports everywhere. When they ask for vaccination cert and ID. Does it have to be the original with the ID part? Or are copies or a picture on your phone ok? We are headed in October so just trying to get a feel. And are passports preferred vs your drivers license? Thanks

Posted by
193 posts

Oh perfect I like those passport holders! I was looking to get a pac safe sling bag for when we are walking around.

Posted by
201 posts

Can report that we were asked for our "green pass" at the Poseidon Thermal Gardens today--CDC card was accepted no issues, and passport was not asked for. Also I would add that while I usually agree that passports are best kept in a money belt, right now with the potential of having to show them regularly to access museums and restaurants, I might want them more accessible.

Posted by
224 posts

I'm in Rome right now and noticed indoor mask compliance is very high. Many people (including me now) wear them on their wrists or forearm, outside, because it's so darn hot you can't stand it on your chin. There are enough tourists that it's lively, but no hordes. I hear very few American voices when I'm out walking around. My impression is that many of the tourists are Italian families. I'm very glad I came, as everything is open and Rome is still the Eternal City.
Cynthia

Posted by
2591 posts

Interesting thread. Thanks to everyone for their reports.

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks to Rachael and all. We are set for a month in Italy starting in early September.
We appreciate all the local Italy news, especially hearing about their compliance with masking. We live in LA county and most folks wear masks indoors. Not so when we needed a short shopping trip to nearby Orange County (yes THAT OC). There was hardly a mask in sight. We did our errands and left asap.

Posted by
4984 posts

Rachael, thanks for your updates! Are you hearing any British accents? We’re scheduled to arrive in Italy in September, after a connecting flight in London. Just learned that being in the UK - even just to transfer planes at Heathrow, now requires a 5-day quarantine upon arrival in Italy. Frankfurt avoids that. So are Brits themselves even less present than Americans?

Posted by
201 posts

Cyn, we honestly have heard hardly any English at all, American or British. We did a day trip to Capri today and heard the most American accents by far, but on Ischia--almost none. To be fair, Ischia is not known as a tourist destination for Americans, I don't think. We head to Rome on Wednesday and that may be give us a better sense.

Also, green pass update: we were asked for it to enter the Blue Grotto today. We held up our CDC cards from our canoe and the ticket boat waved us right in. Absolutely no way they could have verified anything from that distance other than that we had a piece of paper.

Posted by
193 posts

Hasn’t Italy said if you have a vaccination card (CDC card) from your country of residence that’s outside the EU zone that they will accept it and a green pass is not necessary?

Posted by
201 posts

Yep! I'm just reporting on my experience with what places are asking for it since it's new to all of us.

Posted by
211 posts

Thanks for the report! We very well may have been on your same flight as we also flew SEA to FRA on Lufthansa and arrived on the 5th. We flew to Pisa and went to Cinque Terre. Enjoy the rest of your trip and looking forward to reading more about it.

Posted by
193 posts

Thanks for the updates and keep them coming we leave for Italy on Sept 28th and can't wait. Its nice hearing on the ground reports from travelers vs hearing all the negative crap on the news. Nice to see that tourist are welcome and its seems everyone has been very accommodating.

Posted by
7 posts

I so appreciate these updates, we are to leave for Italy on Sept 4th, my first trip there, we'll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary while there. Hoping it all comes together and Italy's precautions hold up!

Posted by
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Ciao! Welcome to Italy. I hope you enjoy your stay. I just arrived in Italy too with my family. For me, It's really a cool place but my only challenge is communication. None of us speaks nor understand Italian though. Just learnt few words from YouTube. I think we will need a language tutorial or beginner program in other to get through. Sincerely, it's somehow hard to communicate with people here. I need help please, recommendations for the best Italian lesson for an English speaker, if possible. Please something easy and pocket friendly. Thank you.

Posted by
11 posts

My family and I have been in Italy since August 2nd. We have visited Rome, Florence, Venice, and we are currently are in Naples. Most businesses have told me that they have seen very few or no Americans. It’s mostly European tourists that are here right now. CDC card has been accepted everywhere, restaurants and museums. We’ve been able to get into restaurants that are usually booked just because we were able to provide proof of vaccinations.

Posted by
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Ujun,

get on WiFi and download Google Translate, it will definitely help with your communication.

Posted by
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@cehart1-We will be there starting Sept 1, also celebrating our 20th anniversary. Happy anniversary to you!

Posted by
100 posts

@ujunwaokoyem: download a translator app to your phone. after trying several i settled on microsoft 'translator'. you can speak or type in english and it will give you the italian translation in text or a voice. i found it quite useful to enter my question and then quickly memorize the translation. on a few occasions, i typed in more complex sentences and showed the screen the person i was trying to talk to.

Posted by
19 posts

Rachel, Thanks so much for the trip report. I'm flying to Italy on Sept. 4th, with plans to go to Cinque Terre, Rome, Naples, and Amalfi, and last to Ischia. My question if about Ischia....
What has been your favorite thing so far about Ischia? Advice on places to see, eat, must do? I'm an avid hiker, but will have been hiking for the 2 weeks before I get there, so am open to any and all suggestions. Have you found the ferries easy to use, and what has been your preferred method of getting around the island? Thanks in advance, and hope you're having a wonderful vacation!

Posted by
201 posts

Andi, that sounds like an amazing trip! We LOVED Ischia. The people were so friendly, the vibe is great and it's gorgeous. To be honest, we were dealing with a fair amount of jet lag/not feeling great after our long flight, and we wanted this stop of our trip to be primarily about relaxing, so we took it pretty easy. Lots of people recommend staying in Ischia Porto and seeing the castle there, which we didn't do. We stayed in Forio which was lively but not overwhelming. We spent a day at the Poseidon Thermal Gardens which I highly recommend, and another day on a day trip to Capri. If you're in the Forio area at all, check out L'Oro Di Napoli pizzeria--phenomenal pizza, super cheap prices (we got dinner from them twice and you can get a whole pizza and a huge arancini for 5 euro). The ferries were super easy and straightforward, and for the most part not very crowded. We used Alilauro to get from Napoli to Forio and back, and then also for our Capri day trip. We also found the busses pretty easy to navigate although for some reason they weren't showing up on Google Maps for us, so we had to look up the schedule. You buy your tickets at any tabacchi. We took the bus from Forio to Ischia Porto, Cassamicciola Terme (to do laundry lol) and to Lacco Ameno for dinner one evening. The busses do get very crowded and packed so that's something to keep in mind if you'd be uncomfortable with that with Covid. Everyone wore masks so we felt okay.

Posted by
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Thank you so much for these updates! I'm so excited to get back to Italy and am taking 2 friends for their first trip early September for 2 weeks. We have prepared so much for this - I have LOTS of $$$ to bring and want to spend it on wine! Hahaha! Seriously though, it is amazing to hear the "on the ground" posts from everyone and I will chime in as well when I get there.

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201 posts

Arrived in Roma last night after: ferry from Ischia to Napoli, Alibus to Stazione Centrale, then the Freccia to Roma Termini. All of those methods of transportation were pretty empty. We ate outdoors last night so were not asked for our green pass. We visited the Colosseum this morning and did the underground tour--they have a pretty smooth set-up there for the green pass check--our CDC cards were barely given a second look. Masks required while on the grounds of the Colosseum. No issues! Well, except for the fact that it's 100 degrees today!

Posted by
39 posts

We're happy to hear EVERYTHING you have to say Rachael ... we will be there soon flying into Venice and out of Rome this time ... I found kn95 mask (5 layers) on Ebay (50 pcs) for 45 cents each ... we'll take em all and pass em out to ppl in need ... it'll be cooler in a month and hope to get more positive people like you to keep us posted etc. ... oh ---> there's the postponed January Carnival in Viareggio happening now in Oct. (YouTube it) we plan to daytrip from Florence so if anyone is in the area at this time and has the desire ... go for it ... nowadays we visit on the shoulder seasons and plan our calendar for festivals/events etc. So much to see so little time! ... thanx again Rachael for keeping people upbeat ...

Posted by
4984 posts

Rachael, thank you for the continued updates!

Usedpartnc, thanks for the Viareggio Carnevale info. We’ll be in the Cinque Terre, just 36 miles north of there, on Oct. 9, and it looks like an opportunity not to be missed! “Mardi Gras” on a Saturday in early October - Viva l’Italia!

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201 posts

usedpartnc, I hope you have a wonderful trip!

There's another poster currently in Italy who mentioned that her son wasn't able to enter grocery stores or indoor restaurants in Rome because they didn't take the CDC card, so I wanted to try out both of those things today. Happy to report all went well--sent my husband to the grocery store for a cheap lunch today and he said no one was there checking anything. We also ate indoors for the first time since arriving to Italy tonight for dinner, and they did ask for the green pass. He studied our cards and asked if we had the QR code or only our "American cards" and when I explained that no, "the EU and America systems aren't talking to each other yet," he understood and all was well.

Posted by
39 posts

Rachael we rarely use hotels .⅕ we pack light and get apartments with wash machines etc. ... we look for co-ops/super mercato for our food to cook in the apartment but also eat out, but with covid the restaurants might have limited seating .... apartments are reasonable and less claustrophobic .... we book on different sites as we want a good location for easy transportation accessing their public buses,trains and cabs ... we use Booking dot com basically but might find a better option/location on another site .... also a 3 night stay (turns out to be 2 1/2 days = 2 full days .... but nowadays 3-4 or even 5 night stays are less stressfull and more fulfilling ... then again depends on ones amount of days available ....

Posted by
201 posts

Hello hello! Update on the last couple of days:

Yesterday we took the Taste of Testacchio food tour with Eating Europe and it was WONDERFUL. Highly highly recommend. We did have two indoor/sit-down tastings, one at a restaurant and one a gelateria. Both asked for the green pass--our tour guide asked us at the beginning to be flexible as he wasn't sure how it was all working yet, but we had no issues. They were checking thoroughly though and he thought it might have been because they were doing some checks in the neighborhood.

We then went to the Vatican, walked right into the basilica to admire it and then headed to the museums for our 7pm timeslot. This might be blasphemous to some here, but we were so hot and exhausted at that point that we pretty much just booked it to the Sistine Chapel--it was by no means empty, but NOTHING like some of the stories and photos I've seen of people squished in there like sardines. We could freely move and walk around and really take it in. CDC cards and passports were checked at the entrance to the museum.

Today we got out of the city on an incredible AirBNB experience which I would highly, highly recommend: https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/55449 We took the regional train to Palombara which was just an incredibly gorgeous village and spent the afternoon learning to make pasta with the sweetest nonna. We've been taking the metro here and there over the last couple days and it has not felt crowded, we've gotten a seat each time and the regional train was also not packed at all.

All is well here in Roma! I hope the updates help some of you who are still hoping to make trips happen in the near future. :)

Posted by
1 posts

Any news on the Como area? We are scheduled for a Rhine river cruise end of September and will travel from Basel to Como for a few days.

Posted by
295 posts

Rachal, I want to thank you again for taking time from your trip to send updates on Italy. Every time someone here points out news reports I get that little sick feeling. Your updates make me very optimistic, we are so looking forward to our trip.

Posted by
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Rachael,

Thanks so very much for your "on the ground" reporting. We will be landing in Roma in 5 weeks and can hardly wait!

Posted by
201 posts

I'm very glad it's helpful! Of course everyone's risk tolerance and personal circumstances vary so by no means am I encouraging travel now if that isn't what feels right for you, but after spending months full of anxiety and questioning our decision to go, it's just been so nice to have had things going smoothly so far. Of course we still need to get that negative test for the way home so... fingers crossed!

Also, if anyone is looking for a place to stay in Rome, I highly recommend looking at B&B La Finestra sul Colosseo. This is our last night here and it was been such a great find--we paid about $450 USD (will depend on conversion rate of course) for 5 nights, all taxes included and breakfast included (served to you in your room). Huge, air conditioned room, down the street from the Colosseum with easy access to Metro A & B and the buses and trams. Nice people too.

Posted by
46 posts

I too want to thank you for your comments on your experience. We tooplan on traveling in September. Please share with us your experience about Covid testing for your trip home. Hope all is going well for you

Posted by
201 posts

I'm really glad it's been helpful! Everything is continuing to go well. Modena was pretty sleepy when we arrived the day after Ferragosto, but last night was a bit more lively. We did an AirBNB experience to a parmigiano reggiano dairy in Reggio Emilia yesterday which was wonderful. This afternoon we had lunch at Osteria Francescana which was just an absolute dream come true and Massimo was so gracious and wonderful! We've been lounging in bed ever since lol. Tomorrow is our last day here and we have dinner reservations, but otherwise will probably just relax, stroll the city and maybe do some shopping for balsamic. :)

Posted by
201 posts

Hello everyone! Just checking in to say that everything has continued to go smoothly for us here. My mom and her boyfriend arrived at Milan MXP on Monday to meet us for our last week in Italy, and had no issues at the airport with their CDC card. No one checked their PLF. Unlike some others on the forum, we have not been turned away once from a restaurant or museum with our CDC cards. That being said, I can count on one hand the number of times we've eaten indoors over the last month, so maybe take that with a grain of salt, but we have had no problems. Also, happy to report that we all tested negative last night in preparation for our flight to Boston on Sunday!

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201 posts

Wanted to provide one last update since we flew out of FCO back to the US yesterday.

Upon arriving at the airport, there was a line where someone was checking what airline you were flying and then directing you accordingly. We were on Delta, so she directed us to another line where someone was checking that we had our negative Covid tests. I will say that they were checked VERY thoroughly. She seemed to have a list of all passengers flying to the US that day (on Delta--it seemed to be only 2 flights), found us on the list by checking our passports and highlighted our names, and then took our printed negative test results and compared the names and birthdays on those to our passports, and also checked the date and time that we took the test. Once all of that was checked, she put a sticker on the back of our passports and sent us over to the check-in counter. There, we checked our bags and provided our passports again where they initialed the sticker on the back to note that they were checked a second time, and we headed to security. At that point, everything was as normal. Our test results were not checked again--just another passport check at boarding and then when going through passport control in Boston.

We fly back to Seattle this evening and honestly, I think the domestic flight within the US is the riskiest part of our itinerary!

Posted by
11 posts

Ciao! Myself and 2 friends arrived September 04. Fly from Portland, OR to Chicago, where they confirmed our Covid Test date, vaccine card and passenger locator form before boarding the flight into Munich. Munich was a breeze through checking all the same then flying into Florence.

We planned to buy bus tickets to Montecatini Terme, but they were no longer selling them! So rather than bus into Florence then train there we took a taxi, which was 100 euro. Ouch! But we were exhausted and ready to be at our first stop. We have been told a few times we are the first Americans here in Montecatini since Covid. We took the Funicular to Alto WOW! There are other EU tourists but we have seen no Americans yet. We travel to Monterosso Al Mare via Train tomorrow so I'm sure we will run into a few in the CT. Very excited and happy to be here again, seeing beautiful sights, drinking delicious wine and had my favorite, Carbonara for dinner. Dolce vita

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201 posts

Enjoy!! We just spent 3 nights in Monterosso and loved it!

Posted by
37 posts

Winegypsy - please share an update on Monterosso! I am scheduled to arrive there Sept 30 & always interested in current info.