We have our trip planned and looking forward to our first adventure since skiing the Dolomites in January.
But it won’t be the same as pre-Covid 19. Masks are required on all public transportation, and inside any business- stores, hotels, museums, churches, etc. Restaurants need to have at least 1 meter between people sitting at tables, wait staff must wear masks, menus must either be disposable, or inside plastic so they can be cleaned. Bottles of hand sanitizer readily available. Outside in piazzas or on streets, if one can not maintain 6 feet, masks must be worn, In choosing places to stay, all have a balcony or terrace so we can enjoy the outdoors mask free. We will only eat in outdoor restaurants with appropriate distancing, and probably do takeout half the time. Now a supply of masks, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and latex gloves are on the packing list. Who would have thunk? Barley keeps asking why all the people are wearing muzzles now...
Friday we take regional trains to Turin. Until June 3rd, we can only travel within our region of Piedmont, so to bypass Milan, we will take train from Verbania to Arona, then Arona, to Novara, then third train to Turin. Last trip to Turin was Christmas 2018, so looking forward to being there in the summer. This time we plan to see the Shroud. I want to go back to the Cinema museum, too.
Next we will spend three nights in Alba. We’ve hired a driver to take us to a few wineries one day, then take a taxi to/from Barolo for wine tasting the next day.
On June 3rd, Italy allows us to travel outside of our region of Piedmont. So the next stop is Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre for three nights. We reserved an apartment with a great patio overlooking the town and the sea. Hoping there are a few trails open. This will be a unique time to visit without crowds. From there we are visiting a friend who lives in Chiavari for a couple nights, and Barley can swim At the nearby dog beach.
Then from there to Modena. We have a private tour to tour parmigiana cheese making, balsamic vinegar production and the Ferrari museum. And the highlight, our dinner at Osteria Francescana!
And depending on how our travels go, we may decide to head further east and south before going home to Verbania.
The progress Italy has made in reducing the spread of the virus has been amazing. Even though we are now in week four after lockdown, the daily new cases are continuing to decline. Today’s reporting reflects less than 400 new cases and less than 100 deaths. The web site I follow for Italy shows new cases by Province, a factor in deciding if and where we would go on this trip. Turin province, with a population of 900,000 had only 14 new cases yesterday. Cuneo Provence (Alba) had 1 case. Modena had zero new cases. On average, Italy is testing 50-60k people per day, of which less than 1% are positive. While the virus is still out there, this information, along with masks, and avoiding crowded indoor spaces, we should be safe.