I am currently sitting on a Frecciarossa headed to Napoli from Padua. We started in France on July 23rd, and have since been in Normandy, Paris, Venice, a barge on the river Po, and are now en route to Sorrento. We were fairly anxious before we left, wondering what the landscape (and changing rules) would feel like. I thought I would post an update in case others are wondering how things are on the ground.
We flew to France out of Detroit. Our CDC cards were all that was necessary. We had filled out the French health form, but it was never asked for. We started in Normandy, where we were met with nothing but warm welcome. We were the first Americans in a few of the museums - and we kept hearing “welcome back.” We had a rental car, so we made a stop in Giverny on our way to Paris. Visited on a lovely rainy day, with far fewer tourists than our last visit. CDC card was all that was needed. On to Paris. Le Louvre, l’Orangerie: CDC cards got us in “pas de problème.” We booked a delightful motorcycle side-car tour of the city on our last day (I think we would all call it one of our favorite things to date! Retro Tours Paris). No CDC card necessary.
Then we were on to Venice. We were unable to convert our CDC cards to the Green Pass, so we had a rapid test (in case a scannable code was required for the inter-European flight). In the end, the agents at Paris Orly looked at our CDC cards and nothing else. We had filled out the Italian Passenger Locator form before leaving home - no one asked for it.
We happened to be in Italy when the new rules took effect for the Green Pass (now needed for museums, etc…). Before that date, no one checked. Now they are checking - and the CDC card with passport does the trick. Venice was wonderful. Then a week on the barge La Bella Vita with European Waterways. We were their first group in 20 months, and the whole week was a celebration - for crew and passengers alike. It was like a dream. Venice, Pellestrina, Taglia di Po, Ferrara, Mantua, and Padua. I looked at my husband at some point in Mantua and said “It’s like we are visiting in 1921, not 2021.” Fewer people, etc…
And like I said at the beginning, we are now in the train headed south. No one checked our CDC cards on the train, but there was a random temperature check on the platform (2 of our group of 9 were checked).
My overall thoughts: if you can be flexible, patient, kind, and open to the possibilities of the unknown - come. So far, we have been welcomed warmly each step of the way. This trip was planned at the very beginning of the pandemic. It was a brass ring to work for (we’ve got health care providers and educators amongst our group who have had very trying days - I know that we all have really!). At times we thought this trip couldn’t happen. Then we wondered if it shouldn’t. We are so glad we are here.