Why Italy will be the first country I will visit
Shocks away! Like thousands of other Australians, I am excited to venture beyond my local council area. I am planning my trips in 2022 and the first country I will visit is Italy.
Per million of its population, Italy has fewer cases than France and Germany, slightly more than Spain but six times fewer than the United Kingdom. Fewer people infected mean less chance of you getting sick. According to calculators at the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Italy’s effective reproduction rate (R) is currently 0.92, which means COVID- 19 tends to go down.
As of September 21, 66% of the eligible Italian population is fully vaccinated, with 74% having received an injection. It is ahead of France, the United Kingdom and Germany but less than Spain and Portugal.
Strict COVID-19 protocols
Italy has a green pass system in place, proving the holder has been vaccinated, recovered from the virus or tested negative. A green pass is required to enter gyms, bars, restaurants, museums and train stations, with a non-compliance fine of up to â¬ 1,000 ($ 1,610).
From October 15, all workers will have to have a green pass as a condition of employment, even the self-employed. The requirement extends to all workplaces in all sectors. It’s a tougher stance than any other European country, reflecting Italy’s determination to eradicate COVID-19, and in particular the delta variant, the superbug responsible for the highest number of infections. Waiters, vendors, bus drivers, guides, taxi drivers, hotel staff, and anyone you come into contact with who work for a living are at low risk of getting or getting caught. transmit an infection. These new requirements for all employees should prompt Italy to have its population fully vaccinated before the end of 2021.
Health reciprocity agreement
Australia and Italy have a reciprocal health care agreement. This means that if you fall ill or have an accident, some of your medical costs may be covered by the Italian public health system. The agreement covers care as an inpatient or outpatient in public and approved hospitals and specialized care in public clinics, health centers and approved hospitals and clinics. It may not cover the cost of drugs and tests. To be eligible, you will need to present your passport and health card.
The rules for vaccinated Australians
For the purposes of entry during the pandemic, Australia is on Italy’s “D List” and the rules for those countries have recently been relaxed. Australians who are fully vaccinated and have proof of a negative PCR test or swab taken within 72 hours of entering Italy are no longer required to submit to quarantine. The Australian government has promised that the vaccine passport currently under development will be recognized internationally. If so, this should be enough to allow entry to restaurants, museums and all other facilities in Italy that require a green pass.
Which regions are the safest?
According to New York Times, Sicily registers more cases of COVID-19 than other parts of Italy, with currently 12 new cases per 100,000 every day. This is not particularly high, and not enough to make Sicily a no-go zone for me. Even the northern province of Lombardy, at the epicenter of infections when the pandemic first hit Italy, now only records five new infections per 100,000 per day.
It is particularly pleasant to note that Italian cities are generally lower than the provinces. The number for Rome is low, at six cases per 100,000 per day, and this is where I will start but generally I will avoid cities.
The Colosseum, St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the cubist and sunburnt villages that rise from the sea along the Cinque Terre – these are just a few strengths, things that attract us to Italy. For me, there is another Italy. It is on the coastal road that winds along the Amalfi Coast south of Naples, a meal of strangozzi, a paste made from semolina, served with local black truffles and olive oil from the groves that surround the Umbrian town of Spello.
It’s wandering with your mouth wide open among the baroque treasures of Noto in Sicily and the cave dwellings of Matera, a southern village that may have come from the Old Testament, and another meal of dumpling and sausage soup with apple de butter land, eaten outside in a meadow in the Dolomites filled with wild flowers in an amphitheater of snow-capped mountains.
These are just a few of the memories from over 30 years of Italian wanderings, and I plan to add more. Including a big birthday party in mid-2022 at a villa in Sicily. Wine, great food, sun, family – and in Italy you can’t go wrong.
See also: Holidays here? No thanks, I’ve had enough of Australia
See also: Countries that exclude (or ban) unvaccinated people