Coronavirus in Florence & Tuscany - UPDATES

nelpep

Member
Coronavirus update

My dream trip to Italy is a month away and now it's in danger of cancellation due to the Coroanvirus. I was hoping someone on the forum who is in Rome, Florence, or Venice could give us an update on the situation in those areas. I appreciate any advice or information. Thank you, Nellie
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
I am in Florence and there is 1 case here, from a businessman that returned from Singapore. I am actually writing a blog post right now about the corona virus to reassure our readers. My impression and everyone I have talked to - in person and online - is that the media is completely over blowing the situation. People have panicked and gotten scared - while precaution is good, there really is no reason for panic, all things considered. Lots of people are choosing to limit their exposure by not going to crowded places... and the Uffizi is practically deserted at the moment, seems like the perfect time to go visit.

All joking aside.... in Rome, there currently are 3 and no new infected people in over 2 days, in Venice there were 4 people. It seems like the situation has been contained as the "new" ones popping up all seem to have some connection to either China or to the area in northern Italy where the cases started this past weekend.

A month away is still far away. Since the virus already seems to be slowing down its spread in China, our hope is that in a month things will definitely have changed and, with the arrival of spring and bugs in general diminishing, life will have returned to normal. For now, I would not recommend you cancel your trip.

I'll share my post as soon as I put it online.
 

Aloegator

New member
Thanks for the info!

I am in Florence and there is 1 case here, from a businessman that returned from Singapore. I am actually writing a blog post right now about the corona virus to reassure our readers. My impression and everyone I have talked to - in person and online - is that the media is completely over blowing the situation. People have panicked and gotten scared - while precaution is good, there really is no reason for panic, all things considered. Lots of people are choosing to limit their exposure by not going to crowded places... and the Uffizi is practically deserted at the moment, seems like the perfect time to go visit.

All joking aside.... in Rome, there currently are 3 and no new infected people in over 2 days, in Venice there were 4 people. It seems like the situation has been contained as the "new" ones popping up all seem to have some connection to either China or to the area in northern Italy where the cases started this past weekend.

A month away is still far away. Since the virus already seems to be slowing down its spread in China, our hope is that in a month things will definitely have changed and, with the arrival of spring and bugs in general diminishing, life will have returned to normal. For now, I would not recommend you cancel your trip.

I'll share my post as soon as I put it online.
We leave for Italy on Friday the 29th of Feb 2020 from America and all of our relatives are urging us not to go. I see the news and they only are showing people with masks on and I guess the media is just trying to scare everyone. It's good to know the museums will be open! I saw a webcam in Venice where people were just walking their dogs, holding hands and enjoying life. It seems overblown to me but I guess we'll find out soon..
 
Last edited:

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Aloegator - I believe the situation is being blown out of proportion and while your planned itinerary might not go exactly as planned, I think you will still be able to do most of what you want to do and enjoy it. Just take extra precautions while traveling and as you move around, maybe pack an extra bottle of hand sanitizer to keep on you to keep hands clean as you go about your day.
Most of all enjoy your trip!

I posted this earlier but forgot to come back and share it on here:
https://www.discovertuscany.com/blog/coronavirus-in-florence-and-tuscany-4999/
I hope my post helps to reassure you to keep your plans - feel free to post any questions or doubts you might have, I will try to answer them honestly and with the best of my knowledge. I have read so many articles over the last few days my head is swimming but I am sure I can help find any numbers or data if anyone wants them.

My biggest worry really is that the perception is that we are all wandering around with masks or in quarantine. We aren't - we are going on with normal life, with work, school and living life!
 

nelpep

Member
Aloegator - once you get there please share your observations on this thread. I don't want to cancel my trip, but it seems where there is illness, I catch it. Roatan has the Norovirus going around and I got it and had to be put on the plane in a wheelchair and went to the ER once I got home. I am older, 67, but usually in very good health.

Lourdes - as always, thank you for your response. Please keep updates coming. Thank you!
 

Ernie

New member
Reliable Updates

Is there a source for information on what is happening in Tuscany in response to the virus? Are all the museums and sights open? If there should be closures in the next few weeks, where can we get that information first? Have any hotels in Florence, Siena, etc stopped taking bookings?
 

alluring

Member
My dream trip to Italy is a month away and now it's in danger of cancellation due to the Coroanvirus. I was hoping someone on the forum who is in Rome, Florence, or Venice could give us an update on the situation in those areas. I appreciate any advice or information. Thank you, Nellie

I think, as admin very correctly stated, the media sometimes blow things out of proportion. You can travel to Italy but be aware of the instructions of the local authorities and moreover, to be a little cautious, stay away from touristy places, explore less frequented country side more and give yourself an opportunity to unearth hidden gems.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Ciao Nellie,

If you feel you are at risk for your particular constitution, then it's quite different. This is like a flu bug but more contagious, which can cause flu-like symptoms but in particular respiratory distress. Those who have gotten its more severe forms were already immune suppressed so in those cases I do believe anyone has to consider travel plans with care. Like the normal flu, I'd be careful just in my own neighborhood, going about shopping making sure to not go during peak hours and disinfect hands if I were to touch anything touched by others, being careful to not touch my face as well.

I'm also reformatting my post with a Q&A format to make it easier to read, that will be online shortly. I'll answer all of your questions on there, Ernie! Short answer is everything is running as normal across all of Italy outside of the few quarantined villages in Northern Italy that had lots of cases over a week ago.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
As many already know, yesterday morning (Sunday, March 8) we woke up to hear of more restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

First, the entire region of Lombardy and 14 other surrounding provinces, including Venice and parts of the Emilia Romagna region, have travel restrictions and it is forbidden to leave those areas unless absolutely necessary.

Trains and planes are still operational - but in that area, people should not leave and this is a measure to stop the spread of the virus.
As far as we know, there are no roadblocks so people can actually leave the area, it is up to people to use common sense....

... but it seems we don't have any. Most Italians are behaving like little children who run and do what they have just been told to NOT do.
This was seen by the mass of people who rushed to the train stations in Milan to LEAVE the area as soon as they heard there was a restriction.
Now, if someone had to return home because they don't live in Milan, that's one thing. But many live and work in Milan and when they heard the news were taken over by panic and wanted to return home to their parents or other loved ones.
Many were headed southward to Florence, Rome, Naples and further down to areas which for now have few cases.

The government is telling them to self-impose a quarantine at their destination and stay home for the next 2 weeks, let's hope they do so.

Want to see a map of current cases of coronavirus in Italy? Head to the site of the Protezione Civile which is in charge of this crisis - there is up to date information on the cases there (updated once daily around 5pm local time) - http://opendatadpc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/b0c68bce2cce478eaac82fe38d4138b1

Because people are behaving with disregard to the limits on social gatherings - where the goal is to avoid being in large crowds since you don't know who has been exposed in one way or another - the government has taken the next step:

----> ALL public gatherings have been banned until April 3 <-----

This means NO weddings, funerals, concerts, sporting events, discos, bingo halls, video arcades.

All congresses, meetings, reunions, social events - including private parties - are cancelled/not allowed.

Competitive sports events - such as soccer matches - are still allowed but with closed doors, that means no public allowed in to watch the games.

This also means that they had to make sure people do not take risks and so all MUSEUMS are now closed.
To be honest, people were already staying away from museums and they were not crowded, but now it is an extra measure.

Restaurants and coffee bars, shops and churches are STILL OPEN - as long as they can implement measures to ensure people are not crowded inside and have the relative distance of at least a meter between each other.
Grocery stores and markets remain open, all services and merchandise is moving so that places remain stocked.
There are no empty shelves, but as you can imagine, hand sanitizers and disinfectants are gone.

As you can imagine, this is definitely hitting us hard. We have kids at home since all schools are closed (officially until March 15 but we think this will be extended), and we are avoiding public spaces. The cases in Tuscany have increased to 165, many have originated from people who had been in the north... so see, the measures would have been useful if they were followed from the start.

So while we are not a hot spot for the disease, I don't feel like reassuring people anymore to continue with travel plans to come to Italy at the moment.

I am writing a new blog post to continue to answer your questions and ones I am getting by email with updated answers. I'll come back and share the link here once it is online.
 

Aloegator

New member
Aloegator - once you get there please share your observations on this thread. I don't want to cancel my trip, but it seems where there is illness, I catch it. Roatan has the Norovirus going around and I got it and had to be put on the plane in a wheelchair and went to the ER once I got home. I am older, 67, but usually in very good health.

Lourdes - as always, thank you for your response. Please keep updates coming. Thank you!

Hi, We just got back from Italy. Overall the virus didn't affect us very much. Mostly everything was open and the food and people of Italy were great but I think we were just lucky. It seems that during the last few planned days of our trip things began to get very bad in the country and our hotelier at one point tried to force us to stay in our room. Meanwhile in Rome outside people were walking their dogs and eating at corner cafes. We soon booked a flight out cutting our trip short a few days to get out of there. The airport in Rome seemed like we were fleeing a war zone with crowds of people trying to get out. I can't imagine what it's like now. Sadly I think the whole world is going to have similar problems.
 

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
We hope so, too. This is a pandemic that is in every single country in the world and hopefully, if we manage to not keep getting each other sick, we can make it out soon. It is still early to tell but the numbers in Italy seem to have reached a plateau and we hope they will keep falling over the next 2 weeks.

In the meantime, stay safe - by staying at home!
 

Tab

New member
Shopping

Hello,

I am planning a trip to Florence in mid-July. While we are excited to see the museums (again) we would also like to do some shopping - mainly leather. Will shops be open again? I can find lots of information on opening of museums, but there is nothing about shops or restaurants.

What is the situation like? Will there be shops open or should we push the trip back a few weeks?
Thanks
 

Edwina

Member
Tab is think you should go for your trip. I am sure you will good time there like Aloegator had. I don't think so shops will be close because government every where is in under pressure to open everything because of economic conditions. Go there and take care of social distancing at your own.
 
Last edited:

Lourdes

The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Currently there are many shops and museums in Florence that are open but not everything is. Many museums are open only on the weekends, from Friday through Sunday and many of the smaller museums open on specific dates. Things have not gone back to normal, not even throughout the summer.

Many restaurants remain open, with reduced seating and more limited hours. Many also have chosen to not reopen, without the numbers of visitors many cannot handle the costs of being open.

The same goes across Tuscany - many places are open but with reduced hours.

If you have specific museums in mind you want to visit, right now it is best to research whether they are open, when and whether you need to book ahead of time. Many are requiring it, since numbers are limited.
 
Top