After months of being quarantined and a slow restart, earlier this month marked the reopening of travel between regions in Italy and, an even bigger step, the reopening of borders in the European Union. While we’re all happy here in Amalfi to see shops and restaurants opening again, it has been quite the transition from empty streets to seeing the piazza bustling again and people soaking up the sun on the beaches. I couldn’t say it wasn’t a bit of a shock for most people here after the unreal silence of those months of quarantine in Amalfi. And, of course, there are so many questions to be answered about what comes next and how the Amalfi Coast will adapt to the new reality of international travel. Questions with no easy answers.
For the time being, there are still many signs of the impact of COVID-19 around. Right now masks are still obligatory in Amalfi, so that remains a part of everyday life for the time being. Restaurants and bars have many complicated rules and restrictions to follow, which makes reopening an extra challenge. So far this mostly looks like fewer and more spaced out tables, staff wearing protective gear, bars and smaller food shops limiting the number of people inside at one time, and hand sanitizer everywhere you go. Hotels are beginning to open, with announcements coming every day of opening dates throughout June and July. Slowly the season has begun!
The beaches lined with the typical colorful umbrellas is another sign that summer has finally arrived. For now there are also restrictions around beaches, including spacing out sun beds at the beach clubs and social distancing required on the free beaches. As I find out more details about all of this, especially if it looks to last all season, I will certainly share more about the Amalfi Coast beach experience in the time of coronavirus.
Today marks an important day for the restart of the summer season on the Amalfi Coast, because Travelmar started its ferry service along the Amalfi Coast. Early this morning I heard the distinctive horn blow loud and clear as the first ferry arrived in Amalfi’s port. The season has begun! Ferries are the best way to move around the Amafli Coast and Travelmar has implemented a large number of safety protocols to make the experience as safe as possible.
Every day it seems there are more signs of our new normal taking shape. The clattering of suitcase wheels on the stone walkway below my balcony means the first tourists are arriving. For now, mostly Italian travelers as airline companies are only slowly getting back to regular service from around Europe to Italy. Yet the Piazza Duomo is starting to fill with people on sunny days and nearly all the shops are open. It’s a cheerful sight – the joy of being outside in the sun after months in quarantine seems to fill the air.
I’ve received many questions from readers about whether or not it will be safe or possible to visit the Amalfi Coast this summer or later this year. The short answer is: It depends on where you’re coming from. Right now travelers within Italy and the EU (or Schengen countries) can travel to Italy. If you’re coming from outside the EU, you’ll just have to wait a little longer to find out. While I want to assure you that it will be fine by your travel date later this summer, it’s just too early to tell when and if travelers will be allowed to visit Italy without a mandatory 14 day quarantine if you’re arriving from outside the EU. The last I heard is that the next decisions from the Italian government regarding international travel are planned for mid June. So for the moment we wait.
But the Amalfi Coast is ready and waiting for you! I’m incredibly impressed with how this entire area handled the very restrictive quarantine and even more so how businesses are adapting and preparing for the future of travel – and safe travel. If your travels won’t bring you to the Amalfi Coast this year, stayed tuned to Ciao Amalfi. I am working on a series of posts and ideas to share in the coming weeks for how you can support local business and bring the Amalfi Coast to you!