By Toni Conde, Mercedes Ortuño
Rome, May 11 (EFE).- Tourists are slowly returning to Italy after an easing of restrictions following a decrease in coronavirus cases but despite the country’s reopening, figures don’t compare to the usually flooded streets of one of the most visited countries in the world.
The “slow” return of tourism is seeing more local tourists than foreigners, but those who did choose Italy as their holiday destination this spring are pleased to visit the country post pandemic.
“There is no one around, it’s great, we can take pictures without anyone in them,” Dominique, a Swiss tourist who is visiting the Vatican for the third time, told EFE.
The mandatory five-day quarantine when entering Italy doesn’t seem to bother Dominique, who said all you need is a negative PCR test and to respect the restrictions.
The largest influx of visitors was seen at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Tuscany. Out of the 21,000 visitors last week, only 10% were foreigners and the rest Italians traveling from other parts of the country, the gallery’s director, Eike Schmidt, told EFE.
Foreigners living in Italy are taking advantage of having the country to themselves to travel around at lower prices, with shorter queues at museums and less hussle over booking for restaurants. Laura and Mario, two Spanish students living in Rome, have already visited Naples, Sorrento and Venice since the lifting of mobility restrictions.
CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM IN BUSINESS
Tourist businesses are hopeful, but remain cautious. Gabriela Morosanu, owner of a cafe near the Vatican, said there was only 1 or 2% of the usual tourists, but remained optimistic that there will be a notable increase.
“Even on Mondays we have seen more movement,” she said, hopeful.