"When will Venice (and Italy) reopen for
The outlook for 2020 is uncertain, but 2021 looks more promising.
ABOVE: No, the body parked outside this funeral
parlor isn't a coronavirus victim--but it could be, given the high death rate
for older people and the fact that pensioners make up nearly 20 percent of
isn't at the epicenter of Italy's coronavirus scare, but there have been
a number of COVID-19 cases in the city, and deaths have occurred. Still, the
lockdown that went into effect on March 9 is now being loosened, so
it isn't too early to think about a trip in late 2020 or (better yet) in 2021.
Things to keep in mind:
The bad news: Although
Italy will reopen for tourists from the EU and the
Schengen Area on June
3, visitors from other countries will have to wait until an unspecified date
later in the summer or fall. A shortage of flights will also make it
difficult for tourists from abroad to reach Venice in the next few months.
As a practical matter, visiting Venice from overseas may be difficult until
fall at the earliest.
The good news: Because of the pandemic and its economic fallout, tourist
arrivals in Venice should be lower (even in 2021) than they have been in
decades. Barring a second wave of the pandemic, we think next year will be a wonderful time
the city without having to bump shoulders with mass-market tourists.
What's more, Venetians (who have been hit hard financially) will be grateful
for your business.
Our advice for planning a visit to Venice when Italy
reopens for tourism:
If you're in a high-risk group (e.g., over 60, especially
with underlying health problems), use common sense
in deciding whether,
when, and where to travel. The
coronavirus probably won't disappear overnight, and Italy's healthcare
system is likely to remain under stress for some time.
When you book hotels, B&Bs, or apartments,
make sure that your reservation can be canceled without penalty. (This year is a
good time to avoid low prepaid, non-cancellable rates.) For maximum savings,
keep an eye on rate changes and be prepared to cancel and rebook if you can get a
better deal closer to your visit.
Hotel rooms are usually easier to cancel without penalty than
Be aware of cancellation policies or change fees when you
book your airline, train, or cruise tickets. Airline
fares and other transportation tickets vary in their cancellation and change
policies. If you can't afford a fully-refundable ticket, budget some money for
ticket changes just in case. (Good news: Many airlines offer waivers on change fees during periods of severe
weather, epidemics, etc.)
Dont expect travel insurance to protect you if you need to
cancel your trip because of coronavirus fears. Most insurers are treating
the current outbreak as a "known event" and are turning down
coronavirus-related claims unless travelers have bought high-priced "cancel
for any reason" plans.
Avoid prepaid sightseeing
tours unless they're fully cancellable. Instead, book excursions when
you come or immediately before. (Gondola rides don't need to be booked
ahead--just hire a gondolier on the
If you've already booked a trip for 2020, check
with your airline, hotel, cruise line, etc. to learn their plans and what your options are.
You may need to rebook.
As of this writing, we think early 2021 could be a great time to visit Venice if you want to enjoy
the city with less crowding than usual. Our prediction assumes that the coronavirus pandemic has faded,
tourism has resumed, and you
aren't in a high-risk group. (The situation could change at any
time, so build
as much flexibility as possible into your travel plans.)
The Biennale Architettura (previously scheduled for 2020) has been postponed
The Biennale Arte (previously scheduled for 2021) has been postponed until
We think it's likely that the
Festa del Redentore (scheduled for July 18-19,
2020) will be cancelled this year, though an announcement has not yet been made.