"Should I plan to visit Venice, Italy after the
coronavirus quarantine is lifted ?"
So far, we'd say "Yes," if you aren't in a high-risk group
and you want to enjoy one of Italy's most touristed cities without the crowds.
But read our advice before planning your trip.
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 the epicenter of Italy's coronavirus scare, but as of early April, there have been
a number of COVID-19 cases in the
city, and deaths have occurred.
So far, the response from tourists could be characterized as "caution" or
"overreaction," depending on your point of view. Judge for yourself: In late February, after the
last two days of Carnevale were cancelled, the
New York Times described Venice as a "ghost town" and reported that
"Venice hotels have lost almost 70
percent of their international visitors."
Since Italy declared a nationwide quarantine on March 9, tourists in Venice have
become almost non-existent.
Should you postpone or
cancel a trip to Venice and Italy this year because of the coronavirus pandemic? We can't give you a
because (a) you need to make a personal decision based on your own judgment, and
(b) the coronavirus situation in Italy and elsewhere changes from day to day. We
suggest keeping an eye on news reports, which will help you assess the risk of
Things to keep in mind:
As we mentioned above, the entire country of Italy is on
lockdown. We recommend that you avoid making firm plans until the quarantine
has been lifted.
If you've already
booked a trip, contact your airline, tour company, cruise line, etc. to learn
what your options are.
Thanks to uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus, Venice
is now less crowded than it's been in decades. Once Italy's coronavirus
lockdown ends, the city should be relatively free of daytrippers and tour
groups for at least a month or two. We think the period
after the coronavirus pandemic fades 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.
With so many hotel rooms and short-term apartments lying
empty--and so many existing reservations cancelled--it should become
increasingly easy to find good deals on places to stay.
Our advice for planning a visit to Venice after the
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
until existing coronovirus patients have recovered (or, in some cases,
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 require
advance booking. You'll see gondoliers standing alongside canals, saying
"Gondola?" as prospective customers walk by.
As of this writing, we think autumn or
winter, 2020 will be a great time to visit Venice if you want to enjoy
the city with less crowding than usual. Our prediction assumes that the quarantine has
been lifted by then, and that you aren't in a high-risk group. However, the situation could change,
so build as much flexibility as possible into your travel plans.