"Is Venice open for travel?"
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, we think it's
unwise to schedule a trip to Venice this year. However, it's never too early to
plan for 2022.
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 plenty
of COVID-19 cases in the city, and many deaths have occurred. Thanks in part to
the highly infectious "Delta variant," a new wave of
coronavirus infections has been spreading across Europe, so travel to Venice is likely to be unwise for a good while yet. Still, that doesn't mean
you can't start thinking about a future trip.
Things to keep in mind:
Italy is reopening to tourists, visitors from countries with high infection
rates may be blocked from entering the country (and, for that matter, the
EU) for a while. The
European Union's Re-open EU
Web site has up-to-date, country-by-country information in 24 languages.
Also see the Italian government's
COVID-19 Update: information for tourists, which has information about
required proof of vaccination.
Please note that
requirements could change by the time you take your trip. Caveats: At
this writing, the only acceptable vaccines are from Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson
& Johnson, and AstraZeneca. Also, the rules call for a Covid-19 Green Pass,
but some countries--including the United States, don't have such "vaccine
passports." (In the case of the U.S., vaccination cards are
acceptable.) If you're from outside the EU, we suggest following your
airline's advice regarding documentation.
It can be hard to avoid crowds in Venice, especially if you
use public transportation or spend most of your time at busy tourist
attractions such as the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. We'd suggest
using masks even if they aren't required at the time of your visit.
The good news:
Because of the pandemic and its economic fallout, tourist arrivals in Venice
are lower than they have been in decades. We think
early 2022 could be a reasonable time
the city without having to bump shoulders with mass-market tourists
(depending on whether you've been fully vaccinated and the crisis has
receded in Italy).
What's more, Venetians--who have been hit hard financially--will be grateful
for your business.
Our advice for planning a visit to Venice:
Be aware that the Italian government has declared a COVID
"State of Emergency" for the remainder of 2021, and you'll need
the aforementioned "Green
Pass" to eat in indoor restaurants, visit museums, etc. until further
Watch the news media and Re-open EU
for up-to-date information on infection rates, lockdowns, etc. The pandemic
isn't likely to recede fully until vaccinations are widespread, so (as
much as it hurts us to say this) we can't recommend planning a vacation trip
to Venice until late fall, 2021 at the earliest.
Check airline sites for news of route reopenings. Ditto for cruise lines, which are starting to announce
limited cruise itineraries for what's left of the 2021 season. (Note,
too, that most cruise ships have just
been banned from Venice by a decree of the Italian government.)
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 and its new variants 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
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.)
Don't 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
As of this writing, we think the first quarter of 2022 could be a
reasonable time to visit Venice if you want to enjoy
the city with less crowding than usual. Our prediction assumes that you're
fully vaccinated against COVID-19,
new variants of the virus haven't caused a fresh spike in cases, and you
aren't in a high-risk group. (Caveat: Those assumptions may be optimistic.
Also, the situation could change at any
time, so build
as much flexibility as possible into your travel plans.)