Archive | 11:43 AM

Cortona at Last!

7 Aug

After 947 days, we have finally returned to Cortona and my thoughts can be summed up in this quote by Stephen King: “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” (Author look-up required). For me, new is not the sights, sounds and smells of Italy, rather the learning of current mores, i.e., the new customs, conventions and the new ways of doing things with the pandemic.

Tuscany is currently classified as a “white” zone, meaning it has the least restrictions. Masks do not have to be worn outdoors, except in crowded areas, although many still wear them.  As of yesterday, however, certain activities like indoor dining, leisure venues and cultural sites will only be available to those with a Certificazione Verde, (green pass) or as in our case, (we think) a Passenger Locator Form. (Some of the logistics are still not clear.) Both of these show digital proof of either vaccination status, recent negative test results, or recovery.

As for Cortona proper, we were surprised to find the streets alive with tourists, mostly from the north. Families from The Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium are enjoying the sights and sounds of Cortona, and especially the bars, cafes and restaurants. Nary a table is available without a reservation – finally some great news for the local establishments. Most dining is outdoors as the town has made extra space accommodations, including closing some street traffic on the weekends. So, although the streets are not packed as usual in August, there are thankfully enough people to boost the local economy a bit.

Seeing old friends/acquaintances is interesting – making a split second decision on a huge “welcome back hug” or going the safer “happy to see you elbow bump”?

Ordering is interesting – Do I enter to order a cappuccino or to pay? (Answer: no, yes, and it depends!)

There’s still a short line up at the in-town grocers, pharmacies, etc., but given their size, that’s just fine in my book. The reality is, while we personally jumped at the chance to be vaccinated, not all did the same. 

Our flights were long as we needed to travel Chicago – Dallas – Rome, but no snags along the way, including at FCO. In fact, it was probably our fastest exit with checked baggage. I suspect this was due to many fewer travelers arriving from the US and and Canada. 

We were touch and go until the very end, but are happy to be here after missing our last three trips. And given our jet lag time differences, we even manage to find outdoor tables when needed.  

And then of course, some things never change.

Few things can say Welcome Back more than this:


or this!

Ciao for now,

Note: If you are planning a trip to Italy, or the EU, be sure to check the latest travel requirements as they change often.






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