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.






29 Responses to “Cortona at Last!”

  1. Bobbie Morgan August 7, 2021 at 12:05 PM #

    Oh Judy it was so good to see this blog this morning! We have our reservations to return as well at the end of the month. I am a bit apprehensive so your message was a positive point. We do not yet have the ‘green card’ but have all the documentation for our vaccines. We so look forward to our return and seeing you two and all our many friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:02 AM #

      Look forward to seeing you! As for the green card, I discovered more last night about it which I’ll write about later.


  2. Denese Rhea Day August 7, 2021 at 12:16 PM #

    Welcome back to Cortona! And thank you for the wonderful & informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deborah A. Capraro August 7, 2021 at 12:52 PM #

    So happy for you and Len. Enjoy your stay and keep blogging so I may live vicariously through your travels.
    Cousin Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:04 AM #

      Thanks, will do, and you need to update your bucket list to include Italy!


  4. FLORENCE LARSEN August 7, 2021 at 1:31 PM #

    Beautiful!!! So happy you have been able to return 🎉🎉🇮🇹🥰❣️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:05 AM #

      Thanks and I know you are having the best time with your newest love!


  5. jeanfromcalifornia August 7, 2021 at 1:39 PM #

    Hey Judy and Len! Great to see you in your second home.
    As for us, school starts again next week and it looks like we are being pressed into being long-distance teachers again. Until the kids are vaccinated and back at school we are glued to our close-knit family.
    I hope we are wrong but right now it looks like we will see you there next year and maybe we can bring the whole family.
    Have a glass of wine for us. 🙂 luv Jean&Al

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:14 AM #

      Jean, it is wonderful being back and of course, all your obligations come first. We’ll be in touch and look forward to being together whenever that is!


  6. Sandra August 7, 2021 at 1:47 PM #

    Happy for you, Judy and Len that you’re back!! But 947 days? That’s 2.6 years? Refresh me?? When did you last leave? We were in Sicily and left March 2/20 which is not quite 1.5 years? I’m stumped about you?? It sounds the same but different which is to be expected. We seemed more likely to come maybe a month ago and that was a big maybe but it’s feeling less likely now. No big difference although I fell down the stairs here 2 wks ago and am currently in a walking boot as I broke 4th, 5th metatarsals, Rt foot and somehow slammed my sternum but nothing broken there. I’m sure you were so excited to be back, seeing everyone and everything again. We’ve written back and forth to some, have phoned a few and just not sure of the vibes we’re getting. Please say a big ciao to Massimo and Daniela for us. I’ve worried about them but business picking up has to be encouraging for them. Hoping you adjust to the time quickly, soak it all up and enjoy it all! Ciao & baci, Sandra 💕

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:17 AM #

      Thanks for the correction, which I’ll correct in next post! More importantly, so sorry about your fall!! Walking these hills after even 1.5 years is a bit more challenging but good for us we know. Please take care and heal well and quickly and hope we’ll see you here soon.


  7. Sandy August 7, 2021 at 1:58 PM #

    So happy for you! Have a grand time – I know you will. Sandy and Larry

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hilary Martinez August 7, 2021 at 2:58 PM #

    You both look marvellous! Have a wonderful time! Gustavo and Hilary❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Carol J Downs August 7, 2021 at 3:06 PM #

    So happy for you both to be back in your happy place. We have a trip booked for Sept, but in the Amalfi Coast area. Thanks for the travel update – keeping our fingers crossed that it will happen. Ciao! Carol & Greg

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:19 AM #

      Thanks, Carol, and good for you! I’m going to update some travel info that I learned last night so watch for that. Hope all goes well for you with your travel plans!


  10. Maureen (Mack) Lawler August 7, 2021 at 6:20 PM #

    Oh, Judy, this is wonderful to hear. You must have missed beautiful Italy so much! So happy for the two of you…💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:21 AM #

      Maureen, great to hear from you! I had so wanted to contact you before we left but things were pretty hectic with family. We’ll definitely get together when we return!


  11. Royce Larsen August 7, 2021 at 10:10 PM #

    It may be as gratifying to receive your blog as it is for you and Len to be there! Please keep in touch.


    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 4:22 AM #

      Royce, well, perhaps not quite but thanks for the sentiment as always! More to come…


  12. Anne M Bufalino August 8, 2021 at 7:09 AM #

    Did you just need your CDC card?


  13. Mari LouiseMari Louise De Sole August 8, 2021 at 7:46 AM #

    You made it! A wonderful homecoming. Hoping Patricia is able to join you soon from the UK. I miss my friends in Cortona so much! Every wonderful post of yours includes well-loved people from my past visits. Thank you so much Judy! Enjoy every moment, and do keep us informed about travel changes/information. Those things will be changing with regularity I’m sure. Stay safe!


    • blogginginitaly August 8, 2021 at 3:36 PM #

      I just found this in my spam folder, sorry! She is coming in next week so we are delighted!! Will keep you posted.


  14. Julia August 8, 2021 at 9:22 AM #

    This is SO wonderful!! Enjoy every minute reconnecting with the old and adjusting to the new. I’m so happy for up I both!❤️❤️


  15. Tina Capraro September 13, 2021 at 9:25 AM #

    This is all so wonderful Judy. Love and miss you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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