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Vacations in Italy in times of Corona – a field report

August 3, 2020 Headline News, Hotel Feature No Comments Email Email

As the founder of Green Pearls®, I have the opportunity to travel a lot, both professionally and privately. Every year since 2013, my way leads me to Italy, and more precisely to Borgomaro, a small village in Liguria. There I fell in love with a small, beautiful hotel, the Relais del Maro.

It is like a second home for my husband and me. We had plans for this year as well, but due to COVID-19 we didn’t know if we could or wanted to go at all; and if we did decide to, would it really feel like a holiday? The pictures of Bergamo have burned themselves too deeply into our memory, but there is still a feeling and a fear that we share with many people worldwide.

After telephone calls with Elena Scalambrin, the owner, and some Internet research, we decided on short notice, only three weeks ago: We’re going! Our way led us across Switzerland, where we realized with astonishment that we were the only ones wearing masks. Arriving in Imperia, Liguria, we were relieved to see that masks are part of the everyday life of the population, many even wear them on the streets.

Relais del Maro

In the hotel, it is compulsory to wear the masks inside closed rooms, but many guests also wear them outside on their way to their table. Apart from the disinfectant which is available to the guests everywhere, the frequent disinfection of the tables by the staff and the masks, we hardly noticed any difference to the times before Corona. Even though breakfast needed to be ordered the day before rather than enjoying the full buffet, everything was still just as fresh and delicious. Nevertheless, many guests canceled or postponed to the next year. The horror surrounding the pictures coming from Italy seems to be overwhelming for many.

In the hotel, we felt safe and were curious about how it felt in the hustle and bustle of the beaches and small cities.

The Beach

Still tired from the long drive, we made our way the next morning to one of our favourite spots – Bagno, Bagni Manè. At the entrance, there was a book where guests were required to sign in with their name, address, and telephone number. The wearing of masks is also obligatory when entering the outside terrace or until you reach your sunbed. However, this is not always taken very seriously in the beach area, as masks are no longer mandatory outdoors in Liguria. But many people still wear them in the outdoor areas of restaurants and on the narrow streets.

We thoroughly enjoyed our 12 days of relaxation and recovery. The discipline of most Italians regarding distance and masks is exemplary.

Most of the people handle the challenge of COVID-19 with ease and along with a sense of responsibility. We spoke with the other guests of the Relais del Maro an all shared and confirmed our wonderfully positive experiences.

Guests report

Chris and Ingrid Van Laethem-Dreezen from Hasselt in Belgium wrote down their feelings and experiences for us.

“At first, we had serious doubts about leaving for Italy. The horrible images of Bergamo and Milano had created an image of Italy as the most dangerous country in Europe. But the Ligurian backcountry is quite different from the big cities in Lombardia, and our previous visits to Borgomaro supported our confidence in the staff of the Relais del Maro. After a tiring and tense five months of working in our community pharmacy during COVID-outbreak, we desperately needed some time off!

So we left our Belgian home on July 10th early in the morning for a non-stop trip of 1150 km to the safe-haven in Borgomaro. The ride was uneventful and swift to Milano, but the last 150 km were an ordeal. Some clever officials decided to renew sections of the highway along the coast during the high season, resulting in monstrous traffic jams.

After a fourteen-hour trip, we finally arrived at the Relais, where we were welcomed by the ever-friendly hostesses Elena and her mama Piera, and Martina. They succeeded wonderfully in taking every precaution possible to ensure their guests a safe stay while maintaining their fantastic level of hospitality. Yes, they had to cancel the breakfast buffet; but only those who experienced it before will miss it. Any newcomer to the Relais will be thrilled by the excellent service and wonderful variety of the food

Activities

The Impero valley is beautiful as always, for those who like to walk and enjoy nature. By car, it is only a fifteen-minute drive to Imperia, with plenty of restaurants and a lively marina and beaches. We had dinner on a beachside terrace, and the staff was friendly but disciplined. There was never a moment we felt unsafe. For those who feel less adventurous, Elena made good arrangements with the local restaurant owners, who provide catering even on the poolside deck.

For now, we doubt about going back to Belgium, this little oasis feels so comfortable we consider a longtime stay…:-)”

Corona Rules for Italian Vacations 2020

  • Italy limits the number of passengers in the car
  • There are no restrictions for travellers from one household – no mask obligation
  • Mandatory masks for persons from different households
  • Maximum of 2 passengers per row in some provinces
  • The airports in Italy are back in operation and there are more rail connections. The Deutsche Bahn is again serving all destinations in Italy, as is Flixbus.
  • Masks are compulsory in all shops, trains, and other closed rooms. This directive has been extended until at least the 31st of July.
  • Reservations for trips to the beach must be made in advance. Beach umbrellas must be spaced far enough apart from each other (ten square meters per umbrella), and have a minimum distance of 3 meters from the nearest sunbed.
  • Masks are compulsory in all restaurants and cafes. Disinfectants must be available everywhere. In some shops, customers are required to wear disposable gloves. Fevers may be measured anywhere and access may be refused if the body temperature exceeds 37.5 degrees.
  • There are different additional regulations in the different provinces, please check before you travel

Hoteliers and Restaurateurs are waiting and hoping for guests from Germany and other countries. Italy needs us right now.

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