COVID TIMES IN ITALY: FERRAGOSTO, HOTELS, HISTORIC SITES, CRUISE SHIPS AND VACCINES…..
ROME SHUTS UP SHOP FOR FERRAGOSTO ON 15 AUGUST.
(wantedintome.com) – Italy marks the national holiday of Ferragosto each year on 15 August, the feast of the Assumption, the day when Catholics believe the Virgin Mary ascended to heaven, body and soul, at the end of her earthly life.
The origins of Italy’s Ferragosto, however, date back to Roman times, with the Feriae Augusti introduced as a period of rest by Emperor Augustus in 18 BC.
In the modern-day capital Ferragosto normally means an exodus of Romans as well as the closure of public offices and family-run businesses, restaurants, bars and shops, although larger supermarkets tend to open for a half day.
This year however, due to the covid-19 crisis, things may be busier than usual, as many families can’t afford holidays, or don’t wish to travel, and many restaurants can’t afford to close.
HOTELS IN ROME CUT THEIR RATES BY UP TO HALF AS THEY BATTLE TO ENTICE HANDFUL OF TOURISTS
(wantedinrome.com) – Rome’s hotels are slashing their rates, in some cases by 50 per cent, in a desperate bid to attract the few tourists visiting the Eternal City this summer. The capital’s hospitality sector, decimated by the covid-19 crisis, is struggling to survive, with many hotels either closed or with only a handful of rooms occupied.
The city’s luxury hotels are finding it particularly tough, with the absence of wealthy tourists from America, Asia and Russia, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
(Rome hotels losing ‘€100 million a month’)
The Condotti Palace, a four-star hotel near the Spanish Steps, is offering a double room in the week before the national Ferragosto holiday at €67. The four-star Milton Hotel near the Basilica di S. Giovanni in Laterano offers a double room for €67, while the four-star Hotel della Conciliazione on Via di Borgo Pio near St Peter’s rents a room for just €65, half the price of last year.
So who are the tourists in Rome visiting this summer? Europeans: French, Spanish, British, and naturally Italians.
BULGARI TO OPEN LUXURY HOTEL ON HISTORIC ROMAN SQUARE
(wantedinrome.com) – Hotels may be in trouble now but the celebrated jeweller Bulgari intends to open a luxury hotel in 2022 that will overlook the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome.
The Bulgari Hotel will be located in a rationalist-style building dating from the fascist era, designed by Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, and built between 1936 and 1938. It will reportedly have 114 rooms (most of which will be suites measuring up to 400 sqm), a restaurant run by star chef Niko Romito, as well as the Bulgari Bar.
There will also be a 1,000-sqm spa, a 20-sqm swimming pool inspired by Roman baths, a gym and a library with antique books, according to local media.
Earlier this year it was reported that the mausoleum would open during the spring of 2020 however the covid-19 pandemic arrived in the meantime and no official completion date has been announced.
In addition to the Mausoleum, the piazza is home to the Ara Pacis museum designed by American architect Richard Meier in 2006 and two Baroque churches.
The new Bulgari hotel will be situated near its flagship store on the luxury shopping street Via Condotti and not far from the Spanish Steps whose €1.5 million restoration Bulgari financed in 2016. (wantedinome.com)
LARGO ARGENTINA TO BECOME ACCESSIBLE TO VISITORS THANKS TO BULGARI
(wantedinrome.com) – Rome’s archaeological site at Largo di Torre Argentina is to be restored in a €1 million project sponsored by luxury jeweller Bulgari, with a completion date in the second half of 2021.
Rome mayor Virginia Raggi has thanked Bulgari for what she describes as an “act of love for the city” while the deputy mayor Luca Bergamo said the site’s many cats would not be disturbed.
The works will reportedly include a new entry into the site, including elevator access, under the tower, with new paths around the archaeological area. (photo: https://civitavecchia.portmobility)
The so-called sacred area of Largo Argentina is best known as being the scene of Julius Caesar’s assassination; it is also the home of a popular cat sanctuary.
The plan to restore the site follows Bulgari’s €1.5 million restoration of the Spanish Steps in 2016.
PUGLIA REGION QUARANTINES RESIDENTS RETURNING FROM 3 COUNTRIES
(Thelocal.it) – The southern region of Puglia says residents must quarantine if they return from a holiday in one of three ‘high-risk’ EU countries.
Residents of Puglia will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon re-entry if they travel to Spain, Greece or Malta, according to a new regional ordinance, after a number of recent infections were traced back to returning holidaymakers.
“In the last two days we’ve logged numerous cases of Puglia residents who have tested positive after coming back from Greece, Malta, Spain, countries with a high viral circulation,” said regional president Michele Emiliano as he announced the new rule on Tuesday evening.
The quarantine requirement will not apply to Spanish, Greek or Maltese residents visiting Puglia, nor to people who live elsewhere in Italy and pass through the region on their way home – if, for instance, they return by ferry to the large ports of Bari or Brindisi and drive to another part of the country.
But everyone arriving in Puglia, including locals, residents of other regions and foreign tourists, is required to inform regional health authorities using an online ‘self-report’ form (available here). The requirement applies whether you’re entering Puglia from abroad or simply another region of Italy.
(Campania and Emilia-Romagna regions have also announced their own restrictions)
CRUISE LINES TO RETURN TO ITALY, BUT NOT TO VENICE
(TheLocal.it) – Neither MSC Cruises nor Costa Crociere plan to sail their giant liners to Venice as they resume operations this summer after a six-month shutdown.
Instead the companies are planning departures from the port of Trieste, around two hours north-east of Venice, and Genoa on the north-west coast.
(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 9, 2019 The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen from San Maggiore’s bell tower leaving in the Venice Lagoon. – Italy’s cruise industry is preparing to sail again in Mediterranean waters, hoping to help jumpstart the country’s economy while restoring the reputation of the beleaguered global cruise industry. The planned departure of the MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica on August 16 and 29 from Genoa and Bari, respectively, to sites in Italy, Malta and Greece, represents a high-stakes bet for the industry that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has called a “fundamental part of our economy.” (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)
Italy’s government has given the go-ahead for cruises to restart from August 15th, though operators must stick to European routes in line with a ban on tourism from outside the EU.
ITALY: RAPID COIVID TESTS AND VACCINE TRIALS
(ANSA) – Rome – The CTS panel of experts advising the government on the coronavirus emergency is looking at the possible use of new rapid COVID-19 tests to prevent outbreaks being caused by cases imported from abroad, sources said. These new tests are in the process of being approved. They could potentially be used at airports and border crossings on people arriving from abroad. hey could be especially useful for people arriving from countries with a high prevalence of COVID-19.
(ANSA) – Rome – Francesco Vaia, the health director of Rome’s Spallanzani infectious-diseases hospital, told ANSA on Monday that over 3,000 people have volunteered to take part in human trials on an Italian-developed COVID-19 vaccine. The hospital is set to start testing the vaccine on 90 people later this month. Vaia said the response to the appeal for volunteers showed the “great heart of the Italian people.”