So Venice seemed to open to visitors after 15 months, when the pandemic was abating in early summer 2021. But did the city open to tourism in general? Well, a lot of questions really hard to answer, and easier tackled from hindsight. So we’ve been quiet on this blog for a couple of months while we were listening and watching. Taking a break so to say, to rejoin forces and make out where we stand.
And indeed, what we found during those first months of opening up the city, there are new and promising ways as Venice tackles issues related to overtourism and environmental issues inherited from “pre-pandemic times”.
We’re currently updating this post, please check back again on October 5.
During the past few months, we received quite a number of questions on “how do you travel and visit (a historical city like) Venice once the pandemic is over / traveling is possible again” ? And most of all: Has Venice changed in the meantime?
As Nonna Lina says, traveling is all about attitude and behavior, and this concerns both guests and their Venetian hosts:
Traveling after Covid-19 might as well be a privilege, much like it used to be in the 1960s and 1970s.
I asked my grandmother to elaborate on that, as she had always considered traveling as privilege. – Here’s her answer and tips for visitors and in particular, for “Venetophiles”:
During the past 15 months of pandemic, we’ve seen things precipitate within weeks, if not days. And again, comfort and support came from directions never envisaged before. In Venice, new friendships formed, alliances and ideas – I’d say even too many to implement within a decade!
One thing also changed: During the five years or so before the pandemic, we did see that many people took up the issues of Venice as if they were their own. But please note: It’s the residents who will be responsible for relaunching their city.
Venice can only work if we separate the roles of resident and visitor. But there’s one thing Venetophiles could and in my opinion, should focus on: Traveling should take on the function of reassuring, learning, and connecting. And above all, you’ll discover a city that isn’t just focused on tourism but has a soul of her own.
Lina, a hotelier since 1968, created her own “tool box for responsible visitors” decades ago. It’s all about quality and respect towards guests, hosts, Venice and the Lagoon. This may sound too general but we’ve packed it all into a Return to Venice Box (coming later in autumn 2021). Seven special opportunities, during which you’ll rediscover Venice from a completely different perspective.
What will await you in Venice when you return after the pandemic? Well, you’ll find that outwardly, Venice hasn’t changed so much. Colors are the same, the weather is a bit more unstable this year than usually. For the time being, crowds are only around on weekends, the vaporetti are back to 80 per cent of capacity and are expected to run normally during summer.
But if you look more closely, you can make out the effect of 15 months of pandemic and solitude: Some businesses, hotels, and restaurants closed or changed ownership. Venice was under a very strict lockdown from early March to mid-May 2020, then opening carefully in summer 2020, and closing again in early fall 2020. Several lockdowns ensued and until mid-May 2021, the city was a zona rossa, a red zone under complete lockdown. Now in June 2021, Venice has become a “relatively safe white zone” called zona bianca.
Zona bianca means that shops, restaurants and hotels may open (in theory), but still we advise you to ask in advance which shop / hotel / cafe / restaurant etc. is open, as some restaurants and cafes have restricted their schedules.
I’d say that most change has gone on behind the scenes, with so many projects and ideas! Our neighbor recently said that they were far too many to implement in a small city like Venice!
La Venessiana’s seven-day itinerary for the responsible visitor
We’re creating a seven-day experience for everyone who wishes to return to Venice, based on Nonna Lina’s way of explaining Venice to her guests over the past 60 years! It’s all about reconnecting with Venice, researching her past, visits to the Lagoon with unexpected insights, visits to the home of spice merchants, eating historical dishes, the best cakes and pastries of Venice, and more!
To be continued – stay tuned.10