Good morning on Monday 19th April. A new week begins with the pandemic temporarily ousted from its customary place at the top table of the news headlines by the murky world of football finance. The three biggest Italian clubs (Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan) have pledged to join another 12 teams from across Europe to form a new Super League. In a football-mad country, this story is going to run and run.
Of course it'll be some while before the pandemic shuts the door behind it on the way out and it's still having a huge impact on our day to day lives. Yesterday in Italy there were 12,694 new cases of Covid 19 which is a significant reduction of more than three thousand from the same day the previous week.
The numbers are starting to look a little better overall but if we compare the previous two weeks, the improvement is just 1%. Vaccinations are being carried out faster now; more than ten million people have had at least one dose and just under half of those people have had both doses. With the jab roll-out hitting 300,000 - 400,000 per day now, it won't be long before we start to see an impact on the new cases and numbers of deaths.
In light of the public protests over the past few weeks, the Italian government has promised to get the country up and running again as soon as possible. As of next Monday (26th April), movement between regions will be allowed again but only for those regions in the yellow zone. And as you can guess, there are no regions currently in the yellow zone. Many of the plans that have been discussed are little more than sound-bites at the moment and it's difficult to understand exactly what will be possible in each region and when. Hopefully some more concrete details will start to emerge on that over the course of this week.
Some changes have been confirmed however: Campania has now changed from a red to an orange zone, swimming pools will be able to open on 15th May and gyms can open from 1st June. There's also a greater desire to allow restaurants to open for outdoor dining only and similar plans for concerts and sporting events to be held outdoors with reduced restrictions. As and when the changes are made official, they'll be updated on the home page.
Let's transport ourselves away for a moment from the world's troubles and look forward to when we'll be able to travel again, relax in the sunshine and discover new places. It feels like a dream right now but things will start to get better soon.
One of the places you might like to add to your future travel lists is the town of Modica in Sicily. It's located in the south east corner of the island region and makes up one eighth of the UNESCO World Heritage listing of Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto. Modica is one of eight towns which were rebuilt following an earthquake in 1693; each town now something of an open-air museum in homage to the late Baroque architecture of the period.
Actually there's a good deal more than Baroque architecture on display in Modica; you can get an amazing view of the town from the road that leads up to Ragusa, another of the eight towns on the list. From this roadside spot you can see Modica sprawled out below you with its clusters of tightly-packed stone houses occasionally punctuated by a series of outstanding churches. Modica is also famous for its chocolate; there are dozens of places throughout the town where you can try the produce which is different from the chocolate we're all used to, as well as a chocolate museum.
Fans of the Inspector Montalbano TV series will particularly enjoy exploring the area around Modica as it contains a number of filming locations for the show such as the town of Scicli (the police headquarters of fictional Vigata in the show), Punta Secca the beach resort where Inspector Montalbano wakes up every morning and has his breakfast, and the beautifully-decorous Donnafugata Castle which has appeared in a number of film and television productions.
I'll leave you with a few photos of Modica and the surrounding area for now and I'll be back with another update tomorrow.
My name is Dion Protani, founder of Italy Review. The Italy Review blog is designed to provide ideas and inspiration to visit places in Italy you might not have heard about, as well those you have.