Good morning everyone on Monday 29th March. It's a new week and as we approach Easter, that sense of having left winter behind is reinforced by the clocks going forward. The extra hour of light in the evenings is very welcome and gives us all a reason for an extra spring in our step.
At the moment though, every step forward is countered by the pandemic. Yesterday in Italy there were 19,611 new Covid-19 cases reported; a slight decrease on the figure reported the previous Sunday. Over the course of the last seven days, there has been a reduction in new cases of around 5% but it must be said, the rate of reduction has slowed in the last two or three days.
You can make yourself dizzy by looking at all the stats; for example the positivity rate (number of positive cases compared to number of tests) yesterday went up a little while the R number (rate of transmission) has dropped a bit. The bottom line is we're still a long way from getting out of this situation and the virus is holding firm against the many weapons currently ranged at it.
Three more regions are now in red zone as of today with Calabria, Tuscany and Valle d'Aosta all now under the most severe set of restrictions. One tiny positive is that Lazio will turn from red to orange from tomorrow. During Easter, the whole country will be under the red zone restrictions and then we return to the colour codes from the 7th to 30th April.
A political row has erupted over a surprising rule that means Italians are allowed to go on holiday and indeed, are allowed to travel between Italian regions if their purpose is to reach the airport. Currently, travel between regions is only for health, emergency or work reasons so this one has caused a few raised eyebrows. We'll watch developments on that story with interest but it should be underlined that this very much refers to Italians going abroad, rather than visitors entering Italy from abroad.
There's still very little in terms of a roadmap for when holidays in Italy might be possible for foreign tourists but with the pandemic showing few signs of coming to an end, all we can do is wait for the situation to improve.
The ace up our sleeve has always been the weather and whilst it's been unseasonably cold of late, things are starting to take a more positive turn with some higher temperatures this week. Some parts of Tuscany and Umbria will reach 20° Celsius later today and the warmer air should start to circulate around the northern regions as the week evolves. It's only going to get warmer from now on so we continue to hope for a similar effect on the pandemic as the weather caused last year.
In order to keep the blogs a little shorter and to the point, I'm going to include a link to the relevant page on the website for the featured place of the day so at the bottom of the Facebook post today you'll find a link for the full description of the Cinque Terre in Liguria, along with some photos attached to the post.
I'll end the day with a lovely little story that's just come to my attention. Over the weekend a family was travelling from Lecce in Puglia, by train to the northern city of Turin. Along with their luggage they had their pet cat Grisù who at a certain point, decided he'd like to go and explore the rest of the train. When the train reached Pescara, the ticket inspector saw the cat and assumed he'd just boarded the train by mistake and thus ejected him from it; one would hope there was at least a polite enquiry at this stage as to whether or not the cat had a ticket.
The frantic family were beside themselves with worry about what had happened to their errant moggy and upon establishing what had happened with the inspector at Pescara, decided to return there themselves to find him. The story ends happily as they found their 14 year old cat happily sunbathing outside the station, patiently waiting the return of his family.
That's all from me for today, I'll be back with more tomorrow. Buona giornata.
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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.