Good afternoon everyone on Thursday 8th April. On the day after the AstraZeneca vaccine took another public beating and Italians took to the streets complaining about the lockdown, there are nevertheless some new reasons to be cheerful.
Yesterday in Italy there were 13,708 new cases of Covid-19. This is a huge decrease from the previous Wednesday when there were in excess of 22,000. The figure was even more surprising as it came on a day when there were a larger number of tests carried out. It's true that the numbers have been coming down steadily for a few weeks now but never by this much and I would expect there to be some kind of statistical balancing of the books in the coming days. So we await the next report with cautious optimism but this does look like the first piece of good news.
The second item providing some cheer is the announcement from the Italian Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia today that Italy could be open to tourism by June 2nd. This is a significant date as it's a national holiday: the Festa della Repubblica. Let's not forget, it was just a few days ago that entry restrictions for UK citizens arriving in Italy were eased with a shortened period of quarantine required. Of course, UK citizens are not allowed to leave the country for a holiday at the moment but these are a few more baby steps along the path to freedom.
For tourism to be viable in early June would require freedom of movement between the Italian regions which we don't currently have, an end to the overnight curfew and the removal of the quarantine requirements. For most people it would also require removal of the necessity to quarantine on returning home. The UK government will be announcing its plans for foreign travel soon, including a proposed traffic light system with countries categorised under different colour-coded bands, depending on the severity of the pandemic in each individual case. The earliest date set by the UK authorities is May 17th and that's dependent on a number of parameters being met first.
So there really is much to be done and much that needs to happen in a positive sense before we can start to plan holidays in Italy for this summer, but there are some growing signs of encouragement it has to be said.
Further encouragement comes from the Italian authorities reiterating the pledge to carry out 500,000 jabs of the vaccine per day. It was previously stated that this would happen "soon", but we now have a date on when it will happen by which is the end of April. The number of vaccines carried out yesterday incidentally was 290,073, a nice increase from the day before.
I hesitate to mention the weather as it's a mildly disappointing subject at the moment. On the positive side, it's sunny everywhere today, it's just that the temperatures are a bit on the low side. The greatest warmth can be found on the island regions of Sicily and Sardinia today with a maximum of 15° Celsius. Still, at least we can get these low temperatures out of the way while it's not possible to holiday here anyway.
For today's photos I've chosen the small town of Trevignano Romano in the Lazio region. It features close to the top of my list of Lakeside Towns of Italy and it's a place that I've been very lucky to be able to call home in the past. It's situated on the banks of Lake Bracciano, about an hour's drive from the centre of Rome. It's a very pretty and hugely popular town with its lakeside promenade and incredible number of restaurants considering its size. It's known for its culinary expertise and this makes it one of the favourite weekend boltholes for Romans seeking fresh air, somewhere to swim and all that lovely food of course.
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.