Exciting news! Most of Italy “reopened” just 3 days ago, easing the restrictive measures that have characterized the past winter and spring months. Signs of falling infection numbers and the vaccine effort accelerating (over a quarter of all Italians have received their first dose, and nearly 5 million are now fully vaccinated) have led to most of the country, including Tuscany, to be in the medium-low-infection “yellow” zone from this past April 26th.
Many businesses not considered essential have been closed for months – theaters and cinemas, for example, have been closed since October – have finally received the green light to reopen.
This doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want: Tuscany’s hospitals are still under pressure and new cases average about 800 daily. But overall it’s good news, as we look ahead at what the rest of spring and summer will bring.
So if you want to know more about the reopening and lots of details, I invite you to search and read elsewhere. Today, I just want to focus on highlighting the parts of reopening that interest us – and you readers – the most: how we can move around (and get here) and what is opening. This last one, I will focus on the museums and sites that we would all love to visit again as soon as we are able!
Now, I’ll get a bit technical just to highlight the importance of planning ahead for your travel and of staying informed on the number of cases across Italy, especially if you plan to come visit Italy from abroad. Since restrictions can very easily be added back on, this is just a preview into what is being allowed at the moment…. in a few weeks time, we will have to see if all still applies.
For now, Tuscany is once again in the yellow-zone which means we can once again move freely between the various towns in the region. Yes, in orange and red we could not leave our town! Now, we can even leave the region to go to another yellow zone without needing to justify why we are traveling.
If, however, you are coming or going between orange or red zones, you need the new “green card”. This card is based on the European green pass as a model, which is a certification (now in paper form, but hopefully it will be digital eventually) that says you meet one of 3 conditions that allow you travel safely between and to orange and red zones. These are:
- A vaccination green pass: it attests you have completed the entire covid vaccine cycle and is given out by the health center that completed the vaccination cycle. This will be valid for 6 months.
- A certificate that attests you’re “cured” after you contracted coronavirus (within the last 6 months). This is to be given out by the hospital where you were cared for, your doctor or pediatrician. This should also be valid for 6 months.
- A green card for having completed either a molecular test or a quick covid test with a negative result in the 48 hours preceding travel between regions. This will not be valid beyond your first travel date, you’ll need to redo the test once you plan to travel again.
The vaccination green pass is a new document that was just created this week, so for now it is paper only. The green pass should be valid for 6 months, and Italy will recognize similar documents issued in other European Union countries. Don’t think of forging such a document: you risk penal consequences as well as a monetary fine that goes from 400 to 3000 euro if you were to move between the orange and red zones without a valid motive and without these documents.
So, depending on where you are from, you can either travel to Tuscany quite easily (if you’re in Italy in another yellow zone) or with a few more requirements (most EU residents can enter Italy with a molecular covid test done 48 hours before travel, some require self-isolation of 5 days and another test and after that you can move around freely while there are stricter measures for other countries. Check out the website https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it/index_en.html where you can enter your country, any places you’ve been in or require transit through to reach Italy and at the end you’ll be given a list of how you can travel to Italy.
Ok now let’s get to the exciting news of what is reopening and when!
Opera del Duomo
The Cathedral and Brunelleschi’s cupola reopened to the public this past Monday! Check hours and buy ticket online on their website: www.duomo.firenze.it. The belltower and museum should both reopen by May 16th, but no precise dates have been given yet so just check the site above for more info.
The Uffizi Galleries
The Boboli garden was the first to open this past Tuesday while the Pitti Palace (Palatine Gallery, Modern Art and Granduchy Treasury) and Uffizi Gallery will open next Tuesday, May 4th. Their normal hours should be in place, but you can find more details on www.uffizi.it. Make note that advance booking is not required during the week but is required on Saturdays and Sundays for all of the museums.
The Accademia Gallery
The Accademia museum has announced that it will finally reopen to the public on May 6th. The Accademia was visibly absent from the list of the museums that had reopened back in mid-Janaury because it has been undertaking major renovations and moving around its collections. The work is not yet complete – several halls are still closed off and the entire top floor is closed, but this is your chance to see the almost “new” museum for the first time since it closed in early November. Check hours here.
Bargello, Davanzati and Medici Chapels
These 3 museums will reopen on May 3rd, you can check hours here.
Other museums in Florence
The Galileo science museum will reopen on May 4th with free guided visits for the entire month of May. You do need to book your visit, however, by calling ahead +39 055 265311 (M-F 9am-5pm).
Museo del Novecento, Palazzo Vecchio and the Brancacci Chapel all reopened on April 28th, while the Bardini and Bartali museums reopen today, April 30th. The museum complex at Santa Maria Novella will not yet reopen. Check out opening times here. https://cultura.comune.fi.it/index.php/musei
The Santa Croce museum complex will reopen on May 12th. Check https://www.santacroceopera.it/ for details on hours.
The Museum of San Marco reopens on May 3rd, as well as the Archeological museum. Let’s say that the list will grow but for now, the majority of the museums have to be checked one by one to see if they have already communicated a date for reopening. If you’re not finding info online for a specific museum, feel free to comment below and I will help you check.
The Iris Garden under Piazzale Michelagelo is set to open from May 2 through the 20th, with a one way path through the gardens to admire the hundreds of varieties of irises planted here. Even if outdoors, you’ll need to wear your mask during the visit.
Villa Bardini reopened on April 27th so it is your chance to go see the spectacular flowering wisteria pergola before it is too late! Entrance is free to local residents, as is the visit to the Boboli Gardens.
End of April and May is the best time to view the roses in bloom at the Rose Garden, also below Piazzale Michelangelo on the opposite side of the square. It is open and entrance is free.
In Pisa, the monuments in Piazza dei Miracoli will reopen tomorrow, May 1st.
In Volterra, all museums and archeological areas are offering a promotion to encourage visitors this summer: a single ticket for all museums valid for 7 days for just 7 euro. All museums reopen tomorrow, May 1st. The initiative will last through the end of September. Kids under 18 will enter free. Make sure to visit Palazzo Priori and the Pinacoteca Civica, as well as the Acropolis and Roman Theater.
In Prato, the entire museum network will reopen with free entrance until May 28th. Visit the Palazzo Pretorio museum and the Textile Museum, both excellent museums open from April 28th. Throughout the month other museums will reopen, including the Pecci Center for Contemporary Art on May 8th and the Musei Diocesani on May 10th.
In Siena, from May 3rd you will once again be able to visit the Pinacoteca Nazionale while the Duomo has not yet announced when it will reopen. The Museo Civico in Palazzo Pubblico reopened today, April 30th.
I will keep adding more museums throughout the rest of today and tomorrow as I find more info on what else is reopening and you can go visit so keep checking back.
I am super excited, this reopening gives me a sense of hope as we look toward the summer.
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!