The last two months have been full of uncertainty... for me, my guests and all my Italian friends whose businesses depend on summer tourism. For the last 4 summers, I've been leading groups of lovely people through some of my favorite spots in Italy and now the thought of a summer without that joy just makes me so sad. Not being able to see the looks of my guests' faces when we round the corner and they see the Duomo in Florence for the first time. Not being able to say hi to Carmen, the sweet focaccia maker in Castiglion...or being able to hug my friends Vanessa and Simo in Lucca...to see my friend Renee and how much her son has grown in this past year. Italy has been such an integral part of my life for over a decade and now the thought of a summer without it is pretty crushing, especially since my mom was going to come for the whole summer this year.
The great news now is that Italy's numbers are looking much better and they're slowly easing into opening up. While things are still uncertain for all our friends, things are starting to look better for them with the prospect of travelers within Italy and Europe making their summer adventures more local. It might not be enough to make up for the loss of most of their summer bookings but it's a start.
While I won't be stepping off a plane in Rome in two weeks, I am looking forward to 2021. I've been emailing with our friends that manage our retreat locations and nailing down dates for next June. I'm hoping that with a full year before we land in Italia and offering payment plans that the retreats will be accessible to even more people! Plus, with all the doom and gloom, I know I'm not the only one with an itch to have something wonderful to look forward to.
So that's where we're at! No summer 2020, but yes to 2021! Pop the prosecco and pass the hand sanitizer!!
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Written by Chelsea Ward, the host and founder of Wanderful Retreats