Monday, March 21, 2022

Family reunion moving ahead as planned; see you all soon!

Are you worried or on the fence about attending the family reunion in Italy May 2-7 because of Covid? Today’s statistics show that the seven-day average of deaths in Tuscany attributed to Covid is 14, with most of those in Florence. For the same seven-day period, Washington state has seen an average of 20 deaths. Granted, Washington has a population of 7.6 million, while Tuscany numbers only 3.73 million, but the disparity in rates is not vastly different.

A Covid possibility exists, whether you stay at home or go to Tuscany, and I certainly can’t promise you will be safe in either place. The fact that you will be meeting people and dining out does add to the risk, though this is countered somewhat by the fact that Tuscany is warmer than Washington, and we will be outside for many events.

What is required to enter Italy from the United States? The U.S. Embassy site says this:

Beginning on March 1, 2022, and valid until March 31, 2022, travelers from the United States may enter Italy if they are asymptomatic AND present ONE of the following:

An Anti-COVID 19 vaccination certificate for an European Medicines Agency (EMA)-recognized vaccine. At present, EMA recognizes the following vaccines: Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax. The date of the last dose of the primary vaccination series must be at least 14 days prior to travel and no more than 270 days before arrival unless a booster shot was administered. Travelers vaccinated in the United States can prove this via the “white card” bearing the CDC logo.

A medical certificate confirming recovery from COVID valid for six months from recovery.

A negative molecular PCR test result carried out within 72 hours of arrival, or a rapid antigen test result carried out within 48 hours of arrival.

New regulations will be announced April 1, but it is likely they will be either the same or less severe.

Some people have also asked about the dangers of war in Italy because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s true that Italy is closer to Ukraine than the United States, but really, folks, if Russian can’t even win a war with a country that they vastly outnumber, the odds of Russia somehow marching through Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia and somehow threatening Italy while the rest of the world stands by are not even worth considering. If you want a more professional opinion, you can read this article from the Washington Post:

At this point, I don’t have any updates to the schedule from what I previously posted, though undoubtedly there will be some minor adjustments. As best I know, some 30-35 people will be attending from the United States, and many more from France. I know of at least two people who will not be renting a car, so we are hoping that among the people with cars, there will be some extra spaces. Plan to spend around 50 euros a day per person for our group events. This amount will cover dinners on Monday through Thursday and some lunches. If you just want to pay me 200 euros for the first four days, I can divide up any excess and refund you on Friday. Most of the events from Thursday through Saturday are being planned by the French Seghieri families and our tour guide cousin Elena Benvenuti, so we will have to wait to hear from them about the costs for those days, but it will probably be about the same.

What is the best way to exchange your American money for euros? I recommend using your bank card at a Bancomat to withdraw euros. It might be nice to have 50 euros before you go, but it is usually not necessary. You will use a credit card to rent your car, buy gas and probably also to pay your lodging bill, so just go to a bank and use the machine outside the bank to get some cash some time during your first day in Italy. I believe you will pay more if you exchange cash at the airport, either at a machine or a window.

Lucy and I will be arriving in Montecarlo April 15 to work out some of the final details. You can email us or send us messages through Facebook if you have any questions before you arrive. I’ll be getting an Italian phone number later and will post it here and on Facebook. And if you haven’t made arrangements to come yet, it is not too late! Just make your flight reservations. If you have trouble finding accommodations, I will try to help you with that as well.

Ci vediamo in bel’Italia!