Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Travel / Around the World

Venice reopens with slowly growing visitor numbers

XINHUA | Updated: 2020-06-09 07:24
Share - WeChat

Children look at a gondola with passengers as gondoliers officially resume work for the first time since Italy's strict COVID-19 lockdown in Venice on May 30.

VENICE, Italy-First came an exceptional flood in November. Then came COVID-19.

Now, the Italian city of Venice appears determined to return to normal, with business owners embracing a still uncertain future upon reopening.

Streets and waterways that were crammed with tourists have been eerily abandoned since Italy's lockdown began in March.

Now, at the world-renowned St. Mark's Square, the center of Venice, business owners are pondering their futures.

Adaptation is the keyword, says Sara Sist, owner of Sist' Art Contemporary Art Gallery.

Thanks to online tools, a virtual, personal and maybe even more intimate connection with her clients has been established and maintained, she says.

Sist believes it will still take quite some time for tourists to return en masse.

"At the national level, we see that the Italians are really looking forward to coming to visit us again and buy art," she says.

Some events, including the Venice Film Festival, have been scheduled for later this year, but how businesses will be able to take advantage of them remains in question.

"During the (upcoming) Venice Film Festival or other events, we are going to organize art presentations with small, selected groups of clients. We are trying to be very flexible to adapt to the situation," Sist says.

Valeria Boncompagni, a jeweler in St. Mark's Square, says: "We can hope to get some help, but you can't live your life and manage your activities just depending on external help. We need to react… Italy is not in a good way financially. So, I think there will not be a miracle for everybody. Let's take the good if it comes. Complaining at the moment doesn't bring us anywhere. I only believe in the passion that we put on our business."

Across Italy, museums and retailers were allowed to reopen on May 18, and bars, restaurants and hairdressers on June 1. In Venice, it usually took restaurants and bars a few days of sanitation and preparation to reopen in late May.

Roberto Pepe, restaurant manager at the historical Gran Cafe Quadri, has already felt how the reopening is bringing some "good results from our guests because-see, the square is quite crowded".

"We saw lots of 'regional' tourists enjoying the freedom and the pleasure. We even saw some foreigners, and we don't know how they got here," he says.

"There are some events confirmed like the film festival. I want to be positive, but I have to admit that it is difficult to restart. We have only 50 percent of our staff operational, and we have to catch up with the old rhythms."

Businesses are holding out hope for aid from Rome and Brussels.

The Veneto region, where Venice is located, was not hit as hard as the northern Lombardy region.

In recent days, just single-digit numbers of COVID-19 cases were reported daily.

Italy opened unrestricted travel between the country and other Schengen countries starting on June 3 and currently plans to reopen its borders to tourists outside of the Schengen zone in the second part of June.

"I think it will take time. We will come to normal probably in spring 2021," Pepe says.

Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349