My Italy Trip & Travel Q+A

The bride, my childhood friend, Malin.
The bride and her girls.
The setting in Puglia was gorgeous.
Dinner at the wedding. Everyone’s seat assignments were on custom tambourines with our names and custom portraits on them!
Sisters in Italy.
Sisters.
Italian breakfast in Puglia
Polignano a Mare after I found out my luggage was lost in middle of nowhere Italy!
Rome at night.
Roman marinara pizza. You can buy this just about everywhere in Rome.
Vegan carbonara at Rifugio Romano in Rome.
The Pantheon was unbelievable in person. It was built around 126 A.D.!
Obviously found vegan gelato!
Trevi Fountain at night
Streets of Rome in the summer time.
Roman streets in the evening.

I recently returned from Italy and had the most incredible time (even with a few big hiccups – like losing my luggage!). I was in Italy for my friend’s wedding which was postponed from it’s original date in spring 2020. Words will never fully be able to describe what a magical week it was…from the vibe, to the overall good energy in Italy and all the beautiful weddings festivities.

I flew into Rome and had a couple days to explore there. Because of covid and travel restrictions for people coming from most other countries, Italy is very empty right now compared to how it normally is in the summer. I got to see all the major sites like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon without any major crowds.

It was insanely hot while I was there, so if you are planning to visit Italy in the summer, pack light clothes! But wow at night when the sun sets, the breeze rolls in and the city comes to life, it is pure magic. One night we walked from the Pantheon through all the small streets of Rome and it was everything I ever imagined Rome to be and more. Just beautiful. We didn’t want the night to end.

From there I headed to the region of Puglia where the wedding was being held. The wedding was incredible and we were up until 5:30am dancing the night away. I remember at one point around 3am my brother-in-law turned to me and said, “I think we’ve surpassed the part of the night where it gets cooler and now daytime is coming back and it’s getting hotter again!” And he was so right. I literally did not make it to bed until the sun had risen on the new day. I slept only a few hours that night but I slept so happy and content. It was a special evening I’ll never forget.

To see more from my trip check out my Italy stories highlight on Instagram. And watch my Italy reels too: reel 1 and reel 2.

I received lots of questions about traveling to Italy on Instagram, so I’ve complied them all here to help answer some of the questions you may have about Italy and international travel right now. Keep in mind that travel restrictions are changing constantly. They changed a lot in the short time between when I bought my ticket and when it was actually time for the trip. And while all the paperwork and emails leading up to the trip made it feel overwhelming, it was actually quite easy once the actual travel days arrived. These answers reflect my time in Italy from July 5th through July 11th, 2021.

Travel Q & A

How safe did you feel re: covid in Europe? My mom and I want to go but worried about the virus!

I felt very safe! It actually was hardly on my mind there. Everyone is so happy and vibrant in Italy. The energy there was just good. It’s good to see a country that struggled so much doing so well now. I also think it was on my mind less there because (I realized while I was there) Americans talk about covid so much more than Europeans! I was with people from all over the EU and UK and it just doesn’t get brought up like it does here. And in addition to that, in Italy they don’t wear masks outside, so it’s not a constant reminder everywhere you look like it is in the US (or at least like it was in the US in many places before summer) so I think that’s part of why it wasn’t on my mind as much. Also, it is way less crowded now than it normally is in the summer. Someone I spoke to at the airport told me the international travelers are only about 10% of what they used to be. So in that way it’s kind of a good time to visit and miss the insane summer crowds.

Did you have to test and/or provide proof of vaccine?

Currently to travel to Italy from the US you need ONE of the following:

  1. Vaccine card –OR-
  2. Negative covid test within 48 hours of takeoff time (rapid or PCR) -OR-
  3. Proof of recovery from covid in the last six months (like a doctor’s note)

To return to the United States all you need is a negative covid test (rapid or PCR), regardless of vaccine status.

If you plan to purchase a ticket, be sure to check your airline’s website and see if there are any changes to the requirements.

Can you get a covid test to return to the US at the airport in Italy? Did you have to pay out of pocket?

You are responsible for getting a covid test on your own within 48 hours of your flight. They are easy to schedule at pharmacies or through your hotel. I had to pay out of pocket and mine was 30EUR.

Were the customs lines longer?

Customs in Rome were empty actually. I didn’t have to wait at all. Since Americans can travel to Italy without quarantine, but most other countries can’t, there aren’t many other tourists there besides Americans.

What about customs in the US?

The lines were long! Global Entry helps to easily get through customs when returning to the US. But that’s something you need set up way in advance, so plan ahead.

What questions did they ask you re: covid in customs?

None. In the US you show your vaccine card or test results (or doctor’s note) at check in. That is it. Then you have your temperature taken before boarding. When departing Rome to fly back to the US you have your temperature taken when you first get to the airport, and then you go through a line before checking in to show your test results. That’s it! At customs in both the US and Rome they just asked typical pre-covid era questions re: reasons for traveling, how much money you have on you, etc. and did not ask anything about covid.

How early did you get to the airport?

Check-in at JFK in New York was the worst line, and I don’t mean security, I just mean check-in. Security was actually fine. I was lucky to fly business class and the business class line still had about 200 people in it for all the redeye flights to Europe that leave around the same time in the evening. So I would arrive extra early!! I was there three hours early and it was barely enough time.

In Rome I got to the airport about two and a half hours early and it was plenty of time. Not as many international flights leaving from there.

You lost your luggage?!

Yes! In retrospect it was such a great life lesson for me in surrendering and going with the flow. Obviously losing luggage is not the end of the world by any means, but it is certainly a stressor, especially in a remote area of a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and have a wedding to attend. I had no luggage, no clothes, no shoes, no makeup, no toiletries, and I had a two hour drive ahead of me into an even more remote village where I was staying for the rest of the trip and where the wedding would be held…

Once I stopped crying (haha) and made the decision to just surrender to the situation and have faith that somehow things would work out, everything fell into place perfectly. And as luck would have it, on my last night there, at the craziest time, my luggage was returned to me! For the whole story on what happened and how it got back to me in middle of nowhere Italy, check out these posts from Instagram: luggage post 1, luggage post 2 and my Italy stories highlight.

What airlines did you fly?

I flew Delta from JFK to Rome and Rome back to JFK. Within Italy I flew Alitalia. They are the ones that lost my luggage. Not Delta.

What did you like most about Rome?

So much! The vibe at night was pure magic. Everyone seems so happy. Also loved the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. They are both massive and so gorgeous in person. And I looooved the pasta. I loved a lot about Rome!

How are the crowds in Rome?

Very manageable. Not bad at all.

Were there any language barriers or issues ordering vegan food in Italy?

No! So many people speak English there so it was quite easy. And I was actually surprised by how many restaurants have whole vegan sections on their menu. It was really easy for me to eat vegan there. Even in the smaller region of Puglia that we visited, I had no issues. We went to a beach club one day on the Ionian Sea and they even had a vegan quinoa entree on their menu. I couldn’t believe it!

Did you travel alone (before meeting up with the wedding party)? If so, did you feel safe?

I did. I felt safe! I wasn’t out by myself at night though because of jet lag, so I can’t speak to being alone in Rome after dark (and right now it doesn’t get dark until about 9pm there…or 21:00 as they would say ) but for the traveling and walking around Rome during the day I felt totally fine. But keep in mind I live in New York City, and travel a lot, so everyone has different comfort levels!

Link to your dress from the wedding?

I wore this dress by Maje.

Link to your sister’s dress from the wedding?

She wore this dress from Revolve.

Xo,

Tedi

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