European borders open a little more on Monday, June 15. Tourist trips are now more freely authorized but subject to certain conditions. Spain, Great Britain, most of the countries of Eastern Europe thus impose a quarantine on the arrivals on their soil. In Italy, the country most affected by the pandemic on the old continent, tourists have been welcomed without restriction since the beginning of the month, but they are still waiting.

Large boater on his head, striped polo shirt and black pants, Emmanuele Taghliapetra, known as “Lele” is one of the 450 gondoliers of Venice, the souls of the archipelago city. “We are gondoliers from father to son”he smiles. The problem for Lele and her colleagues is that the most visited city in the world is empty today. “We in Venice, we are all ready, everyone is there, tourists just have to come back.”

The virus problem is behind us as in many other cities and countries. We are waiting for the tourists to come back. We are waiting for them with open arms.

The fact is that there are absolutely no restrictions, mandatory quarantine or whatever. Venice is open but almost deserted whereas last year it was the opposite. The continuous flow of 13 to 28 million tourists who walk its alleys, and slide in a gondola on its canals every year, had reached its maximum. “We would like to limit people who only come for four or five hours”, explains Paola Mar, Deputy Mayor of Venice in charge of tourism. And now we have the opportunity to start all over in a different way. ”

We want to make people understand that it is better to visit Venice slowly.

We still have to find a way to organize this new Venetian tourism. Paola Mar is hopeful: “We got up from the plague in the 16th century and again in the 17th. We will get up from the covid, I’m confident. Like the Fenice opera – the phoenix, in Italian – which burned down and was rebuilt , we are resilient. ” And the resumption may be in sight: for the reopening of the Doge’s Palace on St. Mark’s Square on Saturday June 13, more than a thousand reservations have been recorded. The day before, there were no more than a dozen tourists queuing at the same place, for the basilica, adjoining the palace.