Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

What to expect from Phase Two in Florence, Italy


Yesterday our prime minister in Italy, Giuseppe Conte, gave a televised speech in regards to the unveiling of fase 2 (phase two) of what life in Italy will be like coexisting with the coronavirus. Nico and I, like many Italians from north to south have been waiting eagerly to find out more since these seven weeks of lockdown has been very difficult for us all.  

When May 4th arrives next week, Italians will have undergone two months of strict lockdown measures that began on March 9th and the country as a whole has had an extremely high loss of life due to the virus – 26,664 as of yesterday. Phase two is expected to last until a vaccination or other solutions are found, it is expected that we will get another update Mid-May.

A few important takeaways include the fact that, yes, we will be able to (finally) take walks and work out outside while respecting social distancing, businesses will begin to reopen, schools remain closed until September, the auto-certification form remains ( at least for two more weeks) and people can visit relatives/close friends within the same region.

Conte quoted “If you love Italy, you must keep your distance” – a reminder that social distancing must remain while reiterating that contagions may rise as a result of the lifting of these restrictions. He warned that if people fail to respect rules including social distancing, the curve of contagion “will rise and could get out of control, the number of our dead will increase and our economy will suffer irreversible damage.” He underlined the importance of caution and unity when people might be feeling anger and the need to “blame” someone/something for this disastrous situation.  It might sound like an oxymoron of sorts but I truly believe that we need social closeness right now more than ever, while keeping a physical distance. 

A social-distance CIAO from our corner of Florence

There has been an enormous amount of speculation online about what the future will look like in Italy and honestly we are all just looking how we can organize ourselves for the foreseeable future, whatever that future looks like. That perhaps has been the most difficult part – learning how to accept that we have little or no control at this moment except how we adapt our individual actions. We all know this is meant to be a slow “rolling out” phase where restrictions are lifted at a gradual pace but at least now, as of last night, we actually have a bit more clarity. 

Please check out these FAQ questions and answers on the official government website regarding phase two. 

You might be disappointed about the lack of dramatic changes that perhaps some people expected but let’s be honest here – this has to be extremely difficult for any government to navigate, even more so in a place like Italy that has suffered an enormous loss of life. This reopening was always going to be a difficult road and we have to respect that. 

Social distance in every line and public space is the foreseeable norm

Things cannot instantaneously “snap back to normal” as much as I wish they would and I have to wonder how being overly critical about every single decision is going to help anything or anyone. I certainly don’t envy any world leader at this time or local mayor. Conte definitely seemed exhausted during yesterday’s address. This is an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime situation, and frankly a shit situation on the whole. What was missing from yesterday’s speech was any mention of testing, contact tracing etc – so if anyone has clarity on that, let me know. 

If you missed yesterday’s press conference and would like to watch it in its entirety, here’s where you can. FOR THE FULL DECREE – READ HERE. More coronavirus updates for Florence can be found here

For those who want a little more clarity on what to expect in Florence as phase two rolls out starting May 4th, here goes. 

*Updated May 3rd, 2020 – Our local mayor Dario Nardella gave a live speech with updates on what life will be like from May 4th, 2020. If you missed it and want to watch it in its entirety – here’s where you can. I have updated the information below to reflect that. 

Movement outside And Visiting Parks/Gardens

Likely one of the most contentious aspects of this lockdown has been the restrictions on people’s movements outdoors. Come May 4th, people will be able to move around their own comune for walks but they must remain 1 meter apart unless they live together at home and not gather in groups, if you are a jogger – you must remain two meters from other people. Parks and gardens will be open on May 4th  (here’s a great list for Florence) but it is up to individual city if they want to restrict access again if people are not adhering to the social distancing rules. You will need to wear masks and preferably gloves if you visit parks and gardens. Children’s playgrounds will not reopen.

Here is the link where you can download the new auto-certificazione (aka our “permission slip”) – carry it with you at all times just to be safe. 

Face Protection in Tuscany

Masks are to be the norm in any public spaces and the prices for masks will be fixed at 50 cents a mask. Kids under six are not required to wear masks. For Tuscany, as of today, masks are only distributed in pharmacies and delivered to homes. We are “invited” to follow the alphabetical criterion in regards to when to pick up masks: Monday from A to L, Tuesday from M to Z, alternating in the following days with the same criterion. More info can be found here (Regione Toscana). 

Movement In and between Regions

Tuscans can stay in Tuscany but that’s about it. People will be able to visit other areas within their region but from my understanding this will only be for “health, work or essential reasons” and you’ll need that damn auto-certification form so just be aware of this for the time being.  I do believe though that this means you can go for a walk in the mountains or a swim in the sea by yourself if you live near the mountains or the sea along with the people you live with at home. Visiting other regions will be strictly prohibited unless you have an essential reason for work etc.

Visiting Relatives…. BUt Friends? 

If you live within the same region in Italy – you are going to be allowed to visit your relatives and loved ones in their homes starting on May 4th. They were very quick to announce that no “parties” aka large family gatherings can happen at home but the visiting of close family members separated by the lockdown is allowed as long as people wear masks and respect social distancing measures. Apparently the government has now clarified that close relationships (civil partnerships – unmarried couples) will also be included in the people you can visit as announced here on Il Sole 24 Ore., this will undoubtably be open to interpretation and I am waiting for the government’s FAQ to clarify this. 

Those with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius will be required to stay at home along with those most vulnerable to the virus. 

Funerals allowed and Religious Services Remain Closed. Cemeteries open

For the many people who lost loved ones during this period, not being able to hold funerals has been an added heartbreak during this time of social distancing. Funerals will be allowed to recommence (15 people max) but religious services will remain prohibited. They also are opening up certain cemeteries around Florence on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (closed weekends, holidays and Tuesday and Thursday). 

Eating Out

People will be able to go to restaurants and bars to order takeaway to be consumed at home or at the office but they will not be allowed to dine-in at restaurants until June. This is a bit surprising since many of us had heard the date of “May 18th” being floated around as when the dine-in aspect could return with safety precautions. As I’ve shared previously – in Florence, many local eateries are offering home delivery and take away (with appointment/reservation) already.

Getting back to Business

Manufacturing wholesale businesses will reopen on the 4th of May while those working in textiles, fashion, automotive, glass, the extractive industry, the manufacture of furniture can already begin preparatory openings this Monday, April 27th. Other businesses (smaller construction companies and the like) can start to work again come May 18th. Many companies will be encouraged to continue smart-working if they are able and social distancing will be required.

May 18th – Cultural Sites and Shops Reopen

The date of May 18th has been chosen as the date when they will reopen cultural institutions, museums and libraries. The same goes for retail shops and athletic training for teams. If you want to know how to visit Italy virtually from anywhere in the world – here’s my best list

I look forward to the day we can again visit museums….

June 1st – Restaurants & Salons

Other businesses that will be allowed to reopen on June 1st bars include restaurants, hairdressers, beauty and spa/massage centres.


Public Transportation

The managing of organizing public transportation will be left to each region and comune to prevent overcrowding. A crowded “rush hour” situation must be avoided and there will be markets put into place to ensure that. Masks will be required for anyone using public transport (you can also use cloth to cover your face) as well as protective gloves. 

Those coming outside of Italy – 14 days Isolation

An article in the Dpcm draft is dedicated to those who intend to arrive in Italy from abroad requiring a 14 day quarantine. Before departing, they must declare a valid reason for the trip and provide the address of the residence where they will have to observe, even if asymptomatic, a 14-day period of self-isolation, while also immediately communicating their presence to the ASL Prevention Department. It also applies to those who disembark from cruise ships.

What is not clear is when they will reopen gyms, sports centres, swimming pools, swimming centres, wellness centres, spas, cultural and social center, all of which will remain suspended.

Sources include: Il Sole 24 Ore, FirenzeToday, and of course (the official website of Italy’s government). The full decree text can be read here. You can also check this article in Italy Magazine, this post by The Florentine,, The Local Italy

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25 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for a reasonable, generous and thoughtful response to the new Phase 2 decree. I so admire the tack you have chosen to take the last two months. I owe you one huge hug, which I hope I can give to you personally before we are exchanging holiday cookies ar Christmas!! xoxo

  2. Hi, thank you so much for this! I am supposed to get married in Toscana in July. I am from Norway and we were planning to gather friends and family from all over the world. This turned out to be an unpredictable year for planning weddings. I am curious about the last section in your post -> do you have information about how long the restrictions for people arriving from outside Italy will last?

    1. Ciao Monica. I am sorry about your wedding being delayed, this has been such a tough year for so many. There is no word about how long the phase two will last or the rule regarding foreigners coming back to Italy. All I know is that for anyone arriving to Italy from outside of Italy, a declaration will be required to indicate the reasons for the trip, the full address of the house where quarantine period will take place in Italy will be needed and information regarding the private means of transport used to reach said location (italy will not provide any guarantee of transportation), as well as the telephone number needed for any communication.

      1. Grazie for your reply! We are looking forward to going to Italy and support the country when it´s time.

  3. Georgette:

    What about hotels, vacation homes, etc? And can we travel upon arrival in Rome from the US to our property in Tuscany?


    1. No word about hotels yet – it looks like so much is up for interpretation until each region decides what they are going to do but hotels technically were never ordered to be closed, they mostly did because of lack of business. From what I understood from the decree – it is not clarified 100% but they seem to be not keen on people going to second homes and going back and forth without a really good reason but people can reach their families/homes if they’ve been separated thus far. In order to travel to Italy during this period they will require a declaration of reason, plus information about where you will be quarentining for 14 days, with phone number, address and how you will get there. Double check with the embassy first.

  4. Thank you for translating what phase 2 means for us. I’m from New York, my fiancé is from Milan, and as we wait for him to immigrate to America we have been apart in our countries during this whole pandemic. Our wedding was supposed to be in July in Lake Como and I have been holding on to the edge of my seat waiting for answers, but it seems now that it will definitely not be able to happen. 🙁 of course not complaining too much because we are both grateful to be healthy. About the last part, I’m a bit confused about the 14-day self quarantine. Do you think that means if I were to travel from NY to Italy, I have to 14-day quarantine inside Italy (after June 1st?) thanks for your time.

    1. It definitely looks like that if you want to come to Italy – you’ll have to declare you have a valid reason to come (reunification from your fiancé) and declare your residence and that you will self-isolate for 14 days. This might change in the future but that’s what I’ve read so far. I would also double check with the Italian embassy.

  5. You have had an horrendous time of it, our hearts go out to your beautiful country & your lovely people. Who would want to be in charge of all this horror. We are so lucky to be living in Australia where it is more or less under control but the financial damage will be felt by us all. Stay safe & brave ;

    1. I don’t know anyone who wants to be in charge and I feel for them in this moment. We are all exhausted, tired and traumatised from this all and we have to resist still. I’m glad that Australia seems to be doing well and things are under control. Let’s hope the latter half of 2020 is better than how it began!

  6. Hi Georgette,

    It’s a bit early for this, but as travelers from all over the world look forward to Italy once again welcoming tourists, I’m very curious to know how the Italian people are feeling about that? I’ve seen and heard comments from non-Italians believing since the Italian economy relies so heavily on tourism they will be quick to welcome tourists back. However, I imagine many Italians must feel nervous or downright scared about having foreigners come any time soon. Have you heard much talk on this subject?


  7. I don’t think “close friend” is a right translation…

  8. Hi Georgette, the part of meeting close friends is not true, even La Repubblica clarified this today: Be careful with their articles, recently they published too early news which in the end weren’t true (e. g. parents would have been allowed to go for a walk with children a few weeks ago…)

    1. Thank you Michelle – I have read so much conflicting information regarding this that I’m just going to assume we’re not meant to visit close friends until otherwise specified. It’s such a shit show with the news right now – I’m waiting for the FAQ to be announced by the government.

  9. Just a quick thanks for your very professional information from Florence, I continue to watch from the UK because of our love for Florence but also to see how Italy takes measures to try and cope with Covid-19. Keep safe and kepp giving beagle cuddles!

  10. Do you know why some buses stop at 8 pm !!?? – is it something related to the measures – and it will stay like this after the 4th of May? Does this mean that everything should be closed at 8 !?

    Another point, do you mean that is it possible to travel within Tuscany? Are we allowed to travel to the beach (Livorno)? I and my wife would like to go there and enjoy the sun for only one day…..!!

    1. Hello there, thanks for reading this post. Regarding bus service – it has been limited during this pandemic for sure but I did read that they will likely be expanding bus service hours to avoid rush hour crowds as we enter phase two. Regarding travel in Tuscany – from the decree they specifically state that you need an essential reason to travel even within the region – for example you can get in your car to visit a family member in Tuscany, while getting in your car to go to the beach isn’t likely to be deemed essential enough right now. This could change in a few weeks so stay tuned!

  11. FYI – your link in this article to view the best ways to visit Italy virtually opens a post on ordering food for takeout. Just thought you’d like to know. Thanks for the article. Great information. Stay well.

  12. Thanks for the article.
    Could you please tell where I can email if I have questions about phase 2?
    I could not find the appropriate one in the government website.

      1. Great, thanks! Well, I know we can move once to another region to go back to where we lived and also be with our significant other. But does having a flatmate, in the place we’re going back to, change any of these?

  13. Hello Georgette,
    I am trying to travel back to Florence (because I have an apartment there and I Have been a guest at my sister’s apartment in Germany for the past 2 Month) I was wondering if you would know what number I would need to call to tell them my reason of travel and my position where I will be self-isolating for 2 weeks?

    Very helpful article and I really like your blog!

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hello Daniela – we just published this article about how travel will look like for the next few months and regarding which number you need to call/who to contact this link from the government website has all you need to know. I wish you luck!

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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