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Our Teams Went to Italy to Ensure Everything is Ready for Travellers – Here’s What We Found

Did you know last year Riviera Travel took some 30,000 people to Italy, including 12,000 to the Italian Lakes? As one of our much-loved tours, we couldn’t wait for you to explore the likes of Lake Como and Lake Garda again with us. We’re excited to announce that we are operating some Italy tours this September and October, as well as our full programme which relaunches in Spring 2021.

In fact, we have already taken two groups to Lake Garda and Lake Como in the last few weeks. With Covid-19 changing many travel plans in 2020, we can understand why our customers would need to carefully consider their holiday and were wondering if it is safe to travel to Italy once more.

Happily going that extra mile for customers is at the heart of the Riviera approach. That’s why, over the last month, we have been in Lake Como and Lake Garda to experience Italy for ourselves, and make sure the experience is as immersive and enjoyable as you would expect from a Riviera holiday. As well as colleagues across all teams, directors Jim Forward and Stuart Milan also went along, accompanied by our health and safety consultant Ian Greaves. We were pleased to say that our operators and partners have taken on board the necessary social distancing and safety precautions, without compromising the experience. With your safety and comfort as our top priority, here are just a few things to expect on our holidays to Italy.

Checking in at our hand-picked hotels

We stayed at our usual hotels in Lake Garda and Lake Como to ensure everything is in place for our guests, and our high standards are being met. There’s plenty of space and outdoor areas for effortless social distancing, clear floor markings throughout and plenty of hand sanitisers. Like the current UK guidelines, you don’t have to wear a face covering whilst dining in restaurants.

Still the same brilliant city guides

The coaches all ensure social distancing, and we all sat in the same seats for the duration of the tour. We all had our own headsets which are thoroughly cleaned between excursions, and you currently don’t have to wear face coverings when walking in open air. The locals were excited to welcome tourists again and we got to explore the popular areas at a unique time.

There are fewer crowds

Life is a little quieter at the moment, making it a unique time to explore the landmarks and open spaces. This was particularly noticeable in Venice. The sounds of the live classical musicians in the famous Caffè Florian were the perfect accompaniment to the backdrop of Saint Mark’s Basilica. What’s more, there are less queues for landmarks and private gondola rides are ready to take you on a private tour of the city’s waterways. Or in Lake Como, you can experience the majesty of the Bernina Express with fewer people on board – it really is quite an experience.

Our excursions are safe, without compromising on experience

We are always looking for new additions to our holidays to make them the best they can be. On the last day in Lake Garda we visited a local winery in the Trentino region for a wine tasting and tour that we have added to the itinerary.

“We want people to be confident travelling to Italy and have been working with UK health experts and Italian hoteliers amongst others to ensure that British tourists can enjoy a fantastic experience in a safe environment,” explained Jim, our Chief Commercial Officer. “We experienced first-hand what travel and touring is like for those that want to take advantage of a quieter time to explore some of the country’s most iconic sights.”

“We concluded that those arriving in Italy will have a great time, with a richer and more personal holiday experience.  With fewer people you get the opportunity for a more intimate exploration of normally busy tourist hot spots, plus a warm welcome from hotels, bars and restaurants – seeing St Mark’s Square in Venice without the crowds is really special.”

For that peace of mind, we have also introduced a range of best-in class customer guarantees for those that book now. This includes extra booking flexibility; COVID-19 cancellation protection as standard; a promise that you will pay the best price, so if we reduce the price for new customers we will apply the reduction to every booker; plus our overarching happiness guarantee – if you are not happy on your trip by the second day then we will return you to the UK and refund your holiday.

Feeling inspired? Italian tours that are currently on sale for September and October are: