Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

Italy and Switzerland Without the Crowds: Our Top Memories

Now that Italy is opening back up domestically after a few months of coronavirus-related lockdown and travel restrictions, Italians have been enjoying the rare opportunity to admire their country’s iconic sights without the crush of foreign tourists. Stories highlighting “Italy without the crowds” - a nearly empty Vatican, peaceful Cinque Terre, Pompeii with just a dozen visitors - have made headlines across the globe and produced once-in-a-lifetime photos.

We’ll let you in on a secret: visiting Italy’s top sights without the crowds has always been possible, even before COVID-19 threw a wrench into the gears of international travel. Tourism in Italy is very seasonal, so if you visit during the quiet winter months, you can enjoy some of the most popular tourist sights in the world virtually on your own.

colosseo-crowd-roma-cr-ciu-travel(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

During the high-season summer months, we are busy with clients traveling through Italy and Switzerland, so we often plan our research trips outside of the peak travel times, which also gives us a chance to speak with local guides and hotel general managers who are too busy during the high season to even say hello. As a result, we've seen much of Italy and Switzerland perfectly socially distanced, long before it became a household term.

As the world readjusts its schedule in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, consider an off-season trip to Italy or Switzerland as a safer, less crowded alternative to the traditional summer holiday. Not only will you be able to enjoy the beauty of these two countries with peace of mind, but you can also savor the slower pace and more personalized attention that winter brings.

If you have to keep in contact with the office during an off-season trip, the time zones make it easy to take that morning zoom meeting right after lunchtime. Just be sure that you have your data sorted before departure, as off season travel may require more connectivity.

Going through our travel photos over these past few months, we’ve been reminded of our top crowd-less memories in Italy and Switzerland, and wanted to share them with you!

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Staff Inspiration: Linda's Dream Trip

Last week, we capped off our series of dream trips through Italy and Switzerland to inform and inspire future jaunts to Europe with Maria Gabriella’s trip with her sister...or so we thought. We realized that we had one more dream trip in the bullpen from Linda, longtime CIU Travel administrative assistant and...Brian’s mom!

KIF_1721(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

Brian’s parents, Linda and Mike, both took up skiing when they were in their late 30s, and are still happily hitting the slopes today in their late 70s. They're avid skiers - they have slowed down a bit in recent years, however - and though skilled, are cautious to avoid injuries from falls. Linda had knee surgery to treat an injury from a ski fall more than 25 years ago; the first orthopedist she consulted told her that they didn't operate on people over 50! Luckily, she got a second opinion and was back skiing a couple of years later.

They are advanced intermediate skiers, so the runs straddling the Italian/Swiss border offer endless options at their level. Though they have visited all the destinations on this itinerary in the past, they are keen to return and take them on again at a leisurely pace that includes a bit of sightseeing, some days on the slopes, and a heavy dose of pampering to recharge. This trip may not just be a dream. Mike turns 80 in February of 2021 and vows to spend the day on the slopes so maybe this jaunt from Venice to Zürich via the Dolomites and St. Moritz will become a reality!

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