Good News! Lombardy Goes from Orange to Yellow Zone

As of this Sunday, December 13, Lombardy goes from being an orange zone to a yellow zone. A few weeks ago Italy was on a the verge of a new national lockdown. Thankfully, the COVID numbers have steadily decreased due to the strict measures that were put in place limiting travel and closing bars, restaurants and cafes. As frustrating and annoying as the measures have been, it seems they have paid off.

What’s New in the Yellow Zone?

Come Sunday we can finally travel outside our commune (city/neighborhood)! We can travel from 5 am to 10 pm, and don’t need to carry a self-authorization form. Bars, restaurants, and cafes can re-open. Hours are limited to table service until 6 pm and delivery until 10 pm. The national curfew still remains in place from 10 pm to 5 am. Museums, theaters, cinemas, gyms and pools remain closed. On the bright side, religious services can continue as long as the required measures are enforced.

What Are the Covid Restrictions for Christmas in Italy?

As great as it is to go from orange to yellow zone, national Christmas restrictions still apply. From December 21 to January 6, travel from one region to another is prohibited (except for work, health, emergency or returning to one’s home). Here in the north of the country many spend their holidays visiting family in southern Italy so many expect to see a mass exodus from the north to southern Italy prior to December 21. Also, in an effort to curb large family gatherings, new restrictions apply for December 24-26 and January 1 which limit travel from one town to another. Gatherings in homes with people outside of one’s immediate family are strongly discouraged.

Christmas 2020 in Milan

Milan Christmas market in 2019

Christmas will look very different in Italy this year. One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time is visiting the “mercantini di natale” which are the open-air markets every major city puts on at Christmas time. Sadly, all Christmas markets and public celebrations are canceled. Despite the restrictions, we can at least stroll the streets admiring the Christmas decorations and artful window displays, stop in a cafe for a hot chocolate and piece of panettone. In fact, in Milan there are 21 Christmas trees displayed throughout the city. Each tree is sponsored by a different company and each has it’s own theme. These trees range from traditional to truly modern art. Click here for a map and photos all of Milan’s Christmas trees. Buon Natale!

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