Most Italians have chosen to stay in their home country during the strangest summer holiday season in living memory, due to the Coronavirus emergency, according to data collected by Coldiretti (the national association of farmers).
This has been good news for many seaside and mountain resorts, which had lain empty through much of the spring. However, Italy's celebrated art cities, large and small, have suffered greatly from the drop in foreign tourists.
The Coldiretti poll revealed that 25% Italians stayed in their home region. Many took the opportunity to explore the many little known borghi (historic villages) and sample the local food products and wine. Italy is the uncontested world leader in wine and gastronomic tourism with over 5,000 certified local gastronomic specialities, 415 listed certified wines and 60,000 organic food producers, spread throughout the entire peninsula. The 24,000 farm holiday structures (agriturismo) have had a popularity boom, thanks to the fact that they are small units, surrounded by countryside, where social distancing can be easily maintained.
There has also been a boom of Italians returning to their roots. Small out-of-the-way villages have been unexpectedly revived by an influx of visitors returning to stay with their families of origin and rediscovering the attractions of a traditional “home-to-home holiday” with small speciality shops and traffic-free streets and piazzas, where children can play in safety.