Italy's gorgeous island of Capri is now "COVID-free," the governor of the region announced over the weekend, thanks to a robust vaccination campaign.
The declaration comes as about 80% of Capri's 15,000 residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, the island's mayor, Marino Lembo, told CNN.
"It is a very strong message that we send to the whole world — you can come here in total safety," Lembo said.
Capri's vaccine numbers, however, are much higher than Italy as a whole where 28.9% of residents have received at least one shot, according to Reuters.
The news also comes as Italy prepares to reopen for international tourism later this month and as the country has begun easing lockdown measures. Capri, in the Campania region, is currently considered a "yellow zone," allowing places like ice cream shops and outdoor restaurants to reopen, according to the Italian National Tourist Board
"Capri represents the restart of the whole of Italy, it is a turning point message that reaches the whole world. Capri and Procida are covid-free," Vincenzo De Luca, the president of the Campania region of Italy, tweeted. "Now it's up to Ischia and then to the entire coastal strip of Campania to restart safely."
In typical years, Capri — known for celebrity sightings, gorgeous resorts, and breathtaking cliffs — has been overrun with tourists. But COVID-19 changed all that. In fact, the island's tourist sector saw a 70% drop in turnover last year, CNN reported.
Now, the island is poised to welcome tourists once again to its beautiful outdoor spaces, Ludovica Di Meglio, the head of Capri's tourism department, told the network.
"In addition to the better known places, and the famous 'piazzetta' where everyone meets, Capri offers fantastic nature trails suitable for the pandemic," he said.
While the island may be ready to welcome travelers once again, American tourists are still not able to head to Italy, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy.
In the meantime, those hoping for a taste of la dolce vita can tour the Sistine Chapel or explore the ruins of Pompeii from the comfort of home with virtual tours.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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