Grand but empty, Italian hotels await tourists amid coronavirus

Like lonely grande dames, Italy’s luxury hotels lack company amid the coronavirus pandemic. Foreign tourists are the mainstay of these high-priced hotels. But foreigners aren’t allowed yet into Italy because of COVID-19 containment measures in one of the world’s hardest-hit countries. And Italians aren’t yet allowed travel for the purpose of tourism. So these days, elegantly-dressed staff stand at the ready for guests who aren’t likely to step into their grandiose lobbies. This picture taken Wednesday, May 13, 2020, shows the frescoed ceilings of the Ritz Ballroom of the St. Regis Rome hotel, built in 1894, in Rome.

Rose bushes frame an empty garden overlooking a canal at the Ca' Nigra lagoon resort hotel along the canal grande in Venice, Italy, in this picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The hotel is currently closed to the public after lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 brought national and International leisure travel to a halt.

This Thursday, May 14, 2020, picture shows room keys hanging on a wooden board, at the Grand Hotel Et De Milan, where 19th century composer Giuseppe Verdi stayed, in Milan, Italy. The hotel dates back to 1863.

This picture taken on Thursday, May 14, 2020, shows an empty restaurant hallway of the historical Grand Hotel Tremezzo, in Tremezzo, on Como Lake, Italy. The hotel dates back to 1901.

This picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, shows an empty hall of the Ca’ Nigra lagoon resort hotel along the canal grande in Venice, Italy. The hotel is currently closed to the public after lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This Monday, May 11, 2020 photo shows a bedroom of the Atlante Star Hotel, in Rome. The hotel remained open during the lockdown measures due to COVID-19, but has very few if no guests at all.

This picture taken on Thursday, May 14, 2020, shows a bathtub overlooking the lake, reflected on a bathroom mirror of the historical Grand Hotel Tremezzo, in Tremezzo, on Como Lake, Italy. The hotel was built in 1901.

This Monday, May 11, 2020, photo shows a suite of the art-deco style Locarno Hotel, in Rome, Monday, May 11, 2020.

A turtle-shaped lounge chair is enveloped in the dark as curtains are closed at the Hotel Hassler, in Rome, in this Wednesday, May 13, 2020 photo. The hotel, currently closed to the public after lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 brought national and international leisure travel to a halt. Normally during springtime, it would have an 83%-100% occupancy.

This Thursday, May 14, 2020, picture shows the Giuseppe Verdi suite where 19th century composer Giuseppe Verdi, pictured on the painting, stayed, in Milan, Italy. The hotel dates back to 1863.

Barman Nicholas Pinna wears a protective face mask as he stands behind the cocktail bar of the art-deco style Locarno Hotel, in Rome in this Monday, May 11,  2020, photo. Pinna is looking forward to a return to normality, he says he has “lots of hope to restart soon, to see again all our clients which we were used to see here, and to return to working with maximum serenity” as the hotel prepares to welcome back its clients, hopefully soon.

This Monday, May 11, 2020, photo shows an empty foyer of the Rimini Grand Hotel, in Rimini, Italy. The luxury Liberty-style hotel, where carnivalesque Italian director Federico Fellini used to stay, was built in 1908. Parts of the hotel were recreated in Rome’s Cinecittà film studios for some of his movies including “Amarcord” (1973).

This picture taken on Thursday, May 14, 2020, shows the outdoor restaurant overlooking the swimming pool and lake of the historical Grand Hotel Tremezzo, in Tremezzo, on Como Lake, Italy. The hotel dates back to 1901.

This Monday, May 11, 2020, photo of keys stacked in a drawer of the Rimini Grand Hotel, in Rimini, Italy. The luxury Liberty-style hotel, where carnivalesque Italian director Federico Fellini used to stay, was built in 1908.

In this picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, a bed is reflected in the mirror in a bedroom of the Saturnia hotel, founded in 1908, in Venice, Italy.

Keys hang at the reception of the Saturnia hotel, founded in 1908, in Venice, Italy, in this picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

Stefania Bettoja, one of the owners of Hotel Meditarraneo Bettoja, walks in the empty hall of the hotel in Rome, which is currently closed to the public after lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, in this Tuesday, May 12, 2020, photo.

This Monday, May 11, 2020, photo shows the empty rooftop terrace of the art-deco style Locarno Hotel, in Rome.

This Thursday, May 14, 2020, picture shows room keys hanging on a wooden board, at the Grand Hotel Et De Milan, where 19th century composer Giuseppe Verdi stayed, in Milan, Italy.

This Monday, May 11, 2020, photo shows the Rimini Grand Hotel, in Rimini, Italy.

The breeze blows a curtain of the Audrey Hepburn Suite at the Hotel Hassler, in Rome in this Wednesday, May 13, 2020, photo.

In this picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, a piano is lit by light from a window of the Saturnia hotel, founded in 1908, in Venice, Italy.

The restaurant hall of the Hotel Meditarraneo Bettoja, is in the dark as the hotel is currently closed to the public after lockdown measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 brought national and international leisure travel to a halt, in Rome in this Tuesday, May 12, 2020, photo.

In this Monday, May 11, 2020, photo a man does maintenance work by a swimming pool of the Rimini Grand Hotel, in Rimini, Italy.

Matteo Vasselli, concierge of Atlante Star Hotel, is silhouetted as he shows the restaurant of the hotel overlooking St. Peter's Dome, seen in the background, in Rome in this Monday, May 11, 2020, photo. The hotel remained open during the lockdown measures due to COVID-19, but has very few if no guests at all.

In this picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, keys hang at the reception of the Saturnia hotel, in Venice, Italy. Venetians are rethinking their city in the quiet brought by the coronavirus pandemic. For years, the unbridled success of Venice’s tourism industry threatened to ruin the things that made it an attractive destination to begin with. Now the pandemic has ground to a halt Italy’s most-visited city, stopped the flow of 3 billion euros in annual tourism-related revenue and devastated the city’s economy.

In this picture taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, head of the Venice Hotel Association Claudio Scarpa stands as he waits for an Associated Press interview in Venice, Italy.

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