What you need to know to travel to Italy now

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Italy has gradually eased border controls and most restrictions as travelers return to one of the world’s most popular destinations. And while there are plenty of new attractions to discover, from the recently opened secret tunnels in the Colosseum to recent finds in Pompeii, it’s not business as usual. Italy is still in a state of emergency and some pandemic-related restrictions apply, including the requirement for a green pass to access indoor venues and major events.

With the continuing threat of the Delta variant, travelers are warned that increased measures could be implemented without notice. If you’re planning a trip to Italy this year, here’s what you can expect.

Can I travel to Italy from the EU?

Italy has adopted the EU’s COVID digital certificate which facilitates the return of free movement across the bloc. This is a digital or paper certificate that indicates that the holder meets the travel conditions: is fully vaccinated (the last dose administered at least 14 days before departure), or has recovered from COVID-19, or has a COVID-19 negative result of a PCR or antigen test performed within 48 hours of travel.

You will need to present this certificate to enter Italy, regardless of your origin in the EU. This is because Italy does not classify risk areas in accordance with EU recommendations and no country is currently classified as low risk. So, even if you are from an EU country classified as green (low risk) in the traffic light system of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, you still need to present a digital COVID certificate to travel to Italy.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome is a popular attraction © Catarina Belova / Shutterstock

Can I travel to Italy from a country outside the EU?

Italy applies border restrictions to travelers based on the COVID situation in the country they are departing from. Most countries are on Lists C and D, and quarantine restrictions apply to all except the United States, Canada, Japan, and Israel. People arriving from these countries are allowed to skip the quarantine provided they present proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19, or a negative result of a test taken no more than 72 hours before traveling to Italy, using official vaccination or medical documents issued in either of these countries.

Those arriving from the UK will be required to undergo a five-day quarantine on arrival with mandatory testing until at least August 30.

Entry restrictions for individual countries can be found here.

What vaccines does Italy accept?

Italy requires travelers to be fully vaccinated with both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca; or with the Johnson & Johnson single injection vaccine.

Do children need to be vaccinated to enter Italy?

Children under the age of six are exempt from all vaccine, testing or quarantine requirements in Italy. However, children between the ages of six and 18 must show a negative COVID-19 test result before their arrival.

What else is required?

All arrivals are required to complete a passenger locator form prior to arrival, regardless of their COVID status or point of departure.

Beach in Sardinia with social distancing markers
Tourists on a Sardinian beach try to respect social distancing rules by using red and white tape to mark their space on the beach © Emanuele Perrone / Getty Images

Do i need a green pass in Italy?

Yes, if you want to enjoy most of Italy’s cultural attractions, you will need a green pass. The pass proves the holder has been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19, or recently tested negative for the virus. People must present it to enter indoor spaces such as museums, football stadiums, gymnasiums, theme parks, spas, swimming pools and theaters. It is also necessary to sit indoors in bars and restaurants; and from September 1, he will have to use public transport in Italy.

Anyone traveling from another EU country can present their EU digital COVID certificate anywhere the green pass is required. People traveling from a country in the Schengen zone can also present their official health documents.

The Italian government has confirmed that it will also accept official COVID documents issued in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Israel by tourists in place of a green pass. This was then extended to cover all official vaccination certificates that comply with Italian or European directives. To be accepted instead of the green pass, the certificate must be in Italian, English, Spanish or French and contain the following information: type of vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J or AstraZeneca), date of doses and batch number, as well as the name of the person and the name of the medical authority issuing the certificate. However, despite the guidelines, some tourists have reported difficulties getting their certificates accepted at the sites.

If you are not vaccinated, you will need to have a PCR test or an antigen test within 48 hours.

Can I get tested in Italy?

Many countries, including the United States, require passengers to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their return flight after international travel. Fortunately, the tests are widely available throughout Italy at pharmacies, laboratories and testing centers. Antigen tests cost around $ 20, while PCR tests typically cost around $ 65.

The Red Cross has contextual testing sites at stations across Italy, including Roma Termini, Milano Centrale, Venice Santa Lucia and Florence Santa Maria Novella for antigen testing. Onsite testing is also available at major Italian airports, and most offer both antigen and PCR testing, but check the website of the airport you are traveling through in advance for details. .

What is open in Italy?

Italy is home to many of the greatest works of art, architecture and gastronomy in the world, and has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country. Among its popular attractions are Pompeii, where visitors can walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans, and Ravenna, home to glittering Byzantine treasures. Venice gondolas pass through the famous Rialto Bridge, while Rome is home to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Colosseum, as well as the iconic Trevi Fountain.

Fortunately, you can discover these sites with relative ease because all Italian regions are now classified as “white zones”. Italy classifies its regions in colored zones according to the epidemiological risk; different restrictions apply, depending on the color. White areas are very low risk areas. Most restrictions have been lifted, but social distancing guidelines remain in place in public spaces, as do mask requirements in crowded outdoor locations, on public transportation, and in indoor public spaces.

Indoor dining is back in Italian restaurants, cafes, bars, ice cream parlors and pastry shops. Some capacity limits apply but the general rule is no more than six people per table. Anyone wishing to eat inside will need to show proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a recent negative test. Hotels, spas and swimming pools are open, as are the beaches, but visitors should stand at least three feet apart when setting up towels, sunbeds or umbrellas.

The best road trips in Italy

Museums and cultural attractions are open for walk-in people with capacity limits Monday through Friday and for those with pre-booked weekend tickets. Cinemas, theaters and concert halls are generally open at 50% of their capacity. Again, don’t forget to bring your vaccination record if you are planning to visit a museum or cultural attraction in Italy.

For a full breakdown of restrictions by region, see here.

This article was first published on May 5 and updated on August 23, 2021.

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