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TRAVEL

UPDATED: These are the Italian regions that now require tourists to register in advance

Anyone hoping to visit Sardinia, Sicily Puglia or Calabria this summer must remember to fill out a form stating where they'll stay and when they'll leave as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

UPDATED: These are the Italian regions that now require tourists to register in advance
Anyone arriving in Sardinia must now register with local authorities. Photo: Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP

*Please note that this article from 2020 is no longer being updated. See the latest Italian travel news here.*

Since the beginning of June, when Italy allowed travel between regions again and reopened to European tourists, most journeys in Italy no longer involve paperwork – with a few exceptions.

While tourism is allowed and you don’t need to justify your reasons for travelling, some of Italy’s most popular summer destinations now ask visitors to register with the regional authorities in order to track and trace anyone potentially bringing the virus with them from elsewhere.

The process is separate from showing your ID when you check into tourist accommodation, which is standard practice all over Italy; now it is travellers’ responsibility to give their contact details directly to regional authorities by filling in a designated form.

The requirement aims to help protect regions that have so far had fewer cases as people beginning returning home from other parts of Italy, or heading south for a beach break.

The rules apply to everyone arriving, regardless of their nationality. Here are the parts of Italy where they’re in force.

Sardinia

Italy’s second-biggest island requires anyone arriving by plane or boat to complete its ‘Sardegna Sicura’ registration form, which is available online here.

The form asks travellers for their contact details, the flights or ferries they’re arriving and departing on, their address(es) in Sardinia and a piece of ID. Visitors must also agree to follow coronavirus prevention rules such as wearing a face mask, to inform local health authorities is they develop symptoms, and to submit to tests if necessary.

READ ALSO: Ajò! Handy local words to use on your next trip to Sardinia

While you can fill out most information up to a month before your trip, you’ll also be required to declare that you don’t have any symptoms no more than 48 hours before you travel.

Airlines and ferry companies will ask passengers to show their completed forms before boarding, and will also be checking travellers’ temperature.


Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Sicily

Until September 30th, all visitors should register on the Sicilia Si Cura website (also available as an app). 

READ ALSO: Can Sicily’s plan to subsidise your holidays save its tourism industry?

The portal allows non-residents to log their presence and health status and to alert authorities if they develop symptoms. All information is available in English.

Tourists can also call the toll-free number 800 458 787 for assistance in Italian or English.

Puglia

Anyone entering Puglia from another part of Italy or overseas must complete a form online (available here) and email it to their doctor if they’re a resident of the region, or to the local health authorities in the province where they’ll be staying if they live elsewhere (find a list here).

Visitors should also keep a record of everywhere they visit and everyone they come into contact with for 30 days following their arrival in Puglia, which they may be asked to produce in the event of an outbreak.

While the region says the requirement applies to everyone arriving by public or private transport, it’s unclear how tightly it is being policed. Meanwhile people travelling for work, health reasons, emergencies or to transport goods are exempt.

Incomers are also encouraged to download Italy’s contact-tracing app Immuni

For further advice, you can call the region’s hotline on 800 713 931 within Italy or 0039 080 337 3398 from overseas.

Calabria

The southern region requires visitors to register online here

READ ALSO: Seven crowd-free alternatives to Italy’s tourist hotspots

You should complete the form before you arrive, listing where you’re departing from, where you’re staying and how long for. You must also agree to inform the local health authorities if you develop symptoms.

The form is available in Italian and English.

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CLIMATE

Sicily braces for rare Mediterranean cyclone as storms continue

Sicily's residents are bracing for the arrival of a cyclone later on Thursday, the second this week after a deadly storm hammered the Italian island, killing three people.

Sicily braces for rare Mediterranean cyclone as storms continue
Cars and market stalls submerged in Catania, Sicily, after heavy rain hit the city and province on october 26th. Photo: STRINGER/ANSA/AFP

A rare tropical-style cyclone known as a “medicane” is set to reach Sicily’s eastern coast and the tip of mainland Calabria between Thursday evening and Friday morning, according to Italian public research institute ISPRA.

“Heavy rainfall and strong sea storms are expected on the coast, with waves of significant height over 4.5 metres (15 feet),” ISPRA said.

The Italian Department for Civil Protection placed eastern Sicily under a new amber alert for Thursday and the highest-level red lert for Friday in anticipation of the storm’s arrival, after almost a week of extreme weather in the area.

A total of three people have been reported killed in flooding on the island this week amid storms that left city streets and squares submerged.

On Tuesday, parts of eastern Sicily were ravaged by a cyclone following days of heavy rains that had sparked flooding and mudslides, killing three people.

Television images from Tuesday showed flooding in the emergency room of Catania’s Garibaldi-Nesima hospital, while rain was seen pouring from the roof inside offices at the city courtroom.

Thursday’s storm was set to hit the same area around Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, even as residents were still mucking out their streets and homes.

Schools were closed in Syracuse and Catania, where the local government ordered public offices and courts closed through Friday.

The mayor of Catania on Tuesday shut down all businesses and urged residents to stay home.

Antonio Navarra, president of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper this week that Sicily was at the centre of extreme weather events, including heatwaves and cyclones.

“We’re trying to understand if, with climate change, these phenomena will become even more intense, if they will change their character as their frequency intensifies,” he said.

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: The Italian cities worst affected by flooding and heatwaves

Cars submerged in Catania, Sicily, after storms hit the city and province on October 26th. Photo: STRINGER/ANSA/AFP

Other forecasters have said the “medicane” is the latest evidence that the climate crisis is irreversibly tropicalising the Mediterranean, after the island’s south-eastern city of Syracuse this August recorded a temperature of 48.8C, the hottest ever seen in Europe.

“Sicily is tropicalising and the upcoming medicane is perhaps the first of this entity, but it certainly won’t be the last,” Christian Mulder, a professor of ecology and climate emergency at the University of Catania, told The Guardian on Wednesday.

“We are used to thinking that this type of hurricane and cyclone begins in the oceans and not in a closed basin like the Mediterranean. But this is not the case,” he said.

“This medicane is forming due to the torrid climate of north Africa and the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The Aegean Sea has a temperature of 3C higher than the average, while the Ionian Sea has a temperature of almost 2C higher than the average. The result is a pressure cooker.”

The storm is expected to leave the area between Saturday and Sunday.

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