SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL

Italy’s latest travel rules, explained

Italy's travel rules can be tricky to keep up with. We break down who is allowed to travel to Italy, why, when, and whether you'll have to quarantine.

Italy's latest travel rules, explained
Italy has banned entry from certain countries under all circumstances. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The rules on travelling to Italy have changed several times in the past month, and they're different from the rest of the EU. 

Some tourism is allowed; some travel to and from outside Europe is allowed; some journeys are allowed with a quarantine; and some places you just can't go.

Think of Italy's travel rules as a traffic light system: some countries have the green light for unrestricted travel, some are on amber with a quarantine requirement, and some are stuck on red with no tourism allowed.

Here are the rules, explained.


Photo: Christophe Simon/AFP

No restrictions, no quarantine

Most travellers within Europe can travel freely to and from Italy without having to justify their reasons for travel or quarantining upon arrival.

Most other European countries have also now dropped their own restrictions on Italy, meaning that travellers won't have to quarantine when they return home either: check with your government for its latest travel advice.

Where?

  • All other members of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
  • All non-EU members of the Schengen Zone: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  • The UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Microstates and enclaves: Andorra, Principality of Monaco, Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State.

Who?

  • Citizens of those countries.
  • Foreign residents living in those countries.
  • Family members of a citizen or resident: spouse, civil or cohabiting partner, dependent children aged below 21 years, other dependent lineal relatives.

Exceptions: people who have travelled outside any of these countries in the 14 days before arriving in Italy, who will have to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

For example, someone travelling to Italy from France on July 15th would be required to self-isolate if they had travelled to France from the US on July 10th; but would not be required to self-isolate if they travelled from the US to France before July 1st.

Since July 24th, Italy also requires people travelling from Romania or Bulgaria to quarantine for their first 14 days in Italy. The rule applies to anyone who has been to either country in the two weeks before arriving in Italy, however briefly.

And as of August 12th, travellers entering Italy from Spain, Greece, Croatia or Malta must get tested for coronavirus either within 72 hours of departing or 48 hours of arriving. Provided they test negative, they are not obliged to quarantine.


Photo: Jacques Demarthon/AFP

Free to visit, but subject to 14-day quarantine

In line with advice from the EU, since July 1st Italy has re-allowed travel from approved countries with a low infection rate however unlike in neighbouring countries they will need to follow quarantine rules.

Travellers from these countries are free to visit Italy for any reason, including tourism, but they must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

You are expected to make your own arrangements for self-isolation before your arrive, including planning where you will quarantine and how you'll get there from the airport: you must not use public transport. You should inform the authorities of your plans via this form (available in English), which you will expected to show to border officers on arrival.

Where?

As of the last update on August 7th, the EU's 'safe list' includes 10 countries:

  • Australia 
  • Canada
  • Georgia 
  • Japan 
  • New Zealand 
  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay

China has also been approved, but the EU is waiting for confirmation that the arrangement will be reciprocal before adding it to the list.

The list will be reviewed and updated every two weeks.

Who?

The exemption only applies to residents of these countries, not people who may be nationals but live elsewhere. For example, an Australian residing in the US still could not visit Italy as a tourist.

READ ALSO: What's the latest news on travel from the US to Italy?


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Can only come in an emergency, subject to 14-day quarantine

Non-essential travel to Italy remains banned from the US, India, Russia and most other countries in the world.

READ ALSO: Who is allowed to travel to Italy from outside the EU?

People departing from these countries cannot come to Italy as a tourist, but they are allowed to enter for urgent, essential reasons that they will have to justify to border police.

Why?

  • Work 
  • Health 
  • Absolute necessity 
  • To return home or to a place of residence
  • Study

If you can prove your trip is essential and are allowed into Italy, you will have to quarantine yourself for 14 days after you arrive. 

You must complete a form (available in English here) informing authorities of where you plan to isolate yourself and your arrangements for getting there: you must not travel by public transport.

Exceptions: You may not have to quarantine if you are only making a short trip to Italy (less than 120 hours) for proven work, health or other urgent reasons, or if you are only transiting briefly through the country on your way to somewhere else. People with connecting flights in Italy must simply remain inside the airport.


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Barred in almost all circumstances

As of July 9th, the Italian government introduced a travel ban on certain countries with high rates of infection. Four more countries have been added to the list since then.

Direct and connecting flights to and from these countries are suspended until further notice.

Where?

  • Armenia
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bosnia Herzegovina
  • Brazil 
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • North Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Oman
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Serbia

Who?

The ban applies to anyone who has been to any of those countries within the past 14 days, even if they were just transiting there.

Exception: Citizens of Italy, another EU country, the Schengen Zone or the UK who live in Italy permanently are allowed to return home from one of the countries on the 'risk list'.

For more information, check the Italian Foreign Ministry's website (in English), as well as the latest advice from the government of any countries you're travelling to or from.

Member comments

  1. Is completing the purchase of a house considered an urgent need? I must sign and transfer funds, I can be in and our in just a few days.

  2. I have had several people help me try to decipher from the esteri.it website whether or not I, as an American currently living in the US, can travel to Italy. It seems to me that IF I spend at least 14 days in an “approved” country I could then enter into Italy. But they really don’t make it super clear and when I tried to email them and get clarification, they responded by copying part of the website, which was the part I had mentioned I needed clarification on….Oh good ole Italian Government! But the consensus has been that I could travel for tourism purposes after 14 days elsewhere (or quarantining there). Hope that’s correct!

  3. It does seem like one from the US could quarantine for 14 days. How can we get clarification?

  4. We each have a Permesso di Soggiorno and have documentation that gives us permission to stay in a house owned by a daughter. Does that count as resident status and allow us to enter Italy? We are planning to travel Aug. 1st and return the first of the year. That is where we would be quarantining for the two weeks.

  5. From what I’ve read, you can enter Italy unrestricted if you quarantine in the U.K. for 14 days. It depends on the country you’re traveling from, not your country of origin. I was living with my fiancee who’s an Italian citizen from December 2019 to the middle of June 2020. I had to return to the United States to take care of an emergency. I’m flying to London on August 12th where I’ll be quarantining for 14 days before booking a flight to Rome. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

OPINION & ANALYSIS

OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

A growing number of Italian destinations are bringing in rules aimed at controlling the summer crowds. Such measures often prove controversial - but they should go further, says Silvia Marchetti.

OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

Each summer, as tourists flock to Italy, the question of limiting crowds and ensuring sustainable travel comes up. Especially so with Covid.

Placing a threshold on the number of visitors to some of Italy’s top spots has a two-fold goal: that of preserving the artistic and cultural value of the site, and of preventing out-of-control mass tourism from leading to accidents.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which parts of Italy will get the most tourism this summer?

Proposed crowd-control measures usually raise eyebrows, but they shouldn’t. They’re a good way to balance sustainability, and existing rules should be extended to more hotspots.

The Cinque Terre park, known for its stunning hiking trails connecting the area’s cliffhanging fishing villages, has introduced summer tourist limits to preserve its delicate ecosystem. A few parts of the trails, like the Lovers Path connecting Manarola to Riomaggiore, are closed due to soil erosion and landslides.

Groups of no more than 15 hikers are allowed inside the Cinque Terre park in rotation, and there’s a cap of 200 available boat tickets for those preferring to admire the views comfortably from sea while bathing.

Liguria remains a popular destination for visitors coming to Italy this summer.

The Cinque Terre remain a popular destination for visitors coming to Italy, attracting huge crowds. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Many locations across Italy are reverting to, or are considering, some kind of restricted access to offset high demand with ‘green’, safe travel. 

The Amalfi coast has a summertime limit on driving along the route connecting Positano to Vietri sul Mare to ease congestion, while a few years ago the mayor even banned tourist selfies to stop massive crowds of people invading the whitewashed alleys and sitting on brick walls.

There are currently strict limits on the number of people allowed to visit the Tuscan archipelago national park each summer, mainly the protected islands of Montecristo (uninhabited other than a caretaker), and the two prison islands of Gorgona and Pianosa (boasting a hotel run by inmates on probation). A maximum of 150-200 tourists are admitted annually to each of these isles.

You also need to move fast if you want to spend a weekend in Sardinia, touring its tropical-like baby powder beaches and paradise isles. The number of restrictions in place is on the rise.

On Budelli island, the pearl of the La Maddalena archipelago, other than the pink coral beach, the Cavalieri beach is also now totally off limits, meaning landing on the entire island is forbidden.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

The beaches of Lu Impostu and Brandinchi along San Teodoro’s coast will allow just 1500 and 3300 sunbathers each, while Stintino’s popular La Pelosa beach allows 1500, making tourists pay €3.50 per day and wear a yellow bracelet for identification.

The paradise archipelago of La Maddalena is seeing more tourist restrictions imposed. Photo by Leon Rohrwild on Unsplash

The abandoned former prison island of Santo Stefano, off Rome’s coast, which is part of a protected marine park brimming with barracudas and groupers, is currently undergoing a transformation into an open-air museum with a tiny hostel. Project managers have already pledged daily tourism will be “contained”’ to preserve the unique habitat.

In the mountains too, authorities are eyeing tougher limits. At Lago di Braies in the Dolomites, 14 tourists recently fell into the freezing water trying to take awesome, but silly, selfies of their acrobatic skills despite warning signs.

READ ALSO: TRAVEL: Why now’s the best time to discover Italy’s secret lakes and mountains

In my view, all of Italy’s tourist hotspots should have some kind of regulation and police patrols, including top city highlights like the Trevi Fountain, Florence’s Duomo, and Venice, which in fact is expected to become Italy’s first city with a tourist limit from January 2023. People will have to book and buy a special pass to see the canals, bridges and piazzas.

If Venice succeeds in doing this, then it will show other cities that they too can control access to at least their biggest hotspots.

In Rome, the Pantheon has done a great job in introducing mandatory (but free) reservations on weekends, putting a stop to visitors just stepping inside to take a peek.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Italy this summer

The Fontana di Trevi, Piazza Navona and especially Piazza di Spagna should be more heavily patrolled, and Rome authorities should really consider a set tourist limit.

But just the idea is controversial, seen as a no-no depriving tourists of the thrill of throwing coins inside Rome’s iconic fountain to make a wish.

The Trevi fountain in Rome attracts a constant stream of tourists. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

There is a constant, sterile discussion within the city council and the national arts department on tougher regulations and limited entrances to Rome’s main sites.

Culture minister Dario Franceschini is pushing for a more sustainable ‘fountain experience’ that limits crowds and prevents heat-struck visitors from diving inside. He recently argued that allowing “1,000 or 100,000 visitors in front of the Trevi fountain” puts both them and the masterpiece at risk.

Ugly red tape, orange nets and rusty fences are occasionally placed around the Trevi Fountain without much of an outcome.

There are architectural barriers to stop people from sitting on the edges and dangling their feet inside the water at Fontana delle Tartarughe and Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona, but it’s not enough. 

Setting a daily cap on visitors is the best solution; even better than introducing a ticketing system, because any tourist, once in the Eternal City, would pay to get in, and it would not be fair to discriminate based on money.

After all, if Italian universities can restrict enrollment for medical students, when new doctors are vital during Covid, I see no reason why tourist attractions can’t set limits when their own survival is at stake.

SHOW COMMENTS