UPDATE: Italian PM announces Christmas travel restrictions under new emergency decree

The Italian prime minister has announced further restrictions on travel to and within Italy over the Christmas and New Year period under the latest emergency decree, which comes into force on Friday December 4th.

UPDATE: Italian PM announces Christmas travel restrictions under new emergency decree
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

*Please note: This article is no longer being updated. For the most recent coronavirus updates please click here.*

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte will sign the new emergency decree on Thursday night. It will be in effect on Friday, December 4th until January 15th.

However, many of the rules on travel will tighten as we get closer to Christmas.

As well as banning travel between regions over the holidays, the new decree keeps ski resorts closed and requires anyone arriving in Italy from abroad over the holidays to undergo quarantine.

READ ALSO: Italy bans travel between towns over Christmas

“The measures we’re adopting are adequate and proportional to the level of risk, without unnecessary penalization” Conte said in a press conference on Thursday night in which he announced the new measures.

 “We have avoided a nationwide lockdown but now, near Christmas, we must not let our guard down,” 

Quarantine and testing for arrivals

From December 10th-21st, residents returning to Italy from other EU countries will need to take a test before travelling and show the negative result on arrival. Previously, testing was a requirement for arrivals from just a handful of European nations.
Arrivals to Italy from non-EU or Schengen countries between December 10th-21st will be subject to a two-week quarantine.
From December 21st to January 6th, arrivals, all travellers arriving in Italy including from EU countries must undertake a two-week quarantine.
No travel between towns at Christmas

The government has also approved a law prohibiting non-essential travel between regions from December 21st until January 6th.

The rules will be even stricter on Christmas Day itself, with a ban on travelling between towns and comunes in place on December 25-26th, and on New Year's Day.

“From December 21st 2020 to January 6th 2021, travel between different regions (including those to or from the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano) will be prohibited, with the exception of travel for proven work reasons, situations of necessity or health reasons,” read a statement from the government on Thursday.
Conte repeated the statement in his speech, confirming that travel between different municipalities (or comunes) “will also be prohibited on December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021.”
He clarified that people could still travel to reach relatives who are “not self-sufficient”.
The restrictions will apply nationwide even if, as ministers hope, all regions are downgraded to lower-risk yellow zones this month.

Travelling between towns and regions for non-essential reasons was already prohibited in Italian regions designated high-risk red and orange zones

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte. Photo: AFP
Further restrictions:
Cruises are banned from departing from or stopping in Italian ports over the holidays, and Italy’s ski resorts are closed until January 6th.
Hotels can remain open, but they must close their restaurants on New Year's Eve and serve dinner by room service only.

Restaurants will remain closed in red and orange zones, while they can stay open for lunch in yellow areas, including on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and Epiphany.

Shops will be permitted to stay open until 9pm, but shopping centres will remain closed at weekends and on holidays.
High schools across the country can also resume in-person teaching from January 7th.
Many existing measures introduced in early November remain in place, including the nationwide 10pm curfew and tiered system of restrictions.
The curfew means churches will need to reschedule midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
As expected, the new decree contains a “strong recommendation” against inviting people over for celebrations at home, though Conte confirmed this would not become a law. 

The Italian government approved the new measures, in force throughout December, as it seeks to avoid a third wave of coronavirus infections as a result of festive gatherings.

“There is still a long way to go until we're out of the pandemic,” said Conte. “We must avert a third wave, which could arrive as early as January and be no less violent than the first wave.”

“Caution is essential to protect our loved ones,especially the elderly,” Conte said.

He also outlined the new “Christmas cashback” scheme, which he said was aimed at helping families and businesses.

Record death toll

Conte's emergency decree announcement came just a few hours after health authorities announced that Italy had recorded its highest-ever daily death toll from Covid-19, with 993 fatalities in the last 24 hours,

The death toll has been high in recent weeks, despite a downward trend in infection rates in many parts of the country.

READ ALSO: Has Italy's coronavirus second wave peaked?

The official tally on Thursday surpassed the previous grim record of 969 deaths, set on March 27th, when Italy was under national lockdown after becoming the first European country to be hit by the global pandemic.

The Covid-19 death toll in Italy now stands at 58,038.

Note: Some rules may vary under local or regional restrictions in Italy. It is recommended that you also check the rules set by your town and region. Find out how to do that in a separate article here.
For further details on the current coronavirus situation in Italy, please see the Health Ministry's website (in English).

Member comments

  1. So if I arrive from France to Rome on Dec 22 and I have a negative covid test…I would still need to quarantine?

  2. I’ve got a ticket to Rome for the 18th of December. I’m from Ireland. Am I supposed to quarantine for 14 days?

  3. MDN – Yes, that’s correct. All arrivals from overseas between Dec 21-Jan 6 will have to quarantine, regardless of test results.

    Kathleen – From now until Dec 20, if you test negative before travelling, you won’t have to quarantine. You need to get a PCR or antigen test 48 hours or less before your flight and show the result before boarding/on arrival. But if you can’t get a test before travelling you WILL have to quarantine.

  4. Do you still need to quarantine if you are resident in Italy and return back to Italy from the U.K. as you have been working?

  5. I plan to drive down through Mont blanc tunnel straight through to Tuscany via Genova before 20th Dec. Is that allowed? crossing through different regions?

  6. Cristin – travel in and out of red or orange zones (including Tuscany) is limited to essential reasons, while travelling between any regions will be restricted from Dec 21.

    Returning home is considered an essential reason, so if you have proof you are a resident in Tuscany, you should be allowed to travel.

  7. We are trying to go to Portugal to stay with our leave before the 21st of December and return after the 21st of January. Our understanding is that, as far as leaving Italy (Piemonte) we have no restrictions…we just cannot go to Malpensa (Lombardy)for a flight. If we have to quarantine/test on returning, we will do that. that correct, secondo voi?

  8. I live in Milan (for my work) with my fiancee who has a primary residence / home in Bassano del Grappa. Lombardia is an Orange zone and Veneto is a yellow zone. Can we leave Milan on December 24 and drive to Bassano for the time period December 24 to January 2 under the holiday coronavirus guidelines?

  9. Thank you Jessica. We have proof we own a house and have done for 18 years, but we do not have residency. Will that still be ok?

  10. My so, who is 10, lives in Florence with his Mother. Will I be able to get him and bring him back to my place for the Holidays?

  11. If I have a negative covid result, can I drive straight down (5 hours) in my car, to Lucca (Toscana)from Aosta please on 18th December?

  12. So confusing!
    If I travel to Italy the 11 from EU and with a negative test.
    Can I only travel for work or health?

  13. Hi, I am going to Venice from Canada transiting through London, England on Dec 19. Do I have to take a swab or any kind of test?

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


Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Italy on Thursday reported its first case of monkeypox, joining a number of other European and North American nations in detecting the disease endemic in parts of Africa.

Italy reports first case of monkeypox

Monkeypox was identified in a young adult who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, Rome’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases said.

He is being treated in isolation and is in a reasonable condition, it said in a statement carried by Italian news agencies, adding that two other suspected cases were being investigated.

Alessio D’Amato, health commissioner for the Lazio region that includes Rome, confirmed on social media that it was the country’s first case, adding that the situation was being “constantly monitored”.

Cases of monkeypox have also been detected in Spain and Portugal – where more than 40 possible and verified cases have been reported – as well as Britain, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.

Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than smallpox’s: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.

Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was coordinating with UK and European health officials over the new outbreaks.