TIMELINE: How Italy’s coronavirus rules get stricter towards Christmas

Restrictions on travel to and within Italy will change several times over the next month. Here's what to expect.

TIMELINE: How Italy's coronavirus rules get stricter towards Christmas
Italy's restrictions will get stricter over the Christmas holidays. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed off on the latest emergency decree on Thursday night, and it comes into effect on Friday, December 4th, until January 15th.

READ MORE: Italian PM announces Christmas travel restrictions under new emergency decree

But many of the rules, particularly on travel to and within Italy, will not apply for that entire period.

Restrictions tighten as we get closer to Christmas, before being relaxed again in the new year.

The measures are aimed at discouraging travel, parties and gatherings as the government fears holiday celebrations may spark a new wave of coronavirus infections.

To make the rules easier to follow, here's a list of which restrictions change on which dates.

From December 4th: 

The Italian government has extended existing restrictions on movement to and within the country, including the tiered system of restrictions and the 10pm-5am evening curfew introduced last month.

Non-essential travel remains restricted to, from and within red and orange zones – though ministers have repeatedly said they expect most areas to be downgraded to lower-risk yellow zones by mid-December.

As of December 13th, no region was classified red and only four regions, plus the autonomous province of Bolzano (Alto Adige/South Tyrol), were orange.

Find out what zone you're in using our map.

Most restrictions will stay in place until at least January 15th, when the new emergency decree expires.

Until December 9th, the rules on travelling to Italy from abroad also remain the same.

Until the 9th, under a extension to current rules, only travellers from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania, Spain and the UK have to get tested, or face quarantine. (According to the new decree, tests should be carried out before travelling.)

From December 10th-20th: all travellers from the EU, Schengen Zone or the UK must get tested before departure, or face quarantine. 

This includes Italian residents returning to Italy from other EU countries.

See more details on the new testing rules in a separate article here.

Arrivals to Italy from non-EU/Schengen countries between December 10th-20th will be subject to a two-week quarantine.

From December 21st to January 6th:
All travellers arriving in Italy, including from EU countries, must undertake a two-week quarantine.
Cruises are also banned from stopping in or departing from Italy during this period.
Travel is also restricted within Italy. No “non-essential” travel is allowed between regions, regardless of their colour under the tiered system.
On December 25th and 26th and January 1st non-essential travel is banned between towns or comuni across the country.
On New Year's Eve, December 31st, the evening curfew will remain in place and will be extended until 7am (rather than 5am) on New Year's Day.
From January 7th-15th all travellers from the EU, Schengen Zone or the UK must get tested before departure, or face quarantine.
Italian ministers say Italy will start to “reopen” from January 7th.

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Reader Question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader Question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a Letter of Recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

Anyone who tests positive in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle or recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.