Italy imposes quarantine for all travellers arriving from EU

Italy will require travellers arriving from all other EU countries to quarantine for five days on arrival, the health minister said on Tuesday, in a move expected to discourage Easter trips.

Italy imposes quarantine for all travellers arriving from EU
Temperature checks on arrivals at Rome's Fiumicino Airport. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Health Minister Roberto Speranza has signed a new ordinance requiring anyone entering Italy from another member of the EU or Schengen Zone to get tested for coronavirus before departure and observe quarantine regardless of the results, he announced on Twitter.

They must then get tested again after five days in isolation.

The new rules are in force from March 31st to April 6th.

They will apply to foreign visitors and returning residents alike, with the only exceptions for reasons of “proven necessity and urgency”, a ministry official told AFP.

EXPLAINED: What are Italy’s rules for travel over Easter?

Previously most travellers within the EU simply had to test negative up to 48 hours before arriving in Italy, while quarantine only applied to people arriving from countries outside the bloc. 

The quarantine period is nonetheless shorter for EU travellers at five days. People arriving from non-member states have to spend 14 days in isolation.

The move seems designed to discourage travel over the upcoming Easter break, when all of Italy will go into a three-day lockdown.

Representatives of the Italian tourism industry had criticised rules that would allow people in Italy to take a holiday overseas but not within the country, due to strict limits on non-essential travel between towns or regions.

Tourism within the EU remains possible under Italy’s international travel restrictions, but is discouraged by the Italian Foreign Ministry which urges people to avoid any overseas trips unless absolutely necessary.

A passenger gets tested on arrival at Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Some of Italy’s neighbours already impose quarantine on travellers arriving from other parts of Europe, including Austria, Switzerland and Sweden, while others including Germany require air passengers to show proof of a negative coronavirus test.

Italy has separate restrictions on travel from Austria, with arriving passengers subject to tests before and after arrival as well as a 14-day quarantine, followed by a third test.

Travellers who are subject to quarantine should report the address where they plan to self-isolate to the local heath authorities on arrival, then make their way to it by private transport only. They must then remain inside for the duration of the quarantine period, avoiding contact with anyone else who shares the accommodation.

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US tourist fined €500 for driving on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge

Italian police fined a Californian man after he drove a rented Fiat Panda across Florence’s iconic - and pedestrianised - Ponte Vecchio on Thursday.

US tourist fined €500 for driving on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio bridge

The 34-year-old man drove onto the bridge in the early afternoon of Thursday, January 26th, but was quickly stopped by police.

He reportedly told officers that he was looking for parking and wasn’t aware he was on the Ponte Vecchio, one of Florence’s most recognisable landmarks.

Completed in 1345, the bridge today is famously a narrow, cobbled walkway lined with small shops selling jewellery and souvenirs.

READ ALSO: US tourist charged with public indecency after posing naked at Amalfi Cathedral

The visitor, from California, had been planning on touring Florence by car (a rented Fiat Panda, to be exact). 

But whether he was trying to put one over local police or he just wasn’t aware of local traffic rules, his early-afternoon ride cost him dearly as he later received a total 500-euro fine for entering a pedestrian-only area and driving without an international driving permit. 

READ ALSO: ‘Americans can pay’: Italian minister says famous sites should hike entry fees

Florence recently announced a restoration project worth €2 million for the bridge – which was the only one in the city left standing after World War II.

Thursday’s incident was not the first time a tourist was caught driving across the Ponte Vecchio. 

In 2019, a 79-year-old German tourist drove onto the bridge in a rented Lamborghini sports car. After being stopped by local police, the man reportedly told officers he was “lost”.