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EXPLAINED: How has Italy changed its rules on travel from the UK?

As the re-introduction of quarantine and testing have changed plans for those travelling to Italy from the UK, here are the latest rules you need to know and what restrictions remain in place.

EXPLAINED: How has Italy changed its rules on travel from the UK?
Quarantine and testing are mandatory for UK arrivals. Photo: Oli SCARFF/AFP

Travel to Italy has got more complicated again, following the news that all UK arrivals will be required to undergo a mandatory quarantine and testing, amid concerns about the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.

READ ALSO: How much is the Delta variant spreading in Italy?

After dropping the quarantine requirement for UK travellers just over a month ago, Italy is now joining other countries in Europe such as France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in tightening the rules afresh.

Italy had been open to all travellers from the UK since May 16th without the need for quarantine on arrival, but due to the UK’s worsening health situation, Italian authorities have revised Italy’s entry requirements, effective as of Monday June 21st.

The new rules are in force from June 21st until at least July 30th, the Italian Embassy in London said on Saturday.

Five-day quarantine and testing

Compulsory quarantine now applies to anyone who has been on UK territory in the 14 days before arrival in Italy, regardless of nationality. 

Arrivals from the UK will need to isolate for five days at an address given to health authorities.

The address can be a private one or that of an accommodation provider (if the provider is happy to allow you to quarantine on the premises). Italy is not currently requiring arrivals from Britain to go into supervised quarantine under ‘Covid hotel’ system, as is being used in the UK.

However, you must notify the local health authority in the region of Italy you’ll be staying in within 48 hours of your arrival. Find contact details here.

READ ALSO: How should travellers from the UK quarantine in Italy?

Following quarantine, a negative test result will be required at the end of the quarantine period.

Travellers “must take a rapid antigenic or molecular swab test for Covid-19 and test negative for release,” stated the UK government.

Anyone found not to be following these rules could end up with a €450 fine.

What are the testing rules?

If flying to Italy, you must show the airline proof of a negative test taken no more than 48 hours before travel.

If you arrive without a negative test, you “will need to self-isolate for 10 days and undertake a test at the end of the isolation period,” added the UK authorities.

Anyone entering Italy – not just those flying – must be able to show proof of a negative test result on arrival.

READ ALSO: What Covid-19 tests do I need for travel between Italy and the UK?

Photo: MARCO SABADIN/AFP

Exemptions to the quarantine period

Italy does not have exemptions in place for vaccinated travellers.

The quarantine and testing rules apply equally to people arriving in Italy by car or other means of transport.

The only exemptions are for “specific categories of workers and for stays up to 120 hours for work, health or other urgent reasons,” read a tweet from the Italian Embassy in London.

“In case of symptoms everyone should isolate. 6-year-old or younger children do not have to take tests,” it added.

Travellers transiting Italy in a private vehicle for less than 36 hours are also exempt from the quarantine.

Entry paperwork

People travelling from the UK should fill out this online digital form. This will generate a QR code, which you’ll need to show to your travel provider or the Border Police if requested. There’s a paper form if you cannot access it digitally.

You should also inform the local health authority in the region of Italy to which you are travelling within 48 hours of arrival, stating where you plan to quarantine and how they can reach you. Find regional contacts here.

The UK government advice is to carry proof of your residence when entering Italy if you are a UK national resident in Italy.

Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Flying to Italy

Many people planning to fly to Italy this month had already reported a lack of flights on many UK-Italy routes, and there have been widespread reports of last-minute cancellations this week.

Further flight cancellations have ensued following the British government’s decision to impose a four-week delay to its so-called ‘Freedom Day’ – when the last remaining Covid-19 restrictions were to be lifted in the country.

The UK government has advised travellers to keep checking if their flights are still running.

TRAVEL:

“Many airlines and airports serving Italy are operating a reduced service and may be subject to change. You are strongly advised to check your airline’s website, as well as the website for the airport you are intending to fly to for the latest information,” stated UK authorities.

The UK’s rules on travel from Italy

Italy is on the UK’s ‘amber’ list for travel, which means travel is possible but the British government has stressed people should not be booking holidays to these countries at the moment.

It is not yet known if Italy may be moved to the ‘green’ list under the British government’s next review.

Passengers who have reasons to want to travel Italy despite the government advice, such as visiting loved ones after postponed trips or to attend weddings, must present a pre-departure test result and then quarantine at home for 10 days upon arrival in England, Wales or Scotland.

In addition, PCR tests are required on days two and eight of quarantine.

Restrictions within Italy are easing

Italy is restarting tourism for summer as the country eases its health measures.

The new travel rules came as Italy opens up to visitors from the US, Canada and Japan and announces the details of its health certificate for travel within the EU.

All Italian regions but one are due to drop Covid-19 restrictions from Monday 21st as the national infection rate has fallen further.

It means that almost all regional authorities are allowed to abandon most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions earlier than planned under the national roadmap for reopening.

EXPLAINED:

Only mask-wearing and social distancing rules must remain in place, the health minister has said. House parties and large gatherings are also forbidden.

Italy’s evening curfew, which doesn’t apply to Italy’s lowest risk so-called ‘white zone’ regions, currently starts at midnight and will be scrapped completely on June 21st.

Find more information about travelling to or from Italy on the Health Ministry’s website (in English).

You can also check the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more advice on entry requirements and travel to Italy.

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TOURISM

OPINION: Why Italy should let the rich pay for ‘private moments’ at tourist hotspots

Instead of criticizing actor Jason Momoa over his VIP visit to the Sistine Chapel, Italy should encourage wealthy visitors to pay large sums for such experiences, says Silvia Marchetti.

OPINION: Why Italy should let the rich pay for ‘private moments’ at tourist hotspots

Signing a generous cheque in order to enjoy a private, exclusive moment – without crowds – at the Colosseum, the Pantheon, or sitting on the Spanish Steps should not be seen as scandalous nor outrageous.

Imagine taking in the view of the Trevi Fountain at sunset, by yourself in a deserted Rome, after having splashed out ten or hundreds of thousands of euros, just to see the sun go down and relax for an hour.

READ ALSO: ‘I love Italy’: Jason Momoa apologises over Sistine Chapel photos

The big fuss over American actor Jason Momoa taking pictures of the Sistine Chapel recently during his Roman stay while shooting his next movie has raised eyebrows worldwide and caused much ado about nothing. It even made global headlines.

The main complaint was that the actor had been granted the privilege of taking photos. in spite of the ‘no-photo’ ban, which many said apparently applied only to ‘ordinary people’.

Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is about Momoa’s not-so intimate moment in the Sistine Chapel.

We Italians tend to look down on tourists who are constantly grabbing their camera to take pictures. We consider our artistic heritage untouchable, or in a way, non-reproducible through photography. 

But Momoa was not committing a crime. 

He later apologized, and explained that he had paid for an exclusive “private moment” by giving the Vatican Museums a large donation.

I think this is something positive: a ‘mechanism’ that could be exploited to raise cash for city coffers and urban projects – instead of raising local taxes that weigh on Italian families.

Rome, and all other Italian cities, should rent out such locations for events – even for just one night, or one hour – in exchange for a high fee.

The rich and famous would be more than happy to pay for such an opportunity to enjoy Italy’s grandeur. As would ordinary people who may decide they can afford it for a special occasion.

These are solo, one-in-a-lifetime experiences in top sites, and must be adequately paid for. 

Rome’s Colosseum in February 2021. Lower visitor numbers amid the Covid-19 pandemic meant Italian residents were able to see the country’s major attractions without the crowds. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Italy is packed with historical, artistic and archeological gems that the entire world envies, people flock here just for a selfie in front of the Looming Tower of Pisa.

So why not make a leap forward and raise the bar for ‘private moments’; something Momoa, despite the unknown sum of money he paid, did not even actually get.

I’m not suggesting Italian cities lease monuments for weeks or months, for they belong to all humanity and everyone has a right to enjoy them. But allowing exclusive, short private experiences at Pompeii, or Verona’s arena, or just time to stare at Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus or Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement, should be seen as a source of extra revenue, not a taboo.

Italy should economically exploit its infinite artistic treasures as a powerful money maker, unleashing the full potential of it. 

If offered the chance, I think Elon Musk would not mind paying hundreds of thousands of euros, or even millions, for a private corporate cocktail party at the Colosseum.

OPINION: Italy must update its image if it wants a new kind of tourism

Of course, you’d need rules: a strict contract with specific clauses in case of damage or guest misbehavior; a detailed price list; and surveillance to safeguard the site during the private event. And extremely high fines if any clause is breached.

It’s a matter of looking at a city from a business and marketing perspective, not just a touristic one.

Today you can already take a private tour of the Vatican Museums for a higher ticket price, but it’s mostly for groups of 10 people, and there’s always a guide with you. You’re never really ‘still’ in your favorite room, so forget having a completely ‘private moment’.  

Taking photos inside the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel is usually forbidden, except for members of the media with special permission and, apparently, celebrities. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

One model city to take as reference is Florence, which in the past few years has done a good job of promoting the city brand.

The mayor’s office has set up a special committee that rents out Renaissance piazzas for private wedding celebrations and birthday parties, as well as several key historical spots like the Giardino delle Rose, and Palazzo Vecchio, the historical headquarters of the town hall.

There is an online menu with all the locations available for weddings and other private events, depending on the number of guests and type of celebration. 

Those interested should contact the town hall’s special ‘wedding task force’ if they want to book frescoed rooms in ancient palazzos or other buildings owned by local authorities. Last time I enquired, some elegant rooms are available to hire for as little as €5,000.

Would you pay big money to have major attractions, such as Rome’s Colosseum, all to yourself? Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Venice, too, has attempted to raise cash by renting the façades of public buildings overlooking the Canal Grande to global fashion brands for advertisements, but the move raised eyebrows among locals. 

Even in Florence, residents weren’t so pleased to see huge, lavish billionaire Indian weddings celebrated in front of their palazzi, blocking access to their homes.

Italians need to reset their mentality. If anyone is willing to pay big money to enjoy the solo thrill of a site or location, we should be more than happy to allow it. 

As a result, we might end up paying lower city taxes for waste removal, water and other services. Every day, for free, we share the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona with masses of noisy, coin-throwing, gelato-slurping tourists; why not occasionally accept a generous donation from a VIP or philanthropist eager to pay for a moment alone in the company of Bramante and Brunelleschi? 

We would only be helping our cities to maintain their artistic heritage, which fills us with pride.

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