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UPDATE: When will Italy relax the restrictions on international travel?

With Italy now easing some of its coronavirus restrictions, here's a look at what’s happening with the rules on travel.

UPDATE: When will Italy relax the restrictions on international travel?

This article was last updated on April 29th

While Italy has begun relaxing some of its coronavirus restrictions, there have been no changes so far to the rules on international tourism and other trips deemed non-essential.

An update to the travel rules was expected by the end of this week, after the Italian health ministry earlier this month said current travel restrictions must stay in place until at least April 30th.

But, instead of relaxing rules as hoped, Italy’s health ministry on Thursday signed an ordinance extending the quarantine requirement for EU travellers and tightening the rules on people arriving from coronavirus-hit India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The regulation extends to May 15th the rules currently in place for arrivals from European countries, who must take a coronavirus test and self-isolate for five days.

READ ALSO: Which travellers have to quarantine in Italy and for how long?

The government has suggested that it hopes to allow tourism by early June, however the prime minister has stressed that this will depend on Italy’s health situation.

Almost all travel to or from Italy at the moment requires coronavirus testing and quarantine on arrival, with rules varying depending on the country you’re travelling from.

A beach in the village of Positano on the Amalfi coast; one area which was hit particularly hard by the lack of US tourists in 2020. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE/AFP

Italy appears to be taking a cautious approach to restarting non-essential international travel as the country remains in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism industry associations are urging the government to drop rules – including the 10pm curfew and limitatons on restaurant openings – which they say will put tourists off visiting Italy this summer.

While summer holiday reservations are reportedly flooding in for rural and coastal areas, Italy’s tourism-dependant cities may be facing another difficult summer.

READ ALSO: Italy’s tourism industry reports €120 billion loss in 2020

Many of the bookings so far are coming from the US and UK, where many people are fully vaccinated and “feeling safe to travel”, Italian tourism industry experts say.

There have been some positive signs for non-EU visitors, as the head of the European Commission said she expects that those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to visit the EU this summer.

However, Italy has not confirmed yet whether it will allow non-essential travel from outside the EU, or what exactly the rules might be for vaccinated visitors this summer.

READ ALSO: Reader views: Should Italy introduce Covid-19 vaccine passports?

While Italy is expected to relax at least some travel restrictions, certain restrictions may stay in place amid concerns about variants as the country’s vaccine rollout continues to be hit by delays.

Italy currently has under ten percent of the population fully vaccinated, and has one of Europe’s lowest vaccinaton rates for the vulnerable 70-79 age group.

Italy’s prime minister said last week that the country does not expect to have the majority of the population vaccinated until autumn.

All of this means that, at the very least, rules on social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing in public are likely to remain in place in Italy for a while yet.

People take photos by the Spanish Steps in Rome on April 23rd. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Italy this week introduced a domestic travel pass allowing people to enter and leave higher-risk zones, and it is expected that this scheme will be extended to cover international travel at some point. This card is expected to be linked to the European ‘Green Certificate’ scheme – which is hoped to allow easier movement between member states for those who are fully vaccinated, or have tested negative within the 48 hours before travel.

However, with EU member states each currently implementing their own separate immunity card schemes, the rules on allowing people to enter from outside Europe (including from the UK) are likely to vary by country.

Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to advise residents to avoid travelling abroad if possible, warning that new restrictions may be introduced at short notice in response to rising cases or new variants.

Find the latest official information about the current restrictions on travel to Italy, see the Italian Foreign Minsitry’s website here. (in English).

Member comments

  1. Hopefully the restrictions lists will come to reflect the lower infections rates in international partners like the USA. The current infection rate there has dropped to 19/100K per day – lower than much of the European Union countries. Italy is currently at 23/100K per day. France is in the 40’s and other countries, like Poland and The Netherlands remain quite high.

    41% of the USA’s population have been vaccinated with their first shot and 26% with their second dose, as opposed to Italy’s 19% and 7.9% for respective categories. The rest of the EU is running about 1/3 as many initial vaccinations as in the USA.

    There are about 448 million people in the EU and 333 million in the USA, the former population posing more risk to the USA with entry from the former at this point. Understandably, we need to be cautious and watchful – mindful of the variants, maintaining mask wearing, reasonable social distancing and testing precautions. However, I think only around 10% of the world’s population has contracted COVID – this percentage was projected to run between 6 tp 10% initially. Of course it’s a huge number of individuals, and the tragedy of it is great – but, bear with me a moment.

    That means that 90% of the world’s population isn’t infected and probably a good portion of that will remain COVID free. This is a huge number of people who need to live, work and move about the planet. If the percentage holds true for the USA, at least 190 million of the 210 million citizens over 18 years of age would be able to work, make money and travel – and possibly spread the potential for supporting commerce internationally.

    All this to say, I hope international travel can resume soon, based upon reasonable and sensible precautions.
    I feel bad for those whose livelihoods have been decimated by the lack of earned income – let alone their continued isolation – for the past 1.5 years. I think we need to examine – and with some alacarity – how to allow populations to re-enter commerce – to become tourists again. Some countries rely heavily upon tourism.

    It would be heartening to see the

    1. That seems like a sensible attitude. Hopefully, Italy’s government adopts it. I’ve been fortunate and haven’t had my income affected, thank God, so I’d love to return and spend some time (and money!) in Italy. My father and I went in September 2019 and had a great time, and have both been fully vaccinated. I suspect there are a significant number of Americans who would be similarly extremely low risk as travelers to Italy. It would, however, be wise of the EU/Italian government to require a vaccination passport for all travelers from the US.

      1. Yay! Today the EU has announced it will allow visitors if they are vaccinated. Of course, there are details to follow and it will probably mean getting the vaccination passport, but it’s good to see progress being made against the disease and the deprivation it is causing. I’m hopeful.

  2. Think people are putting too much store in the vaccinations, thinking they are going to be the cure all. No-one knows the efficacy of them with the virus constantly mutating. The world is currently in a worse place, than it was at the same time last year. We have learnt nothing, with some ignoring lockdowns and people still travelling in the middle of a pandemic, carrying on like life is normal, ever likely the virus has spun out of control. Watching events unfold in the US, Brazil and now India has been shocking.

    We have been very fortunate here in Australia, where our lives have been pretty normal, (aside from the blow out in Victoria last year). We are based in South Australia, where we have had 4 COVID-19 related deaths, (last one was 379 days ago) and 705 cases. Of those 705 cases, 189 cases were locally transmitted, (the last one around three months ago), the other 516 are returning Australians from overseas, who are immediately quarantined on returning. As for masks, we had to wear them for one week only. Our only real restriction over the last year, has been no international travel.

    I love travelling and go to Italy every year and can’t wait to get back there, however at the moment I am quite content in my corner of the world. Even if overseas travel is allowed next year, personally I don’t see us going so until 2023.

    1. Kristine, if everyone took that approach and didn’t travel until 2023, there will be no Italy to travel to. The only surviving businesses will be Starbucks and McDonalds

    2. Kris, we have actually learnt a lot – a growing body of peer-reviewed research indicates that vaccination reduces risk of transmission as well as severity of illness. Australia is in a bubble that is increasingly fear-driven and it’s time to break out: get vaccinated and join the world again. I am an Australian in Venice and feel so privileged to be living in such a beautiful place at this extraordinary time.

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Former Italian PM faces investigation over Covid response

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte is set to undergo a judicial inquiry over claims his government's response to the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020 was too slow.

Former Italian PM faces investigation over Covid response

Prosecutors in Bergamo, the northern city that was one of the epicentres of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, targeted Conte after wrapping up their three-year inquiry, according to media reports.

Conte, now president of the populist Five Star movement, was prime minister from 2018 to 2021 and oversaw the initial measures taken to halt the spread of what would become a global pandemic.

Investigating magistrates suspect that Conte and his government underestimated the contagiousness of Covid-19 even though available data showed that cases were spreading rapidly in Bergamo and the surrounding region.

They note that in early March 2020 the government did not create a “red zone” in two areas hit hardest by the outbreak, Nembro and Alzano Lombardo, even though security forces were ready to isolate the zone from the rest of the country.

READ ALSO: ‘Not offensive’: Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

Red zones had already been decreed in late February for around a dozen other nearby municipalities including Codogno, the town where the initial Covid case was reportedly found.

Conte’s health minister Roberto Speranza as well as the president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, are also under investigation, the reports said.

Bergamo prosecutors allege that according to scientific experts, earlier quarantines could have saved thousands of lives.

Conte, quoted by Il Corriere della Sera and other media outlets, said he was “unworried” by the inquiry, saying his government had acted “with the utmost commitment and responsibility during one of the most difficult moments of our republic.”

READ ALSO: Italy’s constitutional court upholds Covid vaccine mandate as fines kick in

Similar cases have been lodged against officials elsewhere, alleging that authorities failed to act quickly enough against a virus that has killed an estimated 6.8 million people worldwide since early 2020.

In January, France’s top court threw out a case against former health minister Agnes Buzyn, a trained doctor, over her allegedly “endangering the lives of others” by initially playing down the severity of Covid-19.