How you can get a free coronavirus test in 11 Italian cities

Getting tested for coronavirus will become easier in Italian cities from this month, with free testing open to all at major train stations.

How you can get a free coronavirus test in 11 Italian cities
Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

Italy’s Red Cross (Croce Rossa Italiana) plans to carry out up to 3,000 free rapid antigen swab tests a day across 11 of the country’s biggest cities from May.

Freetesting began in April at Rome’s Termini and Milan’s Centrale train stations, and the Red Cross is now setting up facilities at the following nine stations: Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Florence Santa Maria Novella, Naples Centrale, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Turin Porta Nuova and Venice Santa Lucia.

The first free testing at stations came with the launch of ‘Covid-tested’ train services on the Rome-Milan route.

However, the tests are freely available to the general public, whether or not they are about to board a train.

“Without cost, age limit or medical prescription, anyone can undergo rapid antigenic swab testing,” the Red Cross said when announcing the plan.

The test result can be used as a ‘green pass’, which at the moment is used for domestic travel, but is expected to be extended to EU-wide travel by summer.

READ ALSO: ‘Green pass’: How Italy’s coronavirus immunity card works

The additional nine stations are expected to have their free testing services up and running by mid-May.

In Cagliari, for example, the Red Cross testing facility will open on May 15th in an area of the train station formerly occupied by a newsagents.

It will be open from 8am-2pm, and staffed by a doctor and two nurses, local media reports.

The opening hours for each testing centre are expected to vary between stations.

Coronavirus test certificates are required for passengers on the first ‘Covid-free’ trains, which currently only run on the Milan-Rome route. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP.

Regional authorities throughout Italy are also looking at opening more Red Cross testing centres in locations outside of major cities but popular with tourists, such as north-western Sardinia.

Meanwhile, Italy is also making home testing kits available in pharmacies and supermarkets in May, and allowing pharmacists to conduct swab tests.

Both will give rapid results in around 15 minutes, and the result would need to be confirmed by a more reliable PCR test if it comes back positive.

The home testing kits will cost around 6-8 euros each, while rapid swab tests at pharmacies will be around 20-40 euros depending on which Italan region you’re in.

While pharmacies can issue test results to be used as a travel ‘green pass’ (depending on regional rules) it’s not clear if a negative result given by home test kits could be valid for travel.

Member comments

  1. Meanwhile you can get tested for free in many locations in the province of Bolzano for a while now. Soon also at farmacies even. After the test you get a QR code which you can use to e.g. eat inside restaurants, or go to hotels.

  2. Does anyone know whether this service still available at Roma Termini, please? And, if so, what the hours and average wait time for a result are. Thank you!

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Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travellers are once again set to face serious disruption as Italy will experience a new round of transport strikes in February. Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks.

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travel to, from and across Italy was disrupted by dozens of strikes in January

And, while many travellers might have hoped for a change in the trend, strikes are set to continue into February as Italian unions have already announced a further round of demonstrations affecting rail and public transport services as well as airline travel.

Here’s an overview of February’s main strike actions, including a national public transport strike on Friday, February 17th and another nationwide walkout from airport ground staff on Tuesday, February 28th.

Public transport

February 17th: Public transport staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Friday, February 17th. 

The strike was called in late January by Italian union USB (Unione Sindacale di Base) to protest against precarious work and “wild privatisation” attempts on the part of the Italian state.

READ ALSO: Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

There currently aren’t any details as to what percentage of workers will take part in the action. As such, the amount of disruption travellers should expect on the day cannot be estimated yet. 

Air travel

February 12th: Air traffic control staff at Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi airport will take part in a 24-hour strike action on Sunday, February 12th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the walkout in question will affect air travel to and from the airport on the day.

Travellers at an Italian airport

A national strike from ground service staff may cause delays and queues at many Italian airports on Tuesday, February 28th. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

February 28th: Baggage handlers and other airport ground service staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Tuesday, February 28th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the strike will affect air travel during the day, though a similar demonstration caused significant delays and queues at some Italian airports in late January.

ENAV air traffic operators based in Calabria are also expected to strike on February 28th, with the walkout set to start at 1pm and end at 5pm.


February 5th-6th: Calabria-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9pm on Sunday, February 5th to 9pm the following day. 

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 9th: Staff from Lombardy’s Trenord will take part in a 22-hour strike – from 2am to 11.50pm – on Thursday, February 9th.

Empty train platform in Codogno, Lombardy

Staff from Lombardy’s regional railway operator Trenord will strike for 22 hours on Thursday, February 9th. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

It’s currently unclear whether Trenord will operate minimum services on the day. Any information regarding the strike will be released on the following website page

February 12th-13th: Trenitalia staff in Emilia-Romagna will strike from 3.30am on Sunday, February 12th to 2.30am on Monday, February 13th.

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 19th: Veneto-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, February 19th. 

Guaranteed services are available here.

On the same day, there will be no service between Milan’s Milano Centrale station and Paris’s Gare de Lyon due to a strike from staff at France’s national railway company SNCF.

READ ALSO: Trains and planes: Italy’s new international travel routes in 2023

February 20th: Trenitalia personnel in Lombardy are expected to strike from 9am to 5pm on Monday, February 20th. 

Guaranteed services haven’t been made available yet. 

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.