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Reader question: Which Covid vaccines will Italy accept for tourists this summer?

As Italy plans to welcome back tourists this summer, some worry their Covid-19 vaccination won't get them over the border.

Reader question: Which Covid vaccines will Italy accept for tourists this summer?
Visitors by the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

QUESTION: Italy says it will allow people who have been vaccinated to visit – will I be able to enter with the Moderna vaccine?

Italy has promised to “welcome back the world” this summer, starting with people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Frustratingly for those trying to finalize plans, the Italian government has not yet set a firm date for when vaccinated tourists can travel freely without quarantine – though ministers have hinted that it will be mid-May for travellers from the European Union, the UK or Israel, and June for visitors from the United States and other non-EU countries.

READ ALSO: How the Italian government has left tourists angry and confused about summer plans

This is in line with EU leaders’ promise to launch a travel pass valid across the entire bloc from next month, in the form of a digital certificate that shows you have either been fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative or have antibodies after recovering from Covid-19.

Italy’s equivalent, the certificato verde or “green pass”, is already valid for domestic travel when crossing in or out of regions that have been declared higher-risk orange or red zones (find a map of the zones currently in place here).

It’s essentially just a certificate issued by your local health authority or testing centre, either on paper or in digital form, but the idea ultimately is to create a uniform, scannable version that will also be usable abroad.

Passes issued in Italy will naturally show vaccination with one of the vaccines that are currently in use here: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech (also called Comirnaty), AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).


A passenger with a negative test result prepares to board a “Covid-free” train from Milan to Rome. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

But what about people who have been vaccinated elsewhere?

“All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by the European Medicines Agency,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said back in April.

Italy confirmed in its last emergency decree that “certificates issued in a third country following a vaccination recognised in the European Union and validated by a Union member state” can be used for travel within Italy just the same as Italian certificates.

READ ALSO: ‘Our tickets are booked’: the Americans who can’t wait to return to Italy

The European Medicines Agency has so far cleared four vaccines, all of which are in use in Italy (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson).

It is currently reviewing four more: the Chinese vaccine Sinovac, German-made CureVac, American candidate Novavax, and Russia’s Sputnik vaccine. These will be approved if they stand up to the regulator’s requirements, but at present they are not in use anywhere within the EU. (Sputnik is currently in use in San Marino, which despite lying within Italy’s borders is neither part of Italy nor the EU.)

You can check which vaccines the EMA has authorised via its website

Whichever vaccine you get, for travel purposes you’ll need to have received all the doses required for full protection – so two shots for Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca, and one for Johnson & Johnson.

The Italian government is expected to give further details about its plans to restart travel in the coming days.

Stay up to date with Italy’s travel rules by following The Local’s travel section and checking the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Member comments

  1. Delta and Alitalia have plans to return daily service and additional routes, starting the end of May. Light at the end of the tunnel, I think a semi summer is ahead!

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TRAVEL: Why Venice is named among Europe’s cheapest city break destinations

The Italian city of Venice has been named the third-cheapest place for a city break in Europe - a survey result that might surprise some visitors. Here’s why it may not be as costly as you'd think.

TRAVEL: Why Venice is named among Europe’s cheapest city break destinations

A new survey of 100 different cities in Europe by the Omio transport booking website has revealed that Venice is the third-cheapest destination for a city escape, in terms of being the most affordable and having the highest number of free activities and attractions.

The ranking will no doubt come as a surprise to many, due to the city’s reputation as an expensive destination geared towards luxury travel – and the fact that Venetian residents have been leaving the city’s historic centre in droves partly due to high housing costs.

The objective of the study was to identify the best tourist destinations to visit on a reduced budget, due to the current economic climate of inflation and rising prices affecting almost all daily costs.

It also aimed to show tourists that they can save a lot of money if they organise their travel by taking advantage of free offers and opportunities, as well as thinking carefully about where they go.

“Believe it or not, it is possible to have a cheap holiday in Venice,” the study’s authors wrote, advising travellers to “follow a few simple tricks to turn some of Venice’s most expensive places into low-budget havens”. 

READ ALSO: How much does it really cost to live in Venice?

Venice was found to have a total of 136 free tourist attractions, 22 free museums, and 58 guided tours rated as “affordable”. The study also highlighted the city’s 186 public drinking fountains, which local authorities this summer urged visitors to use in order to cut down on bottled water purchases. 

The study however did not include the cost of accommodation, and it put the cost of a 24-hour public transport ticket in Venice at €21.88: several times higher than the prices listed for other cities at the top of the ranking.

Venice is promoting the use of its network of water fountains amid efforts to combat plastic waste. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

The average price of a beer in the floating city also seemed comparatively high at €4.38, though this was below the European average price of €4.91.

Travellers can expect a meal for two in an average restaurant to set them back around €61 – that is, as long as they don’t wander into any of the tourist traps notorious for rip-off prices.

READ ALSO: Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

Overall Venice got a score of 82.3 percent to take third place, whilst Bruges in Belgium came in second with 93.6 percent and Granada was first with 100 percent.

Further surprises came in the ranking for other Italian cities: Florence was rated the 10th cheapest European city break destination, with 113 free attractions, 17 museums with free entrance, and a 24-hour public transport ticket costing 4 euros.

Meanwhile Naples – where the cost of living is comparatively low – was rated as being slightly more expensive to visit, in 12th place. Tuscan tourist hotspot Pisa came in 13th place, while the northern city of Turin was 23rd.

Milan was 30th on the list, which the study said has 372 free tourist attractions, but higher costs for food and drink

Rome came in 37th place – despite the survey saying the capital has a huge 553 free attractions, 34 free museums, and ten times more public drinking fountains than Venice (1,867).