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Can Americans travel to Italy for tourism this summer?

Recent changes to the travel rules have left many people unsure if or when they can visit Italy for a vacation this summer. Here’s the information available so far.

Can Americans travel to Italy for tourism this summer?
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

For more than a year, vacations to Italy were impossible as most travel from the US – and many other countries outside Europe – remained heavily restricted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But a recent rule change means travel to Italy for non-essential reasons is now possible once again – at least for some people.

‘Covid-free’ flights

Italy changed the rules in mid-May to allow tourism from the US on special Covid-tested flights.

“Travel for tourist purposes will be allowed from the USA, Canada and Japan, countries with which we’re strengthening Covid-free flights,” Di Maio wrote.

“Until now, with Covid-free flights, it was not possible to come to Italy for tourism from non-EU countries. Now we’re reopening to this opportunity, which allows safe travel without quarantine.”

So far, American Airlines (AA) and Delta have confirmed that they are now allowing passengers to travel to Italy for any reason on their dedicated Covid-tested routes.

However, the number of Covid-tested flights and routes available remains limited at the moment.

READ ALSO:

Travel for tourism is still not allowed on other, non-Covid-tested flights from the US to Italy. Passengers on these flights are subject to testing and quarantine requirements, as well as needing to be able to prove an essential reason for travel.

While AA and Delta both said in mid-May that they plan to make more of their current routes to Italy Covid-tested, neither airline has yet given an update on this.

Italy meanwhile plans to set up Venice and Naples airports to accept passengers on Covid-tested flights, though no date has been given yet for when the flights to those airports will start.

Will Italy relax the rules for vaccinated US tourists?

EU ambassadors for the 27 member states last week recommended that rules should be changed to allow non-essential visits into the EU by travellers who are fully vaccinated – in other words with both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one in the case of the Johnson & Johnson injection.

However on the unresolved question of how visitors will be able to prove they have been vaccinated, the EU said it will be up to individual member states to decide what evidence they will accept.

READ ALSO: What will Italy’s coronavirus rules be for summer 2021?

Photo: Piero Cruciatti / AFP

Italy has not confirmed any rules, or even when or if it will cut the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travellers arriving from outside Europe.

It is also not yet known if a testing requirement will remain in place.

It looks likely that Italy and other EU member states will allow travelers from certain non-EU countries deemed to be low risk if they are fully vaccinated, or potentially also if they can show a negative test result from a PCR swab test from within the 48 hours before travel to Italy. The rules however have yet to be confirmed.

At the moment, all travellers arriving in Italy must show a negative swab test result, including those from within the EU and those who are fully vaccinated.

While Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said the country wants to cut quarantine for vaccinated tourists from the United States, Canada and Japan, there has been no confirmation yet of when or how rules could change for any non-EU visitors other than those on the special Covid-tested flights.

Delta and AA have stated that American travelers will be able to board the Covid-tested flights regardless of vaccination status.

On Covid-tested flights, there are no exemptions made to the testing requirement for those who are vaccinated.

When will the rules for summer be confirmed?

The Italian government is expected to make further announcements on the rules for travel from outside Europe this summer by the middle of June – when it says the country’s travel pass scheme is set to be rolled out.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi said this week that the country’s so-called “green pass”, a health certificate that allows travel without quarantine, “will be ready by mid-June” – sooner than indicated by other EU officials.

READ ALSO: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy’s health passport?

The Italian prime minister gave an earlier release date compared to the EU Commission’s announcement, which estimated the certificate is “well on track to be ready end of June, as planned”.

Other officials have estimated that the scheme will be in operation by early July.

No details have yet been announced as to how the green pass will work for EU or non-EU travelers.

For now, most travelers coming from outside the European Union will still need to follow quarantine and testing rules, which vary depending on the country you are travelling from.

See The Local’s Italian travel news section for the latest updates.

For more information on the current restrictions and health situation in Italy please see the Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Member comments

  1. Thank you for all of the great information! In the list of airlines, you do not mention United, but I am booked on a United flight that claims to be COVID-Tested. Can you confirm that United is offering Covid-Tested flights too?

  2. My friends flew from EWR to Rome on a United Covid-tested flight on Monday, 5/24, and presumably all went well. I don’t know why The Local keeps leaving United off the list, since it does offer Covid-tested flights to Rome and Milan.

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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