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EXPLAINED: How should travellers from the UK quarantine in Italy?

Anyone arriving in Italy from the UK now faces quarantine as well as coronavirus tests. Here's what people travelling from the UK need to know about Italy's latest rules.

EXPLAINED: How should travellers from the UK quarantine in Italy?
Travellers from the UK have to quarantine in Italy for five days.Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

Concern over the highly contagious Delta variant prompted the Italian health ministry to toughen its rules for UK arrivals in June – restrictions that have now been extended throughout August.

EXPLAINED: How travel between the UK and Italy has changed

Until at least August 30th, a trip to Italy means two coronavirus tests and five days in quarantine for any travellers who have been in the UK in the past fortnight.That includes people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

With the new rules throwing summer plans into question, here’s a guide to what quarantining in Italy actually involves.

Who has to quarantine?

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

That means anywhere in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or British bases on Cyprus.

It also applies to people who transited through any of these places.

It applies regardless of whether you enter Italy by plane, ferry, train, coach, private car or any other means of transport.

Are coronavirus tests still required?

Yes: one in the 48 hours before entering Italy, and a second after five days in quarantine.

You must test negative to be allowed to travel, but a negative result will not allow you to avoid quarantine, which is mandatory regardless. A second negative test allows you to end your isolation period.

EXPLAINED: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

The UK does not allow people to get tested for travel via the National Health Service, so plan to pay for a private test before your departure.

Italy accepts either molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen swabs for both the pre-travel and post-quarantine tests.

Children aged six or younger are not required to get a test, but should still quarantine.

Are there any other travel requirements?

Before your trip, you should also fill out a European Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF), giving details of where you’re departing from and where you’ll be staying. The form is available online here

You should also notify the prevention department of the local health authority in the part of Italy you’ll be staying in within 48 hours of your arrival. Depending on where you’re going, this may involve filling out an online form, sending an email or calling a regional helpline. Find contact details here.

When does quarantine start and end?

The official guidance from the Italian Health Ministry states that arrivals must “undergo fiduciary isolation and health surveillance for five days, and undergo an additional molecular or antigenic test at the end of the 5-day isolation period”.

There has been some confusion about whether the day you arrive counts as ‘day one’ or ‘day zero’, and the Health Ministry’s website and ordinances do not specify this.

As you’ll be reporting to the local health office (ASL) in the region of Italy you’re staying in, they will be responsible for telling you exactly when your quarantine period should end, and when you should get tested. Find contact details for local health authorities here.

Once that period is up, you can leave isolation in order to get a test. That’s as long as you have not developed any Covid-19 symptoms and unless your local heath authority has instructed you otherwise.

Whether you can get tested by a private provider such as a pharmacy or have to go through the public health service depends on the rules in your region: ask your local health authority or the regional Covid helpline for advice. In any case, continue avoiding contact with others until you receive confirmation of a negative result.

Anyone with symptoms should remain in isolation and inform their local health authority.

Where should you quarantine in Italy?

Unlike people arriving from India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, who are obliged to quarantine in designated “Covid hotels”, travellers from the UK can quarantine anywhere of their choosing.

That includes your own residence, a second home or holiday rental.

You can also quarantine at a shared property, such as a friend’s house, but you should avoid close contact with anyone else living there (unless they are also prepared to observe quarantine).

READ ALSO: ‘It’s a nightmare’: How Italy’s extended quarantine for UK travellers has affected you

Hotels may refuse to allow you to quarantine on their property: contact the accommodation before booking to find out what its policy is.

Wherever you decide to quarantine, you should go directly there when you arrive in Italy and settle in for the entire five days: moving from one location to another during your isolation period would be considered a breach of quarantine.  

If you are unable to find anywhere suitable to quarantine in Italy or cannot reach your destination safely, the local authorities reserve the right to put you in accommodation of their choosing, such as a designated hotel, at your expense.

How should you travel there?

You must not take public transport from the airport or ferry terminal where you arrive in Italy: arrange to reach your final destination privately, for instance in a rental car or a taxi. 

A friend or relative is allowed to come and pick you up in their own car, but you should limit your contact with them as much as possible.

Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP

What can you do while you’re quarantining in Italy?

Stay on your own property and avoid contact with anyone else staying there who is not also in quarantine. 

You are not allowed out to go to the shops or to take out rubbish, so make arrangements to stock up on essentials before you arrive or have groceries delivered.

Will anyone check up on you?

Local health authorities reserve the right to telephone or even visit you in person to check that you’re observing quarantine.

As for whether they will or not, reports across Italy vary: some travellers say they were contacted and others report not hearing from the authorities at all.

Penalties for failing to quarantine can be stiff, including thousand-euro fines, so assume the rules will be enforced and act accordingly.

REVEALED: How strictly is Italy enforcing rules on Covid testing and quarantine for UK arrivals?

Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

Are there any exceptions?

People transiting through Italy in a private vehicle for 36 hours or less do not have to quarantine. 

The same goes for people travelling for “proven reasons of work, health or emergency” for 120 hours (five days) or less, according to the Health Ministry.

There are also exemptions for transport crew, diplomats, business travellers and certain students, depending on how long they plan to stay.

There are no exceptions for people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

How long will quarantine remain mandatory for UK arrivals in Italy?

Italy’s testing and quarantine requirements for UK travellers will remain in place until at least August 30th, according to the Health Ministry’s latest ordinance.

Depending on the health situation by then, they may be extended or revised.

Find more information about the requirements for travelling between the UK and Italy on the Italian Health Ministry’s website, or via the Italian Embassy in London and British Embassy in Rome

Member comments

  1. If our trip to Italy is less than 5 days long, or we leave on the 5th day, we are not required to stay longer, right?

  2. If we cross the border from France into Italy can we stay overnight in a hotel on our way to our destination/second home and then quarantine?

    1. I am wondering the same. I can drive through France in on go, but would need to have a night in a hotel just over the Italian border, before continuing to Tuscany .
      Can anyone advise?

  3. Having travelled UK to Italy on 13th June routing via Spain and the ‘grim’ Barcelona-Civitavecchia ferry I hope port control is up to speed on the requirements. With the on/off messing around in the French quarantine rules in early June the ferry route into Spain became more obvious.

    Boarding formalities in Barcelona were a mere temperature check outside the car in 37 deg C heat, having handed in Grimaldi Lines own C-19 paperwork and answered a question on whether we had taken a C19 test. No check made on paperwork.

    The test taken in Barcelona is a joke, more a case of we’ll take your €50/head and certify you fit to get on the ferry; the certifying documents were produced prior to the PCR test reaction completed.

    The ferry being over three hours late into Civitavecchia having left Spain late and called into Sardinia en route meant all health service/ port/ customs staff had departed for the day. We just drove out of the port totally unchallenged.

    And then we in Italy have the latest issue with large numbers of Ukrainians entering Italy to go to match at the Stadio Olympico on Saturday having previous been in Moscow, allowed to arrive unchecked, and yet we’re being encouraged as Brits in Italy to go to the match! I’ll pass on that thanks!

  4. Does anyone have a concept of what ‘proven reasons of work…’ might be? We are travelling to Italy to meet our agent to provide documentation and signatures for the sale of our property in Le Marche.

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COVID-19 RULES

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

Italy is a dream destination for many people, but the spike in Covid-19 cases this summer means visitors could still run into problems. Here is what you need to know.

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

Italy is full of unique destinations, from beautiful beaches to millennium-old architecture. No wonder the country gets so many visitors every year, especially during the summer months.

However, coronavirus infection rates are increasing in the country. Some regions, including Lazio, where Rome is located, and Veneto, the home of Venice, are classified by the Health Ministry as high risk.

With that in mind, here is what you should know about the pandemic in Italy and what to do in case you test positive.

What are the current entry rules?

First things first: what do you even need to enter Italy? Are there any coronavirus restrictions? The answer is no.

Travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism, is currently allowed without restrictions from all countries. In addition, since June, Italy has scrapped the requirement to show proof of coronavirus vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test from travellers.

There is also no need to fill in any online forms.

What restrictions do exist?

The main Covid-related restriction you will find in Italy is a strict face mask mandate for all forms of public transport, except for flights (domestic and international). These rules should remain in place at least until the end of September.

The masks required are the higher-grade FFP2 masks, and you should wear them on buses, trains, taxis, and all forms of public and shared transport.

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

Face masks also remain obligatory in hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities.

However, there is no need to wear face masks in public open or indoor public spaces – though it is recommended, especially in crowded areas.

Where can I get tested?

If you want to be on the safe side or have any coronavirus symptoms, it is possible to get tested in Italy.

If you need to get tested while in Italy because you suspect you may have Covid-19, you must minimise your contact with anyone else.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

The Italian health ministry says you should isolate yourself where you’re staying and call a doctor, Italy’s nationwide Covid hotline (1500), or the regional helpline where you are (complete list here) for assistance.

They will help you arrange an emergency test. Do not go to a medical centre or pharmacy in the meantime.

If you do not have symptoms, tests can be carried out without a prescription at Italy’s airports, pharmacies, labs, testing centres, or even at your accommodation via private doctors.

READ ALSO: The essential Italian phrases you need to know for getting tested and vaccinated

Fast antigen tests are also widely available in pharmacies in Italy.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in Italy must undergo at least one week of isolation. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

What are the self-isolation rules if I test positive?

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and also boosted or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

READ ALSO: Italy to keep quarantine rules in place as Covid cases rise

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine to be allowed out. If you keep testing positive after that, you may stop isolation only at the end of 21 days.

Italy has one of the strictest self-isolation rules, so keep that in mind if you plan your summer holidays here.

Where can I self-isolate?

That will depend. You might be able to stay in your existing accommodation but might also be required to transfer to a state hospital or other government-provided accommodation. Check with the local authorities.

Additionally, you may need to fund accommodation – if only to extend your hotel stay, for example.

What if I need treatment?

If you are an EU citizen, your country’s healthcare can cover state treatments. The same if you are a UK citizen and hold an EHIC or GHIC. The e-card, European health card, EHIC or GHIC will not cover private treatments, though.

If you are a third-country citizen, you must check exactly what your travel insurance covers. In general, people travelling to Europe from abroad are recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical treatments, and you might also be insured through a credit or debit card. So, it is worth checking and planning.

Where can I get more information?

The Italian Health Ministry has a Covid-19 hot site in English for travellers where you can find helpful contact and the latest restrictions and information.

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