How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

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How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy
A resident (C) undergoes a free rapid antigen nasopharyngeal swab test for COVID-19 at a testing facility set up in a school sports hall, on November 20, 2020 in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Northern Italy, during a three-day mass screening session performed by health care personnel and proposed to the whole population of South Tyrol in facilities throughout the region. (Photo by PIERRE TEYSSOT / AFP)

Here's how non-residents can get a Covid test while they are in Italy.


Italy began to relax the Covid testing requirement for travellers entering the country back in March 2022, and the country has also scrapped rules requiring proof of a negative test result or vaccination.

In fact, Italy now has very few health measures left in place.

But if you have Covid symptoms or need to test as a precaution while you're in Italy, here’s what you'll need to know about getting tested:


Test types

The following types of test are available in Italy:

  • PCR test – also called a molecular test, or in Italian simply un tampone (“a swab”) a nasal swab test performed at certain pharmacies and at testing centres.
  • Antigen test (test antigene or test antigenico, or sometimes just tampone rapido, “rapid test”) - These tests are referred to as ‘lateral flow tests’ in some countries. This is also a nasal swab, but the results are given within 15 minutes of the test being taken. These can be administered in most pharmacies and may not require an appointment. 
  • Home-testing kit (autotest or test fai da te) - These are also available in Italian pharmacies, and at around 10 euros cost much less than other options, though the results are not considered valid for either green pass or travel purposes. If you take one which comes back positive you should get the result confirmed with a PCR test.

How and where to get tested

You can get a test for any reason in Italy, there is no limitation to only those with symptoms or contact cases, and getting tested here has become a lot easier than it was early in the pandemic.

Tests can be carried out without a prescription at Italy's airports, pharmacies, labs, testing centres, or even at your accommodation via private doctors such as Med in Action or Medelit.

Most pharmacies offer testing without appointments, but some, especially the smaller ones, may require booking in advance. You can usually just walk in and make your reservation.

Photo: Gianluca Chininea/AFP


Many international airports in Italy, including Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Bari, Cagliari and others, have on-site Covid testing facilities. Tests are usually rapid antigen swabs, though others may be available, and fees range from around €20 (Florence and Pisa) to €50 (Milan). You can find further details on the relevant airport’s website.

If you need a PCR test you will probably have to book one at a specialist Covid testing centre, a medical lab, health centre or doctor’s office. 

Testing is now widely available in English. Try searching “tampone Covid certificato in inglese” plus the name of your town to find places that offer it near you.

You can book directly by phone or email and most, if not all, should now be able to issue the test results in English if that’s a requirement under your home country’s rules.

Italian tests give a certificate of results with a QR code as standard.

If you’re in a tourist area it’s likely that staff at the vaccine centre will speak some English, but check out our guide to Italian testing vocab here.

What happens if I test positive?

Italy still has a self-isolation requirement in place, and positive test results are recorded by clinics and pharmacies and sent to the regional health authority.

The minimum isolation period currently stands at five days, and can be up to 14 days.

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

Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

In order to exit quarantine, the infected person must be symptomless for at least two days, and must test negative to a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test at the end of that period.

Testing should be carried out at a registered pharmacy or testing centre as the results of home tests are not seen as valid for this purpose.

Italy’s Covid rules apply equally to everyone in the country, regardless of whether they are an Italian resident or tourist.

By New Year, the Italian government is expected to end the requirement to test negative to exit quarantine following the mandatory five-day isolation period, though changes had not been confirmed at the time of writing.

For more information and assistance, call Italy’s nationwide Covid hotline (1500), or the regional helpline where you are (full list here).


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