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How can tourists and visitors use Italy’s Covid ‘green pass’ to access museums, concerts and more?

How can tourists and visitors use Italy's Covid 'green pass' to access museums, concerts and more?
Italian museums will soon require visitors to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative coronavirus test. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP
Italy has expanded of its Covid-19 health pass scheme making the certificate mandatory to visit museums, attend live events or dine at a restaurant indoors. With the new rules coming into force during Italy's peak tourist season, many visitors are wondering how the change will affect their trip.

Italy has been using the so-called green pass since June, though initially its main purpose was to allow vaccinated or tested travellers to enter without having to quarantine. It was also required in a small number of circumstances in Italy, including attending a wedding reception or visiting a nursing home.

But the Italian government has since significantly expanded the use of the health passport within the country, and the new rules mean that visitors will need the certificate long after they’ve crossed the border. 

Q&A: Your questions answered about Italy’s new Covid health pass

From August 6th, many businesses, venues and cultural sites in Italy are legally required to ask their customers to show a green pass before they’re allowed to enter. 

That includes: indoor bars and restaurants, though only if you’re sitting inside; museums; theatres, cinemas and concert venues, including outdoors; gyms; indoor swimming pools; wellness centres and spas; theme parks; conferences and trade fairs; bingo halls and casinos, and more. Find the official list here (in Italian). 

The government has also decided to extend the green pass to long-distance trains, domestic flights and interregional buses and ferries – but this requirement will come in later, from September 1st.

With the change cming in at Italy’s peak time of year for travel and tourism, here’s what to expect if you’re planning a trip.

What is Italy’s Covid-19 ‘green pass’?

The certificazione verde proves that the holder has either been vaccinated with at least one dose, recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or has tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

The certificazione verde is available to anyone who has been vaccinated, tested or recovered in Italy, including those who have only had the first of two doses. 

The certificate comes in a standard format with a scannable QR code, and can either be saved on a smartphone in digital format or printed out as a hard copy. 

You can download it from an official government website, www.dgc.gov.it, or ask your doctor or local pharmacy to access it for you. Find full instructions here.

Photo: Olivier MORIN/AFP

Can tourists get a green pass?

The Italian version of the green pass is only for people who were vaccinated, recovered or tested in Italy. If that’s you, find out exactly how to claim it here.

If you got your shots, tests or treatment elsewhere, it depends on the country.

If it is within the European Union, things are straightforward: you don’t need the Italian green pass since each member state’s certificates are mutually recognised everywhere in the EU. In other words, you should get your own country’s equivalent – the pass sanitaire in France, Impfpass in Germany, certificado COVID digital de la UE in Spain, or any other EU version – and use it when visiting Italy just the same as you would at home.

EU countries also recognise certificates from non-members that are part of the Schengen Zone, which means that health passports from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are equally valid in Italy.

You can’t upload these documents to the Italian system, but they should be recognised when scanned by Italian authorities and when entering businesses and venues.

Outside the EU, it gets more complicated.

At the border, Italy currently accepts vaccination certificates, tests results and medical certificates of recovery from the United States, Canada or Japan. For the US, that includes paper vaccination cards bearing the CDC logo.

In an ordinance signed on July 29th, the Italian Health Ministry confirmed that documents issued by health authorities in the following five non-EU countries will be accepted for access to venues within Italy:

  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom (including England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and British military bases on Cyprus)
  • United States of America

Italy has no agreed to accept vaccination certificates from any other non-EU country, apart from the ones mentioned above, meaning it is still unclear what visitors from those countries are expected to do.

Since the green pass expanded to include most venues across Italy, businesses have struggled to enforce the new rules with tourists being turned away amid confusion of how it should be used.

There have also been technical difficulties with the government’s VerificaC19 app, which businesses use to scan QR codes, including those generated by other countries’ health certificates.

However, a fix is reportedly due shortly for British tourists, with some already saying their NHS app is now being recognised.

READ ALSO: What can you still do in Italy without a Covid-19 ‘green pass’?

Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP

Some other EU or Schengen countries do allow people vaccinated outside the bloc to convert their vaccination certificates into a local pass that can then be used throughout the EU and Schengen Zone, notably France and Switzerland (though Switzerland does not recognise AstraZeneca vaccinations unless they took place in the EU). 

Click to find out how you could potentially convert your non-EU proof of vaccination in France or in Switzerland – and bear in mind that some travellers have told The Local they were not able to complete the process.

READ ALSO:

Travellers who were vaccinated outside the EU do have one sure-fire route to access the Italian health pass: by getting a coronavirus test in Italy.

Find out how to get tested in Italy here, and learn how to download the green pass using your test number here.

Remember that passes obtained via testing are only valid for 48 hours.

The Italian government has promised to cap the price of swab tests in pharmacies and from other private providers throughout the summer, from August until September 30th, to reduce the financial burden on people who find themselves having to get tested repeatedly.


Member comments

  1. Also, i am now hearing from American tourists entering Italy that they are not having to show a Negative Covid test paper if they have the CDC card. This is for when they enter into Italy. Have they changed the rules for this. I have spoken with multiple people who stated they did not ask for the negative test papers when they arrived.

  2. Can anyone advise if the green pass requirement for tourists will cover those who have received at least one dose of an EU approved vaccine? We are travelling to Italy in early September and have two mixed vaccines – one Covishield and one EU approved vaccine.

  3. We’re flying from Canada to Venice on September 25th. Canada won’t have a national vaccination certificate until late December at the earliest. We have provincial proof of Pfizer vaccination – on our phones, and on paper – and we hope by the end of September Italy will be recognizing them and issue us a green pass or the tourism equivalent. It’s hard to imagine being allowed in to the country to stay for three weeks, but being unable to dine indoors, visit museums and churches, etc. A friend from another province is in Italy right now and is going to keep in touch after August 6th to let me know how things work out for her. Fingers crossed!

    1. Hi, I am also flying to Venice from Montreal on September 15th. I am very curious to know what you have learned from your friend that came back on August 6th. I still have time to cancel without losing all my investment and really struggling to make a decision. Thank’s!

      1. She was in Venice for several days around August 28th. Her only problem was at the Palazzo Cini, where she had to explain her Ontario proof of vaccination was valid. But they let her in once she explained. There was no problem anywhere else.
        We are still going on September 25th and don’t anticipate any problems. Just make sure you get a negative covid test within the three days before you land on the 15th. You need both now – proof of vaccination and a negative test result.

  4. Maybe I missed something in the article but does this mean that a tourist from the United States will not be able to visit restaurants and museums?

      1. The article does say the US vaccination cards, bearing the CDC logo will be equivalent of the green pass…… Don’t want to worry you but my friend from the States is currently in Italy and said his CDC card did not work in Rome. We’re set to speak in two days regarding this, but his initial words were “its easy to get, just a hassle” so I’m hoping we have some information soon before everyone is due to travel. good luck!

        1. Spoke with friend who returned from Italy to the United States. Although he did have his CDC vaccination card, he was unable to gain access to places with it. That said, he has informed he went to a pharmacy, showed CDC card & upload the vaccination card, fill out a form, get covid tested, & wait two hours for an email and that is how he received the green pass in Italia & it was valid for a month.

  5. Hi Ian. Lots changes daily around here and around the world I guess. Difficult to keep tabs on. Yeah do go to your vaccination sites. Also a couple of folks I know were able to book online without a health card. I think they just used their Codice Fiscale. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Difficult to know sometimes what will work when.
    Buon fortunato.
    Gracie.

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