For members


What changes for tourists coming to Italy in September?

Rules for travel to and within Italy have changed in response to the developing coronavirus situations in different parts of the world and inside the country. Here are the major changes for tourists visiting in September.

Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

On Tuesday, the Italian Ministry of Health’s new travel ordinance came into force, tightening restrictions on travel from some countries, and lifting them for others.

New restrictions on passengers from the US, Canada, Japan and Israel 

Travellers from these countries will now need to quarantine for five days upon entering Italy unless they can produce a certificate from their local health authority showing that they have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days or have recovered from Covid in the last 180 days, and a negative PCR or antigen test taken in the 72 hours before their arrival.

Travellers who only produce one of these items will be subject to quarantine requirements. All those required to quarantine will also have to take a test as soon as their isolation period ends. 

READ ALSO: What are the new rules for travel to Italy from the US and Canada?

This represents a tightening of restrictions, as previously passengers from these countries were only required to present a vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative test result in order to avoid quarantining.

Any travellers who have passed through these countries in the past 14 days will be subject to the same requirements, even if they are travelling from a Schengen zone country.


Quarantine lifted for vaccinated UK arrivals

For the first time since June, passengers from the UK will not be required to quarantine upon their arrival in Italy, if they can produce a certificate of vaccination showing the holder has been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days. In this instance, proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the past six months is not accepted.

Travellers will also need to take a molecular PCR or rapid antigen test in the 48 hours before their arrival in the country.

Q&A: Answers to your questions about Italy’s new travel rules

Arrivals without a vaccination certificate will continue to be subject to a five-day self-isolation period, following which they will need to take a test.

Anyone who has transited through the UK in the past 14 days is subject to the same requirements.

Green pass required for long-distance public transport

As of September 1st, all passengers travelling via interregional trains, buses, ferries and domestic flights will be required to produce a Covid ‘green pass’ or health pass.

The Strait of Messina ferry route, which connects Sicily with mainland Italy, is considered a local public transport route and is exempted from the requirement, according to the Italian news site Avvenire.

Proof of vaccination, testing or recovery via the certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ scheme has been required since August 6th in order to enter many cultural and leisure venues across Italy.

Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

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). 

Children under 12 are exempt from the ‘green pass’ requirement.

Italy recognises all equivalent health passes from other EU countries and proof of immunisation issued from any of these five non-EU countries, including on paper.

That means visitors just need to carry the official proof of vaccination issued by your home country, such as a CDC-approved vaccination card from the US, a provincial immunisation card from Canada or an NHS vaccination certificate from the UK.

If you do not have a pass from one of these countries and plan on using public transport or going to a venue or event in Italy that requires a green pass, you will need to get tested in Italy (or elsewhere in the EU) in order to claim a certificate that remains valid for 48 hours.

The Italian health pass can be obtained by taking a rapid antigen or PCR test in Italy. The certificate comes in a standardised format with a QR code, so that it can be quickly scanned and verified.

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

Sicily in ‘yellow’ zone

As of August 30th, Sicily was placed under yellow zone restrictions as new weekly cases and Covid hospitalisation rates rose. It is currently the only Italian region that does not have the least- restricted ‘white’ zone status.

Yellow zone restrictions require that masks are worn in all public spaces, including outdoors, and that restaurants may only seat a maximum of four people per table (unless the group is co-habiting) though indoor dining is allowed, according to the Health Ministry.

However there is no evening curfew, and travel between Sicily and other Italian regions is not restricted.

Photo: Giovanni ISOLINO/AFP

There are also four municipalities within Sicily that have higher level ‘orange’ zone restrictions: Barrafranca, Niscemi, Comiso, and Vittoria. These areas have a 10pm-5am curfew, and gyms, swimming pools, theatres and cinemas are closed, while bars and restaurants may only serve take-out food and drink.

Calabria and Sardinia are the two other Italian regions currently considered most at risk of being placed into yellow zone. Both regions exceed two out of three of the government’s thresholds for remaining in the low-restriction white zone: coronavirus infection incidence rate, hospitalisations and intensive care occupancy.

Member comments

  1. Good morning, planning a trip to Italy from Scotland on 13 September, fully vaccinated with PLF and I hope negative test result (otherwise wont be going).

    Just a couple of things I’d like clarification of, if possible. do we need to advise local ASIL of our arrival still? Also if we do fail the COVID test on the way home, how long would we have to quarantine for (presumably until we get a negative test but ow long would that be) and I assume if we couldnt get accomodation ourselves it would be in a Italian government approved hotel, any idea of cost?

  2. In one of the travel groups I belong to, several members from the USA are reporting that they are being turned away from the high-speed trains (especially at Rome Termini). They are not accepting our CDC vaccination card and are making people go test and get the 48 green pass. I realize this is a problem of the employees not understanding the new rules but it is causing problems for travelers and needs to be fixed.

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For members


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.