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What you need to know about travel to Italy this spring

Planning on paying a visit to Italy in the coming weeks? Here's our guide to the recent changes to the country's Covid restrictions.

Visitors enjoy an outdoor lunch in Rome's Campo dei Fiori.
Visitors enjoy an outdoor lunch in Rome's Campo dei Fiori. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Getting to Italy

Italy has extended its international travel rules and entry requirements for another month, until April 30th.

The current rules therefore remain in place; entry into Italy is allowed from any country, for any reason, provided the traveller has any one of:

  • A certificate showing the holder has been fully vaccinated and boosted with a recognised Covid vaccine (see the bottom of this section for vaccines recognised by Italy).
  • A certificate showing the holder has completed a primary vaccination cycle with a recognised Covid vaccine less than nine months ago.
  • A certificate showing the holder recovered from a Covid infection less than six months ago.
  • A negative result from a rapid antigen test taken in the 48 hours before arriving in Italy, or from a molecular (PCR) test taken in the 72 hours before arriving in Italy (the test result must be certified by an official provider – self-certifying a negative result from a DIY test does not count).

Travellers who arrive in the country without any one of these documents will not be denied entry, but will be required to self isolate for five days on arrival and test negative for Covid before they can leave quarantine.

All passengers must also complete the EU dPLF (passenger locator form) before departure, and may be denied boarding if they fail to do so.

Italy currently accepts all EMA-recognised vaccines, as well as Covishield (Serum Institute of India), R-CoVI (R-Pharm), and Covid-19 vaccine-recombinant (Fiocruz).

The Italian ‘green pass’ and equivalents

For several months now, Italy’s ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass health certificate or an equivalent, showing that the holder is vaccinated against or recently recovered from Covid, has been required to access most venues and services across the country.

As of April 1st, these requirements have been loosened, and only a limited number of venues require the ‘super green pass’. Some spaces require only the ‘basic green pass’, which can be easily obtained via a negative Covid test result from a pharmacy for those without a vaccination or recovery certificate (see ‘Getting a Covid test in Italy’, below).

All foreign-issued vaccination or recovery certificates (provided the vaccines in question are recognised by Italy – see above) are considered equivalent to the Italian super green pass and will give you access to all the same spaces.

You do not need to convert your vaccination or recovery certificate into an Italian green pass as a visitor to Italy.

People who were vaccinated in the EU or UK will have received a QR code along with their vaccine certificate that can be easily scanned and checked by public sector and service industry workers, just like an Italian green pass.

Those with an ordinary vaccination or recovery certificate without a QR code simply need to show their certificate to the person conducting the checks. You do not need a QR code for your certificate to be recognised.

Certificates that show the holder is fully vaccinated and boosted have indefinite validity as a ‘super green pass’ equivalent in Italy. Certificates showing the holder has recovered from a Covid infection or completed a primary vaccination cycle only are valid for six months from the date of the first recorded infection or the last dose.

You can find more detailed information about how the super green pass works for visitors in Italy here

Adults travelling with children

According to the latest guidance from the Italian foreign ministry, minors under the age of six travelling to Italy are exempt from the requirement to take a Covid test to enter the country – indicating that under-sixes do not need to provide any certifications when travelling to Italy.

In the absence of more detailed instructions, it should be assumed that minors over the age of six are subject to the same requirements as adults entering the country.

Once in Italy, all children under the age of 12 are exempt from the requirement to produce a green pass or the equivalent certification to access any venues or services that otherwise require one.

Face mask rules

Face masks are no longer required outdoors in Italy, unless you find yourself in a crowded area – so you’ll need to have one readily available at all times, even if you’re not wearing it.

From April 1st, Italy relaxes its rules on the type of mask required in indoor settings.

Face masks are still required in all indoor public spaces in Italy.

Face masks are still required in all indoor public spaces in Italy. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

High grade Ffp2 masks continue to be required on all types of domestic public transport (both local and long-distance); enclosed cable cars and chair lifts, including at ski resorts; and at shows, screenings, events and competitions open to the public (whether indoors or outdoors).

In all other indoor public spaces, lower grade surgical (but not cloth) masks can be used from April 1st. 

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s Covid rules change in April?

Masks should be worn in nightclubs and discos, but can be removed when someone is dancing.

Children under the age of six, people whose disabilities mean the use of a mask would obstruct their breathing, and people working directly with disabled people in circumstances where the use of a mask would make communication unfeasible are exempt.

Hotels, bars and restaurants

From April 1st, Italy is scrapping the requirement for hotel guests to show a Covid health pass.

Guests will still need to produce a valid vaccination or Covid recovery certificate (referred to in Italy as a ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass) to access indoor spas, gyms and other sports facilities within the hotel, however.

These certificates have indefinite validity for those who are fully vaccinated and boosted. For those who have only undergone a primary vaccination cycle, or have recovered from Covid but are unvaccinated, they are considered valid in Italy for six months from the date of the last dose/first infection.

To dine outdoors at restaurants, no certificate of any kind is needed from April 1st.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Where you now need to show a Covid green pass in Italy

For indoor restaurant dining, a ‘basic’ green pass is required. This can take the form of either a valid vaccination or recovery certificate, or a health pass obtained via a recent negative Covid test result 

No health pass of any kind is required, however, to dine indoors at hotel restaurants that are reserved for the exclusive use of guests and are not open to the general public.

There are no restrictions on outdoor dining in Italy as of April 1st.

There are no restrictions on outdoor dining in Italy as of April 1st. Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP

Museums and cultural sites

From April 1st, no health certificate of any kind is required to access museums in Italy.

The same holds true for other cultural sites and places of historic interest.

Theatres, cinemas, concert halls, nightclubs, other indoor entertainment venues and indoor sports arenas, however, do require a valid vaccination or recovery certificate.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: How do Italy’s Covid ‘green pass’ rules apply to visitors?

Outdoor sporting events and competitions can be accessed via the ‘basic’ green pass that can be obtained via a negative Covid test, or via a vaccination or recovery certificate.

Shopping

As of April 1st, the requirement to show a Covid health pass to access most shops in Italy is dropped.

From this date, no certificate of any kind is needed to enter any kind of store.

As shops are an indoor public space, face masks (either surgical or Ffp2) are required.

Individual shops or shopping centres may also at their discretion continue to limit the number of customers in the store at any one time.

Shops in Italy can now be entered without any kind of Covid health pass.

Shops in Italy can now be entered without any kind of Covid health pass. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

Travel within Italy

Italy has scrapped its four-tiered colour-coded ‘zone’ system which awarded a Covid risk status to individual regions or towns based on their infection rate and hospital admissions data, and which sometimes placed restrictions on interregional travel.

Travel within Italy is therefore unrestricted; however throughout the month of April, the basic green pass is required on all long-distance public transport, including planes, ships, ferries, planes and coaches.

No health pass of any kind is now required for local public transport (such as city buses and trams).

A high-grade Ffp2 face mask is currently required on all public transport in Italy.

Getting a Covid test in Italy

Getting a rapid antigen or PCR test in Italy in order to obtain the basic green pass health certificate to access certain venues and services is relatively straightforward.

A large number of pharmacies in Italy provide rapid testing services; look out for signs saying ‘test Covid-19’ in the window. 

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.

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

Once you receive your negative result (the test can not be a home test but must be administered by the pharmacy or lab itself), the pharmacy will issue you with a basic green pass that contains a QR code.

The pass will be valid for 48 hours from the time the test was carried out in the case of a rapid test, or 72 hours in the case of a PCR test.

You can find detailed guidance on getting a Covid test as a visitor to Italy here.

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

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 boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order 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).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

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 in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

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

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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