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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

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Masks will no longer be required in the workplace but Italian companies will have the right to impose restrictions for employees deemed "at risk".

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health and all major national unions collectively signed off on Thursday a new “shared protocol” (protocollo condiviso) for the implementation of anti-Covid measures in private workplaces. 

Although the full text of the bill will only be made available to the public sometime next week, portions of the document have already been released to the media, thus disclosing the government’s next steps in the fight against the virus.

The most relevant update concerns face masks, which will no longer be mandatory in private workplaces. 

However, the text specifies, FFP2 face masks remain “an important protective item aimed at safeguarding workers’ health”. As such, employers will have the right to autonomously impose the use of face coverings on categories of workers considered “at risk”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Notably, face coverings may remain mandatory for those working in “indoor settings shared by multiple employees” or even in “outdoor settings where social distancing may not be practicable”. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (soggetti fragili) may also be subject to such rules, which, it is worth reminding, are left to the employer’s discretion. 

Alongside mask-related restrictions, employers will also have the right to have their staff undergo temperature checks prior to entering the workplace. In such cases, anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5C will be denied access to the workplace and will be asked to temporarily self-isolate pending further indications from their own doctor.

In line with previous measures, companies will be required to continue supplying sanitising products free of charge and regulate access to common areas (canteens, smoking areas, etc.) so as to avoid gatherings.

Additionally, employers will be advised to keep incentivising smart working (lavoro agile), as it has proved to be “a valuable tool to curb infection, especially for at-risk individuals”.

Provided that the country’s infection curve registers no significant changes, the updated protocol will remain in place until October 31st, when it will yet again be reviewed by the relevant governmental and social parties. 

With the latest round of measures, Italy has now scrapped all Covid-related health measures, except the requirement to wear face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings, and self-isolation provisions for those testing positive. 

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

Italy’s infection curve has been rising significantly since the beginning of June. From June 1st to June 14th, Covid’s R (spreading rate) rate rose back over 1 for the first time since April 8th. Also, from June 17th to June 23rd, the virus’s incidence rate was 504 cases every 100,000 residents, up by 62 per cent on the previous week.

According to Claudio Mastroianni, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sapienza University of Rome, “with 25 per cent of daily Covid swabs coming back positive and a R rate over 1, the infection curve will likely rise at least until mid-July”.

However, albeit acknowledging the rising number of positive cases, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa has so far categorically excluded the possibility of re-introducing lapsed Covid measures, saying that it’ll be a “restriction-free summer”.

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