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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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TRAVEL NEWS

Italy’s summer tourism boom driven by American arrivals

Tourist spending in Italy is set to return to pre-pandemic levels this summer, boosted largely by visitors from the US, says a new industry report.

Italy's summer tourism boom driven by American arrivals

Italy’s tourism earnings are predicted to total €17 billion this summer, restoring the industry to a state of health not seen since the start of the pandemic, according to a study released by the retailers’ association Comfcommercio on Monday.

Americans are the lead drivers of the recovery, the report shows, with 2.2 million US visitors expected to bring in €2.1 billion between July and September – 20 percent more than over the same period in 2019.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which parts of Italy will get the most tourism this summer?

Canadians, Australians and South Africans are also anticipated to make up a significant proportion of this year’s visitors.

The high value of the dollar against the euro is thought to be partly responsible for this year’s boom in US arrivals.

The euro slipped to parity with the dollar for the first time in nearly 20 years this month, as a cut in Russian gas supplies to Europe heightened fears of a recession in the eurozone.

It has since recovered a little, to around $1.02 per euro, but remains a huge bargain for visitors, giving tourists from dollar countries a spending power boost of well over 10 percent from six months ago.

The number of Spanish arrivals is also expected to return pre-pandemic levels this summer, with an estimated one million visitors due to arrive between July and September.

Domestic tourism is also up, with 35 million Italians travelling on holiday in their own country despite an ongoing cost of living crisis caused by soaring inflation and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, according to a separate study by the agricultural association Coldiretti.

READ ALSO: Ferragosto: Why the long August holidays are untouchable for Italians

By contrast, the number of tourists coming to Italy from Asian countries is down; while EU sanctions introduced in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have seen Russian tourism drop to near zero.

Germany, a key source of tourism particularly in the Italian south, was down 27 percent in July compared to 2019 – a drop thought to be caused by air travel disruption.

In a typical year, the majority of Italy’s tourists (14.1 percent) come from Germany, figures from Italy’s National Statistics Agency Istat show. Around three percent come from the US, and another three percent from the UK.

“The return of foreign tourism after three years helps to consolidate our economic recovery. The outlook, however, is uncertain due to the decrease in consumption, the unrest in air transport and the unknown pandemic,” said Confcommercio president Carlo Sangalli in a televised statement.

“Support for the tourism sector must therefore be among the priorities of the next executive in terms of combating expensive energy and reducing the tax burden,” he added.

Italy will vote for a new government in late September after its ‘unity’ coalition government collapsed in July, triggering snap elections.

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