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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

With Covid-19 mask requirements still in place in Italy, readers have asked for clarification on where the rules apply and what type of mask should be used.

Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?
A passenger wearing a mask at Rome's Fiumicino airport. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Question: ‘We’re travelling to Italy soon. Will we need to wear a mask on the plane or when we arrive, and what type of mask do we need?”

After repeated changes to the rules on when and where face masks must be worn in Italy, many readers with plans to travel to Italy in the coming weeks have written to The Local to ask for clarification.

READ ALSO: Q&A: Your questions about travel to Italy and Covid rules answered

While the mask-wearing rules were eased in some settings such as bars and restaurants from May 1st, they were not removed altogether – with Italy’s Covid measures remaining stricter than many other European countries.

If you’re flying to Italy, you’ll need to be aware that masks will remain obligatory for passengers on flights to and from Italy and at Italian airports until mid-June, as the Italian government confirmed on Friday, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th.

This is because Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes until June 15th.

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

READ ALSO: Where do you still need to wear a mask in Italy from May 1st?

FFP2 face masks are required on public transport in Italy. Photo by BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP

Until the same date, masks also remain a requirement at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.

And they’re still a common sight in many other venues, despite no longer being mandatory.

Some readers living outside of the EU have noted that they are able to get hold of an FFP2 mask, as these are not sold in their home country.

Because FFP2 masks are not widely available in most countries outside of Europe, Intercontinental flights to Italy should allow other types of higher-grade masks to be used in place of FFP2. 

For example, current guidance from Italian national carrier ITA airways says: “it is mandatory to wear FFP2/KN95/N95 face masks on board all flights.” 

If in doubt, passengers are advised to ask their airline for advice before travelling.

The Italian government does not appear to have issued any specific guidance on the use of KN95/N95 face masks once you’re in the country, however.

While there have been media reports of passengers being turned away from using public transport in Italy if they attempt to board while wearing a surgical or cloth mask, no reports mention passengers being denied boarding when wearing an N95 mask.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

In any case, travellers should be able to easily pick up some FFP2 masks upon arrival in Italy.

They are readily available at pharmacies and general stores around the country, and prices are not as high as they were earlier in the pandemic, with a pack of ten now usually costing around 7-8 euros.

Member comments

  1. We bought a big pack of KN95 masks with us and have not had any issues. Possibly because one has to look quite closely to tell the difference between KN95 and FFP2.

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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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