Traveling to Italy during Covid-19: what you need to know before you go


CNN Staff

If you plan to to travel in Italy, here’s what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Italy is currently in a state of emergency due to the pandemic. Although the country has emerged from a third wave lockdown, the number of cases is under review and individual regions may reinstate restrictions at any time.

After being hit hard at the start of the first wave, the country was one of the first to reopen to visitors in 2020. For 2021, entry is largely limited to residents of the European Union, as well as a shortlist of non-EU countries. , including the United States, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The rules differ depending on a traveler’s vaccination status and whether they have recently recovered from Covid.

The offer in Italy

It is one of the great successes in Europe, known for its historic art cities such as Florence, unique wonders such as Venice and the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome.

Incredible food, fantastic wine, unspoiled countryside and a chain of resorts mean it’s always in demand.

Who can go

Italy’s borders have been open to visitors for most of 2021, with some restrictions in place. The entry rules were updated on October 25 and are valid until December 15.

Countries currently allowed in are divided into two lists:

List C concerns Europe: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (including Azores and Madeira), Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

List D includes the following countries: Australia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Israel, Kuwait, New Zealand, Qatar, Rwanda, United Kingdom, Korea, Singapore, United States United, Uruguay, Ukraine, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.

The rest of the world is classified in list E. Only essential travel is allowed.

What are the restrictions?

Regardless of their immunization status, all visitors must complete a self-declaration form. In addition, the following conditions must be met, depending on where you are from.

Passengers arriving from List C countries (and having spent the last 14 days in those countries) must produce a passenger tracking form and a green pass or equivalent (a green pass shows you have been completely vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine more than two weeks earlier, or have tested negative within the last 72 hours). Travelers arriving without it must self-quarantine for five days and then take another test.

Travelers from List D countries must show proof of vaccination (with the above conditions). Travelers from Canada, Japan and the United States can alternatively show proof of recovery from Covid-19, instead of proof of vaccination.

In addition, arrivals from List D countries must present a negative test (PCR or antigen) carried out within 72 hours of arrival. This is reduced to 48 hours for those coming from the UK.

Those who do not present the correct evidence must quarantine themselves for five days and perform tests at the start and end of the quarantine.

Only essential travel is permitted from List E countries. Arrivals must test negative within 72 hours of arrival, then quarantined for 10 days, and test negative to exit quarantine.

Wherever they come from, children under the age of six do not have to take a test. Plus, unvaccinated children follow the rules their parents follow – in other words, if the accompanying parent doesn’t have to quarantine, neither does the child.

What is the situation with Covid-19?

As the first affected European country, Italy has been through a lot. However, a strict lockdown kept things under control and withstood a second wave longer than its European neighbors. The third wave, however, had a big impact, although the country entered a more or less complete lockdown for the first quarter of 2021.

Italy has second highest death toll in Europe (after UK), crossing 100,000 death mark on March 8. However, the numbers are slowing as the summer continues. More than 4.7 million people have been infected so far, with the death toll rising to 131,954 as of October 28. After infection rates rose rapidly in July (during which they tripled and then doubled again), August saw the numbers stabilize, but they are currently on the rise. The week leading up to October 28 saw 26,481 new infections, up from 19,000 the week before. There were 32,214 new cases reported in a week to mid-September.

The vaccination campaign, very delayed, has also accelerated, finally. Anyone over 12 can now book, although appointments for some will be in a few weeks. About 80% of the population is now fully vaccinated.

Application Immunity uses Bluetooth to track contacts with potential infection. “Green passes” were introduced in the summer of 2021 (see below).

What can visitors expect

Italian regions are currently ranked based on their infection and hospitalization rates, ranging from white (lowest risk) to yellow and amber to red (highest risk). Since the end of August, almost all regions have been designated white. Sicily, which was yellow, turns white again in October.

All over Italy, masks must be worn indoors or on public transport at all times (the mandate for the exterior mask is now lifted). Social distancing restrictions remain in place, including on public transport. Only high-speed trains are not subject to social distancing rules, since anyone accessing them must be in possession of a green pass (see below).

Previous restrictions on travel between regions have also been lifted – at least, between the white and yellow regions. If you are traveling to or from an orange or red region, essential reasons must be proven.

Since October 11, social distancing rules have been relaxed. Cultural venues can now operate at 100% of their capacity. This includes cinemas, theaters and concert halls. The capacity of sports stadiums has increased from 35% to 60% for indoor venues and from 50% to 75% for outdoor venues. The capacity of nightclubs has increased to 50% for indoor venues and 75% for outdoor venues. All participants must have a “green pass” (see below).

The white areas have almost returned to normal, classified as extremely low risk – where there are less than 50 cases per 100,000 population. These zones are free from restrictions, but regions can introduce their own rules. So far none have.

In the yellow areas, bars and restaurants can remain open all day, but only for outdoor consumption. Indoor meals resumed on June 1. Diners must be home for the 11pm curfew (which has effectively been abolished since all areas went white).

In yellow, the shops are still open. People can have guests in the house – up to four adults, plus an unlimited number of children. Travel to second homes is allowed and sports have resumed – you can now have up to 1,000 spectators outdoors and 500 indoors, socially distanced. Museums can reopen, but on weekends and holidays tickets must be reserved at least one day in advance.

In the orange zone, it is up to local authorities to decide whether people can benefit from home visits. Travel to second homes is permitted, but does not mix with others. Restaurants only offer take-out and people can roam freely in their own city, but cannot leave their area except for work or an emergency.

In the red zones (highest risk), all businesses are closed except for grocery stores and pharmacies. People can only leave their homes for work, for health reasons, to go to a place of worship or to exercise once a day.

As of August 6, a “certificazione verde”, or green pass, is required to enter cultural sites such as museums or galleries, entertainment and sports venues, theme parks, spas and for eat inside.

This was extended to domestic flights, high-speed train travel between regions as well as sea travel on September 1. Any employee in Italy must also be in possession of a green pass.

The pass indicates that the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative in the past 48 hours, or has recovered from the virus in the past six months.

People vaccinated in other countries are not eligible for the Italian pass, but those with an EU vaccination passport will do well, as there is a reciprocity agreement.

On July 29, the Italian government announced that vaccination certificates from the following countries would also be accepted in place of a green pass: Canada, Israel, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Those who hold a certificate with a QR code can normally have their pass read like an Italian. Check if yours is valid by downloading the CheckC19 application. Travelers from the UK should note that English and Welsh QR codes can be read, but Scottish and North Irish certificates cannot. You must take a hard copy of your certificate if your QR code is not readable.

Useful links

Italian Ministry of Health

Immuni tracking and traceability application

Countries currently allowed in

Verifica C19 application (iPhone)

Verifica C19 app (Android)

Our last blanket

Can’t make it to Italy at the moment? You can still buy a house for 1 euro, the price of a cup of coffee.

A new website has just been launched offering no-visit sales nationwide. If you are not looking to buy, the country alberghi diffusi, or scattered hotels, are the perfect travel solution in the time of Covid-19. Or check out our list of small towns perfect for social distancing.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Julia Buckley contributed to this report


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