Q&A: What you need to know if you’re travelling to Italy in summer 2021

Q&A: What you need to know if you’re travelling to Italy in summer 2021
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Here’s everything you need to be aware of before you book an Italian holiday for summer 2021.

Travel has restarted in Italy (from some countries at least) as the country continues to ease its coronavirus restrictions. The restart of travel comes as a huge relief to many people who’ve been separated from loved ones abroad for more than a year, as well as to those who have simply missed visiting Italy on holiday. 

READ ALSO: ‘I’m going crazy’: Why international residents in Europe will travel this summer despite Covid

But Italy has not dropped all of its coronavirus restrictions. Though the health data continues to improve nationwide and the vaccine programme has picked up speed, authorities in Italy remain cautious and, unlike some neighbouring countries, have not yet relaxed certain restrictions.

As most of those rules and restrictions are subject to change, or still to be clarified, we’re getting a large number of queries here at The Local from people currently trying to figure out the details of their summer travel plans.

Here we answer some of the most frequently-asked questions:

How safe is it to travel to Italy now?

Italy has recently been reporting its lowest weekly rates of coronavirus infections since October 2020, and the Rt or reproduction number, which shows the rate of transmission, is at its lowest since this time last year.

Nearly all of Italy’s 20 regions are classified as ‘low risk’ in the latest health data monitoring report from the Italian health ministry on Friday June 11th.

Only Sardinia was deemed to be ‘moderate’ risk – however the island region still remains in the low-restriction ‘white zone’, which means most coronavirus restrictions have been dropped.

MAP: Which parts of Italy are now Covid-19 ‘white zones’?

Italy’s national Rt number, which shows the infection rate, has been under the critical threshold of 1 for several weeks.

The country reported 2,079 new cases and 88 Covid deaths within the past 24 hours on Thursday.

Some 13.5 million people, or a quarter of the Italian population over the age of 12, have been fully vaccinated. Around 26.4 million have received one dose of the vaccine, according to government figures.

Despite concern across Europe about the relatively low vaccination rate as well as the spread of the Delta variant, which originated in India, Italian health authorities have indicated that they are not currently planning to bring in any further restrictions.

Italy has so far recorded 170 cases caused by the Delta variant, which is responsible for a recent rise in infections in the UK. However, Italy collects and analyses far less data on new virus strains than the UK does.

How do I find out what the latest rules are on travel to Italy from my country?

With restrictions subject to change at short notice, it’s important to keep up to date before your trip.

Right now, the fastest and most reliable way to check what the rules are in your case is to use the Italian Foreign Ministry’s interactive questionnaire.

This official website is available in English, and is kept up-to-date with full details of the changing Italian government travel rules for travel from each country.

You can also stay up to date with news on Italy’s travel rules by following The Local’s travel section and checking the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Is Italy dropping the entry restrictions for vaccinated travellers?

There is currently no exemption to the Italian travel restrictions for people who have been vaccinated.

However, this may change soon as Italy and other European countries roll out their travel health certificate schemes.

The 27 member states of the European Union announced have agreed to allow fully vaccinated travellers to enter the bloc this summer.

Many details are yet to be clarified, including the date from which this would be allowed, and the rules for entry will be up to each individual country’s government.

The Italian government has not yet indicated what proof of vaccination will be needed for travel to Italy, or whether Italy will keep testing requirements in place for vaccinated travellers.

The Italian government is expected to make an announcement on this by mid-June.

How do I get a ‘green pass’ for travel to Italy?

The certificato verde, the Italian version of the EU-wide health pass, is expected to be a requirement for travel and attending larger events such as as weddings and concerts in Italy this summer.

The pass will be available to anyone who has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or has recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.

It is expected to be operational by the end of June, however the Italian government has not yet given full details of how it will work. More details are expected to be announced before June 15th.

READ ALSO: Can I use a foreign vaccination certificate to access Italy’s health passport?

Paper certificates proving your negative test result are among the documents currently being used as travel health passes in Italy. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI/AFP

What restrictions will be in place in Italy this summer?

By the end of June, all of Italy’s regions are expected to be classified as low-risk ‘white zones’, meaning very few safety measures will remain in place.

Restaraunts, bars, hotels and museums are already open again across the country, with safety restrictions in place.

Health precautions will also apply on the beach.

Although beach staff will be required to wear masks, holidaymakers won’t have to unless you’re in a enclosed space or if it’s not possible to maintain a distance of one metre from other people.

For now, nightclubs and discos look set to be the last businesses to reopen, and they could require a ‘green pass’ or health certificate for entry when they do.

The country’s midnight-5am curfew will be scrapped from June 21st.

It is not known if or when Italy may relax the rules on wearing masks outdoors,

What tests do I need for travel to Italy?

All arrivals currently need to show a negative test result for travel into Italy. You should get either a molecular or antigen swab test from a testing centre, as you will need a certificate proving your negative result. Home tests or saliva tests are not accepted by the Italian authorities.

Find a full guide to tests for travel to Italy here. 

How do I get a test in Italy for the trip home?

Getting tested for coronavirus in Italy has become significantly easier over the past year, as the government approved new types of test and authorised more and more facilities to carry them out.

Private tests are now widely available without a prescription and most centres can provide the results in English.

Several international airports in Italy, including Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Bari and others, have on-site Covid testing facilities. Tests are usually rapid antigen swabs, though others may be available, and fees range from around €20 (Florence and Pisa) to €50 (Milan).

Italy’s Red Cross has free, walk-in testing centres at central train stations in 11 of Italy’s biggest cities: Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Rome, Turin and Venice.

Many Italian pharmacies also offer rapid antigen testing, often in tents outside the building. Ask your nearest pharmacist: even if they don’t do tests themselves, they should be able to direct you to another pharmacy that does.

Find full details of getting tested while in Italy here.