What You Need to Know About Traveling to Italy Right Now

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What You Need to Know About Traveling to Italy Right Now

Steady progress against the virus has seen Italy gradually relax border controls and local restrictions as travelers return to one of the world's most popular destinations. Indoor dining has returned, curfew has ended and there are plenty of new attractions to enjoy, from newly-opened secret tunnels in the Colosseum to recent discoveries in Pompeii.

But the threat of the virus is still present, particularly as the Delta variant spreads. It isn't business as usual. Some pandemic-related restrictions still apply and increased measures could be enforced with little notice if worrying trends emerge. If you're planning a trip to Italy this year, here's what you can expect.

Can I Travel to Italy from the EU?

Italy has adopted the EU digital COVID certificate which facilitates the return of free movement across the bloc. It's a digital or paper certificate that indicates the holder meets the conditions for travel: is fully vaccinated (the last dose administered at least 14 days before departure), or has recovered from COVID-19, or holds a negative COVID-19 result from a PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel.

Italy does not classify risk areas in accordance with the EU's recommendations. It has its own classification system. So even if you are coming from an EU country that is classified green in the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control’s traffic light system, you are still required to present a digital COVID cert to travel to Italy.

Can I travel to Italy from a non-EU Country?

Italy applies different border restrictions on travelers coming from countries outside the EU depending on the COVID situation there. Travelers coming from countries that Italy classifies as low-risk are permitted to travel to Italy, provided they can prove they are fully vaccinated, or have recently tested negative for COVID-19, or have recovered from the virus. The US, Canada and Japan are among the non-EU countries classified as low-risk.

Those arriving from the UK will have to undergo a five-day quarantine upon arrival with mandatory testing. Anyone coming from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also subject to additional restrictions due to the spread of the Delta variant in these countries.

Entry restrictions for individual countries can be found here.

What Vaccines Does Italy Accept?

Italy requires that travelers are fully vaccinated with both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca; or with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Do Children Need to Be Vaccinated to Enter Italy?

Children under six-years-old are exempt from all vaccine, testing or quarantine requirements in Italy. However, children between the age of six and 18 are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before arrival.

What Else Is Required?

All arrivals are required to fill in a passenger locator form before arrival, regardless of their COVID status or point of departure.

Can I Get Tested in Italy?

Many countries, including the US, require passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their flight home from an international trip. Fortunately, tests are widely available across Italy in pharmacies, labs and testing centers.

The Red Cross has pop-up testing sites in train stations across Italy, including Roma Termini, Milano Centrale, Venice Santa Lucia and Florence Santa Maria Novella for antigen tests. On-site testing is available at Italy's major airports too, and most offer both antigen and PCR tests but check the website of the airport you are traveling through in advance for details.

What's Open in Italy?

Italy is home to many of the world's greatest works of art, architecture and gastronomy, and has more Unesco World Heritage cultural sites than any other country. Among its popular attractions are Pompeii, where visitors can walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans, and Ravenna, home to glittering Byzantine treasures. The gondolas of Venice take in the famous Rialto Bridge, while Rome is home to St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum, as well as the iconic Trevi Fountain.

Thankfully, you can experience these sites with relative ease as all Italian regions are now classified as "white zones" or low-risk for now (the government can increase public health measures at any time if cases spiral out of control). Most restrictions have been lifted but social distancing guidelines remain in place in public areas, as do mask requirements in crowded outdoor places, on public transport and in indoor public spaces.

Indoor dining has returned to Italy's restaurants, cafes, bars, ice-cream parlours and pastry shops. Some capacity limits apply but the general rule is no more than six people per table. Hotels, spas and swimming pools are open, as well as beaches but visitors must keep at least one meter apart when setting up towels, deck chairs or umbrellas.

Museums and cultural attractions are open for walk-ins with capacity limits Monday to Friday and for those with pre-booked tickets on weekends. Cinemas, theaters and concert halls are generally open at 50% capacity.

The government is planning to open nightclubs in July, but entry may only be permitted with an EU digital COVID cert or relevant health documentation, reports The Local Italy. These certificates may also be required to attend concerts, festivals, sporting events or weddings, according to the Italian tourism board.

Source: Lonely Planet