Unlocking the World

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

CNN StaffUpdated 19th August 2022
Italy remains one of Europe's least affected countries.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on August 19.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Italy, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Italy has had some of the toughest restrictions on the planet during the pandemic, and is still one of the most cautious countries in Europe, despite a relaxation of most rules.
Since June 1, all Covid-19 entry regulations have been dropped. This means that you no longer have to show proof of vaccination for entry, and also quashes the previous quarantine requirement for non-vaccinated arrivals.
However, it is still one of the few countries to enforce a mask mandate on public transport, and there are stringent quarantine regulations for those who test positive.

What's on offer in Italy

This is one of Europe's big travel hitters, known for its historic cities of art such as Florence, one-off wonders such as Venice and the seat of the Roman Catholic Church at Vatican City, situation inside Italy's capital of Rome.
Incredible food, fantastic wine, unspoiled countryside and a string of beach resorts mean it's always in demand.

Who can go

Since June 1, the Covid-19 entry regulations have been dropped. Everyone can enter Italy now, and arrivals no longer have to show vaccination status, meaning that the quarantine requirement for the unvaccinated no longer exists.

What are the restrictions?

The requirement to show proof of vaccination or recovery was dropped June 1.
Arrivals no longer have to fill out a passenger locator form, either. The mask mandate has been removed from flights, although it is still in place on other forms of public transport (see below). Individual airlines, however, can still enforce their own mask requirement -- check yours before you board.

What's the Covid-19 situation?

As the first hit European country, Italy has been through a lot. Restrictions have consistently brought things under control, with Italy holding out longer than European neighbors in each subsequent wave. However, the winter waves of 2020-21 and 2021-22 have taken huge tolls.
Italy holds Europe's second highest death toll (after the United Kingdom), passing the milestone of 100,000 deaths on March 8, 2021. Over 21.5 million people have been infected to date, with the death toll at 174,172 as of August 19, 2022.
With the arrival of the Omicron variant, case numbers soared. Cases reached a record high the week of January 10, with 1,269,976 cases recorded. Before Omicron, the record infection rate for the pandemic was 248,000 infections in a week, registered in November 2020.
Numbers took another sharp rise in June and July with the newest variants. Nearly 1.4 million new infections were registered in the month leading up to August 19. The new wave has led to the mask mandate on public transport being renewed (see below).
Around 90% of the adult population has now been fully vaccinated.
App Immuni uses Bluetooth to track contact with potential infection.

What can visitors expect

The color-coded traffic light restrictions by region (from white to red zones) were abolished April 1. The rules are now the same countrywide.
The nationwide outdoor mask mandate ended on February 11, and the widespread indoor mask mandate on May 1. On June 15, the restrictions were eased again. However, masks are still mandated in hospitals and medical settings, care homes and on public transport, apart from planes.
Masks must be high-grade FFP2 level, except for in hospitals.
This means that masks are no longer compulsory in cinemas, theaters, concert halls and indoor sports arenas.
While it is no longer mandatory, the government recommends still wearing masks indoors, and many -- if not most -- Italians continue to wear them. Additionally, individual venues, including galleries and museums, may impose their own mask mandates. If caught not wearing a mask where it is mandated, you can be fined up to $450.
Social distancing restrictions remain in place, including on public transport -- except for high-speed trains, which can run at capacity. Authorities will be given the authority to halt any train on which a passenger is showing any symptoms of Covid-19.
Only two people may sit in the back of a taxi, if they are part of the same family.
Green passes and super green passes:
On May 1, the government dropped the requirement to show a green pass everywhere a tourist would want to go. That means you no longer need to show proof of vaccination to eat out, visit galleries or take public transport.
However, if you end up visiting a hospital or care home you will need a "super green pass" or "certificazione verde rafforzata," showing that you have been vaccinated (including a booster) or have recovered from the virus within the past six months. A regular pass can also be obtained by a negative test within 48 hours.
Those vaccinated in other countries are not eligible for the Italian pass, but EU vaccination passes are recognized and scanned as domestic ones are. Those holding a certificate with a QR code -- including UK NHS certificates -- can normally have their passes read as an Italian one. Check whether yours is valid by downloading the VerificaC19 app.
If your QR code is not recognized by the app, or you don't have one, you must show a paper copy of your certificate from your home country.
Foreign vaccine certificates are not subject to the same time limits as Italian green passes. For now, a full cycle including booster is valid indefinitely. A full initial cycle with no booster is valid six months.

Useful links

Our latest coverage

Can't get to Italy right now? You can always buy a house for 1 euro -- the price of a cup of coffee.
A new website has just launched offering visit-free sales around the country. If you're not looking to buy, the country's 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.