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TRAVEL NEWS

UPDATE: What are the rules on travel to Italy right now?

If you're wondering what exactly the rules are when travelling from your country to Italy right now, here's an easy way to find out.

UPDATE: What are the rules on travel to Italy right now?
Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

This article was last updated on July 19th.

Italy has relaxed the rules on tourism from some countries, with a focus on those with higher vaccination rates. 

However there are still various requirements and restrictions to be aware of which depend on the country you are travelling from, as well as your personal circumstances.

Wherever you’re coming from, there are many details of the rules which you’ll want to check before setting off – particularly as the Foreign Ministry warns that rules can change at short notice.

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.

READ ALSO: Can I access Italy’s Covid ‘green pass’ if I was vaccinated in the US?

Photo: ANDREA PATTARO/AFP

What about vaccinated travellers from outside the EU?

Italy’s own green pass allowing quarantine-free travel within Europe has been in use since June 17th, but at present it is only available to people who were vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid-19 in Italy

People from EU and Schengen zone countries, as well as the US, Canada and Japan, can enter Italy and access venues under the terms of the Italian ‘green pass’ but they would need to show equivalent health documents issued in their own country.

For more information on the requirements for travel to Italy (in English):

Italian Foreign Ministry’s information page for Italian citizens returning from abroad and foreign citizens in Italy

Italian Foreign Ministry’s ‘safe travels’ website www.viaggiaresicuri.it

Italian Health Ministry’s travel information page.

You can also call the Italian coronavirus information line:

From Italy: 1500 (toll-free number)

From abroad: +39 0232008345 , +39 0283905385

Stay up to date with Italy’s travel rules by following The Local’s travel section and checking the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Please note The Local is unable to give advice on individual cases.

Member comments

  1. What about travel for people from outside the EU who have had Covid and are now tested free of the virus? Will they be allowed to travel without a vaccine or do they still need to have one?

  2. Can I get into Venice on June 8th from Greece with USA passport, vaccine certificate, PCR test within 48 hours and locator form, if I arrived in Greece from USA on May 30th? Are there strict quarantine rules?
    [email protected]
    +13105282912

  3. Hello!
    I am a fully vaccinated US citizen going to Italy this summer (June 28). I am departing from Chicago and have a layover in London. Then I will fly into Rome. I know that a negative nasal swab result (72 hours before flight) is necessary to bring with. What else do I need? A passenger Locator form? Do I need a passenger Locator form for just Italy or London as well because I have my layover there? I’m not sure about guidelines.
    Any/all help is appreciated.

    Thank you!

  4. The United States has you sign a form promising to quarantine. That’s it. It’s not enforced. I’ve been back and forth 3 times between Italy and the United States during this pandemic. US airports and domestic planes are filthy. Mask wearing is not enforced in the terminals, only on the airplanes. The TSA has everyone taking off their shoes to put in plastic trays with other carry on items. Schifo!!!

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TRANSPORT

Costly flights, few trains: What’s travel like between Sicily and mainland Italy?

Sicily may be just a stone’s throw from mainland Italy but getting there and back is not always simple or fast, as Silvia Marchetti explains.

Costly flights, few trains: What’s travel like between Sicily and mainland Italy?

Transport connections between Italy’s largest island region and the main Italian cities are expected to improve in the long run, with the government hoping to use European pandemic recovery funds. But infrastructure investments take years to bear fruit. 

Taking a flight is of course the easiest and quickest way to reach Sicily, where there are three main airports – Palermo, Catania, Trapani – plus two minor ones on the southernmost Pantelleria and Lampedusa islands. But there are mounting ticket costs. 

The recent investigation launched by Italian authorities into alleged price-fixing on flights to and from Sicily during Christmas holidays by many low-cost airlines shows how fliers might have been left with little choice. Unless one is a Sicilian resident with access to privileged fares, the round trip is often costly.

I recently did an online search and found flights to Sicily are still quite expensive, costing roughly 300 euros for a return trip from Rome, even if booked well in advance. And not all Italian airports serve the destination. 

READ ALSO: Trains and planes: Italy’s new international travel routes in 2023

Paradoxically, it is often easier to reach Sicily from a European city such as London or Brussels than from an Italian one, and I often envy foreign friends who quickly find a much cheaper flight than I can from Rome. Others hop on ferry boats in southern France to land in Sicily. 

For those already in Italy, other options are traveling by train or car, which can still be hellish. Even though the A1 autostrada del Sole, the country’s backbone, has been completed, driving down the length of the country takes 12 hours – inclusive of meal and toilet stops – roughly 1,500 kilometers. I did it once, and it is crazy, but it depends on how much one loves driving.

All train connections end in Reggio Calabria or other southern regions, even the high-speed Italo takes 10 hours from Milan to the tip of the boot. The journey by train is less stressful than by car or plane, and costs roughly 280 euros for a round trip from Milan.

Travel to and from Sicily can often turn into a nightmarish odyssey. I’ve spoken to lots of Sicilians and foreigners who often embark on a 24-hour trip to get to Sicily from Rome and Milan. 

I remember once going to Linosa island for the summer holidays and having to take the plane to Palermo, then a long bus ride to Porto Empedocle to catch the midnight ferry, sleeping on a bench and waking up the next morning to stunning volcanic black scenery. I could have taken the plane to sister-isle Lampedusa and then a quick ferry boat, but the air fare was way over my budget. That trip lasted 28 hours, exactly the same amount of time as my past flights to Jakarta from Rome – but with added stress.

The ferry connecting Messina, Sicily with Villa San Giovanni, Calabria. Photo: Clare Speak/The Local

The government aims to revive the Messina bridge plan, an idea which has been floating in the air since 1866. I doubt things would change much. Many people would still drive their cars along the bridge rather than take the ecological high speed railway expected to be built on it.

To improve connections, transport must shift from the road to the railway tracks by increasing high-speed train services, as well as ferries, thus curbing CO2 emissions. High-speed sea connections to and from Naples, Civitavecchia, Livorno and other key mainland ports should also be increased.

READ ALSO: Yes, train travel across Europe is far better than flying – even with kids

The Messina bridge, which I seriously doubt will be built during this government’s five-year legislature, would just end up increasing road traffic. Locals and tourists in Calabria will be tempted to drive their car or motorino just three kilometers to grab a cassata cake in Messina. 

However, the real issue is not getting to and from Sicily, but getting around Sicily once you land there.

I had the chance to meet several Sicilian commuters who travel almost daily from a rural village to Rome, Naples or Milan for meetings. They wake up at three in the morning and return home at 11pm, up to four times a week. 

Island train and bus connections are rather poor so the car is their best option to get to the airport. However, bar the main highways, most Sicilian roads are a work-in-progress or in bad condition.

You never know where a Sicilian road trip might take you. Photo: Silvia Marchetti

I happened to experience an ‘adventurous’ road trip once from Catania airport to a tiny village in the province of Caltanissetta. According to the satellite map it was meant to take roughly two hours, but it turned out to be five, and I literally found myself in the middle of the countryside surrounded by sheep and ravines. Not quite the idyll I had dreamt.

Some highways were shut due to maintenance so I had to cut across unpaved rural roads without street lights, or deviate elsewhere which lengthened my trip (ravenous, I took five minutes to stop for a quick cannolo on the way).

It all depends on what degree of adventure travelers are seeking. Distances seem shorter for some foreigners than they do to Italians. Americans in particular and others from non-European Union countries are excited to drive from Milan to Sicily, for they can catch a glimpse of Italy in its entirety, or tour Sicily’s main archaeological sites in eight hours.

But many others I know, because of the poor state of Sicilian roads and regional connections, prefer to fly in and rent cars with drivers to take them to their destinations. 

The future of Sicily’s transport connections must be affordable and more frequent flights, high-speed railways and eco-friendly boats. Not new bridges and even more cars on the road.

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