What changes from October if you’re travelling between Italy and the UK

Monday, October 4th heralds a relaxation of the UK government's travel rules for arrivals from the EU - but be aware that there are still restrictions and testing requirements in place.

Travellers should be aware of some upcoming changes ahead of trips to the UK from Italy.
Travellers should be aware of some upcoming changes ahead of trips to the UK from Italy. Photo: Niklas Hallen/AFP

What’s changed?

The UK government has done away with its amber list and having only green or red – all European countries are on the green list. This means some changes to the testing rules when travelling from Italy.

Q&A: Answers to your questions about Italy’s travel rules

The rule change is for England, if you are travelling to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, click on the relevant country link.

For those countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Austria and Germany who were on the green list under the old system, the rules remain the same for fully vaccinated arrivals but have become more strict for those who are not vaccinated.

Here’s a look at what the new rules are from Monday:

Vaccinated arrivals

Fully vaccinated arrivals in England from October 4th no longer need to take a test in Italy and show it before boarding the train/plane/ferry.

Crucially, however, you will still need to book and pay for the Day 2 test in England, and this must be done before leaving Italy.

At the border you will need to show the Passenger Locator Form, and this cannot be completed without a booking reference number for a Day 2 test.

These tests have a byzantine booking system and are frequently infuriatingly expensive – find the full breakdown on booking HERE.

The Day 2 test is required even if you are spending less than two days in England (we know, it makes no sense to us either).

The UK government has said that in future Day 2 tests could be the cheaper antigen (lateral flow) tests rather than PCR tests, but there is no firm start date for this policy.

Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Unvaccinated arrivals 

People who are not vaccinated (or who do not meet the UK government definition of vaccinated) have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival. This can be done at a private home and you do not need to go to a hotel.

In addition, you will have to book and pay for both a Day 2 test and a Day 8 test before leaving.

There is an option to pay extra for a Day 5 test and end quarantine early, but be warned that quarantine does not end on Day 5, it only ends when the test results arrive. 

Many readers have reported long delays in getting test results leaving them spending 9 or 10 days in quarantine anyway, but having paid more for an extra test.

Who is ‘vaccinated’?

The UK government accepts people as ‘fully vaccinated’ if they have received either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines and received their final dose at least 14 days before arrival.

The Italian or EU vaccination certificate is accepted as proof at the border.

After a confusing period, the UK government now accepts as fully vaccinated people who had a ‘mixed dose’, eg: one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer.

However people who only received a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – as is standard practice in Italy and other European countries – do not count as vaccinated.

From the UK to Italy

The travel rules coming into Italy from the UK remain unchanged since the last update at the beginning of September.

Fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from the UK no longer have to undergo a 5-day quarantine upon arrival to Italy. However, they have to show a negative Covid-19 test result and proof of vaccination.

Italy recognises proof of vaccination issued by the UK’s NHS both for entry to the country and in place of the ‘green pass’ within Italy to access museums, concerts and other venues.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or travel news section.

Member comments

  1. So really the rules and costs remain more or less the same!!! I was in UK beginning of September for my mum’s birthday for 6 days. I’m vaccinated but had to do a test in Italy (now not necessary, but cost 50 euros), a day 2 test which was a home kit and cost £80! And a rapid antigen test done in a pharmacy as needed to be within 48 hours of returning to Italy which cost £80 too!!!!! Obviously the UK is hesitant to get rid of the cash cow that is covid tests for travelling! Have just come back from Montenegro where I did a rapid antigen test before returning to Italy…cost 15 euros! Ludicrous and robbery!

    1. There are cheaper options available than £80, for example Google ‘British Airways COVID tests’ and you’ll be taken to a page that has discount codes for a number of providers. I paid £43 for a day 2 test with Randox. Even cheaper tests are available too, all you really need is the reference number for your UK PLF that you need to fill in before you depart. Randox seemed to be the best mix of value and they do process the tests quickly.

      I paid £35 for my test to return to Italy.

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Italy’s summer tourism boom driven by American arrivals

Tourist spending in Italy is set to return to pre-pandemic levels this summer, boosted largely by visitors from the US, says a new industry report.

Italy's summer tourism boom driven by American arrivals

Italy’s tourism earnings are predicted to total €17 billion this summer, restoring the industry to a state of health not seen since the start of the pandemic, according to a study released by the retailers’ association Comfcommercio on Monday.

Americans are the lead drivers of the recovery, the report shows, with 2.2 million US visitors expected to bring in €2.1 billion between July and September – 20 percent more than over the same period in 2019.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which parts of Italy will get the most tourism this summer?

Canadians, Australians and South Africans are also anticipated to make up a significant proportion of this year’s visitors.

The high value of the dollar against the euro is thought to be partly responsible for this year’s boom in US arrivals.

The euro slipped to parity with the dollar for the first time in nearly 20 years this month, as a cut in Russian gas supplies to Europe heightened fears of a recession in the eurozone.

It has since recovered a little, to around $1.02 per euro, but remains a huge bargain for visitors, giving tourists from dollar countries a spending power boost of well over 10 percent from six months ago.

The number of Spanish arrivals is also expected to return pre-pandemic levels this summer, with an estimated one million visitors due to arrive between July and September.

Domestic tourism is also up, with 35 million Italians travelling on holiday in their own country despite an ongoing cost of living crisis caused by soaring inflation and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, according to a separate study by the agricultural association Coldiretti.

READ ALSO: Ferragosto: Why the long August holidays are untouchable for Italians

By contrast, the number of tourists coming to Italy from Asian countries is down; while EU sanctions introduced in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have seen Russian tourism drop to near zero.

Germany, a key source of tourism particularly in the Italian south, was down 27 percent in July compared to 2019 – a drop thought to be caused by air travel disruption.

In a typical year, the majority of Italy’s tourists (14.1 percent) come from Germany, figures from Italy’s National Statistics Agency Istat show. Around three percent come from the US, and another three percent from the UK.

“The return of foreign tourism after three years helps to consolidate our economic recovery. The outlook, however, is uncertain due to the decrease in consumption, the unrest in air transport and the unknown pandemic,” said Confcommercio president Carlo Sangalli in a televised statement.

“Support for the tourism sector must therefore be among the priorities of the next executive in terms of combating expensive energy and reducing the tax burden,” he added.

Italy will vote for a new government in late September after its ‘unity’ coalition government collapsed in July, triggering snap elections.