Reader question: Do I need a Covid green pass for my trip to Italy?

If you're planning to travel to Italy soon, make sure you know the rules on using Covid-19 health certificates in the country.

Reader question: Do I need a Covid green pass for my trip to Italy?
Italy’s Covid green pass system has been in place since August 2021. As the rules have changed again April, here's what you need to know about using it now. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Question: ‘I’m travelling to Italy in April and I’m fully vaccinated. I’ve read that I’ll need to show an Italian ‘green pass’ for entry to restaurants and other venues. How do I get one?’

Italy has eased some of its coronavirus containment measures as of April 1st, but its health certificate, known as the ‘green pass’, is still a requirement at many venues.

As travel restarts this spring, The Local has received dozens of questions like the one above from people planning to visit Italy from abroad, with confusion arising amid a series of rule changes by the Italian government over the past few months.

The good news for visitors is that you probably will not need to obtain an Italian green pass.

If you’re vaccinated, Italy recognises proof of vaccination issued anywhere in the world on par with its own ‘super’ green pass, so the vaccination certificate issued in your home country (such as a US CDC card) should get you into any venue in Italy that is subject to this requirement.

People who were vaccinated in the EU or UK will have received a QR code that can be easily scanned and checked just like an Italian green pass.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s Covid rules change in April

Those with a paper vaccination or recovery certificate without a QR code simply need to show their certificate to the person conducting the checks. You do not need a QR code for your certificate to be recognised.

Make sure however that your vaccination certificate will be seen as valid under Italian rules.

If you have been fully vaccinated and boosted, your proof of vaccination has indefinite validity as a ‘super green pass’ equivalent in Italy. If you haven’t had a booster dose but have completed the primary vaccination cycle, your certificate is valid for six months since the last dose.

You can find more detailed information about how the green pass rules work for vaccinated visitors to Italy here

If you have proof of recovery from Covid-19, you can also use this on the same terms as an Italian ‘super’ green pass. This must be a recovery certificate issued by a medical authority (evidence of a negative test result, for example, doesn’t count) and it will be seen as valid for six months since the date of infection.

If you have neither proof of vaccination nor recovery, you’ll need to show proof of a negative test result instead. This is where you would need to get an Italian green pass.

Many venues will now allow you to enter with just proof of a negative test result, known as a ‘basic’ green pass. This is a QR code issued based on a negative result after being tested at a registered facility, such as a pharmacy or clinic.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Visitors enjoy an outdoor lunch in Rome's Campo dei Fiori.

Visitors enjoy an outdoor lunch in Rome’s Campo dei Fiori. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The pass will be valid for 48 hours from the time the test was carried out in the case of a rapid test, or 72 hours in the case of a PCR test.

This means that if you’re in Italy for a longer visit you will need to be tested repeatedly to retain access to a valid pass.

You can find more details about getting a Covid test as a visitor to Italy here.

Where and when do Italy’s green pass rules apply?

For several months now, Italy’s ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass health certificate or an equivalent, showing that the holder is vaccinated against or recently recovered from Covid, has been required to access most venues and services across the country.

After the most recent rule change on April 1st, these requirements have been loosened.

Hotels and public transport are no longer subject to any green pass requirements. Proof of a negative Covid test result – the basic green pass, therefore – will be enough for entry to indoor bars and restaurants. If you’re sitting outside a bar or restaurant, you’ll no longer need any form of health pass at all.

Some spaces require only the ‘basic green pass’, which can be easily obtained via a negative Covid test result from a pharmacy for those without a vaccination or recovery certificate (see above).

The rules apply to everyone in the country aged over 12.

Italy’s green pass rules are expected to be eased further in May, and could be scrapped entirely by mid-June.

See full details of the green pass system and requirements by venue here.

At the border

For entry to Italy, you again do not need a ‘green pass’ specifically, but must show valid proof of vaccination, recovery OR a recent negative test result under the current travel rules, in place until at least April 30th.

As Italy has outsourced the enforcement of these rules to airlines and other transport operators, this documentation will be required when boarding your flight to Italy.

If you’re travelling by road or rail, there may instead be police checks at the border. 

For more information:

See the latest news from The Local about travel to Italy here.

Find more information about Italy’s Covid-19 health restrictions on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

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EXPLAINED: Has Italy still got any Covid rules in place?

Italy is blissfully free of Covid restrictions this summer - or is it? Here's what you need to know about the country's few remaining rules.

EXPLAINED: Has Italy still got any Covid rules in place?

If you thought Italy’s Covid rules ought to have more or less expired by now, you’d be right – almost. 

There are essentially no travel restrictions, no vaccination or testing obligations, and very few situations in which people are required to mask up.

However, a few nationwide health rules do remain in place that are worth knowing about.

Here’s what they are.


One notable exception to Italy’s Covid rule relaxations is the continued requirement to wear a mask in parts of health and residential care facilities that house vulnerable or immunosuppressed patients.

This rule had been due to expire on April 30th, but was renewed by decree on April 29th and will remain in place until the end of the year.

READ ALSO: What to expect when travelling to Italy in summer 2023

That means if you work in such a facility or need to visit a friend or family member there, you should come equipped with a mask.

Under-6’s, people whose disability prevents them from wearing a mask, and carers for whom wearing a mask would prevent them from communicating with a disabled patient are the only exceptions.


Then there are the quarantine rules.

‘Italy still has quarantine rules?!’ you ask incredulously.

According to former health director Giovanni Rezza, who retired this May, the answer is yes.

It was Rezza who signed off on a health ministry decree dated December 31st, 2022 that established the country’s latest quarantine restrictions.

Tourists visiting Italy no longer face Covid-related restrictions, though rules may apply in some circumstances. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

That decree says that those who test positive but are asymptomatic must self-isolate for five days, or until they test negative at a pharmacy or health facility – whichever happens sooner.

Those who do experience symptoms should either test negative before exiting quarantine, or wait until they are symptomless for at least two days.

At the end of the isolation period, those who have left quarantine without taking a test are required to wear a high-grade FFP2 mask in public until the tenth day since the onset of symptoms or first positive test result.

READ ALSO: What are the upcoming strikes in Italy and how could they impact you?

People who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid should wear an FFP2 mask in public until the fifth day since the last point of contact.

Earlier this month, Rezza told journalists at the national broadcaster Rai that since no expiration date was stipulated, the decree remains in force indefinitely.

The health ministry doesn’t appear to have weighed in on the matter, so for now it should be assumed that the quarantine rules are still active.

Of course, this all relies on the honour system, as most Covid tests these days are taken (if at all) in people’s own homes without the knowledge or involvement of state health authorities.


Finally, there have been some recent reports of new international travel restrictions specifically relating to China.

There has been talk of Italy’s airports reintroducing tests for arrivals from China. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.

Towards the end of May, newspapers La Stampa and La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reported that Covid tests had been reintroduced at Italy’s airports for arrivals from China, which has seen an uptick in cases.

However, neither the health ministry website nor the Foreign Ministry’s Viaggiare Sicuri (‘Travel Safe’) website appear to have published any updates to this effect.

In December 2022, Italy’s health ministry mandated that all arrivals from China must produce a recent negative test result before leaving for Italy and to take a test on arrival, though this rule was due to expire at the end of January.