As Rome prepares to welcome back the first international tourists, as the pandemic eases and vaccinations roll out, there is still some confusion about who can travel to the country, for what reasons, and from where.
This article shows you how to find information to get to Rome during the Covid-19 pandemic, what you can and can’t do, and your obligations when you’re here, in 2021.
Follow official advice only
The situation changes on a weekly basis, and websites (like this one) are often just a few steps behind the official advice. This is why this article will show you where to get the latest, definitive government sources of information, in English.
Keep reading the news
It’s impossible to predict the future. Things may be completely different (and hopefully much better!) in a month or two’s time. This is why we advise you to keep an eye on the news. The best source of English-language news about Italy is ANSA, the main Italian news agency, the equivalent of Reuters or AP. Here is the official ANSA English-language site >
What you need to do to travel to Rome during the Covid-19 Pandemic
With that all out of the way, if you want to visit Rome during summer 2021, the questions to ask yourself are:
1. Am I allowed to enter Italy?
First, for all immigration matters, only ever rely on official government advice.
The answer to the above question depends on:
- Your residence (i.e. in which country you are officially registered as living)
- Your nationality (i.e. which passport you hold)
- The reason for your visit to Italy
- Which country you are flying from (or driving, taking the train, etc.)
- In which country you have been during the last 14 days
You will get the most up-to-date, definitive answer by completing a short, anonymous questionnaire produced by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
We are assuming that your motivation is tourism, though the questionnaire also covers other cases, While there are considerable restrictions on tourism, there are also many, many exceptions that may allow you to visit, not least (at the time of writing) the lack of requirement for self-isolation after taking a Covid-tested flight.
Note, the questionnaire will ask you what countries you have been in during the last 14 days. If you’ve just been in the same place, enter the same country name twice. This is entirely anonymous, so answer completely honestly.
While the questionnaire is short, the results page is very long, and though it starts with definitive-sounding exclusionary statements, it lists many exceptions to the basic travel bans, but much further down the page. We advise scrolling and reading it all.
Which list is my country on?
The answer given by the questionnaire will refer to a country list (e.g. “List B” or “List D”). To find out which list your country is in, you can find the latest list in the sidebar of the official Italian government list of countries by Covid status. (Unfortunately ‘List E’ indicates those countries for which the only inward travel allowed is Italians returning home.)
Please note that in Italy, sometimes even government websites may be a little out of date, so always attempt to cross-reference any information you receive.
2. How can I travel to Rome?If you are flying, you are very likely to have to produce some sort of Covid test to get on the plane, or possibly a vaccine certificate. Check with your own carrier as the rules for each airline and destination differ. Airlines are responsible for repatriating passengers who do not comply with national legislation, so they tend to be more conservative than the current national rules, in order not to take any chances. It is vital that you discover your airline’s requirement in advance.
Covid-free flights to Rome
By agreement between the Italian government and various other national governments and airlines, some flights are operating that require stringent negative tests, and do not require arriving passengers to self-isolate for ten days on arrival.
This includes a list of airports and countries from which Covid-tested flights are permitted.
For the official procedures for Covid-tested flights, as defined by the Airports Authority of Italy, read this.
3. What do I need to do to get into Italy?
- You are likely to have to produce the results of a negative Covid-19 test (and soon a vaccination certificate may be accepted) that was performed in your origin country within 48 hours of departure. The questionnaire will give you the latest, official rule.
- You also must register in advance for a Covid test on arrival, known as a Digital Health Pass. This must be done in advance. The cost is €20 (though it’s free in Milan).
- You will need to complete a European Digital Passenger Locator Form. This is must be done online here before flying, but is also available as a PDF download here if you do not have an electronic device.
- You are advised to register “with your local ASL” (the regional health service) but it’s unclear how non-residents can do this. More information should be available at the airport. We recommend attempting to call the national free Covid number, 1500 to ask what to do.
I’m fully vaccinated. Does that mean I can come and go freely / skip the test?
Not at the time of writing (June 2021). However there is every likelihood that this will change in the near future future and your vaccination status can be added to your Digital Health Pass.
4. What do I have to do when I’m in Italy?
The health security laws in Italy around Covid-19 are set at both a national and regional level.
Every few weeks, based on current Covid data, the Italian central government issues a decree (‘DCPM’) for laws that apply to the entire country during the crisis, but certain aspects of the rules are also A) determined by current infection/hospitalization rules based on the Covid zone system (see below), and B) open to the interpretation of regional governors: they may tighten up national regulations if required, either at a regional or a local level.
National Covid rules for Italy are available in English on the Ministry of Health website but also look for added regional restrictions here (warning – this link is not a government site, and therefore the information may be out of date).
Rules that apply throughout Italy currently include that masks must be worn outside private premises and indoor in public spaces, unless exercising, eating or drinking.
Regional norms are determined using a ‘traffic light’ system, which is based on a weekly assessment of health data.
Needless to say, regardless of your personal beliefs or feelings, you must respect the laws and norms of the country while you are visiting.
5. What do I need to do to leave Italy?
This is essentially the above three steps in reverse. The requirements for entry to your home country (or next port of call) are determined by that country’s health department. Check the border/immigration website of whichever country you are going to for the latest information.
Whether or not you can board your outgoing flight is determined by the airline. Check your airline’s website or call their helpline for the latest information.
Whatever happens, you may be obliged to have a Covid test in the last couple of days leading up to your arrival at the next destination. Here’s how to get a Covid-19 test in Rome >