While you’re in Rome you may need a Covid-19 test for medical reasons, for peace of mind, or as a travel requirement. Here’s how to get a Covid test in Rome, and the different tests available.
Related article: Find out if you can travel to Rome yet >
Many countries require a negative Covid test certificate before they will allow you across their border; many airlines require a negative test certificate before you are allowed to get on the plane. These certificates are usually required in the English language (some countries also accept Spanish), but the Italian authorities will only issue certificates in Italian – and countries such as the UK will not accept a translation of the test results – even an officially certified one – only the original. However, some private providers in Rome do issue PCR certificates in English. Below we explain how to get them.
Below we explain the different Covid tests available in Rome, and how to get a Covid test certificate in English. (Note that tampone means “swab”). All of these tests detect the presence, traces, or after-effects of the SARS-Cov-2 virus, which causes the disease Covid-19. There are three types of test:
Antigen test (sierologico)
This tests for the presence of antibodies that were caused by, or are currently being caused by, the virus. Depending on results, this could mean that you have had the disease in the past, or that you still have the disease.
You can get an antigen test for around €40-€50 at any analisi cliniche – medical laboratories (usually private) that are found all over the city. Use Google Maps to find your nearest lab. Results are available within about 4 hours.
Some countries are accepting antigen tests for entry, but the tests must fulfil a certain level of accuracy – ask the provider and check with your country’s entry requirement.
Lateral flow test (test rapido)
This tests for viral traces, costs about €30, and produces results in less than an hour. A positive result would indicate that you probably have the virus, but may also be recovering from it, and for 100% surety – and particularly for clinical uses – a positive or negative result would need to be confirmed by a PCR test. These tests are available by appointment at analisi cliniche, and without a reservation in the white tents outside many pharmacies.
Lateral flow tests are accepted by some but not all governments for travel from Italy – please check the latest official up-to-date information from the government of the country to which you are travelling.
Update, May 2021: there is now a Red Cross tent right in front of the main doors of Termini station that is offering FREE rapid tests to all, no appointment needed. The Red Cross center is open from 6.30 am until 2 pm every day of the week, including Sundays.
PCR swab test (tampone test molecolare)
This is the definitive Covid test, the type that can be used for travel and other legal reasons. The test is offered for free at drive-in centers by the ASL (health service) but to book a test you need a codice fiscale – an Italian tax code (similar to a social security or national insurance number). If you have a c.f. you can book a test here. Please note that the ASL does not provide test results in any language other than Italian.
If you need, or would prefer, to go to a private clinic, you can book a test from any of the regionally-approved providers listed here – prices as indicated on the list. However those providers may not provide a test certificate in English. To get a Covid-19 test certificate in the English language in Rome, read on.
How to get a Covid test certificate in English in Rome
If you need a test certificate in English – something required by most governments – you can book a PCR test from the private English-speaking clinics mentioned on this page, or by call-out to where you’re staying, for around €90-100, or from organizations like this one. Many of these clinics (such as the Artemisia chain) also offer test results in French and Spanish.
Finally, if you are flying and need a negative test, there are special provisions at Fiumicino Airport that allow you to obtain a prescription to have the test at the airport’s own facility. Please follow the instructions on the official airport website. Unfortunately at the time of writing it is still unclear if the airport service provides a English-language test certificate.