So you want to plan your dream vacation to Italy but you’re not sure if Americans are allowed to visit Italy. You know that Italy has travel restrictions but what does that mean for American tourists? You’ve heard that a “Green Pass” is required for European travel but aren’t sure what that means. There’s a lot of confusion about the EU’s Green Pass and travel restrictions because, of course, the Covid-19 situation is fluid. No one knows what the future will bring and governments continue to change travel restrictions fairly often.
In August of 2021 the EU introduced a “Green Pass” which is essentially a European digital vaccine passport. Since the rollout of the new policy, many US tourists have been left wondering what it means for their travel plans. In the last year, I’ve made two trips to the US and found navigating all the entry requirements confusing and frustrating. If you’re planning a trip to Italy, here are some useful tips and info I’ve learned over the last year.
Can Americans travel to Italy?
Yes, American tourists can travel to Italy! According to the Italian Ministry of Health, here are the conditions for entering Italy:
- Americans who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to their departure can enter Italy without having to quarantine or take a Covid test on arrival.
- Up until September 1, 2021, Americans who are unvaccinated but arrive on a “Covid-free” flight can also skip quarantine but you’ll have to take a molecular or an antigen test within 48 hours before your flight and once you land you have to take yet another test at the airport (free of charge). If you test positive, you’ll be put in isolation. This sounds like a scary scenario and not much info is available as to what this “isolation” looks like. As of September 1, 2021, proof of full vaccination is required.
Can Americans get an EU Green Pass?
Well, technically, no. You must be an EU resident who has been vaccinated in Europe to get a Green Pass. But the good news is if you’ve been vaccinated in the US you don’t need a Green Pass. Your CDC vaccination card is the equivalent of a Green Pass.
What are the current Covid restrictions in Italy?
As of writing this, all of Italy is in the white zone which essentially means there are no lockdowns or measures in place restricting people from traveling or moving around the country. As we approach the fall season and Italians return from vacations, that may change but for the time being, we’re free to travel and everything is open. The only restrictions still place are social distancing and mask-wearing indoors.
When will I need to show my vaccine card while I’m in Italy?
Here is the list from the Italian Health Ministry:
- catering services provided by any establishment for consumption at the table, indoors (indoor dining);
- shows open to the public, sporting events and competitions;
- museums, other institutes and places of culture and exhibitions;
- swimming pools, swimming centers, gyms, team sports, wellness centers, even within accommodation facilities, limited to indoor activities;
- festivals and fairs, conferences and congresses;
- spas, theme and amusement parks;
- cultural centers, social and recreational centers, limited to indoor activities and with the exception of educational centers for children, including summer centers, and related catering activities;
- gaming rooms, betting rooms, bingo halls and casinos;
- public competitions.
Also, as of September 1, 2021, you have to show proof of vaccination for the following:
- aircraft engaged in commercial passenger transport services;
- ships and ferries used for interregional transport services, with the exception of those used for maritime connections in the Strait of Messina;
- trains used in Inter City, Inter City Night and High Speed passenger rail transport services;
- buses used for passenger transport services, with an undifferentiated offer, carried out on the road continuously or periodically on a route that connects more than two regions and with pre-established itineraries, timetables, frequencies and prices; buses used for rental services with driver, with the exception of those used in additional local and regional public transport services.
Tips for tourists visiting Italy:
- Buy your tickets in advance. In the last week as I’ve acted as tour guide for family that is visiting, I’ve noticed lines are longer to enter museums and historical sites and sadly, there’s no increase in the number of staff at most places, so plan accordingly. If you’re able to buy your tickets online in advance, do so to avoid long lines. As we’ve entered each place, we’re asked for the Green Pass, we then announce we’re American, flash our passports and vaccine cards, and are allowed in without a problem.
- Whether you decide to eat dinner outdoors or indoors, it’s always a good idea to make reservations, especially on the weekends. Restaurants have to maintain social distancing rules consequently there are less tables available. Don’t wait until dinner time to pick a restaurant. Do a little homework in advance and book your table.
- Take advantage of the city tourist passes. Some Italian cities sell tourist passes that allow you to visit most of the city’s sights for one price. In some cities there are separate entrances for pass holders which allows you to skip the line and save a considerable amount of time.