This week marks a watershed moment for British families with a penchant for the Tuscan hills, an overflowing bowl of rigatoni or the colorful harbour towns of the Amalfi Coast, but who don’t love twizzling a swab up their noses.
From tomorrow (March 1) Italy will relax its testing requirements for fully vaccinated British arrivals, making it the final major European destination to do so after Spain, France and Greece dropped testing requirements for British arrivals in recent weeks.
The rule change means that you can show evidence of a full course of the vaccination, or recent recovery, to enter Italy without a test. Previously, the rule was that all arrivals must take a test regardless of vaccination status, making Italy one of the strictest countries in Europe for British holiday makers.
The rule changes also mean that unvaccinated British travelers will be able to enter Italy quarantine-free with proof of a negative test. Prior to March 1, self-isolation rules applied for unvaccinated Britons and accompanying unvaccinated minors.
The new rules changes mean Italy will be treating UK arrivals the same as arrivals from the EU.
There are, however, still some hurdles in place. Italy’s’Super Green Pass’ is still off limits to unvaccinated children aged six to 17, making a family holiday to Italy potentially problematic. There are also strict mask rules in place, and you may need a booster to enter the country.
There are the hurdles that could still derail your next holiday to Italy.
Masks are still worn indoors
Italy may not be your best option, if you have grown used to going about your life without a piece of cloth strapped to your face. All adults must carry a mask with them when leaving their home or accommodation. Everyone aged six and over must wear Masks are also still mandatory at large gatherings such as sporting events, and you must wear an FFP2 mask on your flight to Italy. These rules are in place until March 31 at the earliest. Check the FCDO page for more information.
Unvaccinated children must still take a test to enter Italy
From March 1, while children under six may accompany adults with the correct paperwork, unvaccinated children aged 17 and under must still provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test to enter. Only children aged 12 and above have currently been offered the vaccine in the UK, meaning children aged six to 12 must take a PCR test 48 hours before travel, or a lateral flow 24 hours before travel, to enter Italy.
Unvaccinated over-12s are banned from indoor venues
To enter indoor venues such as restaurants, cafes and bars, you must show a’Super Green Pass’, which is effectively proof of full vaccination. The pass is valid for six months after a second jab and without limit after a booster, and / or recent recovery from Covid within 180 days.
This means that teenagers aged 12 and above will not be able to enter bars, restaurants or hotels unless they had two doses. Children under 12 are exempt from having to present the Super Green Pass.
You must fill in a form to enter
Before you travel, you must complete the EU’s digital Passenger Locator Form (PLF), via the EUdPLF application. According to the FCDO: “This will generate a QR code, which should be presented to your travel provider and Border Police if [requested]. “One form must be completed for each adult – accompanying children can be registered on the same form.”
You may need a booster to enter
The Super Green Pass is valid if you received your second dose within the last six months, or a booster, or proof of recovery within 180 days. Without this, you will need to take a PCR test every 72 hours (or antigen every 48 hours) ) while in Italy to access venues. This came into effect February 7.
It is unclear, however, whether the same validity period will apply to people entering Italy. Many European countries have imposed a cut-off for the second jab, usually 270 days or nine months before travel, so it is possible Italy could do the same . Check the FCDO Italy page for the latest information.
But there is hope for your Easter holiday
Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has told the press that after Italy’s state of emergency ends on March 31, the use of the Super Green Pass will be phased out gradually.
“We will gradually put an end to the enhanced green certificate obligation, starting with outdoor activities including fairs, sports, parties and shows,” he told reporters.
This means that the tight restrictions on unvaccinated under-17s could be removed in time for the Easter break.