Sicily Travel News

September 21, 2021

As of 30 August 2021, for U.S. citizens to enter and travel to Italy you must present upon departure from the United States
 
Anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination certificate;
 
OR
 
Certificate proving that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months;
 
PLUS
 
A negative test within 72 hours of departure
 
PLUS
 
Digital Passenger Locator Form (to avoid 5 day quarantine on arrival in Italy), found here: https://app.euplf.eu/#/form
Plus… If you are arriving at (or departing from) Palermo airport, then complete this form:
 
At this time, there is not an equivalent form for entering Sicily via Catania.
 
Vaccination certificates must be in English, and include at least the following information:
 
– Identity data of certificate holder:
– Vaccination Name and Batch
– Date/s of vaccination/s (showing at least 14 days from the last dosage administered)
– Identity data of entity issuing the certificate
 
Recovery certificates must include the following information:
 
-Identity data of certificate holder:
– Information on certificate holder’s previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, following a positive test (date of the first positive test)
– Identity data of entity issuing the certificate

August 6, 2021

From August 6, a “Green Pass” system is in place in Italy. Essentially, to enter venues (including restaurants, theaters, events, and museums) inside, you will need to present proof of vaccination, that you’ve had COVID-19 (and therefore antibodies), or that you have had a negative COVID test within the last 48-hours.

Hotels are not in this category, but may decide on their own how to proceed.

Americans should be prepared to present their CDC vaccination cards. This is the easiest way to be passed through. Otherwise, you must present your negative test results that are no more than 48-hours old and from an Italian laboratory. To prove you have antibodies because you have recovered from COVID-19, have that paperwork too (I’m not exactly sure how that works!).

Bottom line: Have your CDC vaccination card with you at all times. You will need to show it to access museums, venues, restaurants, and theaters.

If you are traveling to Italy, start here to learn of steps you need to take to enter without issue. And read on below.

This article from The Local is also very helpful to prepare for your travels.

This article from the Washington Post offers an excellent explanation of what you can expect.

NB I will be traveling to Sicily on August 9. Follow Experience Sicily Tours (Owner/Curator, Allison Scola) on Instagram @experiencesicily and on our Facebook page for real-time updates on travel and what is happening in Sicily.

Starting September 1, passengers on Italian domestic flights, ferries and long-distance trains and buses will be required to present their Green Pass or CDC vaccination card (etc.) to board.

July 14, 2021

This article from The Local will help you sort through the entry soup. Bottom line:

  • Bring your CDC vaccination card.
  • Make sure it’s been 14 days since your second shot.
  • Fill out the European Union Passenger Locator Form (EU dPLF) and have a few printed copies with you.

If you are flying on a COVID-tested flight, be sure to have a negative COVID-19 test result within 48-hours of departure.

Plan to get a COVID-19 test (That is negative!) at least 48-hours before leaving Italy. You’ll need to present the results at your departure airport upon check-in in order to board the plane and enter the United States.

 

July 8, 2021

Italy is open to tourism with a few caveats. Before arriving at the airport for your flight, be sure to educate yourself regarding entry regulations regarding COVID-19 testing, vaccination requirements, and the European Union Passenger Locator Form (EU dPLF).

Please read below for details regarding COVID-tested flights from the United States in order to avoid quarantines, and more. You must have a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to departure on your COVID-tested flights.

United States citizens who present a negative COVID test taken within 48-hours of boarding your flight, enter on a COVID-tested flight, have a negative COVID test upon arrival in Italy at the airport, and have proof of vaccination may enter Italy without having to quarantine.

On June 28, the outdoor mask mandate was dropped. This article explains the rules about mask wearing.

This is a helpful article from The Local about traveling to Italy this summer.

This Italian Ministry of Health website explains officially what you need to know about entering and how to properly prepare. 

~ Allison Scola, Owner/Curator of Experience Sicily

 

Amuni, Palermo street art

May 21, 2021

From the New York Times, May 19, 2021:

“The European Union agreed on Wednesday to reopen its borders to visitors who have been fully vaccinated with an approved shot and to those coming from a list of countries considered safe from a coronavirus perspective, permitting broader travel just in time for the summer tourism season.”

“Under the E.U. plan, the bloc would accept visitors who have completed their immunization at least two weeks before their arrival …  immunized Americans, who have been receiving shots from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.”

“Europeans will be furnished with digital certificates that will be readable across the bloc sometime in June. The European Union ultimately wants to bridge its own certificates with those issued by the national authorities in partner countries such as the United States, but that goal could be far off.”

“The European Union has been discussing with American officials the possibility of making U.S.-issued vaccine certificates acceptable in the bloc, even as questions persist about the use of such documents.”

“The draft document of the rules indicated that children would not be required to be vaccinated when traveling with vaccinated parents but that they might be asked to show a negative PCR test conducted no more than 72 hours before arrival.”

Other Information 

Currently through June 30, American travelers taking COVID-tested flights will not be required to quarantine upon arrival if they have two negative COVID-19 tests.

Airlines are currently offering COVID-tested flights to Italy are as follows:

  • Alitalia/Delta: New York JFK to Rome FCO; New York to Venice (starting in July); Atlanta to Venice (starting in August)
  • AA Flights to Rome and Milan
  • United to Rome (Check the United website for Milan.)

You must have a negative COVID-test 48-hours prior to departure and then have a negaative test result upon arrival at the Italian airport

It is obligatory for travelers to complete the European Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF), the European digital form that helps Public Health Authorities to contact you in the event of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 during your trip.

When returning to the United States, everyone departing from a foreign airport is required to present a negative COVID-test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, even if vaccinated upon check-in.

In Summary

Travel to Italy is permitted for tourism. Be sure to reserve an Alitalia, American, or United COVID-tested flight (these are clearly marked during online reservations) to avoid quarantine in Italy.  Currently, these flights are until June 30. As we approach June 30, the Italian Ministry of Health will announce the next phase.


May 14, 2021

Today, the Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, signed an ordinance endorsing more COVID-tested flights to be offered for international travelers. Starting May 16, COVID testing will be extended to those arriving on such designated flights at the airports of Venice and Naples, in addition to the already existing sites of Milan and Rome.

Therefore, tourists arriving from Canada, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and the United States will be able to arrive in Italy quarantine-free.

This is excellent news for American tourists. It means that Italy is moving to thoughtfully open its borders to tourism as Prime Minister Mario Draghi indicated last week.

~ Allison Scola, Experience Sicily

Ragusa Ibla Duomo di San Giorgio

May 6, 2021

Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi is moving to open the county’s borders to international travelers in the next weeks according to Travel Market Report.

This is welcome news because it will allow the tourism industry to begin a journey towards re-opening.

I report this update to you with an aire of caution–I don’t want my readers to purchase their airline tickets yet. I am very aware of the situation in Sicily, and although I will go in July or August, because I travel to Sicily often, for my clients and potential clients who have been waiting and saving to travel to Sicily, I urge you further patience. The “La dolce vita” that you will expect from your trip will take some time to return.

I am in constant contact with my colleagues, friends, and family. For you, I want an Italy that will surely stay open and be ready to serve you. One where restaurants are open, where hotels have full staffs who are trained to provide you with optimal service, and where rental cars and attendants are available when you arrive at the agency counter. Tourism is a complicated, large machine–I know they will be ready for us–at the level of service we expect in the fall.

Patience continues to be my motto, and I recommend it for you as well. Your money will best be spent after September 15.

For more about the “Green Certificate,” see this article from the Washington Post.

I’ll be updating this page as more news becomes available. 

~ Allison Scola, Owner of Experience Sicily

May 3, 2021

France will open its borders on June 9 using a tiered approach. No news yet from Italy, but this will give you an idea of how the Italian government may approach opening.

This news confirms much of what I’ve been thinking–although we may be able to enter Italy, I will not recommend my clients to go before late summer because the situation is capable of changing rapidly.

CNN published a detailed article explaining that ministers in the European Union will meet on May 5 to discuss which countries’ citizens will be permitted entry and the parameters that they’re require for such.  This list will be evaluated every two weeks.

The Washington Post published an article which goes into more detail about the “Green Certificate” otherwise known as a vaccination passport.

Watch this space for updates as they become available.


Yellow daises in springtime in a field in southeastern Sicily (Photo by Allison Scola).

April 26, 2021

Interest in traveling abroad is warming up, and we at Experience Sicily are preparing to help you when we receive a green light—right now however, we’re continuing to practice patience knowing that the U.S. Department of State is still recommending against international travel.

Travel to Sicily in 2021
There is hope, however. In mid-May the Biden administration will announce its plans for reopening U.S. borders to European Union citizens. Once that happens, the E.U. will want to reciprocate. French president Emmanuel Macron was on Face the Nation last weekend and said that French ministers are in discussion with our government officials regarding opening France to vaccinated Americans. They are working out the technicalities of a travel certificate (AKA a “green passport”) that documents negative test results, vaccination status, and/or antibody presence in order to strategically open borders. American Airlines was recently approved by the Italian government to operate COVID-tested, quarantine-free flights from New York JFK to Milan and Rome. Like the Alitalia flights that have been offered since last fall, you will have to prove a negative COVID test taken within 48-hours of boarding and then take another test upon arrival in Italy. Of course, currently you must have approved reasons for travel to board any of these flights and enter, so don’t pack just yet. The existence of these flights is a good sign.

On Sunday, April 25, the New York Times released an interview with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, during which she essentially said “American tourists who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to visit the European Union over the summer.”

So, progress is being made, but not so fast.

The State of COVID-19 in Sicily and Italy
After a slow start to vaccination roll-out, Italy’s distribution is increasing. As of this writing, 9% of their population has been fully vaccinated, while more than 21% have received at least one vaccine dose. In Sicily, infection numbers increased after Easter, much of it due to the British variant. I know from colleagues and family members that although the region is currently in a Zona Arancione (Orange Zone/medium restrictions) with Palermo Province remaining in a Zona Rossa (Red Zone/lockdown) to get numbers under control, Sicilians are committed to following the restrictions to return to a Zona Gialla later this month (Yellow Zone, i.e., eased restrictions that include restaurants opening even in the evenings). As the region is currently receiving more dosages of the vaccines, Sicilians all have their eyes on summer with the aforementioned green certificate expected to be widely used to re-start leisure activities and encourage vaccination rates. As of this writing 8% of Sicilians have received two vaccine doses. 18% have received their first dose.

All Things Considered
In sum, there is movement behind our governments’ desires to open the borders safely while controlling the virus. The European public relations machine is weaving its web. My sense is that summer travel to Europe may happen (Iceland, Greece, Croatia, and Malta have all announced that they will receive tourists who meet their COVID-free expectations, and airlines are adding international flights every day.); however, I report this with caution. (NB Italy remains in a state of emergency until July 31.) I am hopeful that by September, Italy will open its borders for Americans and our October Stunning Sicily tour will host a small group.

Please join me in holding a sense of idealism that we are moving in the right direction! Even if we’re not through this yet.

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