Sicily Travel News

May 10, 2022

Current COVID-19 Guidelines for Travel to Italy

For U.S. citizens to enter and travel to Italy, this is the official website of the Italian government for the best, most accurate information:  https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it/returningtoitaly.html

Follow the instructions below to understand your requirments for entering Italy. One of the following is required upon check-in at the departure airport:

  • full vaccination with EMA-authorised vaccine (Moderna, Pfizer, J&J), issued less than 9 months ago (EU Digital Certification or equivalent certification for Italian authorities);
  • full vaccination with EMA-authorised vaccine and booster dose, in EU Digital Certification format or equivalent certification for Italian authorities;
  • certificate of recovery from COVID-19, issued less than 6 months ago (EU Digital Certification format or equivalent certification for Italian authorities);
  • negative molecular swab test result within 72 hours prior to entry into Italy or antigenic swab test within 48 hours prior to entry into Italy;

Vaccination and recovery certificates in Italy hold a validity of 6 months only, as of February 1, 2022. With Legislative Decree of February 4, 2022 n. 5, the Government established an exception to the 6-month rule.

At present, in Italy, vaccination certificates showing proof of a third dose or “booster” shot hold an unlimited validity.

No More Passenger Locator Form

As of May 1, the Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) is no longer required when travelling to Italy.


Italy’s “Green Pass” is Abolished

In Italy, there is no longer an obligation to show the so-called “Green Pass” for access to transport, catering or hotel services, nor for access to other commercial facilities. For more details, please refer to Decree-Law no. 24 of 24 March 2022.

International visitors to Italy do not need to present an Italian “Green Pass” equivalent in the form of a foreign-issued vaccination card or recovery certificate to enter any venue (apart from hospitals or care homes).

From May 1, it is mandatory to wear FFP2 type respiratory protective equipment in the following cases:

(a) for access to and use of the following means of transport:

1) aircraft used for commercial passenger transport services;
2. ships and ferries engaged in interregional transport services; and
3) trains used in interregional, Intercity, Intercity Night and High Speed passenger rail transport services;
4) Buses and coaches engaged in passenger transport services, of an undifferentiated nature, operated on a continuous or periodic basis by road on routes linking more than two regions and having fixed routes, timetables, frequencies and prices;
(5) buses used for rental services with driver
6) vehicles used in local or regional public transport services;
7) means of school transport dedicated to primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school students;

b) for shows open to the public that take place indoors in theatres, concert halls, cinemas, entertainment and live music venues and other assimilated premises, as well as for sports events and competitions that take place indoors.

It is recommended to wear respiratory protective devices in all indoor public places or places open to the public.


 

March 13, 2022

For U.S. citizens to enter and travel to Italy, this is the official website of the Italian government for the best, most accurate information:  https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it/returningtoitaly.html

Follow the instructions above to understand your requirments for entering. Note that new information will most likely be announced for entry after April 1, 2022.
Current COVID-19 Guidelines for Travel to Italy

Fully vaccinated travelers must have proof of having received the full course of vaccination with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer-BioNTEch, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson are all approved.), a minimum of 14 days before travel, and a maximum of 270 days (9 months) before traveling to Italy. The vaccine proof must be written in Italian, English, French, or Spanish.

Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test result.

Travelers who are not eligible for the EU Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent for full vaccination or recovery need to follow the testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers:

  • Negative molecular swab test result within 72 hours prior to entry into Italy or antigenic swab test within 48 hours prior to entry into Italy.

All travelers must present a Digital Passenger Locator Form (Found here: https://app.euplf.eu/#/) prior to checking-in to your international flight to Italy. The dPLF can be produced in digital or paper format.

Super Green Pass

In Italy you may need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or of having recovered from COVID-19, in order to access certain services (so called “Super Green Pass”).

Vaccination and recovery certificates in Italy hold a validity of 6 months only, as of February 1, 2022.

With Decree-Law of February 4, 2022 n. 5, the Government established an exception to the 6-month rule. Such exception applies to any person coming to Italy from abroad, whose vaccination or recovery certificate is older than 6 months. For the sole purpose of accessing services and facilities in Italy, which require the use of a Strengthened Green Pass, these individuals may show a proof of a negative test result, either molecular or antigenic. In this case, a molecular test is valid for 72 hours; an antigenic test is valid for 48 hours. Such exception applies as well to those who have received a vaccination with a vaccine not authorised by EMA or not recognized as equivalent in Italy.

Until 31 March 2022, wearing a mask is compulsory when indoor, in any place other than a private housing. Outdoors, individuals should always carry with them a personal protective device (mask) in order to use it if necessary (i.e. gatherings, queues and alike). There are few exceptions such as minors under the age of 6, persons experiencing temporary or permanent disabilities or who are performing sports activities. Italian Regions may adopt further restrictions.

From 10 January to 31 March 2022, access to:

– Hotels and other accommodation facilities, including in-house catering services reserved for customers;

– Public transport (planes, trains, ships and ferries used for interregional transport services, buses, cable cars, gondolas, chairlifts)

– Conventions, congresses, festivals, fairs;

– Festivals following civil and religious ceremonies;

– museums and exhibitions or other places of culture

– spas (except for essential services for rehabilitation and therapeutic purposes), cultural, social and recreational centres, theme and amusement parks;

is allowed ONLY to persons in possession of a Strengthened Green Pass. Children under the age of 12 and persons exempt from the vaccination campaign on the basis of appropriate medical certification are exempt.

The Strengthened Green Pass requirement does not apply to international flights but only to flights connecting Italian cities (domestic flights, e.g. Rome – Milan).

See below for continuing entry requirements (proof of vaccination, negative test, and passenger locator form).

December 17, 2021

For U.S. citizens to enter and travel to Italy … 
 

In accordance with [Italian] Prime Ministerial Decree of March 2, 2021 and Order of October 22, 2021 of the Minister of Health, people who have stayed in or transited in the United States in the 14 days prior to entering Italy must:

  1. fill out a digital Passenger Locator Form (only in case of lack of necessary tools to fill out the dPLF, you can use a paper-based self-declarationand present it to the carrier or any other authorized person, either printed or on one’s mobile device.
  2. present to the carrier, or any other authorized person, a certificate of vaccination* stating that the cycle of vaccination has been completed with an EMA-authorized vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) or EU Green Pass proving the same;
  3. undergo a molecular test, carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 72 hours before they arrive, or an antigen test, carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 24 hours before they arrive.**

In case of lack of the certification under point 2, travellers may still enter Italy but they must:

  • undergo a molecular test, carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 72 hours before they arrive, or an antigen test, carried out by means of a swab and with negative result, in the 24 hours before they arrive.;
  • self-isolate for five (5) days, activating local health surveillance procedures by informing Local Health Authorities.
  • get tested again, upon completing the prescribed self-isolation.

Travellers coming from Canada, Japan or the United States may enter/return to Italy with a certificate of vaccination or a certificate of recovery in the form of a Digital Covid Certificate, or equivalent certificate, issued by local Health Authorities. They must take also a molecular or antigenic test in the 72 hours prior to entering Italy, carried out by means of a swab, and with negative result. Otherwise, travellers from Canada, Japan or the United States may still enter Italy following general provisions for Countries in List D, as described above (test, self-isolation and subsequent test).

The provisions described above were updated December 16, 2021.

Border Officers in Italy may always request that you fill out a paper-based self-statement upon arrival.

Please visit https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it/returningtoitaly.html for the official statement from the Italian government. 

 *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
**An antigen test (i.e. rapid test) is fast – providing results in minutes. But there is a catch: It is much less sensitive than the molecular/PCR test. There needs to be more virus present before the test will turn positive.
 

A “Green Pass” system is in place in Italy. Essentially, to enter venues (including restaurants, hotels, theaters, events, and museums) inside and take public transportation, 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.

Americans should be prepared to present their CDC vaccination cards along with their passports (I recommend taking a photo of both to demonstrate them. Leave your passport in the safe at your hotel. Use your actual CDC card with a photo of your passport.). This is the easiest way to gain access when a “Green Pass” is requested. 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!).

In sum: Have your CDC vaccination card with you at all times and show a picture of your passport. You will need to show your CDC card and ID to access museums, venues, restaurants, hotels, and theaters.

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

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.


RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES

U.S. Citizens Required to Test Within One Day of Travel

Effective December 6, all U.S. citizens, regardless of vaccination status, will need to show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 1 day of travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight. Previously, all vaccinated travelers were required to produce a negative viral test result within three days of travel to the United States, and unvaccinated U.S. citizens to show negative test taken within one day of departure. The test can be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) such as a PCR test.
Mask Mandate Extended

The federal mask mandate on public transportation, including international travel, will be extended through March 18, 2022. This includes transportation hubs such as airports and indoor bus terminals. Fines for noncompliance are a minimum of $500 and up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.

SELF-TESTING KITS

Check out this website for self-testing kits to bring with you |  EMed: https://www.emed.com/airline-travel

This article is a testimonial regarding how the DIY test kits work: https://thepointsguy.com/news/us-entry-testing-easy/.


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.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathy Hynes-Kadish says:

    What about travel in 2022?

    1. Allison Scola says:

      What would you like to know? It is safe to travel! Italy is open with more than 80% of Italians vaccinated with at least two shots.

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