Updated: March 28, 2022
Italy’s government has announced it will lift all Covid-19 health restrictions by early summer, with some set to end as soon as April 1st. What does this mean if you're travelling to Italy?
Italy plans to ease its 'green pass' rules for tourists are set to change at hotels and restaurants.
As Italy prepares, in the words of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, to gradually “eliminate all the restrictions that have limited our behaviour”, the text of the government’s latest decree has confirmed which rules will be eased as of April 1st.
The Italian government published the long-awaited final text (see it here, in Italian) on Friday, more than a week after it announced the document’s approval.
Italian media reports based on a draft of the decree had stated that some rules would be lifted sooner for international tourists than for residents. But the publication of the decree confirmed that all of April’s rule changes will apply to residents and tourists alike.
Here are the rule changes you should know about if you’ll be travelling in Italy from April 1st:
Bars and restaurants
As of April 1st, proof of a negative Covid test result will be enough for entry to indoor bars and restaurants.
Since January, entry to many venues, including bars and restaurants, has been limited only to those who can show a valid ‘super’ green pass – which is issued based on proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid-19, but not via testing.
The change in rules opens up these venues to people who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 as long as they test negative.
Proof of a negative test result must be shown via a valid green pass base, or ‘basic’ green pass – the digital health certificate released after obtaining a test result from a certificated provider in Italy (such as a pharmacy or clinic).
However, if you’re in Italy for a longer stay bear in mind that you will need to be tested every couple of days to retain access to a valid green pass.
Passes issued based on the results of PCR tests are valid for 72 hours (from the time of testing). For rapid tests, the validity period is 48 hours.
From April 1st, visitors staying in hotels and B&Bs will also be able to access restaurants, bars and dining rooms located in their accommodation without any type of green pass.
The basic green pass (see above) will allow access to long-distance public transport, including domestic flights, ferries, high-speed and intercity trains and coaches.
Stadiums and theatres
The basic green pass (see above) will be adequate for “public participation in shows open to the public, as well as in sporting events and competitions which take place outdoors”, reads the decree text.
In other words, proof of a negative test result will now be accepted in order to access stadiums, concerts and open-air theatre performances or cinema screenings.
For indoor venues, the ‘super’ green pass remains a requirement (proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid-19, but not via testing).
Green pass requirements are then expected to be eased further from May 1st.
Meanwhile, Italy’s existing requirement to wear a mask in all indoor and some outdoor public areas will remain in place for everyone in the country until May 1st.
The use of Ffp2 face masks will remain mandatory on all means of transport (including on ski lifts and in taxis) and at cinemas, theatres and many other venues.
The plan for easing Italy’s domestic restrictions does not affect the rules for international arrivals, which were last updated at the beginning of March.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed that his cabinet had finally approved the long-awaited decreto riapertura, or ‘reopening decree’, laying out the country’s roadmap towards the end of the current Covid restrictions by early summer.
Draghi thanked the public for the “patience and altruism demonstrated in these years” and added that it was now time for government policy to “adapt on the basis of the epidemiological curve”.
Few details of the contents of the decree were given at the press conference, and the official text will likely only be published at the start of next week. But here’s what we do know so far about the gradual lifting of Covid restrictions and their likely timeline, based on the government’s announcement and unofficial reports.
Draghi and Health Minister Roberto Speranza confirmed that measures will be lifted over a number of weeks. The dates that you should circle in your calendar are April 1st, May 1st and June 15th.
Italy’s state of emergency will officially end on March 31st, over two years after it was first introduced to tackle the spread of the virus. Current restrictions will be gradually relaxed or removed starting from the following day, Friday, April 1st.
From this date, the green pass or certificato verde will no longer be needed to access museums, shops and local offices (including bank branches and post offices) nor to consume drinks or food in outdoor venues.
On public transport, passengers will no longer be required to have a valid certificato verde. That being said, it might be necessary to take a rapid Covid test before boarding planes or trains, and the use of Ffp2 face masks will remain mandatory on all means of transport.
April 1st will also likely see the end of the quarantena preventiva (preemptive quarantine). Briefly, those coming in contact with people who have tested positive for Covid will no longer be asked to self-isolate.
There’s good news for partygoers and sports fans too as the capacity of outdoor clubs and stadiums will be restored to 100 percent.
Finally, for indoorbars and restaurants, Italian residents will have to keep displaying a valid super green pass (i.e. the certificate granted via vaccination against or recovery from Covid) for entry, whereas a green pass base (the ‘basic’ version, afforded by a negative Covid test result) will suffice for tourists.
According to the latest reports, on May 1st, Italy will finally bid farewell to the much-contested green pass.
There will likely be an exception though. Those wishing to visit friends or relatives in hospitals or care homes will be required to show a valid ‘super green pass’. This measure is expected to remain in place until at least December 31st, 2022.
Also from May 1st, Italy will likely say goodbye to another staple of the ‘Covid era’, namely face masks. Masks will no longer be necessary on public transport nor in indoor venues.
June 15th should seal the end of all Covid-related measures. As anticipated by the Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, compulsory Covid vaccination for people over 50, teachers and police forces will be scrapped altogether.
It is worth reminding however that, although mandatory vaccination will remain in place throughout April and May, people over 50 will only be required to provide a valid green pass base in order to work. This marks a large departure from previous measures, which effectively prevented all residents without a valid super green pass from working.
Yet again though, there will be an exception. Vaccination will remain mandatory for hospital and care home workers up until the end of 2022. Failure to comply will be met with a €100 fine.
Find information about Italy’s Covid-19 rules on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).