Italy travel: Am I allowed to visit, are hotels and restaurants open and what rules are in place?

Helen Coffey
·4-min read
 (Getty/iStock)
(Getty/iStock)

As tentative signs start to emerge of a revival for the travel industry, our minds are turning to potential holiday destinations for this summer.

While it may have started out as the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, Italy has since managed to admirably flatten the curve and open up to visitors again.

But can British holidaymakers get there? And will we be welcome if we do?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Italy from the UK?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a blanket warning against all non-essential international travel in March, but this has now been lifted for 67 destinations as of 4 July.

Italy was on this list, meaning Britons can now visit there without invalidating their travel insurance.

How could I get there?

A limited but regular schedule of flights is available.

EasyJet resumed flights from London Gatwick to Rome Fiumicino from 17 July and to Venice from 8 July.

Ryanair has been operating services from London Stansted to Rome Ciampino since 27 June, and resumed flying to Venice from 3 July.

British Airways has been operating London Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino flights since June.

Will they let me in when I arrive?

Yes – from 3 June, Italy reopened its borders to travellers from the EU and Schengen area and the UK as long as they have not been outside the bloc in the previous two weeks.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?

At the moment, no. From 3 June, Italy has allowed Brits to enter the country with no need to quarantine for two weeks.

Can I travel within Italy?

Yes: travel between Italian regions is now permitted. However, individual regions can impose certain conditions on entry should they wish.

Within regions, public transport is now operating in line with local guidelines. National government authorities may restrict public transport between regions, but a minimum essential service is still guaranteed to keep operating to get people around.

Be aware that transport hubs and modes of transport will have measures in place, such as requiring travellers to wear masks and social distance, designating difference doors for entry and exit on buses, and installing temperature scanners at train stations and airports.

Are hotels open?

Yes, many of Italy’s finest hotels have been opening since early June. These include the Il Palazzo Experimental in Venice, Villa Lena in Tuscany, Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology in Rome and the Mandarin Oriental in Lake Como.

As of 5 June, 40 per cent of all Italy’s hotels had reopened, reports The Local – that number has likely increased since.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

Italy has been easing lockdown measures since mid-May.

Cafés, bars, pubs, restaurants, ice-cream shops, patisseries and other eateries are now permitted to open with certain restrictions on the number of patrons. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn by staff and customers and social distancing rules must be followed.

Parks and beach resorts can also open, as can most shops – again, with social distancing measures in place.

As of 15 June, concert halls, theatres and cinemas have been able to reopen with strict rules around spaced seating and audience numbers (no more than 200 people indoors, or 1,000 outdoors).

Cultural attractions have also started opening their doors. In Venice, the famed Doge’s Palace reopened on 13 June; the Leaning Tower of Pisa opened at the start of June.

What rules are in place?

It’s currently compulsory to wear a mask in enclosed spaces including public transport or anywhere where it may not be possible to exercise social distancing.

Will I have to quarantine when I come home?

Not anymore.

Although the government implemented a blanket two-week quarantine for all inbound arrivals on 8 June, from 10 July this was lifted for certain countries.

Places regarded as “low-risk” by the Joint Biosecurity Centre – which was set up to coordinate the government’s response to the pandemic – are now exempt from mandatory self-isolation.

Italy is one of the 59 destinations that is exempt for travellers entering England, Wales or Northern Ireland, and is on Scotland’s separate list of 57 countries from where arrivals no longer need to quarantine.

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