You’ll no longer need a ‘green pass’ to move throughout Italy
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With just weeks to go before we can officially say the summer travel season is underway, Italy joined the list of countries that have greatly relaxed COVID-19 restrictions as the month of May kicks off. The country was among the hardest hit in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it has spent a good portion of the last couple of years with tight restrictions that have governed not just who can cross its borders, but where they can go.
As of May 1, though, Italy removed the requirement that tourists (and residents) display a “green pass” to get into just about anywhere you would want to go if you were visiting the country.
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As TPG reported during visits to Italy last year, the green pass and “super green pass” requirements essentially served as versions of what you might have thought of as “vaccine passports,” required for access to everything from restaurants and bars to hotels, museums and even ski lifts. The pass gave leeway to unvaccinated travelers, too, since those who had recovered from COVID-19 could get a pass that would stay valid for a shorter time. Those who had just tested negative for the virus could also get a short-term pass.
This all goes away, essentially, under the new changes. You won’t need a green pass to get into public places once you’re actually in Italy.
The change certainly means easier movement around the country for tourists, just as Italy — along with much of Europe — prepares to welcome international visitors this summer, its biggest wave since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Getting into Italy
You’ll still need to upload some documentation to get into the country. However, the entry requirements are pretty flexible to allow for both vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors.
If you’re vaccinated, uploading proof of the shots received within the last nine months is all you need. If you’re not vaccinated, you’ll have to either upload proof of a negative test taken within the last 48 hours, or show documentation that you’ve recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months.
On the official tourism site for Italy, there’s a questionnaire that will help walk you through what documentation you’ll need based on your own vaccination and/or COVID-19 history.
One thing that’s not going away even as Italy loosens its green pass requirements for tourism within the country is masks.
Through at least June 15, Italy’s government is continuing to require face coverings on public transportation, as well as for indoor gathering places like theaters, cinemas, concert halls and indoor sporting events.
Getting to Italy
There’s been plenty said about high prices for travel as we head into the summer — to the point I wrote a story about why you should consider traveling in the fall instead of the summer. However, I was encouraged to find some pretty decent airfares to Italy – if you book right away and plan to travel at the beginning of summer.
Checking Google Flights, one of the cheapest options out of the New York area I found for the entire summer travel season involved a departure on Memorial Day on SAS. For $481 you can get a round trip between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO). You’ll have a short layover in Copenhagen on the way out. On the way home, you’ll have a one-night stopover there — not long enough to do much sightseeing, but you could grab a quick breakfast in the city before your flight home to Newark.
Meanwhile, one of the best options I found out of Los Angeles is actually going to come even before summer gets underway. In fact, start packing if you want to save: You leave two weeks from today. The round trip involves a combination of Star Alliance partners. The outbound trip on United includes a short layover in Chicago, with a brief stop in Montreal on the return trip aboard Air Canada. The round trip goes for $786, which isn’t bad considering many of the best fares fall in the $1,000-$1,100 range as May turns to June.
If you’re looking to use miles for your trip to Italy, considering how the prices are looking as we get into June, I was fairly satisfied to find a round trip between Newark and Rome for 57,200 MileagePlus miles on United. You’ll also only pay $74 in fees, which is an improvement from what you can often end up paying on plenty of carriers (including United) for transatlantic flights.
Where to stay
Many travelers are gearing up to spend points this summer for their overseas trips. I found some great redemptions in Italy for those looking to book hotels.
Checking for the last week of May, around the same time I found some of the best airfares, one of the best redemptions I found in Rome was at the Westin Excelsior. It’s an absolutely beautiful property, with Roman architecture and decor. Also, if you bring your tennis shoes, it’s walkable to some of the city’s biggest tourist attractions like the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
After the three-night stay in Rome, perhaps it’s time to move on to Florence, reachable by train within a couple of hours.
Related: 6 reasons to visit Florence, Italy
Italy’s health status
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently places Italy at Level 3 on its Travel Health Notices page. That means the agency considers Italy to have a “high” level of COVID-19 spread. However, Italy is far from alone in that ranking. The CDC also places nearly all of Europe at Level 3, as well as North America, including the United States.
To get into Italy, you need proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from COVID-19. Once in the country, masks are still required in crowded indoor public areas. However, you’re now much freer to go where you please without being stopped to show a green pass.
Better yet, as travel ramps up for the summer months, there are still some decent airfare deals and hotel points redemptions out there if you book soon!
Featured photo by seng chye teo/Getty images.
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