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What it's like to visit Italy on Day 1 of the vaccine pass mandate

Aug. 06, 2021
4 min read
What it's like to visit Italy on Day 1 of the vaccine pass mandate
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Still waiting to get your COVID-19 vaccine? You might be able to travel to Italy, but life's going to be a big pain in the butt once you're there.

With the delta variant wreaking havoc and vaccines now widely available in much of the world, Italy has become one of the first countries in the world to require proof of vaccination to visit museums, dine in restaurants, use public transportation and access most other indoor venues. The country's move follows a similar mandate in France, which began rolling out last month.

Travelers who aren't able to get vaccinated yet may be able to gain access to venues by showing a negative COVID-19 test from the last 48 hours, but given how incredibly contagious and deadly the delta variant can be, it's ideal to continue sheltering in place — and certainly not travel — if you have yet to be vaccinated.

My CDC card and I are having a lovely time in Venice. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

On the other hand, if you have completed your vaccine series, Italy's ready to welcome you with open arms. I flew from Newark (EWR) to Milan (MXP) earlier this week, and have had absolutely no trouble getting into and around the country just by flashing my CDC-issued vaccination card.

As of today, Aug. 6, this card is also your golden ticket to Italy's indoor venues. Anyone 12 years or older will need it to access venues that fall into any of the below categories:

  • Restaurants, bars, ice cream parlors and pastry shops for consumption at table indoors
  • Performances open to the public, sporting events, both outdoors and indoors
  • Museums and places of culture, shows
  • Swimming pools and gyms
  • Private parties, such as wedding receptions
  • Festivals and trade fairs
  • Conventions and congresses
  • Spas and fitness centers
  • Gaming halls and betting shops, bingo halls and casinos

Individuals vaccinated in Italy are eligible for the country's "Green Pass," which has the same entry power as the CDC card. Travelers with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, or passes issued by Canada, Japan, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States may also display their card along with a government-issued photo ID to access indoor venues.

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I'm in Venice at the moment and used my CDC card and New York State driver's license to enter the Doge's Palace. The experience was as anticlimactic as one might hope — a guard checked my name and spent a couple of seconds hunting around for the word "Moderna," then sent me on my way. (That's the exact moment where he found it in the picture below.)

A CDC-issued card is all you need in Italy. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

After hearing of Benét Wilson's success in France, I did go into a pharmacy in Milan to see about getting my CDC certificate "converted" to an Italian Green Pass. The pharmacist was eager to help, but wasn't able to create an account. Ultimately, the CDC card is accepted everywhere a Green Pass is, so vaccinated Americans should be a-okay.

All of the vaccines in use in the U.S. are accepted in Italy, including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer. AstraZeneca's vaccine can also be used, but as with the other three, you need to be "fully vaccinated" — no one shot and done, unless you got the Johnson & Johnson shot.

Given this new requirement, and the extreme risk of death for unvaccinated people exposed to the delta variant, I would strongly recommend postponing any international travel — and certainly trips to especially strict countries like France and Italy — until you've completed your vaccine.

The vaccines remain our best chance of surviving exposure to COVID-19, and they're incredibly safe and effective. The ability to travel internationally might also help convince unvaccinated people to get the jab, as will mandates from domestic destinations, like New York City, and companies, like United.

Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
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  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.