Top events in Italy

September
19

Saint Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, is one of the most celebrated city saints in Italy. His official saint’s day is the 19 September...

September
19

Starting at the Roman Forum and ending at the Colosseum, this 42.195km (26.2 miles) race takes runners on a scenic route around the city....

October
01

Established in 1996, the Milano Film Festival has grown from being a short film competition open to young Milanese filmmakers to showcasing full-...

Tuscan vineyard
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Tuscan vineyard

© 123rf.com / Temistocle Lucarelli

Italy Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

301,340 sq km (116,348 sq miles).

Population

59,801,004 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

201 per sq km.

Capital

Rome.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Sergio Mattarella since 2015.

Head of government

Prime Minister Mario Draghi since 2021.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs either have two round pins or three pins in a row.

Travelling around Italy remains one of those rare experiences in life – like a perfect spring day or the power of first love – that can never be overrated. In few places do history, art, fashion, food and la dolce vita (“the good life”) intermingle so effortlessly. In Italy you'll find sunny isles, glacial lakes and fiery volcanoes, rolling vineyards and urban landscapes harbouring more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country on Earth. Few places offer such variety and few visitors leave without a fervent desire to return.

The artistic and architectural treasures of Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples draw visitors to them like moths to a flame. Not content with Romans conquering most of the known world, the Venetians dispatched Marco Polo to uncharted lands off the map, while Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo kick-started the Renaissance in Western art and architecture.

Look around at all the splendid palaces, paintings, churches and monuments and wonder at the centuries of hard graft and the unswerving devotion to traditional techniques. Like the local art, wine is also designed to elevate your spirits. From the neatly-banded stone terraces of the Cinque Terre, which snake from sea level to terrifying precipices, to the blousy hillsides of Chianti, the riverine plain of the Po valley and the volcanic slopes of Etna, Italian wines are lovingly made to complement the carefully-sourced regional cuisine on your plate.

Much like its food, this country is an endless feast of experiences. No matter how much you gorge yourself, you’ll always feel as though you're still on the first course. Do you go skiing in the Dolomites, or cycling in wine country? Do you dive the sun-split waters of Sardinia, climb Aeolian volcanoes or stalk market stalls in Naples? The choice is dazzling and bewildering. So take the advice of the locals. Slow down, sit back, tuck in that napkin and get ready to begin.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Italy on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Italy.

Return to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should ensure that the certificate is released in English, French or Spanish.

If you are also taking a test to get a green pass for travel, you should note that the time allowances before travel are different from those for entering the UK. The test for the green pass must be within 48 hours of your flight departure time.

Where to find a COVID-19 test

Search for local COVID-19 test providers.

International travel from Italy

You must also follow Italian rules for travellers, including the use of masks in enclosed spaces including public transport and being able to show a ‘green pass’. See paragraphs below on the Green Pass and international travel.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Italy

Green Pass

A “green pass”, also known as an EU digital COVID certificate, is required to travel on flights, high speed and intercity trains, ferries and coaches linking more than 2 regions.

Proof of having been vaccinated against, or recovered from, COVID-19 in the UK will be accepted as a green pass as long as it is in the form of a verifiable digital QR code. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’).

If you are not vaccinated, you can obtain a green pass, valid for 48 hours by testing negative to a rapid COVID-19 test readily available from local pharmacies and test centers. The test provider will print your test results and will email you a unique code. You will then need to access the Government website (in Italian) and enter your details. Select the option ‘Utente senza tessera sanitaria’ (‘User without a health card’). You will be prompted to enter the type and number of the ID you showed when you got your test, as well as the code on your test certificate. Click ‘Ricupera certificazione’ (‘Get certificate’) to download your digital test result.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from presenting a green pass for domestic events and activities but do require a green pass for travel purposes.

Anyone falsifying a certificate is liable to face a fine of up to €3000 or a prison sentence.

Travelling within Italy

You must comply with the local travel regulations of the region you are visiting, even if you have only just arrived in Italy. Public transport links may be less frequent and seating limited to comply with social distancing measures. Masks must be worn on board public services.

More information on all these requirements is available from the Ministry of Health or the Agency for National Tourism.

International travel from Italy

To board a flight, including international flights, all travellers aged over 12 must be able to show a green pass. See Green Pass above.

If you are unvaccinated, you can obtain a green pass by testing negative to a rapid COVID-19 test readily available from local pharmacies. You must obtain the green pass no earlier than 48 hours prior to your flight departure. See Green Pass paragraph above.

Italian airport regulations require all travellers to wear a medical mask whilst on board flights to and from Italy. Masks should be replaced every 4 hours if it is not possible to maintain social distancing. You should check on board requirements with your airline.

If you are travelling to the UK, see Return to the UK for additional requirements.

Consult the European Union’s Re-Open EU page for rules on travelling within the EU.

Public spaces and services

Many of the restrictive coronavirus measures have now been eased. The following restrictions remain:

  • The mandatory use of masks in all outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible, and whilst indoors. Children under the age of 6 do not need to wear a mask. You should pay close attention to signage when travelling and carry a mask with you at all times. Masks are mandatory at all times in yellow zones
  • Social distancing of one metre must be observed and gatherings should be avoided
  • Cinemas, theatres and concert venues are open with limited capacity and pre-assigned seating
  • Museums and exhibits should be pre-booked at least one day in advance
  • Limited attendance to outdoor competitive group sports

A “green pass” (see Green pass above) is required to access many public spaces including indoor seating in bars and restaurants, museums, exhibitions, well-being centres, swimming pools, fairs and large events. A green pass is required to participate in civil or religious ceremonies. Tourists are required to show a green pass if they wish to use the indoor wellness facilities in their hotel including swimming pools, gyms and spas. A green pass is also required to access most forms of transport, see Travel in Italy section.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from presenting a green pass for domestic events and activities.

Information on regional classifications, or on regional COVID zones, is available on the Ministry of Health website (in English).

Regional and local authorities in Italy are empowered to adjust these measures where required, which may occur at short notice. You are strongly advised to consult the websites for the regions in which you are travelling for the latest information. You should also pay close attention to local signage.

You can find more information on measures on the Ministry of Health website (in English) and Frequently Asked Questions on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (in English).

Healthcare in Italy

If you need medical advice relating to COVID-19 or believe you have symptoms, you should contact your local GP, your local ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) or one of the regional numbers listed on the Italian Ministry of Health website (in English) before visiting a health centre.

COVID-19 testing is widely available at private clinics. Rapid testing is also available in some pharmacies, and, in some regions, drive-in testing is available. You are strongly advised to consult the website for the region from which you are travelling as test facilities vary across regions. See “Where to find a COVID-19 test” for the list of COVID-19 test providers held by the British Embassy.

In some Italian regions, you may be required to take a coronavirus test if you spend 48 hours or two consecutive nights in a hospital for any reason. If you test positive, you will be required to quarantine, which may last from 10 days to 3 weeks.

In the case of an emergency you should call Italy’s 112 emergency number. English speaking operators are available.

For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Italy.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Italy

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Italy announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Italian national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. British nationals resident in Italy are eligible for vaccination. The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) has issued comprehensive information, on the vaccine and the documentation required to book an appointment.

Many regional authorities have launched on-line booking platforms and opened call centres for bookings. Regional requirements vary, with booking platforms requiring you to enter the details of your tessera sanitaria (Italian health card), a codice fiscale or STP card. Some regions are now offering a dedicated vaccination service to those not registered with the Italian health system. You should consult the regional health pages where you live.

An interactive map (in Italian) details a list of vaccine administration points by region.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Italy, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Italy, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Crime

Crime levels are generally low but there are higher levels of petty crime (particularly bag snatching and pick-pocketing) in the big city centres, such as Rome. Be aware that thieves can use a variety of methods to distract you.

Take care on public transport and in crowded areas in city centres, particularly in and around Termini station in Rome, where incidents of street muggings have been reported, and at other main stations.

Be particularly vigilant on trains to and from airports and cruise ports in Italy (especially Fiumicino airport), as well as the Circumvesuviana train between Naples and Sorrento, and when unloading your baggage from trains and coaches.

Use a hotel safe for valuables where possible.

Alcohol and drugs can make you less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Don’t leave food or drinks unattended at any time. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.

Those in cars can sometimes be targeted by thieves. Robberies from cars have been reported particularly in and around Rome, Milan and Pisa, as well as at motorway service stations. Always lock your vehicle, never leave valuables in cars and avoid leaving luggage in cars for any length of time. Be aware that thieves may use a variety of methods to distract you or encourage you to stop your car. These may include asking for help or directions, or pointing out a fictional fault with your car.

Make sure Euro notes received from any source other than banks or legitimate bureaux de change are genuine.

Local travel

Only use officially licensed taxis. These will have a taxi sign on the roof. Make sure the meter in the taxi has been reset before you set off.

Transport strikes are often called at short notice. For more information visit the Ministry of Transport website (in Italian).

Traffic can be busy, fast and chaotic especially in the larger cities. Pedestrians should use zebra crossings, but take care especially where lines are faded and not clearly visible to drivers. Vehicles don’t always stop, even though they are required to under the Italian Traffic Code. The green pedestrian crossing signal also allows cars to turn onto the crossing, so cross with caution.

Road travel

In 2019 there were 3,130 road deaths in Italy (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 5.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 in 2019.

If you are planning to drive in Italy, see information on Driving Abroad.

Licences and documents

You can drive in Italy with a UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents.
If you’re living in Italy, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.

It is against the law for anyone who has been resident in Italy, for more than 60 days, to drive a car registered outside Italy. This may result in a fine and/or the car being impounded.

Driving a British car abroad

You may need a GB sticker or a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September UK stickers will replace GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK before, on or after 28 September 2021.

Traffic restrictions

Private and hire cars are not allowed to enter the historic centre of many Italian cities without an official pass. If your hotel is in the centre of one of these cities, you can buy a pass from most car hire companies. The boundaries of historic centres are usually marked with the letters ZTL in black on a yellow background. Don’t pass this sign as your registration number is likely to be caught on camera and you will be fined.

Trucks over 7.5 tonnes (75 quintali) are not allowed on Italian roads (including motorways) on Sundays from 7:00 am until midnight, local time. These restrictions don’t apply to trucks that have already been granted an exception (eg those carrying perishable goods and petrol supplies).

There is a congestion charge for Milan city centre. For further information see the  Milan Municipality website.

To reduce pollution, the city authorities in Rome sometimes introduce traffic restrictions on specific days whereby vehicles with odd or even number plates are not allowed on the roads in the ‘fascia verde’ area (covering most of Rome). For further information, including exceptions, see the Rome Municipality website.

See the European Commission, AARAC and Italian Police guides on driving in Italy.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Hiking, mountaineering and other adventure sports are increasingly popular activities in Italy. Unfortunately each year there are incidents with visitors getting into difficulty and needing the help of the emergency services. There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors, including during extreme sports activities.

If you’re taking part in extreme sports check that the company is well established in the industry and that you’ve arranged for your insurance to cover this specific activity. For sports activities like skiing, potholing and mountaineering, and for sports classed as particularly dangerous (eg off-piste skiing, mountain biking, climbing, paragliding or BASE jumping), your insurance should include mountain rescue services, helicopter costs and repatriation to your country of residence or possible transfer to neighbouring countries for treatment.

Check weather forecasts and conditions and make sure you’re properly equipped for the worst-case scenario. A map, compass, GPS and telecommunication equipment should always be used when travelling outside urban areas. Don’t undertake any activity alone, and consider hiring a guide for expert advice. Always leave copies of your itinerary with someone.

Winter sports

If you are planning a skiing holiday, contact the Italian State Tourist Board for advice on safety and weather conditions before you travel. Address: 1 Princes Street, London W1R 9AY. Telephone: 020 7355 1557 or 1439.

Off-piste skiing is highly dangerous. You should follow all safety instructions meticulously given the dangers of  avalanches in some areas. It is the law for skiers and snowboarders to carry tracking equipment if they go off-piste, and for under-14s to wear a helmet.

Read more about how to stay safe on the slopes.

Terrorist attacks in Italy can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There are isolated cases of domestic terrorism. Attacks carried out by the extreme left-wing and secessionist groups have generally been aimed at official Italian targets, mainly in the form of small bombs and incendiary devices. The Italian authorities have made a number of arrests of individuals with links to Daesh and other extremist groups.

There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Italy set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

If you are travelling to Italy for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Italy from the UK

The following information is for travellers entering Italy from the UK. See further information below if you are travelling to Italy from, or through, another country.

Entry into Italy without self-isolation

If you are travelling from the UK, you can enter Italy without being required to self-isolate if you:

  • fill out the passenger locator form prior to entering Italy.
  • can demonstrate you are fully vaccinated (a recovery certificate is not accepted). (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’), and
  • show a negative PCR or antigen test, taken within 48 hours prior to entering Italy

Entry into Italy with self-isolation requirement (5 days)

If you are unvaccinated, you can enter Italy from the UK if you:

  • fill out the passenger locator form
  • show a negative PCR or antigen test, taken within 48 hours prior to entering Italy
  • notify the Prevention Department of the local health authority of your entry into Italy. See COVID-19 Numeri verdi regionali for the contact details of local Italian health authorities
  • travel to your final destination in Italy by private transport only
  • remain in self-isolation for a total of 5 days
  • take another PCR or antigen test at the end of the 5 days in self-isolation

Children

Children under 18 will not be required to quarantine if they are travelling with a fully vaccinated parent and (for those over the age of 6) have a negative test.

Children under the age of 6 are exempt from testing.

Exemptions

Exemptions from testing may apply to travellers transiting Italy in a private vehicle for less than 36 hours and those travelling for proven reasons of work, health or absolute necessity, for less than 120 hours. Check the Ministry of Health website (in English) for information on the various exemption regulations. The requirement to complete a passenger locator form will still apply.

You can read more about the requirement to get a COVID-19 test on the Italian Embassy in London’s COVID-19 update page.

Passenger Locator Form

Before travelling to Italy, you must complete an online digital form. This will generate a QR code, which should be presented to your travel provider and Border Police. If requested, a paper form can be completed if you do not have an electronic device.

Wearing masks for flights

Italian airport regulations require all travellers to wear a medical mask whilst on board flights to and from Italy. Masks should be replaced every 4 hours if it is not possible to maintain social distancing. You should check on board requirements with your airline.

Further information

Check Italian Embassy in London guidance, or contact your travel provider, for more information.

If you are a UK national resident in Italy, we advise carrying proof of your residence when entering Italy.

In addition to the above measures, all travellers to Italy should consult the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more advice on entry requirements and travel to Italy

Many airlines and airports serving Italy are operating a reduced service and may be subject to change. You are strongly advised to check your airline’s website, as well as the website for the airport you are intending to fly to for the latest information.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

Italy will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record as the equivalent to a green pass. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Traveling to Italy from or through other countries

Land borders are open.

You should check travel advice for any countries you plan to travel through ahead of your journey and should ensure that you have the necessary tests for each country of transit as well as your final destination.

The entry requirements set out above are for entry from the UK, they may be different if you have travelled from, or transited through, another country. Consult the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more advice and the Re-open Europe website for transit regulations.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training

  • if you are travelling to Italy and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days

  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Italian government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa and/or work permit you may need with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before booking an appointment through the Italian consulates in London or Edinburgh.

  • if you stay in Italy with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit

  • British citizens who are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of their visa/permit or the end of their visa-free limit due to COVID-19 restrictions should contact their local immigration office (questura).

Any time you spent in Italy or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

At Italian border control your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You should also be prepared to:

  • queue in separate lanes from EU, EEA or Swiss citizens.
  • show proof of your accommodation, for example, a hotel booking confirmation or proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home).
  • show proof of insurance for your trip. Please check the guidance on travel insurance here.
  • show a return or onward ticket
  • you should also be able to prove that you have enough money for your stay. The minimum amount required depends on your accommodation.
  • Your host must inform the local immigration office (questura) in writing within 48 hours after you arrive at their property. They could be fined if they fail to comply with this Italian immigration law.

If you are entering from a Schengen Area country (e.g. France) you are required to declare your presence to the local immigration authority (questura) within 8 days of arriving (‘dichiarazione di presenza’). The questura will provide a form to complete. This requirement is not applicable if you are staying in a hotel or a B & B property.

Further information is provided on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

British nationals resident in Italy

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Italy. If you are resident in Italy, you should carry proof of residence, such as the new ‘carta di soggiorno elettronica’ or your current EU residency document, as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Italy guide.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

Make sure your passport is:

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave Italy, or any other Schengen country
  • less than 10 years old

The 3 months you need when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum 3 months needed.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Italy.

By law you must be able to show some form of identification at all times. In most cases a photocopy of the data page of your passport should suffice, but in this case you’re advised to also carry a second form of photo ID. The police will normally ask for your full passport if you are stopped while driving.

Tickets on public transport must be endorsed in a ticket machine before you start a journey. The machines are usually positioned at the entrance to platforms in railway stations, in the entrance hall to metro stations and on board some buses and trams. Officials patrol public transport and will issue an on the spot fine of 100 to 500 euros (reduced to 50 euros if paid immediately) if you don’t hold an endorsed ticket. Tickets can be purchased from shops displaying the ‘T’ sign, and are usually bars or tobacconists.

In the Rome area, restaurants must display a menu outside the restaurant, only charge for bread if the customer specifically requests it, inform the customer of the prices being charged before he/she orders, give a proper receipt and not make any cover charge (coperto).

In some Italian towns and cities you may be fined for dropping litter and in some towns or cities it’s an offence to sit on monument steps or to eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of main churches, historic monuments and public buildings. It’s also an offence to enter or bathe in public fountains. A fine of up to €10,000 can be imposed for urinating in a public place.

In May 2019, the Municipality of Capri introduced a law forbidding the use of any disposable plastic objects such as bags, cutlery, plates, cups, food packaging, trays, straws on the island of Capri. Violations can incur a fine of up to 500 euros.

Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities, particularly tourist cities like Florence, Venice and Rome. Don’t buy from illegal street traders. You could be stopped by the local police and fined.

Many major cities in Italy now impose a small tax on tourists. The tax is levied by hotels and is usually not included in any pre-paid arrangements or package deal. The rate of tax varies from city to city, and can depend on the star rating of the hotel. Hotels often ask for payment of this tax in cash. Make sure you get a receipt. For more information check with the local tourist information office.

It’s illegal to remove sand, shells or pebbles from coastal areas in Italy. Doing so may result in heavy fines. It’s also forbidden to collect various species of flowers, plants and herbs from mountain and wooded areas. For more information, check with the regional authorities of the area you’re visiting.

Taking food and drink into the EU

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Italy on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Italy.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate
of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Healthcare

You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.

The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Italian nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.

Unlike in the UK, you will need to go to a pharmacy (“farmacia”) to get most over-the-counter medicines. Pharmacies are widely available and are usually identified by a green cross. UK prescriptions are not accepted though you may be able to buy an equivalent medication from the pharmacy. Alternatively you can visit an Italian GP or Guardia Medica Turistica (where available) to obtain a local prescription. Prescription medicines are not free in Italy but with an EHIC or GHIC, and an Italian prescription, you will pay a reduced rate.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 118 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

For more information, read our guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe.

If you’re living in Italy, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Italy guide.

For severe weather warnings, visit the European Meteorological Services website

Flooding

High waters known as “acqua alta” are a common occurrence in Venice during the winter months and can cause flooding in parts of the city. You should monitor local media and weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities in affected areas. More information is available on the website of the Civil Protection Department.

Forest fires

Forest fires are a risk during the extended summer months. Forest fires are highly dangerous and unpredictable; check with local authorities if you’re considering travelling to affected areas. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas and report fires to the emergency services. You can also visit the website of the Civil Protection Department.

Earthquakes

Many parts of Italy lie on a major seismic fault line. Minor tremors and earthquakes are a regular occurrence. To learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake visit the Protezione Civile website.

The currency of Italy is the Euro.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.