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COVID tests in Italy

As I’ve been planning our Sept trip I have researched how to get ourselves tested before we depart.
I first settled on just getting the test at FCO the day before our flight, staying at an airport hotel and using that day to sightsee Ostia Antica, since our flight is fairly early in the am.
Wasn’t all that thrilled about doing that 1 night stay but figured at least a visit to Ostia Antica wasn’t a waste.

I spent a bit more time the other day checking things out and came across this:

https://www.doctorsinitaly.com/covid-swab-test/

(Doctors in Italy is a service with English speaking docs caters to travelers)

The site is super simple to use, very clear instructions.
Check the test you need and the location then fill in your email and you will receive a list of locations that offer the test, along with the discount code. From that list you can book online (if available at that location) and you get a discount code for the cost of test.(PCR 55 €, Rapid Antigen 22€)
They use the LifeBrain labs.

So I checked Lazio and received a list of 4 locations immediately- google mapped and found one was right near the Borghese Gallery- a place we have been but did not include on this trip- kept it as a “maybe if we have time”
We decided we’d rather stay in Rome that last night and visit the Borghese again.
(Another perhaps useful location for others was in the Prati district. I checked for Florence as well out of curiosity and received a list of 5 locations- not all IN Florence- Arrezzo, Poggibinosi etc)

Booking the appt is super easy, all the info /instructions are very clear. Each person needs their own appointment.
We’ll test at 11, Borghese at 1. 2 days before our departure which gives us some breathing room.

As a back up plan I also emailed our hotel in Trastevere and asked them for help on booking a test appt close to our hotel- they were completely accommodating. They gave me the name and number of the pharmacy they recommend- 10 min walk- and said they would book the appt for us when we checked in. Led me to believe they are already used to doing this for their clients. That still made me a bit nervous as we want to be sure we actually have an appt- so I emailed the pharmacy- who were also very helpful. They said no need to make appt this far in advance, stop in when we are there and book it then. We are there for 4 nights so that is fine for us.

Anyway- just wanted to share this info- especially the Doctors In Italy resource.

From the email:
Turnaround: The turnaround time for PCR/molecular swabs is 48h on average, delays can occur. Let the lab know if you need the results in 48h exactly. Rapid antigen test results are ready in a few hours. Results will be in English upon request and the report from the lab is compliant with travel needs.

Posted by
11 posts

Hi Christine,

Can you kindly share the name of the pharmacy in Trastevere. I will be staying in Trastevere starting next week, and will also need to get Covid tested before returning to the US. Do you know if the rapid antigen meets the requirement for our return?

Posted by
2040 posts

Farmacia Rellecati
Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, 7, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
www.farmaciarellecati.it
Email: f.rellecati@alice.it
+39065803776

The Rapid Antigen is accepted- do check with your airlines though they should all have the same requirement

Payanja- could you try to post back here and let us know how it goes?
Thanks

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the information. I will post info about my trip. I am leaving this Sunday and returning on August 15th.

Posted by
2266 posts

Thank you! My trip to Italy isn't until April 2022, but of course I am worrying about fitting a Covid test into my itinerary.

Posted by
92 posts

just got back from italy. getting a covid test in rome is easy. just look for a pharmacy with a tent set-up outside. i saw quite a few. no appointment was needed at the one i walked into. 22 euros and fifteen minutes later i was done. pcr test is no longer needed. a rapid test will suffice for travel to the usa. thankfully the result was negative. i did worry a little bit wondering what the procedure would be if i tested positive. they held onto my passport until the result came in! would they have sent me to an isolation hotel immediately? flew out the next day. no issues at the airport.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you Christine and alomaker both for sharing your info with all of us. I'll be going in September and will definitely be using this!

Posted by
5 posts

Hi -- This is incredibly helpful -- thanks! We're not planning to go until October, but I started worrying about this yesterday. So -- a couple of follow-up questions.

1) One person in the chain said that the rapid test is okay to get back into the US now -- can that be confirmed to be true? (I'd heard that it had to be a PCR test.)

2) Christine -- do you have to pick up results at the pharmacy, or can they be emailed to you? (Right now, I have us in Rome until the day before we fly out of Florence -- which now looks unworkable unless email results are acceptable.)

3) I heard that, at least in the UK, the tests can be done at the airport, with results back within 24 hours. Is that true for Italy?

THANKS. I love the Rick Steves community! -- Nancy

Posted by
2040 posts

2) Christine -- do you have to pick up results at the pharmacy, or can
they be emailed to you? (Right now, I have us in Rome until the day
before we fly out of Florence -- which now looks unworkable unless
email results are acceptable.) 3) I heard that, at least in the UK,
the tests can be done at the airport, with results back within 24
hours. Is that true for Italy?

Nancy- I don't know til we do it but I believe the Doctors in Italy test results would be emailed to you- since appt booking etc is all done via email now. Frankly I would prefer hard copies of test results as well.
Since it is a Rapid Antigen test the result should be available anywhere from 30-60 min- not as long as 24 hours for sure.
From the email DoctorsinItaly sent me- posted above
Rapid antigen test results are ready in a few hours.

I do know FCO offers a Rapid test with results in about 30 min so I would assume Florence airport would offer same. Just a quick look at the airport website confirms that they offer tests- must book appointment
https://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/en/the-passengers/covid-19/swab-test-reservation.html

I do have a concern about you being in Rome up until day before your flight out of Florence?
Did you plan to head to Florence the night before departure (HIGHLY recommend) or just head there on day of departure (risky)? What time is your departure flight?

Posted by
6821 posts

I got a negative Antigen test August 1 for a flight back August 3 at Florence airport outside tent by arrivals and departures run by Misrecordia di Firenze. No line there no appointment needed.

Also the Red Cross has free tests outside the Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station from 8 am to 1 pm while supplies last. By 11:00 am today they saw the long line and started informing people that they would not get in and to come back the next day. So if you try that option go early.

Posted by
55 posts

Fascinating and timely…thank you! As a comparison…I’m flying to France from Detroit the Monday after Thanksgiving (my Italy trip is in May hence my stalking these pages!). I’ll be staying with my daughter so it’s not my home airport anymore. I’ve started looking for where I can get my departure test building in the holiday issue. So far NOTHING offered at DTW. A link on the Metro Airport page takes you to an Express Med clinic near the airport. The “office visit” is $100 and the test $85!!! I’m sure there are other options but the difference is CRAZY! ✋ Tents on the sidewalk in Rome…. 🤚 Nothing at a major international airport (DTW)…

Posted by
2040 posts

If you are vaccinated you don’t need a test to travel to Italy

Just need a test to return to USA

Posted by
6821 posts

You can get a test for free at CVS pharmacy in the USA if you are trying to France go unvaccinated

Posted by
48 posts

Returned from Milan a few days ago and my experience related to your questions is as follows:

1) One person in the chain said that the rapid test is okay to get back into the US now -- can that be confirmed to be true? (I'd heard that it had to be a PCR test.) I can confirm that a rapid antigen test is all that's required as of this week.

2) Christine -- do you have to pick up results at the pharmacy, or can they be emailed to you? (Right now, I have us in Rome until the day before we fly out of Florence -- which now looks unworkable unless email results are acceptable.) Since they hold on to your passport until the test results are done, you get both - hard copy when you retrieve your passport and text/email at the same time.

3) I heard that, at least in the UK, the tests can be done at the airport, with results back within 24 hours. Is that true for Italy? Saw those options at the airport, but the timing is a wildcard we did not have the stomach for. See more details in this thread: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/italy-will-recognize-cdc-vaccine-card

Posted by
92 posts

the italian red cross has free test sites at major train stations. i saw them both at rome termini and palermo centrale. long lines and it seemed they stop accepting 'patients' around mid-day.

Posted by
499 posts

We just had the rapid test done in a pharmacy in Trieste. The results were handed to us immediately. We gave the form and then they marked the results. The Venice train station also had the Red Cross tent set up for the test. There was quite a long line there. We were at the airport Marco Polo before the testing site opened.

Posted by
41 posts

From the Internet, Milan seems a bit trickier to find a COVID test (besides long wait for Red Cross at Milano Centrale). On the ground, is it fairly easy to find pharmacies that will do an antigen test?

Posted by
14 posts

I have posted this elsewhere but will here again. We just got back from Milan on Sunday and used the video proctored eMed tests. We sat out on the patio in Tuscany and took our tests. 25 minutes soup to nuts and they automatically email you the results and add to the NAVICA app right away. The 25 minutes included my wait time to get a proctor, taking the actual test, the 15 minutes required to get the results and the couple of minutes for the proctor to verify the results and send the email.

At $150 for the 6-pack it is mildly expensive but we took the 4 extra tests back home and I used one this morning to confirm my negative status before coming into my office in Chicago. That test only took 16 minutes because I didn't need the video proctor.

It was such a relief not having to worry about finding a place to get the test or worrying about being somewhere at a certain time. Just grab a cocktail and take the test whenever you want. Just need a phone with a camera or a laptop. We used our iPhones.

For those wondering about reaching a video proctor, when I initiated the test I had to wait 3 minutes to be assigned my proctor. When my wife did it she had to wait 4 minutes. The app tells you your wait time.

Posted by
461 posts

Thanks so much for your post. Very informative

Posted by
95 posts

Great info for our upcoming trip. I’m ordering the test to do via video.

Thanks for all the info everyone!

Posted by
4 posts

Someone suggested Googling for pharmacies in the area you'll visit prior to returning to the US. Great idea!! Montalcino has two pharmacies and both offer the rapid antigen test! Waiting to get it at FCO is a little like playing Russian roulette - a little scary! I'd rather have several days to develop plan B! Safe travels everyone!

Posted by
67 posts

CVS and Wallgreen's offer free Rapid Antigen tests. However, they email you the results instead of giving you a card. Does anyone know if an email version of the negative test results will work in points of entry in Italy? Just as important, will they even be accepted at U.S. airports? TIA

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you everyone for posting on this. We'll also be ordering the self-administered one for our trip in Oct.

Posted by
2040 posts

Gk
The test will be accepted by airlines to travel to Italy
If you are not vaccinated

When we say “card” we are referring to the CDC vaccination card, completely different
The CDC card is being accepted in lieu of the EU Green Pass
The CDC vaccination card will allow you entrance to venues but a test result that is days old will likely not

Vaccines are free

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you so much for information. I wanted to order the take home tests, but since I am a healthcare worker (optometrist), I didn’t qualify.
I will be in Rome for 4 days before flight home staying at a hotel near the Vatican.
Anyone have suggestions for Covid testing near Vatican? Also emailing hotel.
Traveling with daughter and mother and all vaccinated. May have them bring at home tests.
Anyone with problems with at home tests?
Thanks again.

Posted by
65 posts

Ciao from Rome! We got our Covid tests this morning for our return flight tomorrow. We are staying at the Albergo del Senato near the Pantheon. The process was extremely simple. The woman at the desk wrote down a pharmacy for us - a 5 minute walk. We went this morning before 9:00. Had our tests, got our results (in English in 5 minutes). And then we were on with our day! It seems to me that the pharmacies have quickly caught up with the demand. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1 posts

Thank you mjoseph1 for the advice on those eMed tests! I was almost ready to pull the plug on my trip to Italy due to all the hassle about testing but this seems like a reasonable way to follow their rules without too much inconvenience.

Appreciate the suggestion!

Grazie mille

Posted by
11 posts

My family and I got tested yesterday at Rellecati Pharmacy in Trastevere yesterday. It was fast and simple, we got our results in about 20 minutes.

Posted by
2040 posts

Payanja
That’s great to hear and thanks for reporting

Can you tell us if you had an appointment and how much did the test cost?

Posted by
12 posts

Has anyone who has been in Italy (or still there) since the Green Pass went into effect have their CDC card rejected at any restaurants or museums? I read a report of it happening because there is not a QR code on them. (It was only one news site so a little suspect.)

Posted by
235 posts

Very helpful thread, the home tests with teledoc seem like a brilliant move. They are covered by my FSA as well, I think I'll order these for our November trip!

Looking forward to seeing how this all develops. I'll likely be flying back from Milan (MXP) so wondering what might be near there as well.

Posted by
40 posts

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences on this thread. Our trip is in October and I'm glad to see some of these details. I'll wait till closer to our trip in case things change by then, but I'm leaning towards the at-home version of the test. Hopefully the US won't stop accepting the rapid tests. That seems much easier to fit in to a trip!

Posted by
11 posts

Christine, no appointment needed and it costed 22 euros for rapid antigen.

Erin, my CDC card was accepted everywhere at restaurants and museums. No issues whatsoever.