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Just got to Italy. Here are some thoughts...

Just flew ORD-JFK-MXP a couple of nights ago on Delta.

When we checked our bags the agent asked if we had a negative Covid test. We told Italy no longer requires one. She then proceeded to tell us that they do until July 30. We told her she was mistaken and to read through the docs she had on her screen. She eventually got to the part that says all you need is to be fully vaccinated. After that we were good to go once she checked our vaxx cards.

When we boarded our flight to Milan everyone had to have their temperature taken before boarding. This also required a paper boarding pass for them to stamp. If you had a mobile boarding pass you had to go to the desk and get a paper pass. Save yourself the hassle and just get a paper boarding pass.

Masks of course required on the flight except when eating or drinking. Seemed like everyone complied and I never heard the flight attendants telling anyone to put one on. Flight was 85-90% full.

Upon arrival in Milan we breezed through passport control and immigration. No one ever asked for our ePLF barcode or documentation. Getting through passport control was never easier or quicker.

Lines at the rental car counters were virtually non-existent.

We are in the Dolomites in Ortisei and everything is open. Masks are pretty much required in shops but it seems like the shop workers wait to see if you put yours on before they put theirs on. Wait staff at restaurants are wearing them but outdoors many seem to have them pulled down under their nose.

Italy is as great as ever and the hiking in the Val Gardena is still amazing.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you very much for sharing your actual "boots on the ground" experiences. It is so hard to know what is expected in order to be prepared. Your tips are very helpful.

We are still considering whether or not to reschedule our 2020 canceled Italian trip for this coming October/November 2021. Of course, anything can happen between now and then to change things but your current experiences make it seem hopeful.

Posted by
6821 posts

Great to hear. I just arrived in France by train at Chamonix after 4 nights hiking in the Berner Oberland Switzerland. I will be crossing the border via Aosta Italy on my way to Verona and then the Dolomites in 3 days. When I flew here from Newark the agent understood the rules. There was no temperature check. I also filled out paperwork in advance for the border crossings so far Switzerland to France no Covid Police at the borders checking. Things are open similarly here in Chamonix. FYI if you like music opera the great tenor Placido Domingo is performing at the Verona Roman Arena this Friday the 29th. Anyway happy travels.

Posted by
478 posts

Yes thank you! Also deciding whether to reschedule again or not

Posted by
3746 posts

I really appreciate your post! I’m less than 30 days from going. My flight transfers through Amsterdam but otherwise very similar.

Posted by
489 posts

mjoseph1 , thank you very much for your report.

I will also go to the Dolomites, but will drive from Austria. Once you are back, may I pick your brain on creating an itinerary? In Italy, there is no much to see and so little time.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks for the information @mjoseph1. We have a similar itinerary beginning Sept. 19- Supposed to be in Ortisei on Sept. 26-30. Nervous about the”delta” variant and how it might impact traveling. Have a fantastic trip.

Posted by
1903 posts

Thanks very much for your boots on the ground report. I leave for Venice August 24-September 3. Direct RT ATL>VCE>ATL. Hope we can go!

Posted by
194 posts

Thanks for the update. We are heading over to the same area you were the first of September. I hope it's still open! Where did you go to check the most current restrictions? Also, did you need a positive test in addition to your vaccination to come home to the US?

Posted by
1821 posts

We have a trip planned for April/May 2022 to Lucerne, Varenna, Florence & Rome, by train. I am hoping the masking restrictions that the OP is describing currently will ease by then, but with the Delta variant and another winter in between now & then, I'm not very optimistic.

And frankly, that trepidation is creeping into my planning, which for our three previous Euro trips has been an absolutely joyous process. So far, I've only booked one hotel, which is 100% cancellable until 2 weeks before the trip. I have other B&B's/apartments queued up to fire away with making reservations, but suddenly I have to take pause to foresee what the prospect of touring Europe while masked could be like.

Cards on the table--I don't like wearing a mask. I'm claustrophobic, plus I wear a full-face CPAP mask when sleeping. But for the ~14 months the masks were mandated, I was totally with the program, worked while wearing one, but in my heart of hearts it was a constant personal struggle. Got an early Pfizer vaxx because I was a teacher, no problem. I will say it was truly liberating to be freed a couple months ago.

Here's my dilemma, which is 100% individually-borne and no commentary on whether masks should or should not be worn, in any given place at any given time. If the situation does not improve in Switzerland & Italy in the next 9 months, is my trip going to be mostly a masked series of events? Will I have to be talking through a mask wondrously looking at the vistas out the train window while traversing the Alps? At a cozy trattoria in Trastevere in Rome?

Bottom line is will those potential conditions diminish my enjoyment of the trip to the point that in my own mind it wasn't worth the thousands in financial outlay? In previous trips, I positively reveled in the freedom of exploring new areas, the hugging of new friends while trying to speak fractured Italiano, the peck-on-each-cheek--the wonderful experiences were worth the money spent, and more. It's why we travel. Now every personal action is second-guessed, and possibly altered, maybe for good.

I'd like some trip veterans to chime in with how they have dealt with this, or are planning to do so with upcoming travels. Again, this is not a statement on whether masks should or should not be worn--it's about what is, and how we deal with it.

Thanks in advance, gang!

Posted by
6821 posts

Jay your trip is scheduled 10 months from now a lot can change by then. Currently masks just like in Chicago and the USA are only mandatory on mass transit. I am currently in Chamonix. People appear to be having a good time dining and hanging out over here. There is even a outdoor music festival going on.

Posted by
1358 posts

Jay-we went to Colorado with family to visit our son last July just as they implemented a mask mandate. We discovered that having to wear a mask did not detract from our enjoyment. We did not wear a mask hiking or otherwise outdoors away from people. We did in town, in shops, and when taking a silver mine tour. We did take out a few times, cooked in the air bnbs we rented, and ate outside at a restaurant once.

We decided then we would reschedule our cancelled trip to Italy even if it meant masks. We are leaving in less than two weeks.

I think it is important to have space where you don't have to wear a mask if you travel during this time. We are renting apartments and have tried to have outdoor spaces to enjoy. We also are doing more outdoor activities than we normally would have--partly because it is August in Italy and partly because of Covid. We also plan to do take out or eat outdoors but that is what we do at home also--and we are fully vaccinated-. Precovid we preferred to eat outdoors in Europe anyway so for us that is no loss.

What are we giving up traveling now--we have to wear masks on the plane and on the trains in Italy. We have to wear masks when we go to any indoor site. I am not looking forward to the wearing of masks on the plane I must admit--only because of the length of time traveling. We have flown domestically four times since covid and before we were vaccinated we wore face shields as well as masks but none as been as long as our international flights. We still wear masks when going to the grocery store so going to an indoor site and wearing a mask is not a big deal to me. I expect to be as thrilled with a mask on as I would have been without one--maybe more as I expect there will be fewer people to contend with! We are going to Venice and I have been watching on a web cam the uncrowded St. Mark's square!

Posted by
2039 posts

Where did you go to check the most current restrictions? Also, did you
need a positive test in addition to your vaccination to come home to
the US?

Just to clarify- you need a NEGATIVE test to re-enter USA, vaccination status is irrelevant

You need to show proof of vaccination OR negative test OR proof of recovery to enter Italy.

Official info here:
https://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

COVID questionnaire here:
https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it/returningtoitaly.html

Posted by
194 posts

Thank you so much for the information Christine!

Posted by
17 posts

I’m sorry but I’m still a bit confused. When I check the links mentioned above, it seems like US citizens have to have a COVID Green Pass or an EU Digital Pass. But it’s not clear how to get either of those, using the CDC issued vaccination card (which does not have a barcode or skew). Am I missing something?
Thank you for the experience update!

Posted by
2039 posts

There is no mechanism yet for non EU citizens to obtain a "Green Pass"

It is a bit confusing because CDC doesn't actually call it a Covid Certificate.
For now your CDC vaccination card will suffice as the Covid Certificate referenced here:

If you are travelling to Italy from Canada, Japan or the United States:

You must fill out a digital Passenger Locator Form (or, in case of lack of necessary technology, a self-declaration);
You may present to the carrier, or any other authorised person, a Covid Certificate (also known as Green Pass or Covid-19 Green Certificate) issued by your local health authorities in Canada, Japan or the USA, showing proof that you have either:
been vaccinated against COVID-19 with an EMA authorised vaccine
and you have completed the prescribed vaccination cycle since at least fourteen (14) days;

received a negative result of a molecular or antigenic test carried out in the 48 hours before your arrival;
recovered from COVID-19 and you are no longer under prescription of self-isolation.<<

Also read post in this thread by Eric:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/italy-new-rules

Posted by
11 posts

@MJoseph1 - Thank you so much for posting a current update on what you have experienced! As you can see it is very appreciated to hear from someone from the USA actually there.

Posted by
85 posts

That is my understanding also (from looking through lots of threads and research/posts), as far as going from US to Italy. Just have your Covid vaccination card. That is it. Nothing more to "get". Coming back to US though, that is where you have to get the test (at least for now that is what the rule is)

Posted by
400 posts

And check with your carrier for the proper/necessary antigen test for readmission to the US. Self-administered tests require video authorization. Nearly all OTC antigen test do not provide access to video verification. And it is exactly what it sounds like - you essentially do a video call with the test provider and they observe you performing the test on yourself. Delta recommends the Azova test.

Posted by
4 posts

Does anyone know the protocol if you were to test positive while in Italy before your flight to the States? I'm going to use the eMed at home test with the e-visit before our flight and if I or my Mom test positive what options do we have? Can I quickly book a great seaside suite in a hotel with room service? or am I relegated to a government specified quarantine hotel? I can't find any intel and want to plan for every extreme.