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Italy will welcome tourists again from next week

The country’s prime minister has announced that it will allow in travellers from across Europe, including the UK, from May 16

Huw Oliver

Trips to Tuscany and sun-soaked holidays on Italian islands might be back on your agenda: despite being one of the hardest-hit countries during the crisis of the past year, Italy will officially reopen to tourists again from mid-May.

Yesterday prime minister Mario Draghi said the country would reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers from all countries currently on its ‘C list’ on May 16. That includes all member states of the EU, the UK and the European Free Trade Association countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

Draghi said Italy would introduce its very own ‘national vaccine pass’ that would be available to all travellers from ‘C list’ countries who have had both doses of the jab. Visitors who can provide a negative test result from within the past 48 hours, or anyone who can prove they have already had (and recovered from) Covid-19, will also be able to apply for the pass.

Until the rule change, travellers from across Europe will still have to self-isolate for five days on arrival. Meanwhile, even after the ‘vaccine pass’ is introduced, visitors from the handful of permitted countries outside Europe will still be required to self-isolate for ten days. All international visitors, from any country, must also fill out this ‘travel declaration form’ before departure.

You should also note that Italy has brought in a tiered lockdown system, with the country split into ‘yellow’, ‘orange’ and ‘red’ areas depending on how rampant the virus is. For the moment, most of the country is considered ‘yellow’, which restaurants are open for outdoor dining and museums are open with capacity limits in place. Masks are mandatory in both indoor and outdoor public places.

It’s hoped the vaccine rollout could soon put paid to those restrictions. But in the meantime – while many of us are still banned from international travel altogether – we’ll just have to keep dreaming of those proper Neapolitan pizzas and scoops of real gelato that will be waiting for us… as soon as we can get there.

Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.

Where can you travel right now? Here’s what you need to know.

How safe is flying right now? We asked an expert.

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