Italy reopens to tourists from Europe

3 June marks a major step in Italy's coronavirus emergency timeline.

Italy welcomes visitors from the European Union and Schengen area countries from 3 June as the country makes a tentative return to international tourism following prolonged lockdown restrictions due to covid-19.

From today Italians will be able to travel to most EU and Schengen zone countries, with several exceptions including Greece which reopens its borders to Italy on 15 June. However those travelling to Greece from the north Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piemonte and Veneto from 15-30 June will be required to undergo testing and quarantine.

'Italy not a leper colony'

Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio has expressed his disapproval over the Greek restrictions, saying: "We believe in the European spirit, but we are ready to close the borders to those who do not respect us," adding that Italy has "distinguished itself for transparency" and its statistics are "very comforting".

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Di Maio, responding to perceived anti-Italian sentiment, has also warned countries not to treat Italy "like a leper colony." The foreign minister's remarks echo those of Italian premier Giuseppe Conte who has insisted that there should be no "privileged tourist corridors" or special tourism pacts between EU countries.

Travel information

For in-depth information about travelling abroad from Italy and the specific requirements of other countries see the Viaggiare Sicuri website.

Travel in Italian regions

Another major step for Italians on 3 June will be the removal of the restrictions prohibiting travel between Italian regions, opening up the possibility to visit family and go on holidays. Until today movement between regions had been reserved for matters of urgency or necessity, proved by a self-certification form which is now no longer necessary.

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Domestic tourism

Italy will place a strong emphasis on domestic tourism this year in a bid to revive the country's key tourism sector. The national tourism agency (ENIT) said that around 40 per cent of Italians traditionally travel abroad for their holidays, however this year many of them will choose to vacation at home, helping local businesses.

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In addition, most of Italy's top museums and archaeological sites have reopened, from the Colosseum to Pompeii and the Vatican Museums, under strict conditions including advance booking, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Still a risk

Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza admitted in recent days that the government's decision to allow travel between Italian regions on 3 June is not "at zero risk" as the covid-19 pandemic is still a reality. "To have no risk at all, we would have had to maintain a total lockdown for months, but the country would have not been able to stand it," he said.

Health precautions

In addition to social distancing, it will remain necessary to wear a mask in public places such as shops, hairdressers and on all public transport, including planes. Hugs and kisses are still reserved only for cohabiting family members, not friends, and the gathering of crowds remains prohibited.

There are also rules in place for non-cohabiting people travelling by car between regions. Masks must be worn, with only the driver in front and a maximum of two passengers in the back, provided that the back row has three seats and not two.

Current covid-19 situation in Italy

Italy has the third highest coronavirus death toll in the world, with some 33,530 people dying since the outbreak came to light on 21 February. It also has the sixth highest global tally of cases - 233,515 - according to figures released by the civil protection agency on 2 June.

However new coronavirus infections and fatalities are continuing to fall steadily.