Travelers dreaming of la dolce vita can stop fantasizing and start booking as Italy started welcoming vaccinated tourists on Sunday — including Americans.
The country reopened its borders to foreign tourists from several destinations traveling on “COVID-free” flights, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, wrote in a Facebook post.
Travelers on these flights are required to get tested before departure and again on arrival, regardless of their vaccination status, but are exempt from quarantine. Tourists must take either a molecular or antigen swab test within 48 hours of arriving in Italy, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“This is how we open to safe tourism from all G 7 states after over a year,” Di Maio said. “So far, with the covid-free flights you couldn’t come to Italy for tourism from the extra EU countries. Now let’s reopen to this opportunity, which allows safe travels without quarantine… With hard work we work to bring Italy out of crisis and save the tourist season.”
Delta Air Lines, which started offering the COVID-tested flights in December with Alitalia, currently flies between Atlanta and Rome, New York and Milan, and New York and Rome, and will plan to expand its service this summer with flights between New York and Venice, Atlanta and Venice, and Boston and Rome.
“Delta was the first U.S. airline to launch quarantine-free service to Italy, and our COVID-tested flights have proved a viable means to restart international travel safely,” Alain Bellemare, Delta’s EVP and president – international, said in a statement. “It is encouraging that the Italian government has taken this step forward to reopen the country to leisure travelers from the U.S. on our dedicated protocol flights and further supporting economic recovery from the global pandemic.”
American Airlines on Sunday also said it would welcome leisure travelers on its two quarantine-free flights from New York to Milan and Rome.
Italy’s decision to open its borders comes just weeks after the country announced its intentions to welcome travelers from outside the European Union again.
Last month, Italy started easing lockdown restrictions, allowing coffee bars, outdoor restaurants, and more to open in regions across the country, including popular spots like Rome and Milan, but a 10 p.m. curfew remains in effect, according to the Italian National Tourist Board. Famous tourist destinations like Colosseum also re-opened for individual visitors.
Italians who hold a COVID-19 green certification proving they have been vaccinated, recovered from coronavirus, or tested negative within 48 hours, are allowed to move between regions classified as orange or red.
In Italy, 31.6% of people have received at least one vaccine shot, while 14.3% are considered fully vaccinated, according to Reuters, which is tracking the vaccine rollout across the world.
Several other European countries have opened to tourists in recent weeks, including Greece and Croatia, which have each waived pre-arrival testing requirements for vaccinated American travelers and welcome unvaccinated tourists with proof of a negative test. The EU has recommended member countries reopen borders to vaccinated tourists.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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