Italy Travel Information

Last modified: September 14, 2023
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Entry requirements

Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to enter Italy for tourism purposes and can stay for up to 90 days. However, you should check your specific nationality’s requirements.
If you plan to stay longer than 90 days or work in Italy, you will need a visa. The types of visas and requirements depend on your reason for travel and length of stay. Apply for the correct visa through the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country well in advance of travel.

Vaccination requirements (other than COVID-19)

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and vaccination certificates you may need on TravelHealthPro (from the UK’s National Travel Health Network and Centre).

Accommodation and under-18s

Under Italian law, under-18s cannot check into hotels or holiday accommodation without an accompanying adult.

Safety and security

Political demonstrations

Demonstrations may occur with little or no warning in cities. Avoid any protests, political gatherings, or marches.

As a member of the European Union, Italy has open borders with other EU countries. However, tensions have risen over immigration issues. Take normal precautions visiting areas near borders with other countries to avoid any potential political flashpoints.

Crime

Italy is generally a very safe country for travelers. However, you should still take normal safety precautions. Petty crime like pickpocketing is the main risk, especially in major tourist areas and public transportation in large cities. Keep valuables out of sight and be aware of your surroundings.

Violent crime against tourists is rare. The areas near the border with France and Switzerland occasionally see crimes related to smuggling and organized crime groups. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or cash. Be cautious driving at night in rural areas.

Local Travel

Take care on public transport and in crowded areas in city centres including main stations and particularly in and around Termini station in Rome, where incidents of street muggings have been reported.

Be particularly careful with your belongings on trains to and from airports and cruise ship ports in Italy (especially Fiumicino airport), as well as on the Circumvesuviana train between Naples and Sorrento, and when unloading your baggage from trains and coaches.

Only use officially licensed taxis. These will have a taxi sign on the roof and a taxi company name and number written on the side. Taxis should be called or taken from an official rank rather than hailed in the street.

Transport strikes are often called at short notice. You can find information on the Ministry of Transport website (in Italian).

Traffic can be busy, fast and chaotic, especially in the larger cities. Take care when crossing roads. Pedestrians should cross roads using a crossing. You can be fined for crossing the road if you are within 100 metres of a pedestrian crossing but do not use it. Drivers don’t always stop, even though they are required to. The green pedestrian crossing signal also allows cars to turn right onto the crossing, so cross with caution.

Driving in Italy

Driving is not always the best option due to traffic and narrow roads in cities. Rent a car to explore rural areas and smaller towns. Be aware of local driving rules – for example, it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in Italy.

Private and hire cars must not enter the historic centre of many Italian cities without an official pass. You can buy a pass from most car hire companies. The boundaries of historic centres are usually marked with the letters ZTL in black on a yellow background. If you pass this sign, your registration number is likely to be caught on camera and you will be fined.

There is a congestion charge for Milan city centre. For more information see the Milan Municipality website.

To reduce pollution, city authorities in Rome sometimes restrict traffic on specific days so vehicles with odd or even number plates are not allowed on the roads in the green band (fascia verde) area, which covers most of Rome. For more information, including exceptions, see the Rome Municipality website.

Theft from cars

Robberies from parked cars have been reported, in Rome, particularly the Colosseum area, Ostia, Milan and Pisa. Coastal areas and towns have been targeted as well as motorway service stations. Always lock your vehicle, never leave valuables in cars and avoid leaving luggage in cars for any length of time. Thieves may use a variety of methods to distract you or encourage you to stop your car, including asking for help or directions or pointing out a fictional fault with your car.

Use a hotel safe for valuables where possible.

Be drink aware

Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Be careful about taking drinks from strangers or leaving your drinks unattended. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.

Laws and cultural differences

Personal ID

By law, you must always be able to show some form of identification. In most cases a photocopy of the data page of your passport should be enough, but you may also be asked for a second form of photo ID. The police will normally ask for your full passport if you are stopped while driving.

Public offences

Some Italian towns and cities have specific laws, which you may be fined if you break. For example, there may be laws to prevent you from:

  • dropping litter
  • sitting on monument steps
  • eating and drinking next to main churches, historic monuments and public buildings
  • defacing historic monuments

It’s also an offence to enter or bathe in public fountains in many towns and cities, including Florence and Rome. A fine of up to 10,000 euros can be imposed for urinating in a public place.

On the island of Capri, you must not use or bring onto the island any disposable plastic objects such as bags, cutlery, plates, cups, food packaging, trays and straws. If you do, you can be fined up to 500 euros.

Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities. It is illegal to buy items from unlicensed street traders. If you do, you could be stopped by the local police and fined.

It’s illegal to remove sand, shells or pebbles from coastal areas in Italy. Doing so may result in large fines. It’s also forbidden to collect various species of flowers, plants and herbs from mountain and wooded areas. For more information, check with the regional authorities of the area you’re visiting.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Hiking, mountaineering and other adventure sports have specific risks.

If you’re taking part in these activities, check that the company is well- established in the industry and that you’ve arranged for your insurance to cover this specific activity.

For sports activities like skiing, potholing and mountaineering, and for sports classed as particularly dangerous (for example off-piste skiing, mountain biking, climbing, paragliding or BASE jumping), your insurance should include:

  • mountain rescue services
  • helicopter costs
  • repatriation to your country of residence or possible transfer to neighbouring countries for treatment

Check weather forecasts and conditions and make sure you’re properly equipped for the worst-case scenario with items such as a map, compass, GPS and telecommunication equipment.

Risks are greater if you undertake any activity alone. You may want to hire a guide for expert advice. Always leave copies of your itinerary with someone.

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