For members


Everything that changes about life in Italy in May 2021

From free Covid testing to the tax payment freeze, we take a look at the changes in Italy this May that could affect you.

Everything that changes about life in Italy in May 2021
The spring tradition of decorating Rome's Spanish Steps with azaleas is back this year, after it was interrupted last year during Italy's Covid-19 lockdown. Photo: Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.

More easing of Covid restrictions

Italy on April 26th began the first cautious easing of some of its coronavirus-related rules, and further changes are planned in mid-May. 

Lidos, beach clubs and outdoor pools are to reopen, with safety restrictions in place including limits on the number of customers allowed.

Shopping centres, which currently are allowed to open on weekdays only, will be open on weekends again.

In mid-May the government will also review the 10pm curfew rule which is currently in place nationwide.

Gyms and indoor dining will have to wait until June 1st, according to the government’s timetable.

Italy’s government has not yet said when it plans to start lifting the travel restrictions.

Coronavirus home test kits go on sale, plus more free testing

Shops in Italy will be able to sell Covid-19 home testing kits to the public from May.

The autotest or ‘self-test’ was approved in a recent update by the health ministry and is expected to go on sale in pharmacies, supermarkets and other shops.

The health ministry also gave the green light for pharmacies to begin performing rapid antigen swab tests.

A passenger is tested for coronavirus at Milan Centrale train station. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

Meanwhile, Italy’s Red Cross (Croce Rossa Italiana) plans to carry out up to 3,000 free rapid antigen swab tests a day across 11 of the country’s biggest cities from May.

It has already begun giving the tests at Rome’s Termini and Milan’s Centrale train stations, and plans to set up facilities at stations in nine more cities next month: Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Florence Santa Maria Novella, Naples Centrale, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Turin Porta Nuova and Venice Santa Lucia.

Find more information about each testing option here.

Vaccination campaign to speed up?

Italy’s vaccine rollout has suffered a string of setbacks, but authorities insist this will improve as more supplies are expected in May.

The Italian government’s Covid emergency commissioner, Francesco Figliuolo, said the country’s vaccination programme will speed up “significantly” in May thanks to increased deliveries, after missing its target of having half a million doses administered daily before the end of April.

The commissioner added that family doctors and pharmacists will now be able to administer vaccinations, which will help pick up the pace further.


End of freeze on paying tax bills?

It looks as though tax payments suspended amid the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 could be due for collection in May.

Italy’s ‘support decree’ last spring put a pause on the collection of many tax payments until April 30th, 2021. While there could be an extension, nothing has yet been announced.

If the tax freeze applies to you, contact your accountant (commercialista) or the local tax office (Agenzia delle entrate) to find out what you may be liable for and when.


Public holidays in May

May 1st, which marks Workers’ Day in Italy as it does in other countries, falls on a Saturday this year and won’t count as a day off work. 

Mothers’ Day in Italy falls on Sunday May 9th.

International ‘vaccine passport’ to launch

It’s not known whether the Italian government will sign up to it yet, but in May, the “IATA (International Air Travel Association) Travel Pass” will be the first to test travel with a vaccination certificate. 

The smartphone app allows travellers to store and manage certifications for Covid-19 tests or vaccinations. It aims to facilitate air travel under pandemic conditions, and help travellers avoid quarantines whenever possible. 

The data should remain under the control of the passengers, the association assures. The app is available now for iOS, and a version for Android is also expected to be available soon. 

For travel in certain parts of Italy meanwhile you will need the domestic “green pass”, launched at the end of April.

New rules on tyre markings

If you drive in Europe this may be relevant to you. An EU directive comes into effect on May 1st requiring tyre manufacturers to put more specific labelling on their products. Producers will also be obliged to enter specifications on an EU database.

Consumers will be able to use this database to compare products, with the aim of making the market more transparent and easier to find safe and environmentally friendly products. See more details on the European Commission’s website.

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For members


What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

From the gradual easing of Covid restrictions to the clocks jumping forward an hour, here's what to expect in Italy in March.

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

International travel rules change

From March 1st, Italy will allow all fully-vaccinated or recently-recovered travellers from non-EU countries to enter the country without the additional need for a negative Covid test.

Any of a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result will allow extra-EU arrivals entry into Italy without any quarantine requirement – so unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter the country with just proof of a negative test.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s travel rules change in March

Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.

All arrivals will still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

See further details of the upcoming changes to the travel restrictions here.

International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day (la Giornata internazionale dei diritti della donna or simply la Festa della Donna in Italian) and while it’s not any kind of official holiday in Italy, it’s still widely recognised in the form of small-scale celebrations or marches and demonstrations.

You can expect to see bunches of feathery yellow mimosa flowers pop up in florists’ stalls, as it’s traditional in Italy to give these to a woman on International Women’s Day. 

According to Italian Marie Claire, the flower was chosen by early 20th century activists Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei both because it can readily be found flowering in the countryside in March, and because despite its delicate appearance, it’s deceptively strong and resilient.

Hospital visits for relatives and food and drink returns to cinemas

Following a unanimous vote by the Italian parliament’s Social Affairs Commission, March 10th is the date on which it will once again become possible for family members to visit their relatives in hospital.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will reportedly be able to access health facilities to visit their relatives without any further requirements, while people who haven’t received a booster shot will need a negative test to enter.

From the same date, it will also be possible to eat and drink in Italy’s cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums, Italian news media reports.

Italy’s government had banned the consumption of food and beverages in these venues last Christmas Eve in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. 

Rome marathon

On March 27th, Rome will host its annual marathon once again.

Starting and ending by the Colosseum, the 26 mile course takes runners along the Tiber and past numerous historic sites including the ancient Roman Circo Massimo chariot race track, the Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica, to name a few.

That means if you’re planning on travelling around central Rome on this date, you should prepare for most of the roads to be cordoned off and for traffic to be significantly diverted.

The race starts at 8.30am, and the maximum completion time is six and a half hours. For those who aren’t fans of running, the event also welcomes power walkers, according to its official website.

The Rome marathon starts and ends at the Colosseum. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The clocks go forward

March 27th is also the date Daylight Savings Time begins: the clocks jump forward at 2am, and everyone loses an hour of sleep.

While the EU voted in 2019 to scrap DST by 2021, a combination of Covid, Brexit, and an intra-EU stalemate (the EU Council and the EU Commission each insists the other needs to act first before anything can be done) has delayed putting a stop to the clock change, which means it will go ahead once again this March.

READ ALSO: Clocks go back in Italy despite EU deal on scrapping hour change

Italy, for one, is glad of the delays, having previously filed a formal request that the current system be kept in place.

That’s because in southern countries such as Italy or Spain daylight savings actually lengthens the days, helping people save on their energy bills – while in northern Europe the change doesn’t bring any such benefits.

Italy’s state of emergency ends

Italy’s current state of emergency or stato di emergenza, in place since January 31st, 2020, will end on March 31st, 2022, Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced at a business conference on February 23rd. 

The state of emergency is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

READ ALSO: Italy to end Covid state of emergency and cut ‘super green pass’, PM confirms

Bringing the state of emergency to an end doesn’t automatically mean that all current restrictions will be immediately dropped; however Draghi has already confirmed that after March 31st, some rules will be removed.

These include the abolition of Italy’s four-tiered colour coded system of Covid restrictions; the removal of outdoor mask mandates throughout Italy; and an end to the requirements for schoolchildren to wear high-grade FFP2 masks in the classroom or to quarantine if one of their classmates tests positive for the virus.