Vatican City travel guide
About Vatican City
The Vatican City is the world's smallest sovereign state and is situated entirely within the city of Rome. Many visitors come for religious reasons, but you don’t have to be a Catholic to appreciate this extraordinary destination.
Famed sights include the colossal monument to Catholicism that is St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Palace, where the Pope resides. Inside his lavish abode lies the legendary Sistine Chapel, which lays claim to the most famous ceiling in the world. Crane your head to marvel at Michelangelo’s magnum opus, The Last Judgement.
Crowds can make a visit to Vatican City a bit of a trial – it’s busy throughout the year and at most times of day – but putting up with swathes of tourists seems like a small price to pay to bask in the state’s assorted treasures. Join the queues and follow the masses through the Vatican Museums to see an astonishing collection of paintings by the likes of Raphael and Giotto in the Pinacoteca Vaticana. You’ll also find extraordinary artefacts from classical antiquity, as well as museums dedicated to older finds from the Etruscans and Egyptians.
As leader of the Papal States for more than 1,000 years until Italian Unification in the 19th century, the Vatican has a long and uneven history. But the new Argentinian pope, formerly known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has breathed new life into the old office since his appointment in 2013. As a result, visitors from far and wide have been flocking in ever-greater numbers to catch a glimpse of the new Roman Catholic leader and the city he lives in.
Pope Francis is known to give a general audience on Wednesdays, either in Audience Hall or St Peter’s Square. On Sundays, he usually gives a midday blessing from the window of his office, which overlooks the square.
0.44 sq km (0.17 sq miles).
801 (UN estimate 2016).
1,818.2 per sq km.
The State of the Vatican City came into existence in 1929.
Pope Francis since 2013.
Pope Francis since 2013.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Italy on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Italy.
Return to the UK
Travelling from and returning to the UK
Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Public spaces and travel within Italy
Public spaces and services
Until at least 30 September, the use of FFP2 masks are compulsory in the following cases:
- when entering Italy by ferry, train or coach
- on public transport within the country, including boats, ferries, interregional trains, buses, subways, cars and taxis with a driver
- when visiting healthcare facilities such as hospitals and care homes
It is still recommended to wear masks in all indoor public spaces. You should pay close attention to signage when travelling and carry a mask with you at all times. Children aged 5 and under do not need to wear a mask.
To visit inpatients on a hospital ward, you will require:
- a booster dose (in addition to the primary vaccination course) OR
- a primary vaccination course AND a negative test OR
- a Covid recovery certificate AND a negative test
Check with the ward’s health director before visiting as requirements may vary.
Regional and local authorities in Italy are empowered to adjust these measures where required, which may occur at short notice. You are advised to consult the websites for the regions in which you are travelling for the latest information.
Green Pass and Super Green Pass
From 1 May, Green Passes or Super Green Passes are no longer required to access businesses or services in Italy. A Green Pass is still required to visit or accompany relatives in hospitals and care homes.
A “Green Pass” (website only in Italian), also known as an EU digital COVID certificate, certifies vaccination, recovery or negative test result.
Italy will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record as the equivalent to a Super Green Pass as long as it is in the form of a verifiable QR code.
You can also obtain a Green Pass valid for 48 hours by testing negative to a rapid COVID-19 test available from local pharmacies and test centres.
Children aged 11 and under are exempt from presenting a Green Pass and Super Green Pass (see below).
Anyone falsifying a certificate is liable to face a fine of up to €3000 or a prison sentence.
A Green Pass is required for accompanying non-COVID patients to hospital or specialist medical centres.
Travelling within Italy
You must comply with the local travel regulations of the region you are visiting, even if you have only just arrived in Italy. FFP2 masks must be worn on public transport until at least 30 September.
International travel from Italy
To board an international flight from Italy, you should check the requirements for your destination country.
Wearing masks for flights
The Italian government has removed the requirement to wear masks on flights in and to or from Italy. Check with your travel operator before travelling.
If you are travelling to the UK, see Return to the UK for additional requirements.
Consult the European Union’s Re-Open EU page for rules on travelling within the EU.
Healthcare in Italy
COVID-19 testing is widely available at private clinics. Rapid testing is also available in many pharmacies, and, in some regions, drive-in testing is available. You are strongly advised to consult the website for the region from which you are travelling as test facilities vary across regions.
Developing symptoms of COVID-19 while in Italy
If you think you have symptoms, including a fever or respiratory difficulties such as shortness of breath or a cough, you should stay in your accommodation and call your regional hotline. Most of the regional hotlines listed have English speaking staff. You can also call your local ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale).
If you are staying in a hotel or resort, your accommodation provider may have a list of private doctors that they can call to assess your symptoms and conduct a COVID-19 test.
If you have arranged your own accommodation you can find details of English speaking doctors on our list of healthcare providers.
Remember that an EHIC or GHIC covers state healthcare only, not private treatment. You will be responsible for the cost of any treatment provided by a private doctor or private clinic.
If you come into close contact with someone who tests positive, you will need to self-monitor and wear the FFP2 mask for 10 days from the last contact. If you develop symptoms you should take a test when the symptoms occur and, if symptoms remain, test again on the fifth day after being in contact with the positive person. Local health authorities have now indicated you can test in a private facility. If you do so, you must send a digital copy of your negative test certificate to the local ASL office.
For further details please see Ministry of Health website (only in Italian).
Testing positive for COVID-19 while in Italy
If you are tested and the result is positive, you must immediately self-isolate in your accommodation and call your regional hotline as set out above.
You may be able to remain in your existing accommodation for self-isolation, or be required to transfer into a state hospital or other government-provided accommodation. You may be required to fund accommodation. Depending on local arrangements, travellers in groups may be spread across different accommodation locations.
If within the last 120 days you have either (a) completed a full course of vaccination OR (b) received a booster the self-isolation, you must self-isolate for 7 days. Otherwise, you must self-isolate for 10 days.
In order to be released from self-isolation, you must produce a negative test. The local health authority determines the type of test they will use and the pattern of testing. You will also need to have been symptom-free for at least 3 days.
If you continue to test positive for a variant other than Beta or Omicron, you can be released from self-isolation after 21 days. You will also need to have been symptom-free for at least 7 days.
You should follow the advice of the local health authorities at all times as regional variations may apply.
Local health authorities have now indicated you can test in a private facility. If you do so, you must send a digital copy of your negative test certificate to the local ASL office.
For further details please see Ministry of Health website (only in Italian).
If you test positive for COVID-19 you may be able to remain in your existing accommodation for self-isolation, or be required to transfer into a state hospital or other government-provided accommodation. You may be required to fund accommodation.
Depending on local arrangements, travellers in groups may be required to stay in separate accommodation (e.g. if a sufficient number of rooms is not available in one venue, your group may be spread across different accommodation locations).
The UK government will not cover mandatory quarantine costs for British nationals. EHIC or GHIC cards therefore cannot be used to cover the cost of staying in a quarantine hotel if payment is required. Make sure you have access to funds to cover the costs or take out insurance, checking the policy has adequate cover.
If you have or are entitled to an EHIC or GHIC and you need state healthcare treatment while staying at a quarantine hotel, the UK government will fund treatment as usual through the EHIC/GHIC scheme.
Remember that an EHIC or GHIC does not cover private treatment. You will be responsible for the cost of any treatment provided by a private doctor or hospital.
In some Italian regions, you may be required to take a coronavirus test if you spend 48 hours or two consecutive nights in a hospital for any reason. If you test positive, you will be required to quarantine, as outlined above.
In the case of an emergency you should call Italy’s 112 emergency number. English speaking operators are available.
For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers. Find out more from the NHS website about EHIC and GHIC healthcare cover abroad. For information regarding access to healthcare in Italy see healthcare for UK nationals visiting the EU. Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health. View Health for further details on healthcare in Italy. See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Italy
Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Italy announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.
The Italian national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. British nationals resident in Italy are eligible for vaccination. The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) has issued comprehensive information, on the vaccine and the documentation required to book an appointment.
Many regional authorities have launched on-line booking platforms and opened call centres for bookings. Regional requirements vary, with booking platforms requiring you to enter the details of your tessera sanitaria (Italian health card), a codice fiscale or STP card. Some regions are now offering a dedicated vaccination service to those not registered with the Italian health system. You should consult the regional health pages where you live.
An interactive map (in Italian) details a list of vaccine administration points by region.
Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.
If you’re a British national living in Italy, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.
If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Italy, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
Help and support
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Crime levels are generally low but there are higher levels of petty crime (particularly bag snatching and pick-pocketing) in the big city centres, such as Rome. Be aware that thieves can use a variety of methods to distract you.
Take care on public transport and in crowded areas in city centres, particularly in and around Termini station in Rome, where incidents of street muggings have been reported, and at other main stations.
Be particularly vigilant on trains to and from airports and cruise ports in Italy (especially Fiumicino airport), as well as the Circumvesuviana train between Naples and Sorrento, and when unloading your baggage from trains and coaches.
Use a hotel safe for valuables where possible.
Alcohol and drugs can make you less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Don’t leave food or drinks unattended at any time. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.
Those in cars can sometimes be targeted by thieves. Robberies from cars have been reported particularly in and around Rome, Milan and Pisa, as well as at motorway service stations. Always lock your vehicle, never leave valuables in cars and avoid leaving luggage in cars for any length of time. Be aware that thieves may use a variety of methods to distract you or encourage you to stop your car. These may include asking for help or directions, or pointing out a fictional fault with your car.
Make sure Euro notes received from any source other than banks or legitimate bureaux de change are genuine.
Only use officially licensed taxis. These will have a taxi sign on the roof. Make sure the meter in the taxi has been reset before you set off.
Transport strikes are often called at short notice. For more information visit the Ministry of Transport website (in Italian).
Traffic can be busy, fast and chaotic especially in the larger cities. Pedestrians should use zebra crossings, but take care especially where lines are faded and not clearly visible to drivers. Vehicles don’t always stop, even though they are required to under the Italian Traffic Code. The green pedestrian crossing signal also allows cars to turn onto the crossing, so cross with caution.
In 2019 there were 3,130 road deaths in Italy (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 5.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 in 2019.
If you are planning to drive in Italy, see information on Driving Abroad.
Licences and documents
You can drive in Italy with a UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. If you’re living in Italy, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
It is against the law for anyone who has been resident in Italy, for more than 60 days, to drive a car registered outside Italy. This may result in a fine and/or the car being impounded.
Driving a British car abroad
You may need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September 2021 UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.
Private and hire cars are not allowed to enter the historic centre of many Italian cities without an official pass. If your hotel is in the centre of one of these cities, 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. Don’t pass this sign as your registration number is likely to be caught on camera and you will be fined.
Trucks over 7.5 tonnes (75 quintali) are not allowed on Italian roads (including motorways) on Sundays from 7:00 am until midnight, local time. These restrictions don’t apply to trucks that have already been granted an exception (eg those carrying perishable goods and petrol supplies).
There is a congestion charge for Milan city centre. For further information see the Milan Municipality website.
To reduce pollution, the city authorities in Rome sometimes introduce traffic restrictions on specific days whereby vehicles with odd or even number plates are not allowed on the roads in the ‘fascia verde’ area (covering most of Rome). For further information, including exceptions, see the Rome Municipality website.
Outdoor activities and adventure tourism
Hiking, mountaineering and other adventure sports are increasingly popular activities in Italy. Unfortunately each year there are incidents with visitors getting into difficulty and needing the help of the emergency services. There have been a number of tragic accidents involving British visitors, including during extreme sports activities.
If you’re taking part in extreme sports 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 (eg off-piste skiing, mountain biking, climbing, paragliding or BASE jumping), your insurance should include mountain rescue services, helicopter costs and 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. A map, compass, GPS and telecommunication equipment should always be used when travelling outside urban areas. Don’t undertake any activity alone, and consider hiring a guide for expert advice. Always leave copies of your itinerary with someone.
If you are planning a skiing holiday, contact the Italian State Tourist Board for advice on safety and weather conditions before you travel. Address: 1 Princes Street, London W1R 9AY. Telephone: 020 7355 1557 or 1439.
Regulations for the 2021/22 ski season include:
From 10 January, you will need a Super Green Pass to access ski lifts
- Third party liability insurance is a legal requirement and can be purchased locally with a ski pass
- You must wear a helmet if you are under 18
- Masks (surgical or FFP2) must be worn on ski lifts and when in common spaces
- You must maintain social distancing on the slopes and avoid gatherings
- Eating and drinking is not permitted on ski lifts or boarding areas
- It is forbidden to climb a slope with snowshoes unless in a case of emergency
- It is forbidden to ski under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Off-piste skiing is highly dangerous. You should follow all safety instructions meticulously given the dangers of avalanches in some areas and go with a qualified guide. You should check your insurance covers off piste activity. It is the law for skiers and snowboarders to carry tracking equipment, snow probe and shovel if they go off-piste,
Read more about how to stay safe on the slopes.
Terrorist attacks in Italy can’t be ruled out.
There are isolated cases of domestic terrorism. Attacks carried out by the extreme left-wing and secessionist groups have generally been aimed at official Italian targets, mainly in the form of small bombs and incendiary devices. The Italian authorities have made a number of arrests of individuals with links to Daesh and other extremist groups.
There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
This page has information on travelling to Italy. Check what you must do to return to the UK.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Italy set and enforce entry rules.
From 1 May travellers will no longer be required to complete a passenger locator form (EU PLF) to enter or travel through Italy as a visitor.
As of 1 June, COVID-19 restrictions on entering Italy have been lifted. Italy does not require any proof of vaccination, a negative test result, or a COVID-19 recovery certificate to enter the country, regardless of your vaccination status.
All passengers entering Italy by ferry, train or coach must wear an FFP2 mask in order to enter the country. Masks are no longer required on flights in, to or from Italy.
If you’re fully vaccinated
Entry requirements for Italy are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
Proof of vaccination status
You don’t need to provide your vaccination status for entry to Italy.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
Entry requirements for Italy are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year
Entry requirements for Italy are the same for all travellers, regardless of whether you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past year.
Children and young people
There are no specific requirements for children and young people.
If you’re transiting through Italy
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination. Italy’s land borders are open. You should check travel advice for any countries you plan to travel through ahead of your journey and should ensure that you have the necessary tests for each country you transit as well as Italy.
Transiting Italy by Air
Check with your airline before departing.
Passengers who remain within the airport transit area are not required to complete a Passenger Locator Form for transit through Italy and should follow the rules of the country of your final destination.
If the airport does not have transit facilities or you have booked connecting flights with different airlines, you will need to pass through Immigration. You may be asked to show proof of onward travel or proof of accommodation and funds if you intend to break your journey in Italy. You may need to complete a Passenger Locator Form from Italy to the country of your final destination.
Transiting Italy by Land or Sea
You should follow the rules of the country of your final destination, including whether you need to complete a Passenger Locator Form.
Consult the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more advice and the Re-open Europe website for transit regulations.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
You should check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
Your passport must be:
- issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
- valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
If you are travelling to Italy and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.
To stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Italian government’s entry requirements. Check which type of visa and/or work permit you may need with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before booking an appointment through the Italian consulates in London or Edinburgh.
If you are travelling to Italy for work, read the guidance on visas and permits.
If you stay in Italy with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
British citizens who are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of their visa/permit or the end of their visa-free limit due to COVID-19 restrictions should contact their local immigration office (questura)
At Italian border control, you may need to:
- show proof of your accommodation, for example, a hotel booking confirmation or proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home)
- show proof of insurance for your trip. Please check the guidance on travel insurance
- show a return or onward ticket
- you should also be able to prove that you have enough money for your stay. The minimum amount required depends on your accommodation
- your host must inform the local immigration office (questura) in writing within 48 hours after you arrive at their property. They could be fined if they fail to comply with this Italian immigration law
Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Italy as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.
You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.
If you are entering from a Schengen Area country (e.g. France) you are required to declare your presence to the local immigration authority (questura) within 8 days of arriving (‘dichiarazione di presenza’). The questura will provide a form to complete. This requirement is not applicable if you are staying in a hotel or a B&B property.
Further information is provided on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
If you are resident in Italy, read our Living in Italy guide for passport stamping information.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Italy.
Returning to the UK
By law you must be able to show some form of identification at all times. In most cases a photocopy of the data page of your passport should suffice, but in this case you’re advised to also carry a second form of photo ID. The police will normally ask for your full passport if you are stopped while driving.
Tickets on public transport must be endorsed in a ticket machine before you start a journey. The machines are usually positioned at the entrance to platforms in railway stations, in the entrance hall to metro stations and on board some buses and trams. Officials patrol public transport and will issue an on the spot fine of 100 to 500 euros (reduced to 50 euros if paid immediately) if you don’t hold an endorsed ticket. Tickets can be purchased from shops displaying the ‘T’ sign, and are usually bars or tobacconists.
In the Rome area, restaurants must display a menu outside the restaurant, only charge for bread if the customer specifically requests it, inform the customer of the prices being charged before he/she orders, give a proper receipt and not make any cover charge (coperto).
In some Italian towns and cities you may be fined for dropping litter and in some towns or cities it’s an offence to sit on monument steps or to eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of main churches, historic monuments and public buildings. It’s also an offence to enter or bathe in public fountains. A fine of up to €10,000 can be imposed for urinating in a public place.
In May 2019, the Municipality of Capri introduced a law forbidding the use of any disposable plastic objects such as bags, cutlery, plates, cups, food packaging, trays, straws on the island of Capri. Violations can incur a fine of up to 500 euros.
Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities, particularly tourist cities like Florence, Venice and Rome. Don’t buy from illegal street traders. You could be stopped by the local police and fined.
Many major cities in Italy now impose a small tax on tourists. The tax is levied by hotels and is usually not included in any pre-paid arrangements or package deal. The rate of tax varies from city to city, and can depend on the star rating of the hotel. Hotels often ask for payment of this tax in cash. Make sure you get a receipt. For more information check with the local tourist information office.
It’s illegal to remove sand, shells or pebbles from coastal areas in Italy. Doing so may result in heavy 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.
Taking food and drink into the EU
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Italy on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Italy.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.
The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Italian nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
Unlike in the UK, you will need to go to a pharmacy (“farmacia”) to get most over-the-counter medicines. Pharmacies are widely available and are usually identified by a green cross. UK prescriptions are not accepted though you may be able to buy an equivalent medication from the pharmacy. Alternatively you can visit an Italian GP or Guardia Medica Turistica (where available) to obtain a local prescription. Prescription medicines are not free in Italy but with an EHIC or GHIC, and an Italian prescription, you will pay a reduced rate.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 118 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
For more information, read our guidance on healthcare when travelling in Europe.
If you’re living in Italy, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Italy guide.
For severe weather warnings, visit the European Meteorological Services website
High waters known as “acqua alta” are a common occurrence in Venice during the winter months and can cause flooding in parts of the city. You should monitor local media and weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities in affected areas. More information is available on the website of the Civil Protection Department.
Forest fires are a risk during the extended summer months. Forest fires are highly dangerous and unpredictable; check with local authorities if you’re considering travelling to affected areas. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas and report fires to the emergency services. You can also visit the website of the Civil Protection Department.
Many parts of Italy lie on a major seismic fault line. Minor tremors and earthquakes are a regular occurrence. To learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake visit the Protezione Civile website.
The currency of Italy is the Euro.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.