**Updated to reflect requirements as of 18th March 2022**
Serie A games played out in empty stadia during lockdown were a morbid spectacle; watching on from home, many of us will have dreamt of standing on a vibrant curva once again. However, for a long time, the idea of returning to Italy seemed a distant prospect, initially due to the risks of COVID itself and later due to quarantine requirements.
Happily, the situation has improved markedly, with fans back in the stadia and a newly-simplified COVID regime. Several administrative hurdles still remain, but these are relatively straight forward (once you’ve deciphered what they are).
This guide is designed to help you navigate those hurdles and mitigate any lingering anxieties about whether you’ve done it all correctly:
Preparing for departure
The first thing to note is that if you’re double (or triple) vaccinated then everything is a lot easier – this guide is written from that perspective. Italy has become quite hard-line about vaccinations for adults, going so far as to make double-vaccination (or a recent negative test) a condition of employment along with participation in most other aspects of life.
Booking flights was no different to pre-COVID, though I noticed that the range of budget flight options was more limited when compared to pre-COVID. For example, we ended up flying from Stansted (Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton are all closer to home) and flew into Turin, despite ultimately wanting to end up in Genoa.
The key requirements for entry to Italy is as follows:
- Proof of vaccination – Italy recognises proof of vaccination from the NHS as an equivalent to the Green Pass (or Super Green Pass – see below). You will need your NHS QR code in either printed or digital form with you at most times (obtained via NHS App, not the NHS test and trace app).
- Before boarding the plane, travellers must have completed an Italian passenger locator form. This essentially provides details of your trip and your whereabouts whilst in Italy. All adults in the party need a separate form, though minors can be covered on one of the adults’ forms.
Whilst in Italy
Whilst the above paperwork was checked by our airline prior to boarding, it perhaps won’t surprise you to hear that passport control on the Italian side had no interest in checking these documents! However, they remain necessary once in the country too.
To enter most indoor public indoor spaces, Italy requires adults to have a Super Green Pass – this is essentially their version of proof of double (or triple) vaccination. The ‘super’ bit means that you must have received your most recent dose within the past 6 months (if received on or after 1st February 2022) or 9 months (if received before 1st February 2022). The Super Green Pass is needed for entry to the stadium (see below), to any hotel, bar or restaurant and some non-essential shops. This is typically checked either visually or more formally using the Verifica19 app (you can download this for free to test it out before you travel).
You’ll need a face mask when on public transport and for entering a stadium, shop, bar or restaurant (though the policing of this, in practice, is quite patchy). Crucially, the the mask needs to be of FFP2 standard to meet the requirements – you may be turned away if you have a standard surgical mask. FFP2 masks can be readily found on Amazon.
At the game
Stadium capacities in Italy are currently limited to 75%, though this isn’t as problematic for securing tickets as it sounds. Very few games would normally sell out so this limit doesn’t bite for the majority of games. It is also the case that some ultra groups are still boycotting the stadium in response to the Super Green Pass requirements, though they are beginning to return.
Tickets can be bought in the usual way online (most teams use either ticketone.it or vivaticket.com) or in person from local outlets detailed on the above websites. Buying tickets online for most games was straightforward, though I was unsuccessful in my quest to get tickets for Spezia v Genoa. The combination of restricted capacity and a local derby in a small stadium made this impossible, though it meant we had an unexpected opportunity to sample some Serie D football.
On entry to the stadium, stewards were checking for the Super Green Pass (or equivalent). At Sampdoria, the steward very briefly looked at our proof of vaccination and waved us through. At all other games the steward used the Verifica19 app to check our vaccination status.
Things have now been simplified a great deal for returning to the UK, with no requirement to test before you board the plane home. As of 18th March 2022, the requirement to complete a Passenger Locator Form no longer applies.
If you’ve got any specific questions, drop me a message and I will try to help.