Under the ‘roadmap’ outlining the route out of lockdown, the UK Government has confirmed that overseas holidays will be permitted (pending a review) for people in England from May 17. Time to book that trip to Italy, then? Well, not quite. While holidays may be legally permitted after that date, there are factors which could still block that long-awaited trip abroad. Travellers could face restrictions, including a quarantine, when they return to the UK, while Italy may not even be welcoming British holidaymakers. That could change in the coming months, but any booking for travel, even in summer, comes with an element of risk. Here’s everything we know so far about a possible holiday to Italy this summer. Am I allowed to travel to Italy? Until at least May 17, only those with an essential reason to leave Britain may do so. If you arrive at an airport without proof of an essential reason for travel, you will be asked to return home and could face a fine from the police. The UK does not consider a holiday to be essential; only those travelling for work, or for other ‘valid’ reasons (such as to buy a house, or get married; the list is surprisingly extensive) are allowed to travel overseas. If you are allowed to travel, you must still quarantine for 10 days when you return home (and take three tests). Who can enter Italy? Until March 5, entry to Italy is only permitted if you have official residency or if you have an essential reason, which must be declared in writing in the self-declaration form (see below). Do I need to take a test before travel to Italy? Yes. Until March 5, those wishing to fly to Italy must present their airline with a negative Covid-19 result (rapid antigenic or molecular swab) taken no more than 72 hours before travel. You must also take a test within 48 hours of entering Italy – arrivals from the UK must take this test at the airport. How do I know if I am eligible to go to Italy? Consult the Italian Government’s online questionnaire (in English) for more advice on entry requirements and travel to Italy. I am eligible, so what documents do I need to fill before I travel? You will need to download and complete a self-declaration form via the Ministry of Interior before you travel. Who do I need to contact when I arrive? The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) says: “Everyone arriving in Italy must also call the Covid-19 helpline for the region you are travelling within 48 hours, to inform them of your visit.” Do I need to self-isolate in arrival? Yes. The FCDO says you must “self-isolate on arrival for 14 days if, in the 14 days prior to your arrival in Italy, you have stayed in or transited through a country where Italy continues to require self-isolation.” This includes the UK. “If these conditions apply to you, then you must report promptly to the local health authorities. If you cannot self-isolate for 14 days for any reason, then entry to Italy may be refused.” Do I need to take a test before travelling back to England? Yes. You must take a test 72 hours before departure. If you fail to do so, you will be denied boarding, or risk a fine of up to £500 on arrival back in the UK. You can find the Government’s rules on test before departure, here. Do people travelling from Italy to England have to go into quarantine? Yes. You will need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in England, and then self-isolate at home for ten days. And you will need to take a Covid test on the second and eighth days of your self-isolation, costing £210. You can book your tests through the official Government portal here. When will holidays be allowed to resume? That is the big question. The UK has said holidays will not be able to restart until at least May 17, but this date is subject to review and we do not know whether returning Britons will be expected to quarantine when they get home. Italy has not given any indication as to when it will remove its ban on non-essential UK arrivals. It seems likely that restrictions will be eased before the summer, but nothing is certain. Will testing requirements remain? It seems possible that testing could remain a requirement for many months. However, vaccine passports could eventually replace, or supplement, the need to prove you do not have the virus. The UK is reportedly in the process of implementing a vaccine certification scheme so travellers can prove they are inoculated, should the country they are visiting require such proof. Are flights to Italy still operating? Yes. A number of airlines are still operating limited flights to Italy. Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways are among the airlines with flights running this week. Am I still covered by travel insurance? If you need to travel to Italy there are a small number of providers willing to offer cover against Foreign Office advice. Is Italy in lockdown? Restrictions are still in place. A nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am remains in place, and travel between Italy’s 20 regions is banned. Masks are mandatory in public, both indoors and outdoors, across the nation. However, bars and restaurants in some areas are now allowed to service customers (see below). High school students have been allowed to return to normal lesson, although full classroom occupancy is not allowed. How is Italy’s vaccination drive going? 4,283,925 doses have been administered, meaning 7.1 per cent of the population has received at least one dose. 2.3 per cent of the population has received two doses. Where in Italy might we be travelling to first? Sardinia is set to become the first region in Italy to enter a new “white” tier, which means restaurants (11pm closure) and bars can reopen (9pm closure). In regions classified under this band, gyms, swimming pools, cinemas, theatres and ski slopes may also be allowed to reopen. The island has managed to keep infections below 50 cases per 100,000 at a time when cases are rising in other parts of the country – as businesses reopen in Sardinia, restrictions are tightening in Lombardy, Marche and Piedmont among other regions. “We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally cafes, bars and restaurants are going to be allowed to welcome clients also during the evening,” said Nicola Murru, director of Confesercenti Cagliari, the local business association. “We are going to have a spike in commerce, because people want to go out to eat at night,” he added. Does this mean holidays to Sardinia will be on the cards, soon? Christian Solinas, the president of Sardinia, said that businesses would gradually begin to reopen, but warned international travel was some months away. So while travel to Sardinia is not imminent, it is not far-fetched to imagine that when travel does resume to Italy, this “white tier” island with a very low case rate will be front of the queue.