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EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules on Italy’s beaches this summer?

Now that people can return to Italy's beaches for sport and relaxation, what kind of Covid-19 rules and restrictions are in place? Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules on Italy's beaches this summer?
Photo by Azat Satlykov on Unsplash

Travel in Italy has restarted and the country has opened up to some international tourists as coronavirus restrictions ease across the nation. 

The health data is improving with Italy recording its lowest weekly rates of Covid-19 infections since October 2020, even if some restrictions currently stay in place.

As more regions move into the lowest-risk ‘white zone’ classification, readers of The Local have been getting in touch to work out if and how they can travel to Italy this summer.

There’s more to consider if you do manage to spend your holiday in Italy this summer once you arrive, though.

If you plan to head to Italy’s beaches and spend some time by the sea, you’ll need to be aware of  the government guidelines that apply to both ‘lidos’ – beaches where you use a sunbed – and public or ‘free’ beaches (spiaggie libere).

The rules also apply to other outdoor facilities like campsites.

READ ALSO: Where to find even more of Italy’s best beaches in 2021

Photo: Ruth Troughton on Unsplash

On the beach

You’ll see the prevention measures when you head to the coast and this should be made clear to international tourists who don’t speak Italian.

If you plan to pay for a sunbed and umbrella, you’ll need to be escorted by a beach steward, who should explain the protocol to you.

It’s recommended that you book your place at the beach beforehand, rather than just turn up. The details you provide will also be kept on an attendance list for 14 days for the sake of track and tracing in the case of a person testing positive for Covid-19.

To access bathing services, you’ll have your body temperature checked and you will be denied access if it exceeds 37.5 degrees.


As has become customary by now, there’ll be hand gel available and staff will be wearing masks. It’s also advised that you pay electronically to avoid physical handling of cash.

Flow systems with one-way entrance and exits will be in place to prevent crowds too.

To ensure distancing between beachgoers, beach facilities must provide you with 10 square metres per umbrella and there must be 1 metre distance between beach equipment, such as sun loungers and deck chairs, if there is no umbrella.

Interpersonal distancing rules don’t apply to members of the same family or those staying in the same hotel room.

On free beaches where you don’t pay for these services, the distancing rules apply to your own umbrellas and beach equipment.

What about playing sports and swimming in the sea?

As for playing sports on the beach, including beach volleyball or football, “it is forbidden to engage in group games or sports activities that may lead to gatherings,” stated the government guidelines.

However, they are allowed as long as they “comply with the regulations of the competent institutions,” the government added.

READ ALSO: Is Italy really going to offer vaccines to tourists this summer?

Individual activities like swimming in the sea, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing are all permitted, provided you keep your distance from others, in accordance with the overall coronavirus prevention measures.

Do I have to wear a mask at the beach?

Although beach staff will be required to masks, holidaymakers won’t have to unless you’re in a enclosed space.

The only time you’ll be required to wear a mask in the open air is when it’s not possible to maintain a distance of one metre from others.

There is no requirement to wear a mask during physical activity, so no need to worry about taking a waterproof mask in the sea with you.

Covid-19 camping rules

Attached to many beaches in Italy are campsites and the rules extend to these facilities too.

For those pitching tents or staying in caravans while in Italy, there needs to be 3 metres between the entrance of each accommodation and there must be 1.5 metres between outdoor equipment such as tables, chairs, deckchairs and sun loungers for example.

You’ll be responsible for disinfecting your indoor and outdoor furniture, unless otherwise stated by the campsite.

The campsite owners will be required to sanitise shared toilet facilities two to three times a day, depending on occupancy.

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For members


LISTED: The new direct flights to and from Italy in 2024

Several airlines have announced new routes in and out of Italy in 2024, with the political and economic capitals of Rome and Milan among the cities seeing the biggest increases.

LISTED: The new direct flights to and from Italy in 2024

The EU is promoting train travel as a greener alternative to flying – but this hasn’t stopped several carriers deciding to add new routes to and from Italy. 

Budget airlines including Wizz Air and Jet 2 have added routes from Rome and Milan to European destinations including Germany, Denmark, Scotland, France and Spain.

Meanwhile Italy’s ITA Airways is introducing intercontinental flights to Africa and the Middle East, as well as adding two routes to the US and Canada.

Here’s a look at the new routes, plus one important EU-wide travel change you should know about, coming in 2024.

Rome Fiumicino-Chicago, Toronto, Accra, Dakar, Riyadh, Kuwait City, Jeddah

Italian flag carrier ITA, the successor to Alitalia, is adding seven new global destinations for 2024: two in North America, two in West Africa, and three in the Middle East.

READ ALSO: Where Italy’s new ‘tourist trains’ can take you in 2024

The Chicago and Toronto flights are scheduled to start in April and May respectively, and will both have six weekly rotations.

Flights to Riyadh will start in May; to Accra and Kuwait City, in June; to Dakar, in July; and to Jeddah in October.

Rome Fiumicino-Berlin, Hamburg, Alicante and Copenhagen

Budget airline Wizz Air is also increasing its offering of routes to and from the Italian capital.

Flights to Berlin and Hamberg will start in March, to Alicante in April, and to Copenhagen in July. 

Milan Malpensa-Paris Beauvais and Tenerife

Wizz Air is also introducing new routes from the northern city of Milan in 2024, adding daily fights to Paris Beauvais from March and a Tenerife route from July.

READ ALSO: MAP: Where can high-speed rail take you in Italy?

Milan Bergamo-Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stavanger

Norwegian Air is also set to trial three new destinations from Milan: the Danish and Finnish capitals as well as Stavanger in Norway.

Bari-Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm

At the other end of the country, Norwegian is also adding weekly flights from the southern city of Bari to Stockholm, and bi-weekly flights to Copenhagen and Oslo.


American Airlines has said it will add a daily route from Naples to Philadelphia starting in June, as well as bringing back its non-stop flights from Philadelphia and Chicago to Venice.


Finally, low-cost airline Jet 2 is adding a bi-weekly service from Rome to Edinburgh from March.

Other changes: new passport controls

In addition to being aware of these new routes, it’s also important to know that the EU’s new Entry & Exit System (EES) is scheduled to come into effect in the autumn of 2024, after several delays.

This will involve biometric data and fingerprint scanning for people entering Italy from outside the EU – full details here