Italy opened up international tourism on May 17, 2021, and has steadily made things easier for travelers. No matter how easy Italy makes things for Americans, to return home you’ll need to present a negative Covid-19 test. The good news is that I have done it, and it was super easy, so no need to worry. Here is how to get a Covid-19 test to return to the USA from Italy.
Update March 2022: Starting March 1, 2022, you only need to present a vaccine card to enter the country without quarantine or random testing. Unvaccinated travelers must show a negative test result and quarantine for five days upon arrival and test again at the end of those five days. These rules are expected to be reduced even further on April 30, 2022. However, travelers returning to the US must still present a negative Covid-19 test result.
Update Dec 6, 2021: Regardless of vaccination status and nationality, the new testing window requirement to return to the USA is one day before departure, which means that you need to get tested the day prior to your departure. For example, if you leave in the evening on Tuesday, you can get tested as early as Monday morning.
Click the button below to reserve your Covid-19 rapid antigen test for the day before your departure from Italy.
Headed to Italy? Great idea! The sites are practically empty, and you won’t get a chance to see them like this in the future. Definitely check out our Italy tours for the most memorable experience. We take away the guesswork about getting into the main attractions, and an experienced guide will elevate your visit to the next level!
Covid-19 Questions About Returning to the USA from Italy
Here are some common FAQs that I have received about how to get a Covid-19 test to return to the USA from Italy.
Do you need to get a Covid-19 test to return to the states?
Quick Answer: Yes, those are the current government guidelines to return to the US. (Still current as of April 1, 2022.)
As of publishing this article, July 8th, 2021, all passengers need a PCR or Antigen test to return to the United States. This is mandatory whether you are vaccinated or not. The good news is that an antigen test offers rapid results in 20 minutes or less, and costs anywhere from free to €100 depending on where you go in Italy.
When should you get a Covid-19 test in Italy to return to the USA?
Quick Answer: By noon, the day before your departure.
I recommend going to a Red Cross site or a private clinic a day prior to your flight. Getting a test at the airport is also possible, but you’re definitely adding extra stress on the day of departure, especially if you happen to test negative. A savvy traveler takes care of it in advance.
That means that getting a Covid-19 test done the day before departure is usually the best since antigen results arrive within a couple of minutes or hours. I received my antigen test result just hours after my test at a private clinic in Como.
Do I have to schedule my test in advance?
Quick Answer: Yes, it’s better to plan this due to the time requirements.
There are many places in Italy, especially in Rome or Milan, where you can get your test without an appointment that I’ll cover below. I flew home from Milan after ending my trip in Lake Como. I had to schedule an appointment because there are only private clinics in Como. There are Red Cross centers in Rome and Milan that do not require appointments.
The airports do not require appointments for Covid-19 tests. But if you are testing at a private clinic, you need to schedule in advance. I’ll discuss my process for scheduling my appointment in Como down below in the Milan section.
What is the cost of a Covid-19 test in Italy?
Quick Answer: €20 to €100 with an average cost of €20 to €35.
Antigen tests are inexpensive in Italy, especially compared to PCR tests. That’s another reason to visit Italy during this time. At a private clinic in Milan, I paid €35. At the airport in Rome, Sean paid €30. For another trip, I took a PCR test at a private clinic in Milan. That cost €100.
Which train stations in Italy have tests available?
Unfortunately, the Red Cross ended their popular free testing program in the middle of September. For example, at Roma Termini, you might still see the white tent where free tests were previously administered, but Covid-19 tests are no longer given.
Each major train station has a pharmacy. Check the pharmacy when you are at the station about when and how you can get a Covid-19 test to return to the USA. The Roma Termini station has a pharmacy that administers the test and there is also a pharmacy down the street that I recommend.
How to Get A Covid-19 Test in Italy
After reading the above FAQ, you know that you need a test, so here is how to get it!
Where to Get a Covid Test in Italy
You can get a Covid-19 test very easily in any major city in Italy. The Tour Guy has done the work and made booking a Covid-19 test stress-free for major cities in Italy. There are three basic places to get a Covid-19 test in Italy to return to the USA:
- Private clinics
- Major airports
Each major city has these options, and I’ve written about these in detail.
Getting a Covid-19 Test at Rome FCO Airport
The testing center is located in departures Terminal 3. Sean walked through the door at 5:00 am to get his test. (Two people directed him to the test center.)
Operating hours are from midnight to 4:00 pm (16:00). If you have a flight after 4:00 pm, get to the airport well before it closes, or better yet, don’t wait to take the test there.
Before arriving at the airport, you must register for your test by using this link to get a COVID test at FCO Airport in Rome. This reservation number will be required when you sign in to get tested.
You turn left, and there is a small queue to approach a series of desks. You can barely see it, but you must grab a number before they sign you in. These stations are where they take your RSVP number from the online confirmation.
In the early morning, the whole process took 26 minutes total.
To summarize, you need:
- Online RSVP number
- Ticket number from the airport computer
Take a Test
Next is the testing center. They take your passport, hold it, and then take the ticket number from the airport computer.
Once they have that information, you cross from the left side to the right side of the room. That’s where the test is administered, and there is a party in your nose where everyone is invited.
After the test is administered, you walk away without your passport. The same thing happened when I arrived at the beginning of June, which is momentarily scary but perfectly normal. You then have to wait in the area pictured below. The wait time can be anywhere from 15-30 minutes.
The ticket number from the airport computer appears on the screen when your results are ready. They give you a particular document for your final destination country and put a sticker on your boarding pass.
The escalator to departure is right next to where you come into Terminal 3 arrivals.
Where to Get A Covid-19 Test in Milan
Getting a Covid-19 test at Malpensa Airport
Travelers wishing to take an antigen test at Malpensa airport in Milan must register in advance by using this link. The website to register for an antigen test at Malpensa is a bit tricky. Sometimes the location is listed as Palazzo Della Salute, but you will take the antigen test at Malpensa. The cost is €36. For more details, please visit the Malpensa Airport website.
The Covid-19 rapid antigen test is available every day from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm in the Arrivals area. The testing center is located in the Arrivals section of Terminal 1 at door number 4 on floor zero. On the map below, it is located at D4 in arrivals.
A Private Clinic
Getting an antigen test at a private clinic in the Milan area is also another option. There are various clinics located throughout the city. This is also a good option if you are ending your trip in Lake Como like I just did. I’ve tested at two different private clinics in Lake Como and both processes were very similar. One clinic, Analisi, had a great English-speaking staff. They called me to confirm my appointment in English.
The first step to take an antigen test at a private clinic for returning to the USA is to register online. In Lake Como, the clinics and testing centers will be in Como town. If you are staying in Bellagio, Tremezzo, or Lezzeno, you will have to go to Como for your test.
At Analise clinic, located in the center of Como, all of the registration was done ahead of time. I showed up for my appointment at 10 am. At the front desk, I showed them my confirmation email for my appointment and then paid for my test. The test was a quick swab of the nose, and I was out within 10 minutes. I received an email with my results later that day.
There are three clear benefits to getting the test early at the train station or at a private clinic. The first is the elimination of unnecessary stress by getting it done ahead of time. Second, you will have your test in hand, and if you fly American Airlines as I do, you can use the Verifly app to upload your results making check-in at the airport simple and straightforward.
Third, and probably most importantly, the códice fiscale, which is kind of like an ID number, is generated by the private clinic. The códice fiscale is often asked for when taking a Covid-19 test in Italy. The private clinics provide a little bit more service and answer more questions for you.
The only extra step I had to take at the check-in this morning was to show my Verifly pass and that was it. I didn’t need to show my Covid test or any sort of printout.
I flew American Airlines back to the United States. All of those extra steps, questions, and forms are done directly through the app after the negative Covid tests results are uploaded.