After three months of lockdown, travel has returned to Italy on 3 June as regional and international borders reopened and quarantine rules were relaxed.

Italy has lifted travel restrictions within the country after non-essential travel limits were imposed on 9 March. From today, its borders have opened to visitors from the European Union, the UK, Vatican City, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Schengen Area members including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Tourists arriving into Italy from these countries will not have to face quarantine.

Cultural attractions have also begun to reopen their doors albeit with less crowds and new rules. Visitors wearing protective masks have been slowly trickling into Rome's Colosseum and Vatican Museums after the attractions reopened on Monday during phase two of Italy's lockdown exit plan and domestic tourists have been taking advantage of the quieter spaces and reduced crowds to see their country in a different light. 

To visit the Colosseum visitors now have to purchase tickets online in advance, have their temperatures checked and wear face masks in the ancient arena at all times. Similar rules apply in the Vatican, where guests have been enjoying the luxury of having the sites almost to themselves through staggered entrance times and extended opening hours. The museums typically receive more than six million visitors each year (all jostling to see the vast collection of treasures including Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel) but they expect a fraction of their usual numbers for the remainder of the year.

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Visitors walk in the 'Gallery of the Maps' of Vatican Museum during the reopening after three months of shutdown
Visitors walk in the 'Gallery of the Maps' of the Vatican Museums and take advantage of the quieter space ©Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In Florence, the Accademia GalleryPalazzo Pitti and the Uffizi Gallery are accepting visitors. Uffizi, which is home to masterpieces from Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli, drew 4.5 million visitors last year but is reducing its daily visitor numbers from 900 to 450. Elsewhere in the city, the famous Duomo Cathedral and its museum will be the first attraction in the country to provide wearable social distancing technology to its patrons.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, which usually attracts five million visitors a year, is only permitting 15 people to enter at a time in an effort to maintain social distancing. And the archaeological site Pompeii has opened its open-air exhibits only, with designated time slots and one-way paths for visitors and a reduced ticket price of €5 (down from €15). 

Tourists wearing face masks pose for a photograph near the tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa has reopened after three months of shutdown ©Laura Lezza/Getty Images

Despite the reduction in numbers, museums and attractions are still putting on a big show for customers. Massimo Osanno, Pompeii's general director, said visitors will be able to access ancient open-air household sites that have never been open to the public before. And in the Le Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, a blockbuster exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the death of the Renaissance painter Raphael opened to the public on 1 June and will run until 30 August.

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