Italy is extending the use of its so-called "super green pass" to more venues today, reserving access to many indoor venues and events for those who are vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19. Here's what you need to know.

What is the super green pass and where is it required?

Italy introduced a green pass last summer that certifies the holder has recently tested negative for COVID-19 or is vaccinated or recovered from the virus. Similar to health passes in France, it is used to grant the holder access to many non-essential services across the country. In December the pass was reinforced and became what local media have dubbed the "super green pass" with the testing option removed in order to encourage vaccine uptake as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Starting today, the super green pass will be extended to more venues and activities including bars, restaurants and any indoor venues where food and drink are served, even for bar service. It is also required to access public transport, hotels, ski lifts, swimming pools, museums, exhibitions, cultural venues, spas, theme parks and more. The measures apply to anyone over the age of 12. In essence, this means vaccination or recovery is required for such activities.

Visitors wait in line to have their digital COVID-19 "Green Pass" checked before entering the Colosseum in Rome
Green passes are part of daily life in Italy © Getty Images

Back in December, the Italian government agreed to extend its state of emergency until March 31, meaning that certain COVID-19 mitigation measures will remain in place until then, though not all. Under the latest measures, it is necessary for people to wear masks outdoors until January 31, but the more protective FFP2 (or N95) masks will be required in indoor areas like museums, theaters, sports arenas and on public transport.

Italy has also closed nightblubs and discos until January 31, 2022. Concerts and open-air events are also banned until then.

Italy entry rules for travelers

Meanwhile, Italy also tightened its entry rules. As of December 16, people from European Union countries must now produce a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure or an antigen test taken in the 24 hours prior to entering Italy, even if they have proof of vaccination like the EU digital COVID certificate. This puts them in line with travelers from non-EU countries like the US, UK and Canada who face the same rules.

As well as producing a negative test taken 72 hours prior to arrival, unvaccinated travelers are now required to self-isolate for five days. They must produce a second negative test at the end of that period to be released from quarantine.

Read more: The 9 best neighborhoods in Rome

How can tourists access Italy's green pass

Italy recognizes the AstraZeneca, Covishield, Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. For a person to be considered "recently recovered" from COVID-19, it means that no more than 180 days have passed since their last positive swab.

Tourists in Italy can present their official vaccination certificate in place of a green pass. For most Europeans that's the certificate that's compatible with the EU digital COVID cert. For Americans, it's the ‘white card’ with the CDC logo. According to the US Embassy in Italy, those vaccination cards can be used to enter spaces where the green card is required. In order for foreign vaccination certificates to be valid in Italy, they should be issued in Italian, English, French, Spanish, or German.

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This article was first published Nov 25, 2021 and updated Jan 10, 2022.

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