As Italy opens up for tourists this year, here's a handy guide to the country's best events and festivals to plan a trip around.
Italy has simplified its travel restrictions for EU and UK travellers, making this the perfect time to start planning an Italian getaway.
Fully vaccinated UK and EU travellers now only need to present their Digital Covid Certificate to enter Italy, along with an EU digital passenger locator form.
The country is set to end its COVID-19 state of emergency in April too, meaning more restrictions are likely to lift over the coming months. And with spring on the horizon, booking a trip to Italy now will give you something to look forward to as winter draws to a close.
What are Italy's travel requirements?
The Italian Foreign Ministry has a really handy website (in English) where you can find the travel requirements for each country.
It is the quickest and most reliable way to find out the latest restrictions.
It has a questionnaire where you'll need to give:
- Your country of origin
- Countries you've been to in the last 14 days
- Whether you are a citizen of a country in the EU or Schengen area
- Your residence status in Italy (if any)
You'll then be told any current restrictions for travel to Italy from your country, the documents you'll need to show and any quarantining you'll need to do.
Italy's Super Green Pass
UK travellers will either need to apply for Italy's 'Super Green Pass' certificate, which comes in digital or paper versions, or present their NHS vaccination pass which is also recognised in Italy as a Green Pass. This can also either be scanned or printed.
The pass shows that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from COVID-19 but does not apply to children under the age of 12.
It is required for indoor dining in restaurants and bars as well as being mandatory for access to museums, cinemas, theatres, gyms, swimming pools, amusement parks, spas, wellness centres, festivals, fairs, casinos, bingo halls and sports stadiums.
You will also need it on the following types of transport: domestic flights, ships and ferries connecting different regions, Intercity, Intercity Night and High Speed Trains, coaches and buses connecting different regions.
The COVID-19 green pass is not required to board local trains and will not be necessary for consuming food or drink at tables outdoors or drinking a coffee while standing at the bar.
What are the best events in Italy this spring?
Viareggio Carnival - 20 February - 12 March
Though smaller than its Venetian cousin, Viareggio carnival is no less beautiful. The festival has been running since 1873 and sees locally made papier-mâché floats being carried through the town's streets. Full of music, dancing, and of course wonderful costumes, the Tuscan seaside town is a must-visit.
Due to its popularity, tickets must be bought in advance. The parade runs every weekend for a month, with open and single event tickets available. You can buy tickets here.
Vinitaly Wine Festival, Verona - 10 - 13 April
It would be rude to visit Italy without sampling some local wines, and at Vinitaly, one of the world's biggest international wine and spirit fairs, you can taste tipples from around the globe too. With over 4,000 exhibitors, you can expect tastings, workshops and some of the finest wines the world has to offer.
If cocktails are more your thing, you can head to the mixology zone for a range of masterclasses exploring the history of cocktail making, as well as new trends and flavour combinations.
Scoppio del Carro, Florence - Easter Sunday, 17 April
Following on from carnival season, Easter Sunday is a big thing in Italy, and nowhere does it better than Florence. Every year locals head for piazza del Duomo where an 18th century cart is pulled into the square by oxen adorned with flowers and garlands.
A procession of clergy reading the sacred rites comes next, and then at midday the a model dove holding a fuse is set alight and 'flies' down a wire towards the cart which is loaded with firecrackers and pinwheels, sending smoke and explosions skyward.
Expect singing, loud bangs and bright colours at this wonderful Florentine spectacle.
You can find out more here.
Celebrate Rome's Birthday - 21 April
While Rome famously 'wasn't built in a day' it does have an official birthday. Legend has it that the city was founded in 753 BC by Romulus, who killed his twin brother Remus after a long disagreement about where to locate the city.
The Italian capital celebrates its birthday every year with historical reenactments and gladiator shows in Circus Maximus, alongside street parades, firework displays over the Tiber and traditional Roman feasts.
Museums and city parks are free to all on this date, and after rather subdued festivals the past two years due to COVID-19, this years event will hopefully be a return to form.
The Eurovision Song Contest, Turin - 10 - 14 May
After Italy's Måneskin swept to victory in Rotterdam in 2021, the Eurovision Song Contest is heading to Turin this year. Spread over four days and including two semi-finals before the grand final on 14 May, the world's longest running song contest always draws the crowds.
Worth a visit for the outfits and dance routines alone, this kitsch example of European unity remains as vital as ever.
Marriage of the Sea, Venice - 26 May
Taking place over the last weekend in May, Venice's maritime festival celebrates its relationship with its watery surroundings. Expect to see Venetian rowing races, a water parade and a celebration of all things nautical.
The festival is over 1,000 years old now, but the modern version began in 1965. You can also watch the Doge's procession from St Mark's and visit the Sensa Market at the Church of San Nicolò.
What is there to do in Italy during the summer?
Verona Opera Festival, 17 June – 4 September
It doesn't get much more glamorous than the Verona Opera Festival. Taking place every year, performances are held in the city's atmospheric Roman amphitheatre. Except sumptuous sets, intricate costumes and glorious singing under the Italian skies.
This year programme includes classics such as La Traviata, Carmen and Aida. There will also be dance performances and Plácido Domingo will be performing pieces from Verdi.
You can book your tickets here.
Umbria Jazz Festival, Perugia - 8 July – 17 July
If jazz is more your thing, the annual Umbria Jazz Festival is a must-visit.
One of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals, the event has paid host to some true musical legends, including Miles Davis, Burt Bacharach and B.B. King.
Tickets aren't available yet, but will be available through the Umbria Jazz Festival website later this year.
What if I need more information on travelling to Italy right now?
For more information on travelling to Italy and current restrictions in place: