After more than a year of intense Covid-19 outbreaks and stringent lockdowns, things are looking brighter in Italy—and it’s not just because of the summer sunshine. As vaccines have rolled out and cases have decreased, the country has reopened to tourism, including for travelers from the US, one of its largest markets.
However, it’s not as simple as just buying a ticket to get there, since interested visitors have to navigate a labyrinth of ever-evolving regulations and procedures. As Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of luxury travel planner Embark Beyond, is explaining to his clients, US citizens can fly direct to Italy only on designated “Covid-free” flights from 10 gateways (including Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York and Los Angeles), and can land only at approved airports (currently Rome and Milan, with Naples and Venice pending approval. Connecting flights through places such as Paris and Amsterdam are also available but come with their own regulations.)
A negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure is also required when flying direct, as is a rapid test upon arrival, proof of an approved digital passenger form (which helps local authorities with contact tracing) and more. As of June 7, the rules apply to all passengers, regardless of vaccination status. Ezon has also been recommending that his clients book VIP airport arrival services to help navigate the testing, immigration and connecting process once in Italy, as it is currently taking hours for landing planes to clear all the hurdles. (Clearly, if there was ever a time to use an expert travel planner, this is it.)
Once you’re all set, though, you’ll find plenty to make all the hassles worthwhile—including new hotels and resorts ready to treat you to la dolce vita. From a reborn Umbrian castle and a sustainable Piedmont vineyard estate to a dreamy getaway on the Sicilian coast, here are seven new spots where you can indulge your Italian cravings.