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Episode #210: Travel Smart to Italy – Your Guide to New Regulations and Important Dates

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If you are traveling to Italy in 2024 or 2025, it would be wise to brush up on the latest travel regulations and important dates to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to Italy. We share info on some new Italian rules, including the Venice tax, the upcoming ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), and other crucial dates that may impact your visit to Bella Italia with the aim to help you stay informed, travel smart, and make the most of your Italian adventure!

Show notes
In this episode, Untold founder Katy addresses some of the rule implementations that will be affecting travel to Italy in 2024 and 2025, as well as some upcoming events that will also have an impact. We separate the rumors from the facts and advise everyone to always check the latest info for anything that could get in the way of a stress-free trip, especially as things in Itlay have a habit of changing last minute.

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What you’ll learn in this episode

  • At Untold Italy we are always wary of addressing rumors until the details are fully confirmed but with so many upcoming changes in procedures and travel trends in Italy – we wanted to share things that are happening that will affect a trip in 2024 and beyond
  • It’s worth knowing about certain things well in advance so you can adjust plans accordingly. A good example of this was the 2023 Ryder Cup which brought many more thousands of visitors to Rome and Italy, during the already peak time of September and October. This pushed prices up to eyewatering levels in the major tourist zones

Venice tourist tax

  • Something that will impact ALL travelers visiting Venice on certain dates in 2024 is the tourist tax aimed at day trippers
  • The city has been put on notice by UNESCO that its world heritage status is under threat from over-tourism and they needed to take action. The Venetians had already been protesting about this situation for well over a decade as more and more citizens leave the city. They want to avoid it becoming just a tourist enclave
  • The tax is an attempt to collect some revenue from day trippers to contribute towards the maintenance of what is a very fragile city. The municipal costs of a city built on water – for infrastructure including things like garbage collection are great and complex
  • Overnight visitors already pay a per night city tax collected by accommodation providers but this next tax is specifically aimed at day trippers

What is this tourist tax and how does it affect you?

  • Starting in April, if you are visiting Venice on certain days you will need to pay €5 per person for an access pass if you are visiting for the day OR apply for an exemption if you are staying overnight
  • It is very confusing in the official communications – but this last part is crucial. Regardless of whether you are visiting for the day or overnight on any of the days specified you need to pay for the tax or apply for an exemption or risk fines of up to €300 per person
  • This starts in April and the dates are from April 25 – 30 and then May 1 – 5. We have a complete article with all the dates this applies to so far in 2024 – here. We will keep it updated as more information becomes available
  • You are eligible for an exemption if you’re staying in Venice overnight and you will need to provide accommodation details and show proof of reservation if asked. This applies to the Metropolitan City of Venice which includes Mestre on the mainland but NOT Treviso. Kids under 14 and those with a disability also qualify for an exemption as well as Venetian citizens
  • Whilst the intentions are arguably well-founded, there are many problems with this initiative and its implementation which we won’t go into but our main goal is to help people avoid being hit with a €300 per person fine
  • If you’re interested in the complexities, Untold favorite Monica Cesarato, our guest on last week’s podcast episode gives an in-depth analysis in her latest Venice Talks podcast episode. A great listen for an insight into the frustrations of Italian bureaucracy
  • If you have any plans for Venice, make sure to read our article which links directly to the city’s official website to pay the tax and/or apply for the exemption. There is quite a lot of out-of-date information and dodgy websites circulating around so just be careful. The fee is €5 per person and it only applies on certain dates for now

READ: Our guide to the Venice Tourist Tax.

ETIAS

  • Another new tax that is scheduled to be introduced in 2025 is the new ETIAS or EU Visa Waiver Program
  • There was a lot of hype that this would be implemented in 2024 but the program has been delayed several times and most recently until mid-2025 (well after the Paris Olympics) with no official date yet announced
  • We usually prefer not to talk about things that haven’t been officially launched but there is so much confusion around this that Katy thought it was worth clearing some of it up
  • Currently, no visa or visa waiver is required to enter Italy for citizens of many countries including our main follower base – Americans, Australians, Canadians and British –  so it is quite a big change and an extra step in getting ready for your trip but it’s actually not a big deal 

What is ETIAS?

  • ETIAS travel authorization is an entry requirement for visa-exempt nationals traveling to 30 European countries including Italy. It is linked to your passport and is valid for up to three years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. So if you were to get a new passport, you need to get a new ETIAS travel authorization
  • With a valid ETIAS travel authorization, you can enter the territory of these European countries as often as you want for short-term stays – normally for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. It does not, however, guarantee entry. When you arrive, a border guard will ask to see your passport and other documents and verify that you meet the entry conditions

How will I apply for the ETIAS?

  • There will be an application form on the official ETIAS website or the ETIAS mobile app. You will need to complete some questions and provide info like your passport details and address and most people will need to pay a fee of EUR 7 per person – some exemptions apply
  • Before anyone gets anxious about the questions and application process, it will be very similar to the ESTA program for the United States, which Katy has just completed for an upcoming trip and the Electronic Travel Authority to enter Australia. It’s long overdue and for most people, it should be a quick and straightforward process
  • The EU says most applications will be processed within minutes though some may take up to 14 days. You will get an email with your ETIAS travel authorisation which you will need to show when entering the EU
  • At this stage, it’s over 12 months away from implementation and things could change but you just need to be aware if you are traveling in 2025 to keep an eye out for news about it from reputable sources
  • You can visit the official EU website to keep yourself updated,  There are some unscrupulous people trying to cash in on uncertainty around this process and scam unsuspecting travelers, so be aware of unofficial websites posing as official sources to get your ETIAS

Paris Olympics

  • Paris is hosting the Olympics between 26 Jul and 11 Aug 2024
  • This is likely to impact visitor numbers in Italy, as well as supply and demand as people plan European adventures around the event
  • While working with our trip planning clients we’re noticing accommodation availability shrink by the day around those dates in late July and August so if you plan to travel then, please do not delay booking
  • We’re actually also seeing very limited availability in May/June so it seems like everyone wants to go to Italy this year, so make haste with any bookings you have yet to make

Vatican Jubilee in 2025

  • In 2025 there is another big event happening throughout the year in Rome or more specifically the Vatican – the 2025 Jubilee and Year of Hope. This actually first starts in December 2024 and is a very special year for the Catholic Church and practicing Catholics
  • A jubilee or Holy Year is a year of forgiveness of sins and of reconciliation. Many millions of pilgrims are expected to visit Rome to take part in one of the many celebrations which includes the opening of the holy doors of St Peters and other major basilicas in Rome
  • Typically these events have happened once in 25 years, although Popes can call for extraordinary jubilees like the one held in 2015
  • What it means for visitors is even more increased pressure on accommodation options and tourist infrastructure, such as taxis and restaurants
  • Given the increase in visitors to Italy and particularly Rome since 2022, there’s legitimate concern about how to manage this influx of pilgrims which goes all the way to the top as Pope Francis himself has urged the Italian and Rome governments to take urgent action to address this
  • If you plan to visit Rome in 2025 you’ll need to get organized quickly to make sure you are well prepared for this extraordinary year-long event. Find our summary here and in more detail on dates and events here

Airbnb and short-term apartments

  • Airbnb and short-term rentals are popular choices for travelers but apart from the increasing fees, extra charges and lack of flexibility around cancelation on many properties, it seems that Italian cities are watching closely the initiatives taken in Florence and around the world to limit properties available for short term rental
  • Last June, Florence placed a ban on any new short-term private rentals in the city’s historic center, in response to a growing housing crisis and a desire to move residents back into the city center. There are currently around 8000 properties available for rent on a short-term basis in Florence, however, the city has also put incentives in place to motivate landlords to rent them out on a longer-term basis
  • There are lots of rumors and rumblings coming from Italy’s central government about short-term rentals too. A recent crackdown on tax evasion by landlords looks like it may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of new legislation aimed at short-term rentals
  • They are looking at standards compliance and general housing affordability among other things, which of course means there may be fewer available
  • If the most serious steps are taken like in places like NYC, supply can dry up and existing bookings canceled, so keep an eye on this trend

More information on traveling to Italy

  • For more practical tips for visiting Italy in 2024 and 2025, we have 100s of resources to assist you in planning your trip to Italy here on our website posts and podcast episodes – from the best areas to stay to itinerary ideas and travel guides
  • For those of you looking for a bit of extra assistance, we have online trip planning services available with our team of Italy trip planners that you can book at a time that suits you
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Book a trip consultation with our expert Italy travel planners ready to help you build your dream vacation in Italy whether that be a classic first-timer trip or an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

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Resources

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Transcript

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