The wait is over to seek la dolce vita—leisure travelers from the United States can now travel to Italy. Starting on May 16, Delta Air Lines is making its quarantine-free flights to Rome and Milan available to all customers who submit to the COVID-19 testing requirements.

Delta made the announcement on May 14, following a decree issued by the Italian government stating that Italy will be expanding the availability of what it calls “COVID-tested flights” to all American passengers starting May 16. Until now, they have only been available to those traveling for approved essential reasons. Another order issued in tandem stated that travelers from Europe, the United Kingdom, and Israel no longer need to quarantine in Italy if they test negative for COVID-19. 

The move marks the first time that Italy will be open to U.S. leisure travelers since March 17, 2020, when European Union leaders closed their external borders to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Delta’s COVID-tested flights actually date back to December 19, 2020, when Delta partnered with Rome Fiumicino International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to exempt passengers who could enter Italy for essential reasons to bypass the otherwise required quarantine as long as they submitted to a series of COVID tests both before and after their flight.

The current and forthcoming options for nonstop COVID-tested flights to Italy with Delta include service between:

  • Atlanta and Rome—five times a week (and daily as of May 26)
  • New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Milan—daily
  • JFK and Rome—three times a week (daily as of July 1)
  • JFK and Venice—starting July 2
  • Atlanta and Venice—starting August 5
  • Boston to Rome—starting August 5

All Delta flights to Italy are operated in conjunction with partner airline Alitalia. Flights to Rome and Milan take place on 293-seat Airbus A330-300 aircraft, while the other routes will be operated by the 226-seat Boeing 767-300 planes. All feature lie-flat Delta One seats, Delta Comfort+, and regular economy seats.

To fly on Delta’s COVID-tested flights from the U.S. to Italy, all customers are required to complete mandatory testing, both before departure and on arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. After receiving a negative test result on all tests, customers will not need to quarantine in Italy and can resume their travels.

These are the exact testing requirements:

  • Take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Take a rapid antigen test at the airport in the U.S. prior to boarding
  • Take a rapid antigen test on arrival in Italy

Travelers will also need to take a COVID-19 test no more than three days prior to their return flight to the United States to satifsy the U.S. testing requirement for international arrivals.

Other airlines have yet to confirm whether they’ll be running similar flights, but the Italian government’s decree issued late on May 14 night stated that flights would be allowed from Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. They must arrive at either Rome Fiumicino, Milan Malpensa, Naples, or Venice.

Additional reporting by Julia Buckley.

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