23 July 2019 | While best efforts have been made to verify the accuracy of the information, it should be used as guidance only. If you have updated information please contact policy@etoa.org.

31 July 2019 | The section Guiding Regulation has been updated with new information

26 November 2019 | The section on Attractions has been updated with information about free entrance days in 2020.

Tax

Two types of tourist tax are levied on visitors:

  • tassa/imposta di soggiorno for visitors staying overnight in commercial accommodation
  • contributo/tassa di sbarco for day visitors to small islands (and Venice from January 2020)

Please click on the right hand banner to find out rates and further information.  


VAT
: 22% (reduced to 10% for hotels and restaurants)
Agenzia Entrate
European Commission VAT rates in member states

Access and Mobility

Attractions

These attractions are selected due to high demand and/or operational issues. If you think we should include others, please contact policy@etoa.org.

Attractions located in Rome can be found here.

Attractions located in Venice can be found here.

Attractions located in Florence can be found here.

If you are a member attraction of ETOA and would like your attraction featured on this page, please contact policy@etoa.org.

Free entrance days 2020 

It has been announced by Beniculturali (current ministry of tourism) that all museums and monuments managed by them will be free to visit on the first Sunday of each month. The current information is ambiguous as some official pages mention the first Sunday of every month, while other pages confirm that this is only applicable January-March and October-December. When we have more information and clarification, we will publish it here.

A booking fee is now applicable for groups visiting the Basilica, regardless if the visit is guided or not. More information can be found here.

For non-guided visits, the fee is €1.00 per person, which must be paid online.

It is currently also possible to pay the fee at the Information Office, located off the Lower Plaza of the Basilica, but we have been informed this may change; we will monitor the situation closely.

The visit must not exceed 35 minutes.

The fee is €2.00 for guided groups with own radio-headset and €2.50 for guided groups without radios (as they receive the headsets from the basilica).

Guiding regulation

Guiding in Italy is a regulated profession and EU nationals who intend to provide guiding services in Italy on a ‘temporary and occasional basis’ must submit a prior declaration before entering the country. Different rules apply if individuals are established in Italy or wish to move to Italy and provide guiding services. Please click here to read more about the EU directive.

In 2019 a few incidents of fines being imposed on members’ guides have been reported. This includes a guide being fined €83 in April in Venice for not wearing a visible ID card. In July a guide was fined €3000 for accompanying a group from the coach to the entrance to the city centre in Amalfi. We have also had reports on tour guides being checked at Cinque Terre. Incidents of harassment from local guides in various places in Italy (e.g. Matera) have also been reported.

ETOA is working closely with its Italian lawyer to monitor the situation. There is a clear difference between the information available on the EU database, the national requirements/legislation and local authorities’ interpretation of these, and related enforcement practice.

Due to the apparent complexity, we strongly recommend members operating in Italy to read the below sections carefully to minimise the risk of interference on tour and fines.

While it does not have legal force, we recommend that operator members sign up to the ETOA Tour Guide ID card scheme, which offers their contracted guides a visible ID card, serving as an evidence of their profession and status when working as a tour guide across Europe. This has proven to be useful. Please click the link in the right side of the page to learn more about the ID card and how to sign up.

Please contact Sofie Jensen if you would like to hear more about guiding in Italy.

Italy regulates both guida turistica and accompagnatore turistico and defines them in such a way that their activities are mutually exclusive, despite that being contrary to actual practice and business requirements.

Individuals established in Italy may risk a fine if they do not hold a patentino for one of the above professions.

According to the EU database of regulated professions, those holding a patentino as an accompagnatore may provide “significant news and information concerning transit zones which are interesting from touristic point of view and do not belong to the scope of competence of the tourist guide.

The description of a guida turistica in the EU database, which refers to a 1983 Italian framework law on tourism that has since been repealed, states: “A tourist guide is a professional who accompanies individuals or groups of people visiting museums, galleries, archaeological sites and illustrates historical sites, artworks, monuments or any other cultural or natural heritage. Tourist guides’ activities include organizing itineraries and welcoming tourists, with the purpose of guiding them through visits of the cultural and natural heritage sites of a certain area.”

Italy is the most problematic country in this respect due to legal uncertainty and the gulf between practice and policy.

Despite the national legislation being clear – only EU nationals providing services as guida turistica should send a prior declaration before providing their services on a temporary and occasional basis – some local authorities are starting to require the declaration for EU nationals providing services as an accompagnatore.

ETOA therefore highly recommends all tour guides, regardless of their guiding role, to submit this prior declaration ‘dichiarazione preventiva’.

This section is applicable for EU citizens not established in Italy

All Tour Guides (guida turistica), according to EU law, who intend to provide their professional services, on a temporary and occasional basis, must have sent, before entering Italy, a form – duly filled – Dichiarazione Preventiva, enabling the ‘Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari, forestali e del turismo’ to assess if the Tour Guide meets the professional standards required by the law. More information about the ‘dichiarazione preventiva’ can be found on their website.

Despite that the ‘dichiarazione preventiva’ is officially only mandatory to send if the guide is intending to provide services as a guida turistica, it has been reported that local authorities are also requesting this for EU nationals providing services as an accompagnatore.

To minimise risks for fines and tour interference, we therefore recommend all tour guides established in another EU country to send the ‘dichiarazione preventiva’ before entering the country.

The ‘dichiarazione preventiva’ must be sent 30 days before the first access in the country, either via post or email and should include the documents required in the same form. The declaration must be renewed as necessary on a yearly basis.

Timely submission of the Dichiarazione Preventiva should provide a strong defensive argument in case of a fine imposed upon the Tour Guide on the assumption that he/she has provided guiding without a licence.

The document must be filled out completely and posted to:

Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari, forestali e del turismo
Dipartimento del Turismo
Via XX Settembre, 20
00187 Roma, ITALY

Or emailed to: professionituristiche@politicheagricole.it

In the event of controls by the local law enforcement authorities, the EU Tour Guide must be able, in order to avoid a fine, to provide documentary evidence that the Dichiarazione Preventiva has been sent within the said time frame.

ETOA September, 2019: Following the recent change in government, the tourism ministry no longer falls under the Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari e forestali but is back under the Ministero dei beni Culturali e del Turismo. We have been in contact to understand if there will be any changes to the Dichiarazione Preventiva. It has been confirmed that until further notice the procedure remains the same. We will monitor the situation.

It is recommended that all Tour Guides not established in Italy should always travel with below documents when leading groups in Italy:

  • A full copy of the ‘dichiarazione preventiva’, duly signed
    • including all the documents attached to it
    • including a receipt proving that the declaration was sent in time by registered mail or evidence that the email had been received and read by the Italian administration
  • ETOA ID card or company membership ID card (if issued)
  • A document, signed by a legal representative of the Tour Operator, stating:
    • The commercial name of the Tour Operator
    • The name of the Managing Director of the company
    • The country of establishment of the Tour Operator
    • The full personal details of the Tourist Guide/Tour Manager
    • The nature of the work relationship between the parties (for example self-employed)
    • The details of the liability insurer for the company
    • The itinerary of the tour
    • The number of tourists participating

The local law enforcement authorities (Polizia, Guardia di Finanza, Carabinieri, Polizia Municipale, Polizia Provinciale) may approach and check if Tour Guides have the correct documentation to lead groups.

To avoid a fine the EU Tour Guide must be able to provide documentary evidence that the Dichiarazione Preventiva has been sent within the said timeframe.

In case the Tour Guide receives a fine despite having sent the Dichiarazione Preventiva, the Tour Guide can oppose it within 30 days (counting from the day the fine has been inflicted/notified). The fine can only be opposed if it has not been paid.

If the Tour Guide receives a fine, the below steps should be followed:

  • The law enforcement authorities must release a copy of the fine to the Tour Guide, otherwise it will be impossible to oppose it.
  • The Tour Guide must immediately send their Tour Operator a readable copy of the fine along with a short report, which should include whether the Tour Guide did send the Dichiarazione Preventiva or not.
  • Within 48 hours following the fine, the Tour Operator should send a legible copy of the document received by the Italian authorities to ETOA. This will enable ETOA and our local Italian legal partners to assist in opposing the fine. Please, use the e-mail address tourguide@etoa.org.

Note that this is only possible for ETOA members, not individual guides. In practice, ETOA may connect operator directly with a local lawyer.

Be aware that, in a number of regions (e.g. Sicily, Veneto) the local/regional laws expressly forbid the simultaneous provision of services as a guida turistca and accompagnatore. Therefore, the guide should avoid any suggestion that they are carrying our both jobs at the same time.

Public holidays and opening hours

Italy has 11 national holidays per year, called I giorni festivi. Furthermore, regions have their own holidays celebrating specific local patron saints.

Most businesses will be closed on public holidays.

Business hours in Italy are generally 08:00/09:00 to 13:00 and again 15:00 to 17:00/18:00 Monday to Friday. Contacting government and authorities can generally be done from 08:00 to 14:00 Monday to Friday.

1 January New Year’s Day
6 January Epiphany
25 April Liberation from Nazi-fascism
Between 22 March and 25 April Easter Monday
1 May Labour Day
2 June Republic Day
1 November All Saints
8 December Immaculate Conception
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Saint Stephen

More information can be found here.

Most businesses will follow Saturday working hours if the regional holiday falls on a week day. The major local holidays are:

25 April Venice celebrating St. Mark
24 June Florence, Genoa, Turin celebrating St. John
29 June Rome celebrating St. Peter and St. Paul
7 September Milan celebrating St. Ambrose
19 September Naples celebrating St. Januarius

If you are placing business in one of the above cities during a local holiday, it may affect you.

Events and seasonality

Major events affecting normal business and may affect bookings, accommodation availability and transport systems include:

Venice Carnival From 8 to 25 February 2020
Euro 2020 Partly hosted by Rome (12/06/20 – 04/07/20)

ETOA activity

ETOA’s local Country Representative Tini Gattazzo and Market Manager Manuela Saccone are focusing on developing the local membership base as well as our relationship with local authorities, attractions and other stakeholders.

Tini Gattazzo

Tini Gattazzo
Country representative, Italy
tgattazzo@etoa.org
+39 320 069 5112

Flag Italy
Manuela Saccone

Manuela Saccone
Market Manager, Italy & Malta
msaccone@etoa.org
+44 20 7307 0830

Flag Italy

Resources

Italy’s strategic plan for tourism 2017-2022 can be found here.

City tourism: Operators update

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