Travel to Italy

30/04/2013 -- Admin
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Alpine skiing, beaches, water sports, pasta, mountains, ice cream (gelato), Capri, Casanova, Florence, Assisi, churches, Michelangelo, cycling, pizza, Renaissance art, architecture, Roman ruins, grappa, Venice, Vatican, gondoliers, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Uffizi Gallery, Dolomites, trekking, Cervinia, camping, Vesuvius, painting, Sicily, Tower of Pisa, Vespas, football …

Medical and Health

Documents needed:  EHIC and Passport

Doctors and Dentists

Doctors:  You can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to see a doctor registered with the Italian national health service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale – SSN).  Their services are usually free.

Dentists:  Most dentists are in the private sector. SSN hospitals and some public health centres have dentists who carry out emergency dental treatment free or at reduced cost.  Hotel reception/pharmacies can direct you to the nearest public practice. 

Hospital treatment and Ambulance Costs

Show your EHIC on admission and ask the hospital administration to contact the local health authority 'Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale' (ASL), so that you won’t be charged as a private patient.

Some private hospitals also operate under the state scheme.  Make it clear you want to use your EU medical card – formerly the E111 – for state-provided health care.  Private hospital costs aren’t covered by the EHIC.

Charges for medication prescribed in hospitals vary depending on where in Italy you receive treatment.

Ambulance: Emergency ambulance services – Guardia Medica – aren’t always free.  You may have to pay a proportion of the cost, so if you are doing winter sports add them to your cover.


You will need to present the EHIC with your prescription at the pharmacy (farmacia). Generally medicines are free but for some you might be charged a standard, non-refundable fee.

The EHIC card isn’t the same as comprehensive travel insurance.  See What Can Go Wrong if in doubt about whether you need travel insurance for Italy.


NHS Choices Italy Guide

Foreign Office Travel Advice