Where to take the Covid PCR test in Rome (Italy) as a Foreigner?
This article is addressed only to foreigners who leave Italy to go to a country that asks for a negative PCR test.
For those who have just arrived in Italy, the procedure is much simpler and explained in detail here (form to be filled in and then tested directly at the airport). I didn’t have to do it as I arrived in Italy in September before this procedure was necessary.
We decided to spend our Christmas vacations in Montenegro, via Croatia (no direct flight between Rome and Montenegro).
We bought the plane tickets on November 25th, and it is only on December 1st that we learn that Croatia was now asking for a negative PCR test less than 48 hours ago. Without a test, we will have to be tested in Croatia and be in quarantine until the reception of the results, OR we will have to be in transit and leave Croatia in less than 12h (mission impossible because we arrive late in Croatia). Moreover, all restaurants are closed now in Croatia, so up to 14 days of quarantine with food delivered by a few open restaurants, no thanks.
Besides, between Croatia and Montenegro, which we will do by car, we must cross a few kilometers in Bosnia, which requires a negative test.
Upon hearing the news, JB is at the end of his life and sees his vacation go up in smoke.
For once, I’m getting out of my daily comfort zone to find a solution (JB has been taking care of the administrative stuff by himself for years with a masterful hand).
After having crossed information on the sites of different embassies, the question of Bosnia is settled. We will have 1 hour to cross this specific border of Bosnia without having to show any test. It is already the first good news.
Then, we want to take the PCR test in Rome, Italy, where we are now, to
be able to leave Croatia as soon as possible because, with a negative test, we will be able to move freely as soon as we arrive in the territory. We will go the following Monday to Montenegro, where the restaurants are always open for the moment, despite a curfew at 10 pm, and where our rental car is waiting for us.
How to take the PCR test in Italy?
Note: After discussion with several Italians, we have understood the normal procedure: the tests rapid antigen are available for everyone without a prescription and cost 22€ (they can be made in front of pharmacies or in the street). But it is only when this rapid test is positive that a doctor prescribes a PCR test. So for foreigners, who want to take the PCR test right away just to travel, it isn’t very easy
The procedure is very complicated because we are not residents, we do not speak Italian,
and a doctor’s prescription is necessary.
Update February 2021: the prescription is no longer mandatory. You can immediately read the process described in the Drive-In section. Attention, for updated information, please consult this website: https://www.adr.it/it/web/aeroporti-di-roma-en-/coronavirus I don’t speak Italian, I don’t live in Italy, I WILL NOT update this article anymore.
After searching everywhere, our Italian friends inform us that it is very easy to obtain a prescription from the doctor :
- Or by going to the airport, without an appointment, to the First Aid station (search for Pronto Soccorso Adr on Google Maps, it’s outside Fiumicino airport, near Terminal 3). You have to come with your passport (the original) and your plane ticket (on the phone it’s ok too). Everybody speaks a minimum of English, which makes the process much easier. We simply explained that we needed “blank paper” for the PCR test to go to Croatia. We had to fill in 3 forms (in Italian, but it’s easy to understand), and after 10 minutes, we each got a prescription. Free of charge. Be careful. They will ask for the French address and the Italian address (Airbnb, Hotel), just in case …
- Or by making an appointment online with a doctor who speaks English on doctorsinitaly.com. We did not choose this option because it is not free of charge.
- or by going to ASL Roma 1 – Presidio Nuovo Regina Margherita in Trastevere, but we don’t speak Italian
Everything is detailed in this article. The most difficult thing is to get the information. Just follow the steps, don’t be lazy, people!
The rescuer at the airport gave us the address of a Drive-In (like the Drive of McDonald’s but to pass the test) to have us tested: Policlinico Campus Biomedico.
Note: my Italian friends say that Fiumicino also has a Drive-In for Covid tests, but if the rescuer didn’t give us this address, it’s probably because we’ll have more chances to get the results quickly with the one from Campus Bio? By the way, you have the list of all the test centers in Rome and Italy here
Update February 2021: Now, you can also take the PCR test with the labs of www.synlab.it. The appointment can be taken online, very easily on https://syncoda.synlab.it/booking/. If you don’t speak Italian, Google Translate is your friend. The test costs 50€ and the results in English are obtained with an additional cost? How much does it cost? I don’t know.
In Italy, you can’t get tested just anywhere because the state wants to be able to count the exact number of people who test positive for Covid. You must, therefore, absolutely go to one of the authorized centers.
The address given seems to be a Drive-In reserved for travelers because they clearly indicate on their site how much to pay for the rapid antigenic test (22€), and how much to pay to have a PCR test to travel (70€): the tamponi molecolari
With deposit that must be booked in advance (but one day is enough at the moment)
Our flight being on December 17th (in the afternoon), we have the prescription on December 7th, and we can easily make an appointment online for a PCR test on December 16th at 10 am. Just click on the big red button “Prenotazioni per chi viaggia.” Appointment confirmation will be sent immediately by e-mail.
You will need to come with everything you have: passport, appointment confirmation (show email),
doctor’s prescription. And 70€/person by credit card. Without a prescription, you risk to do the antigenic test which is useless (which costs 22€ and is done in front of all pharmacies)
In the beginning, we feared that the Drive-In was only for cars. We freaked out (we are not motorized). I tried to call the hospital for more info, but nobody spoke English/French. Luckily, Dominique, our dear reader turned friend <3 saved us by calling them on the phone (she is bilingual) and confirmed that they accepted pedestrians. YES.
The password to access the results (in Italian and English) will be sent to the e-mail address indicated.
I will update this article after the swab test. I hope that we will have the results in time (they say within 48 hours…). As this center has planned to make tests for travelers, I hope they will treat our tests in priority?
Update 16/12 : PCR Test
We went to the address via Regdo Scodro 42 and were shown parking lot C, where the test took place. Being pedestrians, we still had to queue with the cars. You will see people waiting while standing, but they have queue before, there is no special “pedestrian” queue.
So we spent 2 hours standing behind a white car. We have RDV at 10 am, but everybody has RDV at 10 am, so I think it is better to come at 9 am because it advances too slowly.
Fortunately, the weather is nice, and the cars cut the engine because it doesn’t go fast. In the meantime, you have to ask for a form (modulo Covid) where you fill in your famous email address. Cars arriving directly on parking lot C have been given a form, but we have to ask for this famous form ourselves as pedestrians pass through another entrance. Otherwise, the nurse will grumble (she will give it anyway, grumbling).
Then, as nobody speaks English, it was complicated to understand the requests.
They understand very quickly that it’s a PCR test & it’s for traveling by showing the prescriptions. The Italians have their “carte Vitale,” so the process is faster for them.
For us, they need basic information and take a long time to explain it to us: Last name / First name / Date of birth & Nationality so that you can give the passport or the European vital card or an identity card. They will ask what is your first name/name because, in Italian, it is not so obvious: COGNOME is the last name, and NOME is the first name. And they have a little trouble, so don’t hesitate to write on a small piece of paper: Cognome xxx Nome yyy
We each pay 70€ by credit card.
Then they print a document with the password that will give access to the results, with our names on it and an invoice. The results will be sent by email, so don’t use the wrong email address.
We each have a sticker with an ID number, our name & date of birth marked VIAGGI, i.e., VOYAGE (so that they process our tests in priority). The test is done on 3 points: mouth & both nostrils, then they stick the sticker on the test, and that’s it. I wonder how they know we need it within 48 hours because they didn’t keep our prescriptions or ask which country we were going to.
Update the sampling took place the day before noon. We receive our results 22 hours later, between 10 and 11 am at 30-minute intervals. Each result takes the form of two zip files sent by e-mail protected by a password (to open them, you have to use the password we were given on paper (ESxxxxxxx), it opens two PDF files. There are attestations in Italian and English. Of course, we are NEGATIVE to COVID.
Note: in Split, Croatia, two people analyzed these papers. Print it if you can, instead of showing it on the phone as they keep the document.
Did you like this article? Find all our travel diaries in Italy here and in Rome here
For more tour ideas, or to book your tickets or guided tours, check out the offers of Civitatis and Viator (a Tripadvisor company) in Rome