Covid-19 test

Covid-19 tests are now almost as standard as face masks in Italy to reduce the spread of Coronavirus

There are different kind of COVID-19 test available in Italy. COVID-19 tests are done to detect either SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or antibodies that your body makes after getting COVID-19 or after getting vaccinated. The type of COVID-19 test you will need, will depend on why you want to get a test. You may want to get tested if you have been in contact with someone who is infected with coronavirus, or if you have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, coughing, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headache, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, chest pain)or maybe you need to show a negative result for regional or international travel. So, whatever your reason maybe, it is important to know the types of COVID-19 test available, the particular test you need depending on your reason and where to get any one of them.
So let us now take a glance at the different types of COVID-19 test obtainable in Italy and how to get one.


This tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on in their illness as well as if you are actively infected with coronavirus. It involves taking a nose or throat swab and examining it for traces of the virus’s genetic material. The sample has to be sent to a lab for analysis, which means results take around a day.

PCR gives us a good indication of who is infected. It’s considered the most reliable form of testing, even if it’s not 100 percent accurate. A negative PCR test result can now get you an Italian health certificate or ‘green pass’ that is valid for 72 hours. You will need to do a PCR test if you intend to make an international travel.


LFTs are similar to PCR tests, in that they’re both types of antigen test, designed to pick up active Covid-19 infection rather than antibodies to the disease. It is simpler and quicker process to the PCR tests which means you can get the result within half an hour. It involves taking a nasal swab where the sample is tested for proteins that are found on the surface of the virus.

It’s less accurate than a PCR test, but is cheaper, faster and can be carried out directly at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, airports or workplaces without the need for a lab.

The LFTs will get you a green pass that is valid for 48 hours from the time of your negative result and can be used within Italy to access workplace, travel, leisure and educational activities.


This is not a very common kind of testing in Italy that involves the use of saliva as test samples instead of a nose or throat swab. It is considered less reliable than the LFTs and PCR tests. When done, you will get a green pass that is valid for 48 hours from the time of your negative result and can be used within Italy to access workplace, travel, leisure and educational activities.


This involves a kind of test which can be done in your home without a medical professional present. The self testing kits can be purchased from pharmacies without a prescription. It is a rapid antigen test that involves taking a nasal swab which you can do on your own.
If the test results comes out positive, you should get another test carried out by a professional. It is important to know too that a negative test result can not be used to obtain a green pass.


An antibody test can detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in your blood. Unlike PCR tests, LFTs which commonly use swabs to detect Covid-19, blood samples are usually used for antibody tests. Antibody tests can not be used to diagnose a current infection, but may be used to indicate if you had a past infection.

If you have a positive antibody test result, you will still be required to take LFTs or PCR test to check if you still have the virus or not.


If you are a resident in Italy and have a reason to have a COVID-19 test, you can get a test through the national health service by obtaining a prescription(ricetta bianca) from your GP that will allow you take a test at a public facility.
Alternatively, you can take a private test without a prescription at airports, pharmacies, labs, testing centers or even in your house by a private doctor. There are several test centers all over Italy. You can click on this link to find the nearest test center closer to you.

Here you go, these are the types of COVID-19 tests you can find in Italy and where you can get tested at a glance.

I would like to hear from you: What are your thoughts on this subject. You can share your thoughts and experiences with me and others in the comments section below!

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