Enjoyed week in Rome despite transit hassles

By David Emery
This item appears on page 12 of the March 2022 issue.

My wife and I flew to Rome, Italy, Jan. 2, 2022, in order to see the Torlonia Marbles exhibit (ending Feb. 27). We transited through Munich, Germany.

Shortly before we flew to Germany, the country changed its COVID testing requirements for those transiting and required a 24-hour rapid antigen or 48-hour PCR test. (The previous requirement was a PCR test taken within 72 hours.) This caused us to scramble because we had appointments for tests that would not meet the new requirements.

In Italy, masks were required indoors. Digital vaccine certificates (which we didn’t have) were checked at the door. To prove we were vaccinated, I had copied our US vaccine cards* and highlighted our names and our three vaccinations. That made it easier for people to understand what we were showing them. Restaurants were mostly diligent about their checks, but if we showed up a second time, we were allowed in without showing proof.

Our hotel, Hotel Smeraldo (Via dei Chiavari 20; www.smeraldoroma.com/en), was just across the street from a great gelato place, Fatamorgana (www.gelateriafatamorgana.com), so we got world-class gelato every day.

One museum also required showing a passport/ID, but others did not. We were in Rome the whole time except for a day trip to Ostia, and our COVID vaccination status was checked at places in Ostia too.

At the Rome-Fiumicino International Airport (FCO), inexpensive COVID testing was available (which we needed to go home). The testing site did not have a reservation system, but you could fill out your forms in advance to save time. If you do that, you HAVE to bring to the testing site the registration number from the email they send you. The online forms can be found at www.adr.it/web/aeroporti-di-roma-en/test-areas-at-the-airport.

Returning on Jan. 11, we had a miserable connection in Munich. I got pulled aside for extra screening because I misunderstood what they meant by “all electronics.” I had removed my laptop and tablet but not my DSLR camera or batteries, and they made me empty out my entire carry-on bag.

My wife was in a different line and didn’t know what happened to me. When she got to the plane, there was someone in her business-class seat. I was nowhere to be found. She was afraid she was on the wrong aircraft!

Fortunately, I showed up shortly thereafter, and once we settled into new seats (business class was only one-third full), things were OK.

Dover, NH

*Relying on a copy of a CDC vaccination card is not recommended. Though a copy may be accepted at places like restaurants, a copy of a vaccination card is not considered official for purposes of crossing borders and may be rejected. According to Mr. Emery, his photocopies were accepted by Customs upon arrival, but he and his wife were carrying their originals as backups.