Covid PCR Swab Test in Rome – Where and How?

If you are in Rome and need proof of a negative Covid PCR swab this blog post is for you. 

After receiving thousands of requests from utterly confused travelers we decided to get help from experts and pen down a no-nonsense guide to the testing process. 

Where can I get a Covid PCR swab test in Rome

After much wrangling, from October 27th Covid everyone is allowed to get tested on a voluntary basis or on-demand. 

PCR swab test is slowly becoming available in many private labs in Rome, paying out-of-pocket. This is the easiest and quickest option for those who do not hold the Italian Tessera Sanitaria

In the meantime almost all drive-through sites are no longer available for patients not registered to the Italian NHS, except the one at the Fiumicino airport and a few others far from Rome city center, 

Need to get a Covid PCR swab test?

Get your prescription and directions to the lab.

How does the testing process actually work?

The so called “swab test”, which is a RT-PCR test looking for viral RNA, is performed on a nose/throat swab sample.

It is used to detect the presence of an infection, and it can only detect the virus during the infection. This means it cannot detect whether a person was infected and then subsequently recovered.

If you are in Rome city, and you already have a medical prescription you can book an appointment at some private labs where the PCR swab test is available. As this option became available on October 27th, many labs are still not ready to offer the PCR swab test. 

If you are departing from Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport here is exactly what you need to do in order to get a Covid PCR swab before departure.  

  1. Get a medical prescription for the PCR swab test from a local doctor or at the airport.
  2. Bring the prescription to the registration office of the authorized governmental facility where you will get tested.
  3. Fill out the requested form and pay upfront € 69.88 per swab and get 2 copies of the invoice (don’t loose them!).
  4. Get a car and go to one of the drive-through testing sites.
  5. Give a copy of the payment to the staff and get your swab.
  6. Get your results online within 48 hours. 

How can I get a medical prescription for the Covid PCR swab?

This one is easy. 
You can use DoctorsinItaly! Just send your request through our platform and choose the doctor you prefer. The cost of a prescription from a doctor varies but it’s usually around 35-45 euros.

You can also get a prescription at the Leonardo Da Vinci airport at your arrival. 

Show your travel tickets for a destination where a negative Covid PCR swab is required, and health workers at the airport will provide you with a medical prescription at no charge. 

If you forgot to ask for the prescription at the airport or you couldn’t get it for some reason,  there’s always a chance to get one from any licensed doctor during your stay in Italy. 


covid pcr swab test

What should I do if I can't do the test at a private lab

Most drive-through sites are now unsuitable for those who do not hold a Tessera Sanitaria and are not registered with an Italian NHS doctor. For these sites, online booking is mandatory.

A few sites are still operating without the need of anticipated online booking. For these sites it’s not declared whether you can walk-through instead – if you don’t have a car. 

According to official sources of information, you have to get there in your own car, wearing a face mask, and be sure to have a copy of the receipt of your payment. 

You have to remain in your car while the nursing staff carries out the throat swab wearing suitable protective equipment.

Here you can find a list of other suitable drive-through testing sites where you are still able to get a PCR swab. Those without the “SU PRENOTAZIONE” warning are still accessible without being registered to the Italian NHS. 

Why is it so difficult to get a Covid PCR swab test in Rome?

Honestly, getting tested for coronavirus is not easy. Anywhere. 

Guidance on the coronavirus change quickly and it’s not easy to keep up with all the new rules that change by the hour. 

But Italy’s government healthcare is even more complicated. 

Italy has 20 different Regions (e.g. Abruzzo, Lombardia, Veneto, Sicilia, etc.). 

Each Region plans and manages autonomously its own healthcare services. So each has varied rules for how to get tested. 

It’s not too much to say that in Italy there are 20 different healthcare systems. 

The Lazio region was the last one to restrict the execution of swabs to public laboratories. After a long legal dispute everyone is allowed to get tested at non governmental labs. 


Need to travel?

Get your prescription for Covid PCR swab. Book online.

How long for results?

Within 48 hours you should be able to get your results online. Credentials and instructions are provided at the registration desk of the lab or at the drive-through site.

Can I pay to do the rapid coronavirus antigen swab test ?

[Update October 1st 2020] Yes, you can. Here is the list of all authorized centers for rapid antigen  swab test in the Lazio Region. 

Anything else?

Coronavirus information changes rapidly, so please check the last update date on this blog post – and on any source you decide to rely on. 

If you wish to have information on travel restrictions you can use Headout, a website that helps travelers with updated information country by country.

You can find updated recommendations about Italian restrictions and rules on the Ministry of Health website

If you have flu-like symptoms or signs of a respiratory infection, do not go to the emergency services, do not try to get your Covid PCR swab. Stay home and call one of the Regional Covid-19 numbers.  

Even if you’re not in Rome you may need to get your prescription for a Covid PCR swab.

Make a request on our website find quickly a doctor who can help you and speaks your language. 

Enjoy your travels and stay safe!

Still got doubts?

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DoctorsinItaly Team

This article was written, curated, and updated by the DoctorsinItaly team, as part of our efforts to share relevant and current information on health and wellness related topics, as well as on life as an expat or traveler in Italy.

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