Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 118 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Italy, including:

  • dengue
  • biting insects and ticks

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Italy, including the Alps and the Dolomites. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in Italy

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Italy where some staff will speak English.

Health insurance cards

To get medically necessary state healthcare in Italy, you need a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

The NHS’s getting healthcare abroad has details about:

  • how to apply for a GHIC
  • how to get temporary cover if you lose your card or it does not arrive in time
  • who qualifies for a new EHIC instead of a GHIC
  • what treatment counts as medically necessary

A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. You may have costs your GHIC or EHIC does not cover, including: 

  • changes to travel and accommodation bookings
  • additional standard costs for treatment
  • medical repatriation to the UK
  • treatment that is ruled non-urgent
  • private healthcare
  • private clinics

See guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Italy.


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.


You will need to go to a pharmacy to get most over-the-counter medicines. Pharmacies are widely available and are usually identified by a green cross. UK prescriptions are not accepted, though you may be able to buy an equivalent medication from the pharmacy.

Alternatively, you can visit an Italian GP to obtain a local prescription. Prescription medicines are not free in Italy, but with an EHIC or GHIC, and an Italian prescription, you will pay a reduced rate.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also guidance on TravelHealthPro.