Can pets be brought into the country?

Dogs, cats and ferrets may be brought into Italy accompanied by their owners; the conditions applicable depend on whether or not the animals come from EU countries.

Animals coming from EU countries 

Animals must be identified by means of a microchip or a clearly legible tattoo, and must be in possession of a valid EU passport certifying that they have been vaccinated against rabies. This passport is issued by the veterinary health services of the country of origin. These same conditions may also be applied to animals coming from Andorra, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Vatican City, provided that those states apply health regulations equivalent to those of the European Union.

Animals coming from non-EU countries

Animals from non-EU countries may enter the country, provided by a certificate stating their origin and state of health (issued by foreign public health authorities recognised in Italy), which must include the details of both the animal and the owner and must state that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated against rabies no later than 20 days before entry and no earlier than 11 months before the issue of the certificate. Animals coming from non-EU countries that are not included in the list drawn up by the European Union (which can be consulted on the website of the  European commission ) must have successfully passed the test for the titration of neutralising antibodies against rabies virus no later than three months before the date of entry into Italy. 

It is forbidden to bring into Italy dogs and cats under three months of age and those that have not been vaccinated against rabies. No preventive measures are required against ticks or echinococcus, wherever the animal comes from.

What are the regulations governing the various means of transport? 
› Airplanes

Each airline has its own rules. Generally speaking, one small dog (weighing less than 10 kilos) or cat per passenger may be transported in the cabin in suitable pet carriers, while medium- or large-size dogs may travel in the pressurised hold of the aircraft, in reinforced cages that can be purchased from specialised shops. Some airlines guarantee the presence of specialised staff, and in many airports there are special areas that provide assistance and food and drink for animals during stop-over periods. 
Guide dogs for non-sighted travellers may be transported along with their owner, provided they are wearing a muzzle. 
For further details, consult the website of the airline you intend to travel with.

› Trains

In general, small domestic animals travel free provided they are transported in suitable pet carriers not exceeding 70x50x30 cm in size. In trains divided into compartments, small dogs may travel freely alongside their owner, provided they are carefully supervised and that there are no objections from the other passengers in the compartment. They may travel second class only, upon payment of a fare with a 40% reduction.

Large dogs are allowed to travel only if they do not disturb other passengers. They must be kept on a leash and fitted with a muzzle; otherwise, in addition to payment of the applicable reduced fare, the entire compartment must be reserved. In couchette compartments, dogs may travel upon payment of a second-class fare with a 40% reduction plus a supplement payable for disinfestation. On local trains that are not divided up into compartments, animals may be transported only if they are kept on the platform or the vestibule of the carriages. 
Medium- or large-size dogs are not allowed to travel on high-speed trains, because there is no room for them to travel alongside their owners; small dogs may travel free of charge, provided they are transported in suitable pet carriers, placed in the appropriate spaces. 
On Eurostar Italia trains, only guide dogs for non-sighted passengers are admitted, and may travel on any train and in any class free of charge, provided they are muzzled.

Since the conditions governing the transport of pets on trains are subject to modifications, it is advisable to check before travelling by visiting the Services section of the Trenitalia website (see travelling by train with your pet on board).

› Ships and ferries

Dogs may travel on ferries provided they are muzzled and kept on a leash; cats must be transported in a suitable pet carrier. 
Small dogs may travel in the cabin with their owner, provided the other passengers in the cabin have no objections. 
Medium- or large-size dogs may travel in the kennels provided on board, but it is generally possible to keep them on deck, provided they are muzzled and leashed. 
Some shipping companies request a health certificate for dogs, and to travel to Sardinia, previous anti-rabies vaccination is required.