Rome is a city that needs no introduction. It’s also on many travel bucket lists, perhaps including yourself.
If you visit Rome, can you bring your drone with you?
According to the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, drones are permitted in Rome. Your drone must meet the Open or Specific categorization per the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and is limited to 400 feet of altitude.
This article will tell you everything you need to know when flying a drone in Rome, including more on where you can fly and what the rules are.
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Can you fly a drone in Rome?
The Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile–or, in English–the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, establishes the rules for aviation in Italy. Under ENAC, drone pilots can bring their UAVs into Italy, including Rome.
You’re must also meet Specific or Open category criteria according to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. Countries that are part of the European Union, such as Italy, enforce EASA rules.
For as many places as you can fly a drone in Rome, there are many more where you can’t. Let’s talk more about those.
ENAC prohibits drone pilots from flying near or over private or public facilities, archaeological sites, public utility installations, and military installations throughout Rome and greater Italy.
Heliports and airports
When planning your drone adventures in Rome, you mustn’t fly any closer than 3 kilometers or 1.86 miles from heliports and 8 kilometers or 4.97 miles from airports.
Some of the more popular architectural tourist destinations throughout Rome also prohibit using drones on the premises.
They include the:
- Spanish Steps
- Trevi Fountain
- Vatican City
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Bringing your drone to Italy
Now that you know you can fly a drone in Rome, you’re probably frantically booking your tickets and planning your itinerary, right? Let’s not put the figurative cart before the horse, though.
Before you can launch a drone in the gorgeous Italian countryside, you must get your drone to Rome first.
Here’s some information to help you do it.
You must register your drone ahead of time
If you must register your drone (it’s required under Italian law if your drone weighs more than 250 grams), you should have your registration completed before you touch down in Rome.
Insure your drone
Italy requires drone pilots to have active insurance for any drone they fly. It doesn’t matter if you’re enjoying the drone recreationally or flying it commercially.
In this case, the drone’s weight also doesn’t matter.
Keep your batteries in your carry-on or checked luggage
When traveling with a drone, you often have to take the batteries out of your UAV. The question becomes, where to carry them?
We’d recommend a dedicated battery compartment within a checked bag or carry-on. Make sure your bag meets the weight threshold your airline requires.
Check your airline’s policy about lithium-ion batteries
If your drone runs on lithium-ion batteries, you should additionally confirm with the airline if you can bring those types of batteries on the plane.
Since batteries can heat up and potentially explode, many airlines have restrictions about battery types permissible on a plane.
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Italian drone laws to know for your trip to Rome
Your plane just touched down in Italy. You have so much you want to do, and you’re excited to get started.
To keep your trip running smoothly, check out these EASA and ENAC rules, as you must follow them when operating your drone.
Your drone must meet Open or Specific category criteria
EASA requires drones to fit into Certified, Specific, or Open categories. If operating your drone in Italy, it can meet the criteria of the latter two categories.
We’ll begin with the Open category. For your drone to fit into this category, it must:
- Be registered with the country within the European Union where you’ll use your drone
- Have a class identification label 0 through 4
- Never fly over 400 feet or 120 meters
- Weigh less than 55 pounds or 25 kilograms
The Open category has several subcategories of A1 through A3. Here’s what you need to know.
A1 Open drones:
- Do not fly over crowds
- Do not fly faster than 42 miles per hour or 19 meters a second
- Have a C0 or C1 label
- Are registered with EASA if a C1 drone
- Don’t weigh more than 250 grams or 0.55 pounds if a C0 drone
- Don’t weigh more than 900 grams or 1.98 pounds if a C1 drone
A2 Open drones:
- Don’t fly closer than 98 feet or 30 meters from crowds
- Don’t weigh more than 8.81 pounds or 4 kilograms
- Are registered with EASA
- Are only flown by drone operators 16 or older
- Have a class identification label 2
A3 Open drones:
- Do not fly more than 492 feet or 150 meters from urban areas or crowds
- Don’t weigh more than 8.81 pounds or 4 kilograms
- Are registered with EASA
- Are flown by drone operators 16 or older
- Have a class identification label 3 or 4
A drone that’s classified as Specific has a greater risk since it doesn’t pass the criteria above. These drones:
- Are flown by pilots with a Light UAS Operator Certificate
- Must have a predefined flight risk assessment performed before operating
You must not fly at night
In Italy, drone pilots cannot launch their UAVs once the sun goes down and until sunrise the next day.
Stick within your altitude limits
Whether you’re a commercial or recreational pilot determines your allowed altitude when operating a drone in Italy.
Commercial pilots cannot ascend more than 492 feet or 150 meters from the ground, and recreational pilots can’t fly higher than 230 feet or 70 meters.
Avoid large events with your drone
For as many flight freedoms as Italy permits you, you’re restricted from operating your drone around large events.
They include concerts, sporting events, and any other type of event that attracts a sizable crowd.
Limit your distance from urban areas
In busy urban areas, you cannot fly your drone closer than 492 feet or 150 meters. You must also stay 164 feet or 50 meters from crowds for their safety and privacy.
You must have a visual line of sight on your drone
VLOS or visual line of sight is an acronym drone pilots must know when flying in Italy. Under ENAC law, pilots must always be able to see their drones when flying them.
If your drone ventures beyond a point where it’s visible to you, it becomes a flight risk.
Don’t fly too close to residential areas
Pilots must create a safety buffer when flying a drone in a residential area of Rome or greater Italy. That buffer zone should be at least 1 kilometer but can be greater if you wish.
Your drone must have an identification plate
Pilots must also affix an identification plate to their UAVs and over the remote ground pilot station. The plate must include operator and system identification information.
Further, you need an Electronic Identification Device label if you’ll use your drone for real-time data transmission. This is in addition to the identification plate.
Respecting these rules is taken seriously in Italy.
Unfortunately, stories abound online of drone tourists who arrive in Rome and use their UAVs irresponsibly, which harms the reputation of drone pilots as a whole and could take away flight rights for everyone down the line.
Be a good example of what a drone pilot looks like, especially one from outside of the country. Use a drone map and operate your drone responsibly.
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Rome is a beloved city in Italy that most people dream of visiting. If you’re finally making your dream come true, know that you can bring your drone with you to Italy.
You’re required to follow both ENAC and EASA rules.
You’ll likely have to register your drone before your trip, and you must have your UAV insured whether you’re flying it commercially or only for fun. Keep your distance from crowds, airports, and busy events.
Good luck and have fun!