Citizens of EU member states and holders of passports from some 50 nations do not need a visa for stays of 90 days or less. These include Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. As the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, documentation requirements for UK citizens may change – check before travelling.
Theoretically, all foreigners are required to register their presence with the police within eight days of their arrival, but in practice few bother; in any case, your accommodation will take your passport for this purpose. Be aware, however, that if you are a non-EU citizen and get in a jam with the police, they can take your failure to report your arrival as evidence that you have already overstayed the legal period.
EU citizens can stay beyond 90 days if they have employment, sufficient resources, or an approved course of study. Officially they are required to fill out a form at the local police station or anagrafe (registry office).
For citizens of non-EU countries (including non-EU family members of EU citizens) extending your stay beyond 90 days means you’ll need to arrive in Italy with an entry visa, before applying for a permesso di soggiorno through the provincial Questura (state police office). An entry visa is based on study, work and elective residence, few of which are entirely clear in the regulations. Whichever you need, expect the rules to be complex, onerous and confusing.
Getting there and away
There are small regional airports in Perugia and Ancona, both of which are served by direct flights from the UK, but flying into Rome is a good option, too, with convenient road, rail and bus links to Umbria and the Marche. Bologna airport could be an option for the Marche, with direct trains to Pesaro in 75 minutes. Which airlines will go where when is difficult to predict; Sky Scanner is a good place to check for the latest information.
From the UK, take the Eurostar across the Channel and connect with a fast train. Travelling from London St Pancras to Perugia can take as little as 20 hours, changing in Paris (Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon); see here for options, although it’s almost impossible to find a train cheaper than a flight. Trenitalia operates much of Italy’s rail network. All high-speed Freccia (‘arrow’) trains have reserved seats; buy e-tickets online or from the machines at the stations.
It’s 1,644km from London to Perugia by way of the Channel Tunnel, France, Switzerland and Milan, taking a minimum of 20 hours and costing approximately €150 in fuel and €200 in tolls and vignettes, not to mention an overnight stay. In August, especially at weekends when roads are busy, it can take much longer. Once in Italy, you’ll be on an excellent network of motorways.