Families and loved ones separated by the global pandemic finally reunited but normality was a long way off as it remains an open question if other nations will accept Italian visitors now allowed to travel.
But most European nations see Italy's move - which aims to boost its collapsed yet critical tourism industry - as premature.
Many European nations are moving to open only on June 15 - some even much later than that.
Who gets to go where in Europe this summer looks set to be determined by where you live, what passport you carry and how hard hit your region has been during the Covid-19 pandemic..
At Rome's international airport, Andrea Monti embraced his girlfriend, Katherina Scherf, in an emotional reunion as she arrived from Dusseldorf, Germany.
"We haven't seen each other since before the pandemic," Mr Monti said.
Still, the airport remained practically unused - even though Italy's national holiday on Tuesday normally kicks off the summer domestic tourism season.
Rome's international airport had scheduled to handle several thousand passengers on Wednesday - a dramatic different to the 110,00 passengers on the same day last year.
Italy has now also resumed high-speed train service between regions for the first time since the lockdown in early March, checking departing passengers’'emperatures as they accessed the tracks.
Europe-wide, rules on cross-border travel are a patchwork of regulations if not a complete mishmash.
Germany issued a warning against all nonessential foreign travel in March.
Austria said it is ending border checks with all its neighbours except for Italy, due to lingering concerns about coronavirus infections there, particularly hard-hit Lombardy.