La Repubblica cited an official statement from the city’s airport which claims the prime minister was seen at Perugia airport on September 11 and left on the following Monday.
The report also said Johnson may have visited a home owned by Evgeny Lebedev, a Russian-British billionaire businessman nominated by the PM for a peerage last month.
But a spokesperson for No.10 said: “This story is completely untrue. The prime minister has not travelled to Italy in recent months. Anyone who publishes these claims is repeating a falsehood.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also denied the claims, telling Sky News on Monday the reports were “mistaken”.
When asked if Johnson had travelled to Perugia on that weekend Shapps said: “Not that I’m aware of, no. I saw that story in the weekend paper, I think it’s mistaken as far as I’m aware.”
🚨 EXCLUSIVE @repubblica 🚨— Antonello Guerrera (@antoguerrera) September 20, 2020
According to a statement and local sources, Boris Johnson recently travelled to Perugia, in Italy, apparently on the Sept 12-13th weekend.
No 10 dismisses it: “That’s wrong”.
My story with @irvine76 https://t.co/gtdLWIY0YY
A confusing day of conflicting reports later ensued with a check-in desk worker at the airport reportedly saying Johnson was there...
Only to be flatly contradicted by the airport’s president just hours later who insisted it was in fact the former prime minister Tony Blair who had been through the airport and staff had mixed the two up.
In 2018, the Guardian reported that Johnson had attended a party at Lebedev’s castle in Perugia which ended with the then foreign secretary at an airport “looking like he had slept in his clothes”.
Travel to Italy from the UK is currently permitted and those returning do not have to self-isolate.
In July, Johnson’s father Stanley faced criticism for travelling to Greece to “Covid-proof my property” ahead of the letting season.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.