For members


What changes in Italy in December 2022

From public holidays to another transport strike, here’s a look at the important dates to come this month if you live in Italy.

Christmas tree in Rome
Most Italian cities will be decorated with light displays and traditional Christmas trees starting from early December. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Fuel discounts halved from December 1st

The current discount on fuel tax will be halved starting from December 1st, bringing it down from 30.5 cents on every litre of petrol or diesel to around 18.3 cents per litre.

The discount on methane – 10.4 cents per litre – will instead remain unchanged.

The measure, which was included in the 2023 draft budget law published earlier this week, has attracted significant criticism from consumer groups amid the soaring cost of living.

24-hour national strike 

Some travellers will find their journeys to, from and within Italy will be disrupted by strike action again during the last month of 2022. 

READ ALSO: Nine things to know if you’re visiting Italy in December

The demonstration currently expected to create the greatest amount of disruption will be on Friday, December 2nd: be a 24-hour national strike affecting air and rail travel as well as local public transport in some cities. 

See the details available about the strike action so far here.

National and regional train services will be affected by Italy's strikes on Friday.

National and regional train services will be affected by Italy’s strikes on Friday. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

Public holiday

Thursday, December 8th is a public holiday in Italy as residents celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Festa dell’Immacolata Concezione).

December 8th unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas period, with most towns putting up their Christmas lights in the days preceding the date and pretty much everything in the country – especially administration-related procedures – noticeably slowing down from this point on.

As a word of advice, you might want to get any important paperwork done before December 8th – or else it may have to wait until January 6th when the Italian holidays officially end.

World Cup final 

Despite being plagued with controversy over its host’s poor human rights record, the Qatar 2022 World Cup is now underway and many football fans in Italy will be following along.

December 18th is when the final match of the tournament will take place, and bars and sports venues up and down the country will be screening the event.

READ ALSO: How to find football World Cup matches on Italian TV

Since Italy’s national team failed to qualify this year, it’s unlikely there will be much disruption on the day.

Winter solstice

Don’t forget that the winter solstice (solstizio d’inverno) will fall on December 21st.

The winter solstice, which is when the Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted the furthest away from the Sun, marks the official beginning of the astronomical winter (December 21st-March 20th).

It’ll also be the shortest day of the year: people in Italy will only get between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of daylight, depending on location.

Christmas holidays 

This Christmas looks set to be Italy’s first in two years without any Covid restrictions.

That means the country’s traditional Christmas markets, a number of which were cancelled last year due to safety concerns, are up and running again this December.

READ ALSO: Seven of Italy’s most enchanting Christmas markets in 2022

Contrary to what some may think, December 24th (Christmas Eve) is not an official public holiday in Italy. However, many companies do give their staff the day off as a gesture of goodwill, so don’t forget to speak with your employer to know what they’ll be offering you this year.

Unlike December 24th, December 25th (Christmas Day) is a public holiday but, sadly, it falls on a Sunday this year, meaning there will be no extra day off.

That said, residents do eventually get a day off on Monday, December 26th, known as St Stephen’s Day in Italy and Boxing Day in English-speaking countries.

Christmas balls on display in Bolzano's Christmas market.

Christmas balls on display in Bolzano’s Christmas market. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP.

New Year’s Eve celebrations

This year, we’ll be ringing in the New Year on a Saturday, which once again means no extra day off work for most.

That said, we doubt that the unlucky coincidence will dampen celebrations, especially after the past two editions were dulled to some extent by social restrictions and a not-so-bright collective mood. 

READ ALSO: Red pants, smashed plates and bingo: Six reasons Italian New Year is awesome

Italy’s budget law deadline 

After weeks of back-to-back consultations between ministers, Italy’s new cabinet unveiled its 2023 draft budget law earlier this week, with parliament now having until December 31st to approve the law’s text.

The new budget bill includes measures amounting to a total of 35 billion euros, with more than 21 billion going towards supporting households and businesses in the face of soaring utility bills.

However, the government’s decision to allow businesses to refuse card payments for smaller amounts has been dubbed a “gift to tax dodgers”.

READ ALSO: What will Italy’s new budget law mean for you?

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For members


What changes about life in Italy in April?

From more transport strikes to the Easter holidays, here’s what people living in Italy can expect in the coming month.

What changes about life in Italy in April?

Pesce d’Aprile

While April 1st is known as April Fool’s Day in English-speaking countries, the recurrence is known as Pesce d’Aprile (literally, ‘April’s fish’) in Italy.

Though you may think that the expression is in some way related to the act of ‘baiting’ people, it actually comes from a common prank that involves sticking a drawing of a fish onto the back of an unsuspecting victim and then asking them if they’ve seen ‘April’s fish’.

Though it’s not clear how or when exactly the custom started – some believe it’s connected to old Christian traditions around avoiding fish on holy days – the pesce d’aprile is one of the most popular pranks in Italy, so you might want to ‘watch your back’ on the day.

Good news for UK driving licence holders

After a long wait, British nationals living in Italy will finally be able to swap their UK-issued driving licence for an Italian one without having to retake their test.

The UK government has confirmed that a UK-Italian agreement will come into force on Thursday, March 30th, after which date residents will be able to book an appointment to exchange their licence with their local motorizzazione office.

For further information see our report HERE.

Vintage car and motorcycle in Italy

British nationals will be able to swap their UK-issued licence for an Italian one starting from Thursday, March 30th. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

New national strikes

Transport strikes will continue in the coming weeks, with two national strikes currently planned for April. 

ENAV air traffic operators from all around the country will strike from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday, April 2nd, whereas Staff at Trenitalia, the main train operator in Italy, will strike from 9am to 5pm on Friday, April 14th. 

There are currently no details as to what level of disruption these demonstrations will cause, but The Local will cover all relevant updates in the coming days and weeks.

Besides the above-mentioned national walkouts, a number of local and regional demonstrations are scheduled in the coming weeks. You can find out more about those HERE.

New decree on gas and electricity bills 

A new government decree detailing help with utility bills in the coming months will be issued in April. 

While there isn’t much in the way of confirmed changes yet, Meloni’s government is reportedly considering maintaining the current arrangements regarding gas bills – VAT set at 5 percent and no additional system fees – until June and extending the bonus sociale incentive to families with an ISEE up to 15,000 euros a year (the cap currently stands at 9,530 euros a year).

According to financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, the new decree will also include a new ‘heating bonus’ set to come into effect next October. The bonus would be automatically applied to all households (no income limits) whenever gas prices were to exceed a pre-set figure.

Gas stove

A new decree on gas and electricity bills and related state incentives will be issued in April. Photo by Ida Marie ODGAARD / AFP

There are currently no details as to when exactly the decreto bollette will be converted into law, though the decree’s first draft should be submitted to ministers’ scrutiny in the coming days, according to the latest media reports.

Easter holidays

Unlike in other European countries, Good Friday (or Venerdì Santo) is not a national holiday in Italy, which means that you’ll only get time off work on Easter Sunday (Pasqua) and Easter Monday (Pasquetta), falling on April 9th and 10th respectively.

READ ALSO: Calendar: How to make the most of Italy’s public holidays in 2023

Pupils and teachers will get a longer break as for most Italian regions this year’s public school holiday will go from Thursday, April 6th to Tuesday, April 11th. 

Dates might differ for private institutions.

Italy’s biggest furniture fair returns to Milan

The Milan Furniture Fair (or Salone del Mobile in Italian) – a yearly benchmark event for the international furnishing and design sector – will start on Tuesday, April 18th.

The historic exhibition, currently in its 61st edition, will display the latest creations of leading national and international brands, attracting industry operators and design aficionados from all over the world. 

Milan Furniture Fair

The Milan Furniture Fair, Italy’s biggest design and home furnishing exhibition, will be back on Tuesday, April 18th. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

The event will be held in the Fiera Milano complex and will be open to the general public on Saturday, April 22nd and Sunday, April 23rd. Further info on the fair is available here. Tickets can be bought here

Italy commemorates the fall of Fascism

April 25th is Italy’s Liberation Day (or Festa della Liberazione in Italian), which is the day in which Italians celebrate the fall of the Fascist regime and the end of German occupation.

The annual event marks the day in 1945 when Italy’s National Liberation Committee incited a popular insurrection against Nazifascist forces. The uprising eventually resulted in the liberation of all occupied territories and in the capture and subsequent execution of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini in Milan. 

Liberation Day is a national public holiday in Italy, meaning that public offices, schools and most shops will be closed on the day.

The date is one of Italy’s most heartfelt national observances and is traditionally marked by a number of official ceremonies, including the laying of wreaths in honour of the women and men who fought in the Italian Resistance, as well as marches featuring renditions of the Bella Ciao anthem.

Face mask mandate expiring?

There are few Covid rules left in Italy, and a remaining requirement to wear face masks in hospitals, surgeries and care homes is set to expire on Sunday, April 30th. 

Care home setting

Barring any further extensions, the requirement to wear masks in hospitals and care homes will expire on Sunday, April 30th. Photo by Thierry ZOCCOLAN / AFP

The mandate was originally meant to lapse at the end of December 2022 but was then extended to the end of April 2023 by health minister Orazio Schillaci after China recorded a sharp rise in Covid cases.

READ ALSO: What to expect when travelling to Italy this spring

At the time of writing, the government hasn’t given any indication as to whether or not a further extension is being considered.

Covid cases in Italy have been steadily declining since the start of the new year.