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LIVING IN ITALY

The Italian holiday calendar for 2022

We said it last year and we'll say it again - hopefully 2022 will be a better year, but in terms of Italian public holidays and 'bridges' it's not looking too good. Here's why.

Cycling along the coast of Sicily. Not as many chances to do that mid-week in Italy in 2022.
Cycling along the coast of Sicily. Not as many chances to do that mid-week in Italy in 2022. Photo by ludovic MARIN / AFP

Italy is fairly generous with its public holidays, with most months having at least one.

In total there are 11 annual public holidays written into Italian law, plus feast days for local patron saints.

But it’s not always as great as it sounds. All national holidays are taken on the day they fall on that year, rather than being moved to the nearest Monday as is the case in many other countries – this means that if the festival is on a Saturday or a Sunday, there is no extra day off.

This means that in Italy there are ‘good’ holiday years and ‘bad’ ones – and although 2022 isn’t a particularly good one, it’s still a (little bit) more generous than 2021.

Ironically, 2020 was a good year for holidays – although we were confined indoors for most of them.

If a bank holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, Italian employees make the most of it by “doing the bridge”.

Fare il ponte (‘to do the bridge’), if you don’t already know, is the practice of taking an extra day off when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday – or, if you’re particularly audacious, a Wednesday – instead of next to a weekend, in order to create one continuous break.

But 2022 doesn’t provide a whole load of opportunities to do this, either.

2022 holiday calendar

  • January 1, 2022 (New Year’s Eve): Saturday

  • January 6, 2022 (Epiphany): Thursday

  • April 17, 2022 (Easter Sunday): Sunday

  • April 18, 2022 (Easter Monday): Monday

  • April 25, 2022 (Liberation Day): Monday

  • May 1, 2022 (Labour Day): Sunday

  • June 2, 2022 (Republic Day): Thursday

  • August 15, 2022 (Ferragosto): Monday

  • November 1, 2022 (All Saints’ Day): Tuesday

  • December 8, 2022 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): Thursday

  • December 25, 2022 (Christmas): Sunday

  • December 26, 2022 (Boxing Day): Monday

  • December 31, 2022 (New Year’s Eve): Saturday

2022 ‘bridges’

At first glance, 2022 doesn’t seem to be the best year for bank holidays as many of these dates fall on Sundays and Mondays (and weekend days aren’t transferred).

In fact, there are only three holidays where it is possible to fare il ponte – Epiphany on January 6th, Republic day on June 2nd and Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

There are, however, three holidays that fall on a Friday or a Monday, making it possible to take an extra day and still create a four-day weekend – Liberation Day on April 25th, Ferragosto on August 15th and Boxing Day on December 26th. Easter Monday always falls on a Monday and instead change the dates from year to year.

  • Epiphany

The first possible ponte of the year is before the Feast of the Epiphany, which falls on Thursday January 6th, meaning many will probably take off the Friday 7th.

  • Easter and Easter Monday 2021

Easter and Easter Monday, in 2022, are on April 17th and 18th. So while we get a nice long weekend, there’s no opportunity for a bridge here.

  • Liberation Day and Labour Day

No bridges here either – In 2022: April 25th is a Monday, while May 1st is a Sunday and therefore no day off.

READ ALSO: Why does Italy celebrate Liberation Day on April 25th?

  • Republic Day

Republic Day falls on Thursday June 2nd. As the temperatures rise, no doubt many will be ‘doing the bridge’ this week.

  • Ferragosto

This year, the height of the summer holidays, August 15th, falls on a Monday. This means a paid day off work, but no doubt most people in Italy will be on holiday for a few weeks (or for the whole month) too.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Ferragosto

  • All Saints and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

All Saints’ Day on November 1st gives us a Tuesday off, while the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Thursday December 8th) are both opportunities for a ‘bridge’.

  • Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve

Like 2021, there’s not much paid time off for Christmas as Christmas Day and Boxing Day (Santo Stefano) fall on a Sunday and Monday this year. Christmas Eve is not a national holiday. New Year’s Eve (San Silvestro) is on a Saturday, so no extra day off there.

Italian non-holiday holidays

There are also eight dates in Italy’s calendar that are considered official but not public holidays – meaning you don’t get a day off. They include National Unity Day on the first Sunday in November, the day of Italy’s patron saints Francesco and Caterina on October 4th, as well as the anniversary of the unification of Italy on March 17th.
 
That’s in addition to nearly 30 national and international days of commemoration or celebration that Italy recognizes, including Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27th), Europe Day (May 9th) and Christopher Columbus Day (October 12th). 
 
Unlike Italy’s 11 national public holidays, none of the above get you the day off.

Other holidays

If you’re an employee in Italy, you’re entitled to paid holiday time, and the very minimum allowance is four weeks – 20 days – a year.

This is around the average among other European countries.

Many contracts, particularly for state employees, allow for 28 days, or five weeks, of paid leave per year. Employees on this type of contract have some of the longest holidays in Europe, alongside workers in the UK, where the minimum allowance is 28 days.

READ ALSO: Why Italians have the ‘shortest working lives in Europe’

Most Italian employees will also get up to 104 hours of Riduzione Orario di Lavoro (ROL), or working time reduction, annually.

This is intended for things like going to the bank or taking a child to the doctor. However, unused ROL can often be put towards holiday time or used to get a Friday afternoon off work.

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For members

LIVING IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

From the gradual easing of Covid restrictions to the clocks jumping forward an hour, here's what to expect in Italy in March.

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

International travel rules change

From March 1st, Italy will allow all fully-vaccinated or recently-recovered travellers from non-EU countries to enter the country without the additional need for a negative Covid test.

Any of a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result will allow extra-EU arrivals entry into Italy without any quarantine requirement – so unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter the country with just proof of a negative test.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s travel rules change in March

Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.

All arrivals will still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

See further details of the upcoming changes to the travel restrictions here.

International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day (la Giornata internazionale dei diritti della donna or simply la Festa della Donna in Italian) and while it’s not any kind of official holiday in Italy, it’s still widely recognised in the form of small-scale celebrations or marches and demonstrations.

You can expect to see bunches of feathery yellow mimosa flowers pop up in florists’ stalls, as it’s traditional in Italy to give these to a woman on International Women’s Day. 

According to Italian Marie Claire, the flower was chosen by early 20th century activists Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei both because it can readily be found flowering in the countryside in March, and because despite its delicate appearance, it’s deceptively strong and resilient.

Hospital visits for relatives and food and drink returns to cinemas

Following a unanimous vote by the Italian parliament’s Social Affairs Commission, March 10th is the date on which it will once again become possible for family members to visit their relatives in hospital.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will reportedly be able to access health facilities to visit their relatives without any further requirements, while people who haven’t received a booster shot will need a negative test to enter.

From the same date, it will also be possible to eat and drink in Italy’s cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums, Italian news media reports.

Italy’s government had banned the consumption of food and beverages in these venues last Christmas Eve in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. 

Rome marathon

On March 27th, Rome will host its annual marathon once again.

Starting and ending by the Colosseum, the 26 mile course takes runners along the Tiber and past numerous historic sites including the ancient Roman Circo Massimo chariot race track, the Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica, to name a few.

That means if you’re planning on travelling around central Rome on this date, you should prepare for most of the roads to be cordoned off and for traffic to be significantly diverted.

The race starts at 8.30am, and the maximum completion time is six and a half hours. For those who aren’t fans of running, the event also welcomes power walkers, according to its official website.

The Rome marathon starts and ends at the Colosseum. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The clocks go forward

March 27th is also the date Daylight Savings Time begins: the clocks jump forward at 2am, and everyone loses an hour of sleep.

While the EU voted in 2019 to scrap DST by 2021, a combination of Covid, Brexit, and an intra-EU stalemate (the EU Council and the EU Commission each insists the other needs to act first before anything can be done) has delayed putting a stop to the clock change, which means it will go ahead once again this March.

READ ALSO: Clocks go back in Italy despite EU deal on scrapping hour change

Italy, for one, is glad of the delays, having previously filed a formal request that the current system be kept in place.

That’s because in southern countries such as Italy or Spain daylight savings actually lengthens the days, helping people save on their energy bills – while in northern Europe the change doesn’t bring any such benefits.

Italy’s state of emergency ends

Italy’s current state of emergency or stato di emergenza, in place since January 31st, 2020, will end on March 31st, 2022, Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced at a business conference on February 23rd. 

The state of emergency is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

READ ALSO: Italy to end Covid state of emergency and cut ‘super green pass’, PM confirms

Bringing the state of emergency to an end doesn’t automatically mean that all current restrictions will be immediately dropped; however Draghi has already confirmed that after March 31st, some rules will be removed.

These include the abolition of Italy’s four-tiered colour coded system of Covid restrictions; the removal of outdoor mask mandates throughout Italy; and an end to the requirements for schoolchildren to wear high-grade FFP2 masks in the classroom or to quarantine if one of their classmates tests positive for the virus.

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