‘Black Friday’ strike: Italian cities brace for transport chaos this week

Here are the Italian cities affected by Friday's transport strike - and why Rome will be hit hardest.

'Black Friday' strike: Italian cities brace for transport chaos this week
Passengers cramming onto a bus in Rome's Piazza Venezia during a previous strike. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The national strike on Friday 25th October will affect flights to and from Italy as well as public transport, including buses, trains, ferries and motorways, in and around the cties of Milan, Turin, Florence, Rome, Naples, Palermo and Catania.

READ ALSO: What are my rights if a flight is cancelled or delayed?

Italian airline Alitalia said it has cancelled some 200 flights on Friday, and other airlines expected to hit by delays or cancellations include Ryanair and Easyjet.

The national strike action has been called by trade unions protesting over pay and working conditions.

Rome is set to be hit hardest as general strike action is also planned by public and private sector employees, including by waste management company AMA, on Friday, at the same time as the general transport strike.

Unions told local media they were protesting the way public services were being run in the capital.

“It is a strike for Rome, where citizens have poor services and workers work in humiliating conditions. Enough with the degradation of this city,” a representative of the CGIL union told La Repubblica.

Amid the ongoing rubbish crisis in Rome, residents are now being urged by Ama not to throw out their trash on Friday during the strike, but to instead wait until Saturday, when Ama says collection services will resume.

The exact timing of the 24-hour strikes will vary, and some services on Thursday evening may also be affected.

Planned strike action:

  • Airlines: from 00.01 to 24.00 on the 25th.
  • Trains: rail strike from 9pm on October 24th to 9pm on the 25th.
  • Ferries: throughout Friday 25 October.
  • Motorways: strike from 22.00 on the 24th to 22.00 on the 25th.
Anyone travelling in, or flying to or from, Italy on Friday should contact their airline, train operator, or local public transport authority to confirm their service will be running.
It's not yet clear how Italy's network of toll motorways will be affected by the strike action. During similar previous strikes, traffic has been filtered through self-service toll booths, causing queues and delays during busy periods.

Transport strikes in Italy are scheduled in advance, and you can find information about planned disruptions (in Italian only) on the Transport Ministry's website.

Useful vocabulary

lo sciopero – strike

cancellato or annullato – cancelled

ritardato or in ritardo – delayed

il rimborso – refund

cambiare la prenotazione – to rebook

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Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.