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The Italian holiday calendar for 2021

The Italian holiday calendar for 2021
Italy marks Republic Day on June 2nd, but will you get a day off work? Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
Hopefully 2021 will be a better year than 2020 - but in terms of Italian public holidays and 'bridges' it's not looking too good. Here's why.

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 there is one drawback to the Italian holiday calendar – all holidays are taken on the day they fall on that year, rather than being transferred to the nearest Monday, as is the case in some other countries.

This means that in Italy there are 'good' holiday years and 'bad' ones – and unfortunately 2021 is shaping up to be bad one.

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 2021 doesn't provide a whole load of opportunities to do this, either.

2021 holiday calendar

  • January 1, 2021 (New Year's Eve): Friday

  • January 6, 2021 (Epiphany): Wednesday

  • April 4, 2021 (Easter Sunday): Sunday

  • April 5, 2021 (Easter Monday): Monday

  • April 25, 2021 (Liberation Day): Sunday

  • May 1, 2021 (Labour Day): Saturday

  • June 2, 2021 (Republic Day): Wednesday

  • August 15, 2021 (Ferragosto): Sunday

  • November 1, 2021 (All Saints’ Day): Monday

  • December 8, 2021 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): Wednesday

  • December 25, 2021 (Christmas): Saturday

  • December 26, 2021 (Boxing Day): Sunday

  • December 31, 2021 (New Year's Eve): Friday

2021 ‘bridges’

At first glance, 2021 doesn’t  seem to be the best year for bank holidays as many of these dates fall on Saturdays and Sundays (and aren’t transferred). But there are still quite a few opportunities to ‘do the bridge’, or take mini-vacations.

  • Epiphany

2021 starts on a Friday. The first possible ponte of the year is before the Feast of the Epiphany, which falls on Wednesday January 6th. This probably means many in Italy will not be returning to work on January 4th or 5th.

However, unfortunately Italy's coronavirus restrictions mean we'll be spending Epiphany, like Christmas and New Year, under 'red zone' restrictions.

  • Easter and Easter Monday 2021

Easter and Easter Monday, in 2021, are on April 4th and 5th. 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 – and no extra days off work. In 2021: April 25th is a Sunday, while May 1st is a Saturday.

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

  • Republic Day

Republic Day falls on Wednesday 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 Sunday. Though this means there’s no paid day off work, there’s no doubt most people in Italy will be on holiday for a few weeks (or for the whole month) all the same.

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 Monday off, while the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Wednesday December 8th) is another opportunity for a two-day ‘bridge’.

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

Worst of all, Christmas Day and Boxing Day (Santo Stefano) fall on a Saturday and Sunday this year. Christmas Eve is not a national holiday. New Year's Eve (San Silvestro) is on a Friday.

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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