Covid-19: Cinemas and theatres set to reopen in Italy next month

Cinemas and theatres in Italy's 'yellow' zones could reopen on March 27th, the culture minister announced on Friday.

Covid-19: Cinemas and theatres set to reopen in Italy next month
A general view shows the Teatro alla Scala during The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in 2019 in Milan. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

In a post on Twitter, culture minister Dario Franceschini said the government's technical scientific committee (CTS), which advises on public health measures, had given the green light for the potential reopening of cinemas and theatres at the end of next month.

Franceschini said the reopening would coincide with World Theatre Day, and added that museums in yellow zones would be allowed to open at weekends.

READ ALSO: Three regions turn 'orange' as Italy updates coronavirus zone restrictions

At the moment, museums and archeological sites in Italy can open on weekdays in yellow' zones only. Cinemas and theatres are closed nationwide.

However the final decision on whether the reopenings go ahead will come when Italian prime minister Mario Draghi announces the contents of the nextt emercendy decree, due next week.

READ ALSO: What will change under Italy's next emergency decree in March?

The decree is expected to be approved by March 5th and will stay in place until April 6th, health minister Roberto Speranza said.

The CTS said that reopenings would depend on the contagion curve, and would require restrictions including the mandatory use of masks, distancing, temperature checks and increased sanitation.

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Why Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky date in Italy

Unlucky for some, but not for Italians. Here's why today's date isn't a cause for concern in Italy - but Friday the 17th is.

Why Friday the 13th isn't an unlucky date in Italy

When Friday the 13th rolls around, many of us from English-speaking countries might reconsider any risky plans. And it’s not exactly a popular date for weddings in much of the western world.

But if you’re in Italy, you don’t need to worry about it.

There’s no shortage of strongly-held superstitions in Italian culture, particularly in the south. But the idea of Friday the 13th being an inauspicious date is not among them.

Though the ‘unlucky 13’ concept is not unknown in Italy – likely thanks to the influence of American film and TV – here the number is in fact usually seen as good luck, if anything.

The number 17, however, is viewed with suspicion and Friday the 17th instead is seen as the unlucky date to beware of.

Just as some Western airlines avoid including the 13th row on planes, you might find number 17 omitted on Italian planes, street numbering, hotel floors, and so on – so even if you’re not the superstitious type, it’s handy to be aware of.

The reason for this is thought to be because in Roman numerals the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Latin word VIXI, meaning ‘I have lived’: the use of the past tense apparently suggests death, and therefore bad luck. It’s less clear what’s so inauspicious about Friday.

So don’t be surprised if, next time Friday 17th rolls around, you notice some Italian shops and offices closed per scaramanzia’.

But why then does 13 often have a positive connotation in Italy instead?

You may not be too surprised to learn that it’s because of football.

Ever heard of Totocalcio? It’s a football pools betting system in which players long tried to predict the results of 13 different matches.

There were triumphant calls of ho fatto tredici! – ‘I’ve done thirteen’ – among those who got them all right. The popular expression soon became used in other contexts to mean ‘I hit the jackpot’ or ‘that was a stroke of luck!’

From 2004, the number of games included in Totocalcio rose to 14, but you may still hear winners shout ‘ho fatto tredici’ regardless.

Other common Italian superstitions include touching iron (not wood) for good luck, not toasting with water, and never pouring wine with your left hand.