For members


EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s PEC email and how do you get one?

If you're looking to save time, paper and postage costs, swap registered mail for registered email. Here's how you can use PEC, or certified email, to send your most important messages in Italy.

EXPLAINED: What is Italy's PEC email and how do you get one?
How do you use 'certified email' in Italy? Photo: Sigmund/Unsplash

What is PEC?

PEC (pronounced “peck”) stands for Posta Elettronica Certificata, or Electronic Certified Mail.

It’s essentially an email account that gives you proof your message arrived.

Messages sent between PEC accounts are certified with a date and time stamp to show when you sent them and when they were received, with a record of receipt automatically emailed to you as an attachment. Within in Italy – though not outside it – they have the same legal value as a physical lettera raccomandata (registered letter).

As of early 2021, according to the Italian government’s statistics, there were around 12.8 million PEC addresses and nearly 4 million messages exchanged by PEC.

Who needs a PEC?

Anyone over 18 who lives in Italy can get a PEC, as well as Italian nationals who live abroad.

For some people it’s compulsory: as of October 2020 all businesses registered in Italy are required to have a PEC account by law, including self-employed professionals and ditte individuali (sole proprietorships) – basically anyone with a partita IVA, or VAT number.

Even if that’s not you, you can chose to get a PEC in order to get more Italian admin done online. If you need to send important documents or an official request, for instance to change your registered address or register a contract, you can do it via PEC from home without having to print forms or go to the post office.

READ ALSO: Beat the queues: 19 bits of Italian bureaucracy you can do online

In some cases PEC may be the only way to send something online: if you’re writing to a PEC address, messages from a regular email account usually won’t get through. (You may be able to configure your PEC to receive messages from ordinary email accounts, and you can always write from a PEC address to a regular one, but in either case the messages won’t be certified.)

That’s a hurdle UK nationals in Italy have run into as they try to make appointments with the police immigration office, or questura, to apply for a post-Brexit residence card, or carta di soggiorno. Booking involves emailing the questura‘s PEC address, which has to be done from another PEC account.

If you only need to use PEC occasionally and don’t think it’s worth opening your own account, ask someone else with a PEC – e.g. your employer, accountant or lawyer – to send the message on your behalf: it doesn’t necessarily have to come from an account in your own name. 

How do you get a PEC?

PEC accounts are managed by government-approved private providers, with the Poste Italiane, Aruba and InfoCert (Legalmail) among the most used.

Find a full list of authorised PEC providers here. You can find the details of their services, as well as how to apply, on each company’s website. 

The exact procedure for opening an account varies depending on which company you choose, but most providers allow you to do it entirely online. It usually involves entering your personal information (including your codice fiscale, or tax number), choosing a username and password, signing a contract, and showing a copy of your official ID. 

In most cases you’ll also have to pay for a PEC account, with fees usually charged on an annual basis. 

How much does a PEC cost?

It varies by company and what level of service you choose: Aruba‘s basic package starts at €5 plus VAT per year, rising to €40 plus VAT for a “premium” option with more storage and an option to get notifications via SMS.

The Poste Italiane charges €5.50 for one year, €9 for two years and €10.50 for three years (not including VAT), with the option to add storage for an extra fee.


It’s worth shopping around to find the deal that suits you best, especially as providers regularly run promotions offering discounts or free trials

You might also find that a PEC comes included for free with certain bank accounts, particularly business ones.

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For members


The Italian holiday calendar for 2023

Italy gets a good number of public holidays, but they sometimes fall on a weekend. Here are the dates to plan for next year.

The Italian holiday calendar for 2023

Italy has long been known for being fairly generous with its public holidays, with Austria being the only EU country with more holidays (13). 

In total, Italian residents enjoy 11 national public holidays plus a local holiday for the patron saint of their cities (for instance St Ambrose in Milan, St Mark in Venice, St John in Florence, etc.).

READ ALSO: Why do Milan residents get a day off on December 7th?

But, as some Italian speakers might say, ‘non è tutto oro quel che luccica’ (all that glitters is not gold). In fact, all national holidays in Italy are taken on the day they fall on that year rather than being moved to the nearest Monday as is the case in other countries, including the UK.

This means that if a certain holiday is on a Saturday or a Sunday, there is no extra day off for residents.

It also means that there are ‘good’ holiday years and ‘bad’ ones, and, while 2022 wasn’t a particularly good one – as many as four public holidays fell on a weekend day – 2023 only has one such holiday: New Year’s Day, which will fall on Sunday, January 1st.

Deck chair on Italian seaside

Italian residents will get five three-day weekends in 2023 thanks to public national holidays. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

2023 holiday calendar

  • January 1, 2023 (New Year’s Day): Sunday
  • January 6, 2023 (Epiphany): Friday
  • April 10, 2023 (Easter Monday): Monday
  • April 25, 2023 (Liberation Day): Tuesday
  • May 1, 2023 (Labour Day): Monday
  • June 2, 2023 (Italian Republic Day): Friday
  • August 15, 2023 (Ferragosto): Tuesday
  • November 1, 2023 (All Saints’ Day): Wednesday
  • December 8, 2023 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): Friday
  • December 25, 2023 (Christmas Day): Monday
  • December 26, 2023 (St Stephen’s Day): Tuesday

As shown by the above list, Christmas Eve (December 24th) and New Year’s Eve (December 31st) are not official public holidays in Italy, but many local companies do give their staff both days off as a gesture of goodwill. 

That said, in 2023 Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will both fall on a Sunday, so residents will already be home from work. 

Like both ‘Eves’, Easter Sunday is also not considered a public holiday, but, once again, residents are already home from work on the day given that it falls on a Sunday every year.  

2023 ‘bridges’ and long weekends

Whether or not a certain year is a good one for holidays also depends on the number of ‘bridges’ available.

For the uninitiated, ‘fare il ponte (‘to do the bridge’) is the noble art of taking an extra day off when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday – the most audacious might do this with a Wednesday holiday too.

Sadly, 2023 doesn’t provide a lot of opportunities to do this. There are only two possible bridges: one for Liberation Day, falling on Tuesday, April 25th and one for Ferragosto, on Tuesday, August 15th.

But, on a more positive note, six of next year’s public holidays will fall either on a Monday or a Friday, giving residents five three-day weekends and a four-day one – Christmas Day (falling on Monday) is immediately followed by St Stephen’s Day on Tuesday.

Italian non-holiday holidays

There are seven dates in Italy’s calendar that are considered official but not public holidays, meaning you don’t get a day off. 

These are known as ‘solennità civili’ (civil feasts) and include National Unity Day on the first Sunday of November, the day of Italy’s patron saints Francesco and Caterina on October 4th, and the anniversary of the unification of Italy on March 17th.

Display from Italian Air Force for Italy's Unity Day

National Unity Day, which is celebrated every year on the first Sunday of November, is one of Italy’s ‘civil feasts’. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

That’s in addition to nearly 30 national and international days of commemoration or celebration that Italy recognises, including Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27th), Europe Day (May 9th) and Christopher Columbus Day (October 12th). 

Much like the previously mentioned solennità civili, none of the above will get you a 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 (or 20 days) a year – that’s 18 days less than in Austria, which leads the EU pack in minimum paid leave.

That said, many Italian contracts, particularly those for state employees, allow for five weeks (or 25 days) of paid leave per year. 

It’s also worth noting that, by law, employees must take at least two weeks of paid leave consecutively (i.e. two in a row) and all paid leave accumulated over the course of a year must be taken within 18 months from the end of that year.