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Everything that changes in December in Italy

Christmas shopping in Rome.
Christmas shopping in Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
As we start the last month of 2021, here are the changes you should know about if you live in Italy.

Covid ‘super green pass’ arrives

From December 6th, Italy will introduce the ‘super green pass’.

The country’s basic Covid-19 health certificate or ‘green pass’ is currently required to enter workplaces, take long distance public transport, and enter most cultural, leisure, sports and entertainment venues across the country.

As things currently stand, the green pass proves the holder is vaccinated against or has recently recovered from Covid-19, or has tested negative for the virus in the preceding two-to-three days (depending on the type of test used).

However, once the new decree comes into force on December 6th, only the ‘super green pass’ – that is, only a green pass that certifies the holder is vaccinated against or recently recovered from the virus – will be accepted in most instances.

READ ALSO: Q&A: How will Italy’s new Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

Health certificates obtained via a test will be valid only to enter the workplace, stay in hotels, and access local public transport, which takes us to our next point:

The current version of the green pass will also be required in more places, including in hotels, and their validity will be cut from 12 to nine months.

See a full breakdown of the new rules here.

Vaccine booster doses for all over-18s

Booster doses of Covid vaccines can be administered to all adults in Italy from December 1st, Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced last week, as the government pushes to stop the infection rate rising sharply this winter.

Italy has also approved the administration of booster doses five months after the completion of the initial vaccination cycle, instead of six as was previously the case.

The booster has been available to anyone in Italy aged over 40 since November 22nd, after the government brought forward its planned start date for extending the eligibility criteria by 10 days.

Find out more about how to get your booster shot in Italy here.

Rules for UK travel change

A reminder that anyone planning on visiting the UK in December will have to follow new Covid entry rules from November 30th, due to concerns over the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Those arriving in the UK after 4am on November 30th will need to book and take PCR tests instead of lateral flow tests (also known as quick tests), which will no longer be accepted.

Travellers will need to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arriving in the UK, quarantining until a negative test result comes back.

Any questions? Here’s our article with all the details.

Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Christmas and public holidays

Firstly, Wednesday December 8th is the Immacolata, or Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This important date in the religious calendar is a public holiday in Italy meaning you should get a day off work. And, as it falls midweek, some people will take the opportunity for a two-day ‘bridge’ as well.

As well as celebrating with the customary big family lunch, for many people this is the day Christmas decorations start going up – some see it as the unofficial start of the holidays. You may also find that at many businesses and public offices things start to noticeably slow down as people get into the holiday spirit. All we’re saying is: don’t plan to get much admin done or start any major projects between now and January 6th.

READ ALSO: The Italian holiday calendar for 2021

Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall on a Saturday and Sunday this year – so that means residents of Italy will not get public holidays. Unlike some other countries like the UK and the USA, Italy does not transfer holidays to weekdays when they fall on the weekend.

Also note that December 24th is not an official public holiday in Italy. But many companies do give their staff December 24th off as a gesture. 

It’s the same for New Year’s Eve on December 31st which is also not an official public holiday. Many employers do, however, give this as a paid day off too.

Check with your boss to find out what they’ll be offering staff this year.

New Year – will there be parties and fireworks?

We’ll be ringing in 2022 in just over a month – but at this stage, no one knows quite what that will look like. 

The corks are supposed to pop at famous public celebrations from Naples to Venice. But will the pandemic allow it this time? Last New Year’s Eve, we were forbidden from holding even a small house party under strict coronavirus ‘red zone’ rules.

So far, Italy’s government is still insisting that such strict measures will not be necessary again this holiday season. Instead, Italy is relying on the green pass system to keep businesses open and rules relaxed (at least compared to last year) and ministers recently said this holiday season will be “like any other before Covid” – at least if you’re vaccinated, and unless the health situation changes.

But with rising case numbers around Europe and the detection of the first Omicron variant cases in Italy leading to new travel restrictions, the situation still remains unpredictable.


Member comments

  1. I have the UK NHS Certificate and APP and already had both + Booster Jab. How does this link to the new Super Green Pass. Previously the paper copy has worked with the scanner (in most cases). Will the SG Pass still recognise the NHS QR Code? I work a lot in Italy… thanks

  2. Please can anyone tell me whether you will need the ‘super green pass’ to go on ski lifts? We are travelling to Italy from the UK in December and our two boys (13 & 15) are not double vaccinated. I am worried they will not be able to access ski lifts if they can not get the super pass.

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