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What changes about life in Italy in January 2022

As a new year begins there are lots of changes in Italy in January, from sales to Covid rule changes and a new family allowance.

People walk past a shop advertising the winter sales in Italy.
The winter sales start this month across Italy. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Public holidays – Sadly we didn’t get an extra day off work for January 1st, New Year’s Day, this year as it fell on a Saturday and Italy doesn’t carry public holidays forward to weekdays. Monday, January 3rd, is a normal working day here.

But we do get a holiday on Thursday, January 6th, for Epiphany: this is a big day in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy. It means a day off work for adults and more presents for children, this time delivered by Befana, an old woman usually depicted as a friendly, broomstick-wielding witch, in a tradition similar to that in Spain where they go mad for the Three Kings.

Sales – If you’re waiting impatiently for Italy’s winter sales, you’ll need to check the rules on their start (and end) dates in your region of Italy. Every local authority restricts sales to certain periods of the year. 

This time, Sicily is first to begin the sales from January 2nd, and Valle d’Aosta starts on January 3rd. The rest of Italy allows sales to start on January 5th, and they go on until late February or early March in most parts of the country. Find more details here.

Schools go back – Italy’s school students go back to class on January 10th, with classes in  some regions resuming earlier, on the 7th.

There had been speculation that the return to school could be delayed in order to cut Covid infection rates, but the government has said it will do everything possible to prevent this from happening.

Further health measures for schools could be brought in by the 10th , however, as the Italian government is set to meet on Wednesday January 5th to discuss ways to combat the surging number of cases in Italy.

Keep up with the latest news on Italy’s coronavirus health measures here.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Green pass becomes vaccine passFrom January 10th, Italy will place more stringent restrictions on the unvaccinated, effectively barring them from hotels, gyms, restaurants and even public transport.

Italy’s ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass – which shows proof of vaccination status or recovery from Covid-19 – is already required to access many places previously accessible to the unvaccinated via a negative Covid test, but the upcoming change means it will be needed for many aspects of daily life.

So far the government has stopped short of mandating proof of vaccination for access to all workplaces, or for all over-18s, as has long been discussed.

CALENDAR: When do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change?

A mandate is still being discussed, however, as doctors continue to report that the majority of people in intensive care in Italy are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

The government is meeting in the first week of January to discuss further restrictions after already announcing two new decrees in as many weeks.

More ‘yellow’ zones – Italy began 2022 with coronavirus cases at an all-time high. As hospitals come under renewed pressure in many areas, the Italian government has now put a total of 11 regions and autonomous provinces on the moderate-risk ‘yellow’ list.

From Monday, January 3rd, this list includes the Lombardy (around Milan), Lazio (around Rome) Piedmont, and Sicily. Read more here.

Energy prices rise – There’s bad financial news at the start of 2022 as utility bills rise steeply again for families and businesses, despite government efforts to limit price increases

From January 1st electricity bills will be 55 percent higher and gas bills 41 percent, energy regulator Arera confirmed, even with the government allocating almost 4 billion euros in the new budget to soften the blow to consumers.

READ ALSO: Rising energy prices: How to save money on your bills in Italy

This is expected to mean the average household in Italy will see energy costs rise by at least 1,200 euros over the course of 2022, according to many estimates – and that’s without taking into account any future price rises, as Italy’s energy rates are reassessed every quarter.

Find our advice on keeping your bills down in Italy here. And if you’re looking at a switch to solar energy at home, here’s what you need to know about installing photovoltaic panels on your property in Italy.


Limit on cash payments – The latest of Italy’s measures to combat tax evasion, a new lower limit for cash payments comes in from January 1st. The maximum amount for cash payments made either to businesses or individuals is lowered from 2,000 euros to 1,000. 

Amounts higher than that must now legally be made by traceable means, such as by bank transfer or debit card.

Family allowance From January 1st, Italy’s various ‘baby bonuses’ will be replaced by a new single universal child benefit, known as L’assegno unico e universale.

Families in Italy can submit applications for the new single universal child benefit from this date, with payments to begin from March 1st 2022.

The measure was included in Italy’s 2022 budget alongside tax and pension reforms and tax break extensions.

Find out more about how people living in Italy are affected by the new budget in 2022 here.

Member comments

  1. Hello! We’re making plans…again…to get back to Italia in the spring.
    Will we (two Canadians) be able to get a super green pass? We’ll be triple vaccinated. Grazie!

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On the agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week

From weather warnings to summer festivals, here's a look at the key events in Italy this week that you should know about.

On the agenda: What's happening in Italy this week


Storms and heatwave peak – once again the country is divided in two by the weather forecast this week following an intense heatwave. Thunderstorms are expected on Monday as the heat breaks in many northern and central regions, including in Piedmont, Lombardy, and Veneto.

READ ALSO: Will summer 2022 be Italy’s hottest ever?

Meanwhile, temperatures will remain around 35-36 in most parts of the south and islands. The heatwave is expected to break across all parts of the country by Tuesday, with rain forecast in some parts of the south.


San Lorenzo – One of the most romantic evenings of the year in Italy, this is said to be the night when shooting stars can be seen across the country. This is because of the passing of Perseid, a meteor shower that cross the sky at this time of year and is known in Italian as lacrime di san lorenzo, or  ‘San Lorenzo’s tears’. August 10th is the name-day (onomastico) of San Lorenzo.

In fact, there’s a good chance of seeing falling stars any day this week. Other than stargazing, you might want to check out local events held in your town and city to mark the occasion – usually held in Piazza San Lorenzo, if there is one.


Jazz in Rome – for those in the capital, there’s no shortage of events to enjoy this month. Castel Sant’Angelo near the Vatican is putting on ‘Classic Mit Jazz‘ on August 11th: a fusion of jazz and classical music with an ensemble that features a sax and drums as well as a violin and cello. Tickets are €12 full price, €2 for 18-25 year-olds.


Ferragosto weekend – Most of Italy is already chiuso per ferie (closed for the holidays) from early August, but the Ferragosto national holiday on Monday, August 15th is when the whole country really clocks off and heads to the beach.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Ferragosto, Italy’s national summer holiday

It’s not unusual for the minority of people  who aren’t already on holiday this month to take a long weekend off starting Friday, August 12th.

Traffic is always particularly heavy over the Ferragosto weekend, particularly southbound on major motorways. So if you’ll be travelling by car it’s a good idea to set off as early as possible on Saturday morning – or Friday if you can.


Serie A kicks off – Italy’s top football league starts with the first two matches held on August 13th this year, more than a week earlier than the last competition. While there have been suggestions that the date would have to be pushed back if extreme heat persists, officials insist that there will be no delays.

Summer sales – Last chance for sales shopping (in some regions) – the saldi are closely regulated in Italy, with only two big sales allowed per year

This year’s summer sales season runs until August 13th in Lazio, the region where Rome is based, as well as in Liguria. Offers continue in most other regions until the end of August.