For members


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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For members


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

From freezing weather to the start of Carnival celebrations, here's what to expect in Italy this week.

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


Colder weather on the way

Temperatures are expected to drop again in the coming days as a cold air front moves in from the north-east.

Below-zero temperatures are predicted for the north in particular, including in the cities of Milan, Turin and Bologna.

READ ALSO: Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather like a true Italian

Forecasts say the Alps and some sections of the Apennines could see snowstorms, while southern regions, including the islands, are expected to be hit by heavy rain.


New anti-waste app launches

There are various apps on the market tracking food waste and Italy is now set to have its own, as the Sprecometro app developed by the Waste Watcher International Observatory together with the University of Bologna will be launched on Tuesday, January 31st.

The free app aims to help reduce food waste, help develop more sustainable eating habits, and raise awareness of environmental impact.


Instalment plans for energy bills

Energy bills are stretching many household budgets in Italy as elsewhere this winter, but it’s possible to pay in instalments..

Energy provider Plenitude, a subsidiary of Italy’s oil giant Eni, offers interest-free payment plans to households and small businesses, and the window to sign up for 2023 opens on Wednesday, February 1st. Find information on Plenitude’s website.


Carnival celebrations start in Venice and Viareggio

Though Carnival celebrations will peak in the six-day period between Thursday, February 16th (giovedì grasso) and Tuesday, February 21st (martedì grasso), Carnival-related events will officially start on Saturday, February 4th.

Venice’s famous Carnival will kick off celebrations with a floating parade along the Grand Canal while in Viareggio, Tuscany, the 2023 Carnival opening ceremony will be followed by a fireworks show.


Italy faces France in Rome in Six Nations opener

Italy’s national rugby team will start their journey in the historic Six Nations Championship by facing title holders France in Rome on Sunday, February 5th. 

The game will be broadcast on both SkySport Italy and TV8 (channel eight on your TV set).

Those wishing to see the Azzurri in action from up close can get tickets for the Stadio Olimpico matchup here.

Free Museum Sunday

State museums and archaeological sites across Italy will allow free entrance on Sunday, February 5th as part of the monthly Domenica al Museo, known as ‘Free Museum Sundays’ in English, which is held on every first Sunday of the month. Read more here.