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LIVING IN ITALY

The Italian holiday calendar for 2022

We said it last year and we'll say it again - hopefully 2022 will be a better year, but in terms of Italian public holidays and 'bridges' it's not looking too good. Here's why.

Cycling along the coast of Sicily. Not as many chances to do that mid-week in Italy in 2022.
Cycling along the coast of Sicily. Not as many chances to do that mid-week in Italy in 2022. Photo by ludovic MARIN / AFP

Italy is fairly generous with its public holidays, with most months having at least one.

In total there are 11 annual public holidays written into Italian law, plus feast days for local patron saints.

But it’s not always as great as it sounds. All national holidays are taken on the day they fall on that year, rather than being moved to the nearest Monday as is the case in many other countries – this means that if the festival is on a Saturday or a Sunday, there is no extra day off.

This means that in Italy there are ‘good’ holiday years and ‘bad’ ones – and although 2022 isn’t a particularly good one, it’s still a (little bit) more generous than 2021.

Ironically, 2020 was a good year for holidays – although we were confined indoors for most of them.

If a bank holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, Italian employees make the most of it by “doing the bridge”.

Fare il ponte (‘to do the bridge’), if you don’t already know, is the practice of taking an extra day off when a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday – or, if you’re particularly audacious, a Wednesday – instead of next to a weekend, in order to create one continuous break.

But 2022 doesn’t provide a whole load of opportunities to do this, either.

2022 holiday calendar

  • January 1, 2022 (New Year’s Eve): Saturday

  • January 6, 2022 (Epiphany): Thursday

  • April 17, 2022 (Easter Sunday): Sunday

  • April 18, 2022 (Easter Monday): Monday

  • April 25, 2022 (Liberation Day): Monday

  • May 1, 2022 (Labour Day): Sunday

  • June 2, 2022 (Republic Day): Thursday

  • August 15, 2022 (Ferragosto): Monday

  • November 1, 2022 (All Saints’ Day): Tuesday

  • December 8, 2022 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception): Thursday

  • December 25, 2022 (Christmas): Sunday

  • December 26, 2022 (Boxing Day): Monday

  • December 31, 2022 (New Year’s Eve): Saturday

2022 ‘bridges’

At first glance, 2022 doesn’t seem to be the best year for bank holidays as many of these dates fall on Sundays and Mondays (and weekend days aren’t transferred).

In fact, there are only three holidays where it is possible to fare il ponte – Epiphany on January 6th, Republic day on June 2nd and Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

There are, however, three holidays that fall on a Friday or a Monday, making it possible to take an extra day and still create a four-day weekend – Liberation Day on April 25th, Ferragosto on August 15th and Boxing Day on December 26th. Easter Monday always falls on a Monday and instead change the dates from year to year.

  • Epiphany

The first possible ponte of the year is before the Feast of the Epiphany, which falls on Thursday January 6th, meaning many will probably take off the Friday 7th.

  • Easter and Easter Monday 2021

Easter and Easter Monday, in 2022, are on April 17th and 18th. So while we get a nice long weekend, there’s no opportunity for a bridge here.

  • Liberation Day and Labour Day

No bridges here either – In 2022: April 25th is a Monday, while May 1st is a Sunday and therefore no day off.

READ ALSO: Why does Italy celebrate Liberation Day on April 25th?

  • Republic Day

Republic Day falls on Thursday June 2nd. As the temperatures rise, no doubt many will be ‘doing the bridge’ this week.

  • Ferragosto

This year, the height of the summer holidays, August 15th, falls on a Monday. This means a paid day off work, but no doubt most people in Italy will be on holiday for a few weeks (or for the whole month) too.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Ferragosto

  • All Saints and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

All Saints’ Day on November 1st gives us a Tuesday off, while the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Thursday December 8th) are both opportunities for a ‘bridge’.

  • Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve

Like 2021, there’s not much paid time off for Christmas as Christmas Day and Boxing Day (Santo Stefano) fall on a Sunday and Monday this year. Christmas Eve is not a national holiday. New Year’s Eve (San Silvestro) is on a Saturday, so no extra day off there.

Italian non-holiday holidays

There are also eight dates in Italy’s calendar that are considered official but not public holidays – meaning you don’t get a day off. They include National Unity Day on the first Sunday in November, the day of Italy’s patron saints Francesco and Caterina on October 4th, as well as the anniversary of the unification of Italy on March 17th.
 
That’s in addition to nearly 30 national and international days of commemoration or celebration that Italy recognizes, including Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27th), Europe Day (May 9th) and Christopher Columbus Day (October 12th). 
 
Unlike Italy’s 11 national public holidays, none of the above get you the 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 – 20 days – a year.

This is around the average among other European countries.

Many contracts, particularly for state employees, allow for 28 days, or five weeks, of paid leave per year. Employees on this type of contract have some of the longest holidays in Europe, alongside workers in the UK, where the minimum allowance is 28 days.

READ ALSO: Why Italians have the ‘shortest working lives in Europe’

Most Italian employees will also get up to 104 hours of Riduzione Orario di Lavoro (ROL), or working time reduction, annually.

This is intended for things like going to the bank or taking a child to the doctor. However, unused ROL can often be put towards holiday time or used to get a Friday afternoon off work.

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For members

CRIME

What happens when a foreign national gets arrested in Italy?

It’s a situation nobody ever wants to be in, but what if you’re arrested in Italy? Here's an overview of your rights and what you should do if this happens to you.

What happens when a foreign national gets arrested in Italy?

Most people come to Italy to enjoy the weather, food, and relaxed lifestyle. Very few come to break the law, but there’s always a chance you could find yourself in trouble with the Italian police whether through misunderstanding or misdemeanour. 

Pray it never happens but if you are arrested while in Italy, what are your rights? What happens next, and who can help you?

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say in an emergency in Italy

Whether it’s a road traffic violation, a minor offence or a more serious charge, here’s what you need to know about Italian legal processes upon arrest. 

The Italian system

Italian legal procedures may slightly differ from those in your home country, but just like in most Western countries, the Italian judiciary is independent from the government and all foreign nationals have the same rights (and face the same laws) as citizens.

Rights upon arrest

Upon your arrest, you will be orally informed of your rights, which, in short, are the following: 

You have the right to appoint a lawyer of your choice. If for any reason you cannot find a lawyer, the police will ask the local bar association to produce a state-appointed lawyer (difensore di ufficio). In Italy it is mandatory to have a lawyer when facing criminal charges. 

You also have the right to inform your family and your consulate of your arrest.

Keep in mind that, in case you’re caught and arrested in the act of committing a crime (un reato) or immediately after committing a crime, you do not have the right to know the allegations held against you until the udienza di convalida, a judicial hearing for the validation of your arrest (this must take place within four days of the arrest).

In all other circumstances, you will be served an arrest warrant (mandato), which must include an overview of the allegations.

Legal representation

You are entitled to representation by a lawyer (avvocato) during all stages of the criminal proceedings against you.

You can find contact details for Italian lawyers through the Albo Nazionale Avvocati (National Lawyers Register). Alternatively, you may also reach out to your consulate and ask to be given the contact information of lawyers suited to your case.

As previously mentioned, if you can’t find a lawyer, a defense counsel will automatically be appointed by the police or by the court from a list of lawyers provided by the local bar association.

READ ALSO: Guardia di Finanza to Carabinieri – who does what in the Italian police force? 

Please note that, if you are not under arrest but merely under investigation, you cannot be interviewed by the police in the absence of your lawyer. Any evidence gathered during an unlawful interview will be stricken as inadmissible at trial.

Conversely, if you are under arrest, the interview can only be conducted by a judge or a prosecutor. In such a case, your lawyer must be informed of the interview but their attendance is not mandatory.

Trial of two US teenagers in Rome

Lawyer Massimo Ferrandino takes the floor during a high-profile criminal proceeding in Rome on July 22nd 2020. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / POOL / AFP.

Legal aid

As of January 2021, if you are earning less than €11,746.68 (approximately £9960 or $12,511) per year, you are entitled to apply for legal aid.

If your application is successful, your lawyer of choice will be paid in full by the state at the end of your proceedings.

In order to apply for legal aid, non-EU citizens need to produce an official statement validated by their consulate and indicating their personal yearly income.

Translators

If you do not have a good command of Italian, you should be provided with an interpreter for any stage of the proceedings where your presence is required. The service will be free of charge.

While you are entitled to a translator, you don’t have the right to ask that any evidence against you be translated into your mother tongue. 

Interrogation

Whether you’re being questioned by the police, a prosecutor or a judge, you should know that anything you say can be used against you during your trial. 

As a result, it is advisable that you consult your lawyer prior to answering any question.

Pre-trial detention & bail

Your pre-trial detention or other conditions imposed on your freedom are decided by the judge in camera di consiglio, ie. not in an open court.

The length of your pre-trial detention period depends on the nature of your alleged offence.

For instance, for minor offences, you cannot be detained for more than six months prior to your trial. Keep in mind that, by Italian law, if your trial at the first instance doesn’t end within 18 months of your detention, you must be released.

Local police officers standing outside Milan’s San Vittore prison. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

Defendants who are granted bail (libertà provvisoria) are free to go back to their home country unless the judge has imposed conditions that would make it impossible to do so (for instance, the confiscation of one’s passport).

Any breach of the relevant bail conditions generally results in the application of harsher measures, such as restraining orders (ordinanze restrittive), house arrest (arresti domiciliari) or custody.

Note that the judge’s decisions regarding a defendant’s freedom prior to the start of their trial can be challenged by applying for a judicial review at the Tribunale della Libertà (Freedom Tribunal).

Rights while in custody

All prisoners have a number of rights, including the right to security, healthcare and sustenance. Detainees also have a right to unlimited mail correspondence, six one-hour-long visits per month (no more than three visitors are allowed at a single time) and one 10-minute phone call per week.

Foreign nationals can request to receive the Charter of Rights (Carta dei diritti e dei doveri dei detenuti e degli internati) in their own language. The English-language version is available here.

All detainees who believe that their rights may have been violated can reach out to their regional ombudsman and request intervention.

Bear in mind that ombudsmen have the authority to set up meetings with detainees and visit penitentiary centres without previous authorisation.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. If you find yourself under arrest in Italy, we suggest you contact your country’s consulate for advice.

For further information, please consult Fair Trials’ online resource hub and Prison Insider’s website. Other useful links are available below:

National Bar Council

Ministry of Justice

National Guarantor for the Rights of People Deprived of Liberty

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