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LIVING IN ITALY

The Italian holiday calendar for 2022

Italy gets a good number of public holidays, but in terms of days off work and 'bridges' 2022 is not the best year. 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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EXPLAINED: How to write a formal email in Italian

Knowing how to write a polite email will make your life in Italy much easier. Here’s a quick guide to the style rules.

EXPLAINED: How to write a formal email in Italian

If you live in Italy there are countless situations in which you’re likely to find yourself having to write a formal email in Italian, such as when applying for a job or arranging a viewing for a flat.

But while you may be a master at crafting formal emails in your own language, you’re likely to struggle to do so in Italian. Even people with an excellent command of Italian, including native speakers, need to learn the style rules associated with formal writing.

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

So here’s an essential step-by-step guide to writing a formal email and getting it right every time.

Greetings 

While greetings are fairly uncomplicated in English (‘Dear’ followed by the title and surname of the recipient will usually suffice), there are multiple options in Italian. 

If you’re writing to someone that you’ve never met before, you’ll want to address them with either Egregio (eminent) or Spettabile (esteemed), like so:

    • Egregio / Spettabile Dottor Rossi
    • Egregia Dottoressa Rossi

Conversely, if you’re writing to someone that you’ve seen before but have no relationship with – as in you might have said hello to them but you’ve never had a conversation with them – your best option would be Gentile (courteous) or its superlative Gentilissimo (often abbreviated to Gent.mo).

Finally, the least formal option is Caro (Dear), which you should only use when writing to someone you’re already well-acquainted with (for instance, a colleague or a university tutor). 

READ ALSO: How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

Remember: these adjectives must match the recipient’s gender (e.g., you should use Gentilissima for a woman and Gentilissimo for a man).

Titles

Italians love their titles, so you should always try your best to get them right in your emails. Failure to do so might result in your recipient pointing out your mistake – which, from personal experience, is not very nice. 

Here’s a list of the most common Italian titles and their abbreviations: 

    • Any man with an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, and male doctors: Dottore (Dott.)
    • Any woman with an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, and female doctors: Dottoressa (Dott.ssa)
    • Male professor/lecturer: Professore (Prof.)
    • Female professor/lecturer: Professoressa (Prof.ssa)
    • Lawyer: Avvocato (Avv.)
    • Architect: Architetto (Arch.)
    • Man with no degrees: Signore (Sig.) – equivalent of Mr
    • Woman with no degrees: Signora (Sig.ra) – equivalent of Ms

Opening sentence 

In the opening sentence, you should always state your name (Mi chiamo plus name and surname) and explain why you’re writing. 

If you’re the one initiating the exchange, you can use: 

    • Le scrivo in merito a [qualcosa] (I am writing about [something])
    • La contatto in riferimento a [qualcosa] (I am contacting you in regards to [something])
    • La disturbo per […] (I am troubling you to […])

Gmail inbox

Italians love their titles, so you should always try your best to get them right in your emails. Photo by Stephen PHILLIPS via Unsplash

If you’re replying to an email instead, you could start with: 

    • In risposta alla sua precedente mail, […] (literally, ‘in response to your email’)

As you might have noted, all of these expressions refer to the recipient via third-person pronouns (le, la). This is known as ‘forma di cortesia’ (polite form) and must be used in all formal exchanges.  

READ ALSO: How to register with the anagrafe in Italy

All pronouns and adjectives referring to the recipient, and all verbs the recipient is the subject of, must be used in the third person, as in the following case:

    • Le sarei molto grato, se mi mandasse il suo numero di cellulare.
    • I’d be really grateful if you could send me your mobile number.

The above rule applies to all parts of the email, from the opening statement to the sign-off.

Man typing on laptop

The third-person ‘polite form’ is an essential part of Italian formal emails. Photo by Burst via Unsplash

It’s also worth mentioning that the original forma di cortesia requires the writer to capitalise the first letter of all pronouns and adjectives referred to the recipient.

    • La ringrazio per il Suo interesse e Le auguro una buona giornata.
    • Thanks for your interest. I wish you a good day.

That said, modern Italian is gradually moving away from this practice, with capitalisation surviving in very few isolated contexts. Notably, it is advisable that you capitalise the above-mentioned forms when exchanging messages with lawyers, government officials, law enforcement authorities or high-profile public figures.

Body

Write your message in Italian much as you would a formal email in your own language. Be pithy but clear and exhaustive. Just don’t forget about the forma di cortesia.

Signing off

Once again, there are multiple ways to sign off but these are generally the safest options as they fit nicely into any type of message, regardless of its content or recipient:

    • La ringrazio per la sua gentile attenzione / il tempo dedicatomi (Thanks for your kind attention / your time)
    • Resto in attesa di un suo cortese riscontro (Kindly looking forward to your reply)

You can follow either one of the above expressions with Cordiali saluti (Kind regards) or Cordialmente (Sincerely). 

Finally, as you would in other languages, end with your full name and any contact details that you might want to share with the recipient.

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