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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

MONEY

REVEALED: Which are Italy’s cheapest supermarkets?

As the cost of living crisis hits household budgets in Italy as elsewhere, a new study says switching supermarkets could shave thousands of euros a year off your grocery shopping bill.

REVEALED: Which are Italy's cheapest supermarkets?

As the cost of living keeps rising amid soaring inflation – Italy’s inflation rate hit a 37-year high at the end of last month – many households across Italy, as elsewhere, are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet.

READ ALSO: What is Italy doing to cut the rising cost of living?

The government’s recent suggestion of lowering or even scrapping IVA (VAT, or sales tax) on basic food products hasn’t materialised. But consumers could still find ways to save on their grocery shopping.

Many shoppers are now switching supermarkets to save money, or considering it.

And doing so could pay off. A new study from Italian consumer group Altroconsumo showed a family of four can save up to 3,350 euros a year by shopping at discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Eurospin.

Altroconsumo, savings on grocery shopping

Maximum possible savings by type of shopping and household size. Graphic courtesy of Altroconsumo.

For context, the study found Italian families with two children spend an average of 8,550 euros a year on groceries. 

While discount supermarkets do allow for considerable savings however they also generally offer lower-quality products which not all consumers will be satisfied with.

Shoppers can also reduce costs by switching to supermarket own-brand items (i.e. items carrying the supermarket logo), available in stores such as Carrefour and Iper-Coop. 

In particular, shopping at Carrefour, which is the most affordable supermarket in Italy when it comes to own-brand goods, can allow a family of four to save as much as 3,250 euros per year (savings can amount to 2000 euros for individual consumers). 

Consumers who do not wish to part ways with branded products (prodotti di marca) can still save on their shopping, though in this case savings are comparatively lower.

Shopping at Esselunga – the most cost-effective Italian supermarket for branded goods – allows for savings up to 350 euros for single individuals and up to 570 euros for families with two children.

Finally, potential savings are considerably reduced for consumers choosing to stick with a spesa mista, meaning that they generally fill up their shopping cart with a combination of branded items, distributor-brand goods and low-cost goods.

Regional differences 

While switching supermarket can mean savings on food bills, exactly how much you’ll save varies greatly by region.

In particular, Altroconsumo’s latest report highlighted once again the stark divide separating the north of the country from the centre and south. 

READ ALSO: From coffee to haircuts: How the cost of living varies around Italy

 Of the 15 cheapest Italian supermarkets, only two are located in the central or southern regions of the boot (Sesto Fiorentino’s Coop-Fi and Spesa 365 in Bari).

More importantly, consumers living in the north and shopping at the cheapest supermarket or hypermarket available in their city can save as much as 18 percent on a branded-goods-only food bill.

In equal circumstances (i.e. buying only branded items at the cheapest local store), consumers living in most central or southern cities can only save between two and three percent. 

Convenience map by Altroconsumo

The “convenience map”, with the cheaper cities shown in green and the more expensive cities shown in red. Graphic courtesy of Altroconsumo.
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