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LIVING IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in February 2022?

From Carnevale to Covid-19 restrictions, here's what to expect this month if you live in Italy.

People walk in central Florence.
Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Italy’s green pass rules tightened

Several of Italy’s rules around the use of health certificates change during February.

As of Tuesday, February 1st, customers must show a ‘basic’ version of Italy’s green pass to enter banks, post offices, public offices, tobacconists, bookshops, newsagents (except outdoor kiosks) and shopping malls, according to a decree signed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi on January 21st.

The basic version of the pass is already a requirement for entry to hairdressers, barbers, and beauty salons.

These rules are in addition to the existing requirement of a ‘super’ green pass on all forms of public transport, in bars and restaurants, gyms, hotels, cinemas, theatres and sports stadiums.

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change from February 1st?

Italy currently has a two-tiered green pass system in place, with the basic version of the pass available to those who test negative, alongside the ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass which proves the bearer is vaccinated against or has recovered from Covid-19.

From February 1st, fines can also be issued to over-50s who refuse to be vaccinated following the introduction of a vaccine mandate for this age group in January.

Those who haven’t completed their primary vaccination cycle or received their booster within the requisite timeframes also face the “one-off” 100-euro fine, the health ministry has confirmed.

From February 15th, all over-50s and staff at universities will also need the ‘super green pass’ to access workplaces.

See further details of the changing Covid-19 restrictions in Italy this month here.

Vaccine pass validity reduced from nine to six months

February 1st also sees the validity of Italy’s ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass, which can be obtained only through vaccination or recovery from Covid, reduced from nine to six months.

While Italian media reports that the government is considering extending the validity of the pass indefinitely for those who have had a third or booster dose, this change has still not been confirmed as of February 1st, and the government has not made any official statement on the issue. 

Keep an eye on our Italian ‘green pass’ news section for updates.

READ ALSO: Q&A: How will Italy’s new six-month Covid vaccine pass validity work?

A bar owner uses the VerifyC19 mobile phone application to scan a customers 'green pass' in central Rome.
A bar owner uses the VerifyC19 mobile phone application to scan a customers ‘green pass’ in central Rome. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Changes to the international travel rules

Italy has confirmed travel restrictions will be simplified from the start of February for arrivals from within the European Union.

Travellers will now only need to show proof of a recent negative test result, vaccination or recovery under the EU-wide health pass scheme, rather than both proof of vaccination AND a recent negative test result to avoid a five-day quarantine on arrival.

For arrivals from non-EU countries, the existing rules will be extended another six weeks.

That means arrivals from countries on the government’s List D can continue to enter Italy without a quarantine requirement provided they can produce both a vaccination certificate and a recent negative test; while entry from countries on its more restricted List E is permitted only under specific circumstances, and comes with a ten day self-isolation requirement

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s international travel rules change from February 1st?

Non-reusable plastics banned

From February 14th, Italy will implement the EU’s ban on single-use plastics, passed in Brussels last July with the aim of reducing plastic and microplastic waste in the world’s oceans by 30 percent by 2050.

Biodegradable and compostable plastic is exempt from the ban, but companies caught selling other single use plastic products will be subject to fines of between 2,500 and 25,000 euros, according to online magazine Benessere Economico.

Carnevale celebrations – and school holidays

Like France’s Mardi Gras, Carnevale is traditionally the Christian celebration before the restrictions of Lent begin on Ash Wednesday (February 14th). Parades, festivals and events take place across Italy, bringing a burst of colour to the dull month of February. Check your local comune‘s website for details of events in your area.

Some lucky schoolchildren in Italy also enjoy a holiday for carnevale. In the northern regions of Piedmont and Veneto, for example, the break begins on the 26th and 28th of February respectively. Holidays vary by region – see a calendar with 2022 dates for each part of the country here.

Sanremo Music Festival

The 2022 edition of the Sanremo Music Festival kicks off on Tuesday, February 1st. Love it or hate it, this is Italy’s answer to Eurovision and a major date in the nation’s cultural calendar. Here are ten facts about Sanremo to impress your Italian friends with.

Member comments

  1. I haven’t seen any official news from the government related to nightclubs and dance venues, in a normal world this would likely mean the decree will not be extended but based on how they managed the ski resorts last year I think no news is bad news and the chances are we’ll be hearing this weekend that the decree will be extended another month – which is devastating for the night time economy and the ski resort hospitality.

  2. Just wondering if you know whether you will need the green pass to enter the Questura, to pick up a permesso di sorgiorno. My wife is waiting for her tessera, which has been processed. Until then she can’t get her third dose, thus her green pass expires 1February. Thank you.

    1. Hi, you will need a ‘basic’ version of a green pass to enter the Questura and other public offices from Feb 1st, but not for “essential” reasons. The relevant decree doesn’t specify whether picking up a residency permit is classed is essential, so we can only suggest checking with the Questura.

      In the meantime, it may be possible to book a third dose without the tessera – here are some more details:
      https://www.thelocal.it/20220111/can-foreigners-in-italy-use-the-national-covid-vaccination-booking-website/
      https://www.thelocal.it/20210610/how-to-try-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine-without-a-health-card-in-your-region-of-italy/

      With best wishes,
      – Clare

      1. So in her case, since her original green expires February 1, she would need either her third dose thus resetting here green pass or a negative Covid test in the requisite timeframe 72/48 hours?

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For members

BUREAUCRACY

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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