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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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STRIKES

EXPLAINED: Will Italy’s food shops and supermarkets be open over Easter?

Covid restrictions are over, but strikes now threaten to close supermarkets in some parts of Italy over the holidays. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: Will Italy’s food shops and supermarkets be open over Easter?

On major holidays such as Easter and Christmas, much of Italy usually grinds to halt and most shops close. But with supermarket workers reportedly also planning a strike, many people are concerned about whether they’ll be able to get essential supplies over the upcoming Easter holidays.

READ ALSO: Italy braces for Easter cancellations as food and travel costs soar

Depending on which part of Italy you live in, strikes look set to mean some supermarkets will be closed for longer than they otherwise would be over the Easter weekend.

Here’s a look at the areas and businesses affected.

Where and when will supermarket workers be on strike?

Trade unions in certain regions of Italy have threatened to stop work at supermarkets in protest at what they say are “incredibly demanding conditions”. 

In the Piedmont region, local representatives of Italy’s CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labour), CISL (Italian Confederation of Trade Unions) and UIL (Italian Labour Union) released a joint statement in April where they warned of potential regional strikes on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

Strike action, the unions said, would “guarantee the mental and physical recovery of commerce and food chain distribution workers, who have been working in incredibly demanding conditions for over four weeks”.

In some regions, trade unions have moved from words to deeds. On Wednesday, Sicily’s trade unions officially declared a region-wide strike on April 17th and 18th.

In Calabria, trade unions are also reported to be planning a full-scale regional strike for Easter Sunday and Monday, as well as April 25th and May 1st.

Other regional trade unions, such as those in Lazio, have also reportedly threatened to strike along with their Sicilian and Calabrian counterparts.

At this point in time, there’s no way to know exactly which supermarkets will be affected by planned strike action in these areas or whether this is certain to lead to extended closures.

What’s certain, however, is that the organised strikes are far more likely to affect major supermarket chains rather than small businesses – that’s because the trade unions involved have far more members within the former.

If you’ll be in one of the affected regions, you might want to check the opening hours and online bulletin boards of your local supermarkets in advance, and you may also want to check whether small businesses in the area will be open over the holiday weekend.

Wherever you are in Italy, remember that many shops are likely to be closed over the holiday anyway.

While in most European countries – and certainly in countries like the UK – it might be common for both supermarkets and small shops to be open until 10 or 11pm on Sundays, many Italian shops are usually closed on Sunday and on public holidays, including on Easter Monday.

Some supermarkets may open in the mornings on these days, but many will shut their doors before noon or in the early afternoon at the very latest.

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