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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in April 2022

From energy bills to the Covid green pass, here's a look at the changes to expect in Italy as we move into April.

What changes about life in Italy in April 2022
The Torre dell'Orologio in St Mark's Square, Venice. Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

End of Italy’s state of emergency

Italy’s pandemic state of emergency officially ended on March 31st, two years and two months after it was first declared.

The end of the state of emergency itself doesn’t mean the end of restrictions, and is largely symbolic. But the government has signed off on a roadmap to ending Covid health measures, meaning some restrictions are gradually being relaxed or removed starting from Friday, April 1st.

(Some) green pass rules will be relaxed

Italy is not doing away with its much-contested ‘green pass’ health certificate just yet, but it is no longer required at certain venues as of April 1st.

Many venues and businesses will now only be required to ask customers to show a proof of a negative Covid test result, in the form of a ‘basic’ green pass, rather than for proof of vaccination or recovery (via the reinforced or ‘super’ green pass).

Green pass rules in Italy are relaxed as of April 1st. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

The basic pass is now sufficient for accessing long-distance public transport services and for entry to indoor bars and restaurants, while you’ll no longer need any form of health pass at all to sit at outdoor tables.

READ ALSO: How to get a coronavirus test in Italy

The requirement has also been scrapped at hotels, museums, shops and local offices, including bank branches and post offices; and as of April 1st, no pass is required to access local public transport, such as city buses and trams.

See more details about the changes to the green pass system and Italy’s other health measures here.

Further easing of Covid travel restrictions? 

Italy’s entry requirements were eased at the beginning of March, meaning a vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or negative test result is now sufficient for entry to Italy.

These rules were recently extended and will remain in place until at least April 30th.

TIMELINE: Where and when will Italy relax its Covid rules?

For now, there is no discussion about completely scrapping Covid restrictions for arrivals – as some other countries have done recently – but there may still be some changes on the way.

We’ll publish any updates in our Italian travel news section.

Energy bills to rise?

April is the start of a new quarter and in Italy that means energy tariffs are revised. And recently, they’ve only been revised upwards – sharply.

In fact, we’ve seen electricity and gas prices rise for the past six consecutive quarters, reaching unprecedented highs after the latest rise in January.

Prices were widely predicted to rise once again in April, with Nomisma Energia expecting an increase of 25 percent for electricity and 2 percent for natural gas.

However, recent reports have cast doubt on this; newspaper La Repubblica reported this week that the tariffs could, in fact, be revised slightly downwards; and according to an article published by Sky News on Wednesday, Italian energy regulator Arera is now saying we can expect to see both electricity and gas prices drop by around 10% percent.

READ ALSO: Rising energy prices: How to save money on your bills in Italy

If there is such a reduction in prices, however, it still won’t be enough to compensate for January’s huge increase (of 55 percent for electricity and 40 percent for gas).

Italy has seen steep energy bill rises for months. Photo by Anthony Indraus on Unsplash

One piece of good news is that Italy will offer new discounts on household energy bills from April under an updated scheme announced last week.

The funding is primarily for households on the lowest incomes, but the income level has been raised under the latest update from April.

More families can now claim the discount on utility bills, as it is now available to those with an ISEE of up to to €12,000. Find out more here.

Fuel discount ends

Following soaring fuel prices in March due to the war in Ukraine, the Italian government introduced a temporary reduction in fuel prices for motorists to bring the cost back down to below €2 per litre.

The fuel price cut equates to 25 cents plus VAT at 22.5 percent, making it a total of 30.5 cents discount to the consumer.

READ ALSO: How to save money on your fuel in Italy

The reduction is applied to the excise duty (a tax on the production and consumption of goods) on petrol and diesel.

Reactions to the move haven’t been warmly welcomed, not least because the measure, for now at least, only lasts 30 days – meaning that the discount will cease to apply after April 21st.

The government may extend the measure beyond this date, but has so far not confirmed any further fuel discounts or price caps.

Easter holidays

Time off for the Easter break falls in the middle of April, with Good Friday (Venerdì Santo) on April 15th and Easter Sunday (Pasqua) on April 17th.

You don’t get Good Friday off work as it’s not a national holiday, but you do get to take off two public holidays on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (known as Pasquetta, or ‘little Easter’), which falls on April 18th this year.

READ ALSO: The Italian holiday calendar for 2022

Pupils – and teachers – get a break over Easter week and this year’s public school holiday is from Thursday, April 14th to Tuesday, April 19th in all regions of Italy, though private schools may have different dates.

‘April fish’

Italy doesn’t do April Fool’s: instead it does April fish.

The country’s traditional April 1st prank involves drawing a picture of a pesciolino – a ‘little fish’ – and sticking it on an unsuspecting victim’s back. Find out about the tradition here.

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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

On the agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week

General elections, a train strike and falling temperatures: here are the key events in Italy that you should know about.

On the agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week

Monday

Local railway strike – Staff from Trenitalia Tper, the company operating train services between Emilia-Romagna and other northern regions, will take part in a 23-hour strike between Sunday, September 18th and Monday, September 19th.

The strike action will start at 3.31am on Sunday and end at 2.30am on Monday, thus supposedly affecting travel for just two and half hours on the first day of the week (between midnight and 2.30). 

However, Trenitalia Tper announced that the strike “might cause disruption to regular services before its start and after its conclusion”, meaning some disruption is possible on Monday morning.

They added that delays and cancellations might not be limited to Emilia-Romagna but affect “surrounding regions” as well. 

By law, all Italian railway companies must guarantee a minimum number of essential services during strike actions. Guaranteed train services for Emilia-Romagna are available here

Trenitalia train in Italy.

Staff from Emilia-Romagna’s Trenitalia Tper will take part in a 23-hour strike between Sunday, September 18th and Monday, September 19th. Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Tuesday

Second aid package – The second government aid package – the decreto aiuti bis – is expected to be made into law on Tuesday, September 20th, when the Senate will be asked to put the final seal of approval on the bill. 

The decreto had been drafted in early August, but its journey through the Italian parliament was delayed by parties’ disagreements over measures including the new superbonus measures and a much-discussed salary cap for civil service managers.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: Italy’s outgoing PM pledges more help with soaring prices

While the decreto bis approaches its final legislative destination, after which it will officially become law, the prime minister on Friday announced a third aid package (decreto aiuti ter) is on the way, and is set to include a further extension of the ‘bonus sociale’ (a discount on utility bills for low-income families).

Milan Fashion Week – One of Italy’s most hotly anticipated annual events, Milan Fashion Week will start on Tuesday, September 20th.  

As always, the week-long festival will offer a plethora of fashion shows and exclusive insights into the spring/summer collections of some of the most famous international designers.

As it was the case last year, the event organiser, Camera della Moda, will live-broadcast most of the shows on their website to allow people from all over the world to follow their favourite festival moments.

Milan Fashion Week’s complete events calendar is available here.

Milan Fashion Week

The much-anticipated autumn edition of Milan Fashion Week will start on Wednesday, September 20th. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Wednesday

Bad weather – According to the latest weather forecasts, cold air fronts that moved in from eastern Europe last week are expected to sweep acrosss Italy on Wednesday, September 21st. 

Southern regions, especially those facing the Adriatic, are expected to be hit by localised rainstorms, which, depending on the area, might turn out to be of medium or even high intensity. 

Temperatures, experts say, should also return to season averages after the unusual heat of the past few days.

Thursday

Pompeii Street Festival – The second edition of the Pompeii Street Festival will start on Thursday, September 22nd. 

Prior to being destroyed by a catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, Pompeii was a thriving Roman city whose houses were famously decorated with beautiful frescoes and tempera paintings – many of these are still visible in today’s archaeological site. 

Pompeii's archeological site, south of Naples.

The second edition of the Pompeii Street Festival will start on Thursday, September 22nd. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

The upcoming festival will celebrate Pompeii’s ancient ‘street art’ with a series of events ranging from art to cinema to photography. 

Friday

Lucca Film Festival – One of Italy’s most renowned film festivals, Lucca Film Festival, will start on Friday, September 23rd. 

The festival, whose first edition was held back in 2005, will once again offer screenings, conferences and performances ranging from mainstream to art-house cinema.

This year’s festival will also host a number of illustrious guests, including Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore and Welsh director Peter Greenaway.

Weekend

General elections – Italy’s general elections will take place on Sunday, September 25th. 

Polling stations across the country will open at 7am and shut at 11pm, with counting expected to start immediately after. 

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Five ways Italy’s 2022 elections will be different

Though foreign EU nationals who legally reside in Italy can register to vote in municipal and European parliamentary elections, only Italian citizens can vote in the country’s general elections.

All voters living in Italy cast their ballots in the town in which they are registered to vote, i.e. their comune, and at the specific polling station assigned to them.

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