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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in May 2022

From changes to the Covid green pass and mask rules, to upcoming spring events, here's a look at what's on the calendar in Italy as we move into May.

What changes about life in Italy in May 2022
Traditional azaleas flowers are placed onto the stairs of Capitol Hill to celebrate the spring in Rome. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Green pass rules have been relaxed

As of May 1st, Italy has dropped both its ‘basic’ (requiring a negative Covid test result) and ‘super’ (requiring proof of vaccination or recovery) green pass requirements for almost all situations.

Until the end of April, the ‘super green pass’ – or its equivalent in the form of a foreign-issued vaccination or recovery certificate – had been required to access venues such as cinemas, gyms and nightclubs, while the ‘basic’ green pass was needed to use public transport and to dine indoors at restaurants.

The health certificate requirement has now been scrapped in almost all venues – the one exception being hospitals and care homes, which still require visitors to provide proof of vaccination or recovery (the ‘super green pass’).

READ ALSO: At a glance: What Covid-19 rules are now in place in Italy?

A customer shows her Green Pass on a mobile phone. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Changes to the mask mandate

Italy ended its mask requirement for most indoor public spaces on May 1st, but at the end of April the government signed an ordinance keeping the mandate in place for some venues until June 15th.

Venues where masks are still required until then include local and long-distance public transport; health and social care environments, such as hospitals and residential homes; schools; and indoor entertainment venues, such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, live music venues, and indoor sports arenas and stadiums.

High-grade Ffp2 masks are required on public transport (including planes, trains, ferries, buses, trams, coaches, school buses, trams and the metro) and in indoor entertainment venues; while lower-grade surgical masks are accepted in health and social care facilities and schools. Children under the age of six are exempt in all circumstances.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

High grade FFP2 masks are currently required for on public transport and in stadiums, movie theatres, museums and sporting events in Italy.

Masks are likely to still be a requirement on public transport in May. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

As of May 1st masks are no longer required in bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, museums, galleries, gyms, swimming pools, spas, nightclubs and workplaces all no longer require any kind of mask (under national law – individual businesses may choose to impose their own, stricter rules).

May Day Holiday (but you won’t get a day off)

May 1st marks Labour Day in Italy, a national public holiday – and also in many other countries too, often referred to as May Day.

Ironically, even though this is the workers’ day holiday, you won’t get a day off in Italy as it falls on a Sunday this year – and public holidays aren’t rolled on to the Monday when they take place on a weekend, as is the case in many other countries.

READ ALSO: The Italian holiday calendar for 2022

The good news is, if you’re on the payroll of an Italian company, you might be entitled to a day’s pay since it is a public holiday that’s not taken and so, the day should be included in your salary as if it had been worked.

It’s worth checking with your employer to see if you can benefit from the holiday in some way, after all.

May concerts and events

As the weather warms up and spring is in bloom, Italy is returning to a full social calendar with various concerts and events throughout the country.

As well as keeping an eye out for those local to you or where you’re visiting, there are some headliners to pencil in.

Italy’s Måneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, at the Ahoy convention centre in Rotterdam, on May 22, 2021. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Italy is the host country for Eurovision this year after Rome-based rock band Måneskin took victory in Rotterdam in 2021 with the song ‘Zitti e buoni’.

Turin has been chosen to host this year’s eccentric and flamboyant music acts. The grand final will be held in the city’s PalaOlimpico on Saturday, May 14th with the semi-finals scheduled on May 10th and 12th.

Heading southwards to Rome is the ‘Primo Maggio‘ May Day Concert (on May 1st therefore), which the organisers say is the largest free live music event in Europe.

The show is organised annually in Rome and has been running for over 30 years, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators.

You can head to Piazza San Giovanni to see live acts for free from 3pm until spaces are full, and no booking is needed. See here for further info.

And if high human-powered speeds on two wheels are your thing, you might like to know that the Giro d’Italia cycling race takes place throughout May.

The event lasts for three weeks, starting in Budapest, Hungary on May 6th and ending in Verona, Italy on May 29th.

Check details and the route here.

Superbonus extension?

Homebuilders can end their waiting for final confirmation of an extension to Italy’s superbonus for single family homes any day now.

The government has already announced an imminent extension to give homebuilders more time to carry out delayed renovations, with a law finalising the plans expected as we begin a new month.

Various sectors called for the bonus to be rolled on for single buildings, as owners must have completed 30 percent of the works by June 30th – giving just two months left to those caught up in delays and at risk of not meeting the deadline.

While a new timeframe has not yet been given, the authorities have announced their intention to roll on the building bonus in their latest Economic and Financial Document (Il documento di economia e finanza or ‘DEF’), which outlines the government’s economic policy and sets fiscal targets for the year.

You can find out more about the latest details here.

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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

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

Election results, end of face mask rules and airline staff strikes: here are the key events in Italy that you should know about.

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

Monday

Election results – As of Monday morning, the count was still in progress, but the centrodestra right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy were poised to claim over 44 percent of the vote, making it the clear victor.

A more accurate overview of the election’s outcome was expected to emerge later on Monday but the centre-left Democratic Party, the coalition’s main rivals, had already conceded defeat, saying it was a “sad” day.

Turnout was said to have fallen to a historic low of around 64 percent, about nine points lower than the last elections, held in 2018.

READ ALSO: Giorgia Meloni’s far right triumphs in Italy vote

Tuesday

La Scala in Città – The second edition of La Scala in Città (La Scala in the City) will start on Tuesday, September 27th. 

The festival, organised by Milan’s world-renowned La Scala opera house, will bring a wealth of events to the northern city, with music and dance performances taking place in a number of exclusive urban locations.

Once again, the initiative’s objective will be to “find new spectators across the city and inspire children to engage in music or dance”. 

All events are free of charge, though previous booking is required. The festival’s calendar is available here.

Wednesday

Reform of welfare laws – A draft bill proposing to amend national welfare measures for non-self-sufficient elderly people might receive ministers’ seal of approval on Wednesday, September 28th. 

That would effectively start the bill’s legislative journey through parliament and mark the first step towards its enactment into law.  

An elderly care home resident walks with an employee.

A draft bill reforming national welfare measures for the elderly might receive ministers’ approval on Wednesday. Photo by Thierry ZOCCOLAN / AFP

The bill, which seeks to “strengthen” welfare policies by allocating greater funds to the support of elderly people and their families, is one of the many reforms required by Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza, or PNRR).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What’s changing under Italy’s post-pandemic recovery plan? 

The draft’s approval has already been postponed on multiple occasions, partly because of the political uncertainty that’s been lingering over the PNRR ever since the collapse of Draghi’s coalition government earlier in July.

Thursday

Strike at Bergamo’s Orio al Serio airport – Staff from handling company BGY International Services at Bergamo’s Orio al Serio airport will strike from 10am to 2pm on Thursday, September 29th. 

At the time of writing, the reasons behind the strike were not clear, though Italian unions had voiced workers’ concerns over “excessive workloads” during the summer.

Sadly, it also wasn’t clear whether the strike would affect airline travel from and to Bergamo’s airport during the day and, if so, in what measure.  

As always, passengers are advised to check the status of their flight before starting their journey.

I Primi d’Italia festival – One of Italy’s most anticipated culinary festivals, I Primi d’Italia (Italy’s First Courses), will return to Foligno, Umbria on Thursday. 

READ ALSO: Sagra: The best Italian food festivals to visit in September

Once again, the city’s centro storico will provide a picturesque backdrop to around 40 scheduled events ranging from wine tasting to cooking shows.

Chef Samuel Perico shows typical pasta dish "I Casoncelli" on June 16, 2020

Italy’s very own first courses festival will start on Thursday in Foligno, Umbria. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

This year’s festival will also host some illustrious names from the cooking world, including three-Michelin-star chef Mauro Uliassi.

Friday

End of face mask rules – As of Friday, September 30th, face masks will no longer be required on Italian public transport (buses, trains, trams, ferries, etc.). 

The mask mandate was originally meant to lapse on June 15th but it had been extended by outgoing health minister Roberto Speranza after an uptick in infections at the beginning of the summer.

Friday will also mark the end of mask-wearing requirements for those accessing healthcare facilities or care homes, whether they be visitors, patients or staff. 

Having said that, staff and visitors will still have to produce a valid ‘super green pass’ – i.e. a health pass certifying that the holder has been fully vaccinated against or has recovered from Covid-19 – to access the above-mentioned facilities.

Barring any extension, the ‘green pass’ mandate will expire on December 31st. 

Weekend

National airline staff strike – Pilots and cabin crew from Ryanair and Vueling will take part in a national strike action on Saturday, October 1st.

In particular, Ryanair staff will hold a 24-hour walkout, whereas Vueling staff will strike for a total of four hours, from 1pm to 5pm.

READ ALSO: Italian low-cost airline staff to strike on October 1st

At the time of writing it wasn’t yet clear how the strike would affect passengers, though significant delays or cancellations could not be ruled out. 

A Ryanair employee talks to a passenger at the check-in counters at the Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona on July 1, 2022.

Ryanair pilots and cabin crew will take part in a 24-hour strike on Saturday, October 1st, likely causing disruption to air travel on the day. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

Italian trade unions Filt-Cgil and Uiltrasporti called the strike in protest against employers’ failure to “grant acceptable working conditions and wages that are in line with minimum national salaries”. 

Start of ski season – Aosta Valley’s ski season will officially start on Saturday, October 1st, when the popular Cervinia ski resort will open its doors to winter sports enthusiasts. 

This year, a daily ski pass in Cervinia will cost between 51 and 57 euro – it was between 47 and 53 last year. 

Aside from Cervinia’s early start, all the other ski resorts in the Aosta Valley region will open their doors to the public on November 26th provided that there is enough snow on their slopes.

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