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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in August 2022

The long days of summer are usually quiet, as parliament breaks for the summer and everyone heads for the beach. But this August is not an ordinary one in Italy.

Italy's summer holidays this year will coincide with an early election campaign.
Italy's summer holidays this year will coincide with an early election campaign. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

August is the month when most people in Italy flee the sizzling heat of the cities to seek relief at the beach.

This year’s traditional holiday month, however, will also feature an unprecedented summer electoral campaign following the recent collapse of the government.

READ ALSO: The 7 signs that August has arrived in Italy

Here’s what to look out for in Italy this August.

Fuel prices

To help motorists and businesses with the rising cost of living, the government in July confirmed an extension to the fuel tax cut until August 21st.

The tax relief, which means savings of 30 cents per litre of petrol or diesel, has been extended several times since it was introduced in March.

The measure is expected to be extended again until September.

Summer election campaign

Italy’s parliamentary summer break officially runs throughout August until early September, but it’s all but cancelled this year as the country is heading for snap elections after Mario Draghi’s government collapsed at the end of July.

The date set for the election is September 25th, meaning holidays are cancelled as parties will be campaigning hard over the summer. Negotiations are already well underway as to which coalitions might form and who will lead them.

READ ALSO: Why has Italy’s government collapsed in the middle of summer?

August 26th – 30 days before the election – is the first date parties can put up campaign posters, but you can expect to be targeted with radio jingles and TV ads from the start of the month.

Until then the current government remains in office in a caretaker capacity.

Italians flock to the beach en masse on the August 15th Ferragosto holiday.

Italians flock to the beach en masse on the August 15th Ferragosto holiday. Photo by OLIVIER MORIN / AFP

An end to smart working (for some)

The automatic right for vulnerable people and those with children under the age of 14 in Italy to do their job from home (provided the nature of their work makes remote working possible) ends on July 31st.

From the start of August, only private sector workers who have an informal agreement with their employer, parents of under-14s whose partner is not on unemployment benefits, and workers whose medical vulnerability has been certified with a doctor’s note will have the right to continue performing 100 percent of their work remotely.

That changes again on August 31st: after this date employees and employers must have a formal written agreement on any remote working arrangements.

Public holiday

Most of Italy is generally chiuso per ferie (closed for the holidays) throughout the month of August, but the Ferragosto national holiday on August 15th is when the whole country really clocks off and heads to the beach.

This year’s Ferragosto falls on a Monday, meaning those few Italians who aren’t already on holiday are likely to take a long weekend off starting Friday, August 12th.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Ferragosto, Italy’s national summer holiday

Road traffic is always particularly bad around the Ferragosto weekend, so it’s a good idea to avoid making long drives on those dates.

School holidays

Italian schools remain on holiday until the end of August and beyond, with kids not returning to the classroom until at least September 12th in most regions.

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For members

DRIVING LICENCES

EXPLAINED: What’s in the Italian driving licence theory test?

The theory quiz is by far the most daunting part of Italy's driving test. We take a look at what the questions are about and what you’ll be asked to do on the day of the exam.

EXPLAINED: What's in the Italian driving licence theory test?

There are all sorts of reasons why people who’ve relocated to Italy may want to get an Italian driving licence, not least because of the potential lack of a reciprocal agreement (an arrangement allowing foreign nationals to exchange their licence with an Italian one) between Rome and their country of origin. 

As things stand, people from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and South Africa are not allowed to swap their ‘original’ licence for an Italian one. 

READ ALSO: Explained: Who needs to exchange their driving licence for an Italian one? 

And, while the Italian Highway Code states that non-EU nationals can freely drive in Italy on a foreign licence for up to one year from the moment they become Italian residents, drivers will be required to get an Italian licence at the end of that grace period. 

Unfortunately though, the Italian driving test isn’t exactly a piece of cake and that’s largely because the theory exam, which candidates must pass in order to progress to the practical test, requires quite a bit of technical knowledge and cannot be taken in English. 

READ ALSO: Do you have to take Italy’s driving test in Italian?

So, for those who are considering getting an Italian licence and might, one day, be faced with the dreaded quiz, here’s what the theory test is about. 

For starters, once they have put in a request to take the theory exam, candidates have six months and a total of two attempts to pass it. 

Foreign nationals are generally advised to take the test through a driving school (autoscuola) as they will not only help you with all the relevant paperwork but will also provide you with the adequate training regarding the exam questions. 

That said, residents can also choose to take the test privately, which means that they’ll deal with their local licensing office (Ufficio di Motorizzazione Civile, which is roughly equivalent to the UK’s DVLA or the US DMV) directly and book their exam independently. 

Regardless of which path you choose to go down, the structure and procedures of the test are the same for all candidates. 

READ ALSO: Why is it taking so long to book a driving test in Italy?

The theory exam consists of 30 questions of the true or false type and each candidate is given 20 minutes (that’s a little over half a minute for each question) to answer them. 

Italian police officers setting up a roadblock

The Italian theory test consists of 30 questions ranging from road signage to civil liability. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Only three mistakes are allowed, with any number of errors equal to or above four resulting in a failed attempt. 

The questions presented to candidates are randomly selected, which means that some sections of the Italian Driver’s Manual (Manuale di Teoria) might not figure in the test at all. 

That said, you should know that the exam questions generally refer to the following macro-subjects: 

  • Road signage
  • Driver’s duties
  • Speed limits and restrictions to circulation
  • Safe following distance
  • General rules on vehicles’ circulation
  • Right of way
  • Braking, stopping and pulling over
  • Rules on overtaking
  • Use of indicator lights and horns
  • Personal safety equipment
  • Driving licences, circulation documents and penalty system
  • Road accidents and proper response
  • Driving under the influence and first aid
  • Rules on civil liability and insurance
  • Pollution and respecting the environment
  • Basic knowledge of car parts and vehicle maintenance

So, what actually happens on the day of the exam?

Barring some rare exceptions, the theory exam will take place at your local licensing office. 

Prior to the test, examiners will ask you to produce a valid identity document and the copy of a medical certificate testifying to good mental and physical health. After these formalities, you’ll be asked to take a seat at your designated station. 

Please note that you won’t be allowed to take any electronic device nor any notepad to your station. 

Cars queueing before road stop

Candidates only have two shots at passing the Italian theory test. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Once at your station, you’ll find a pc with a touch screen, which is where you’ll be taking the exam. 

By law, all candidates are shown a brief video tutorial prior to the test. After that, it’s game on.

Candidates cannot ask their examiners any question during the course of the exam – this includes questions about words or expressions that one might not know. 

It’ll be possible for you to move freely from one question to the other (i.e. you don’t have to answer a question to progress to the next one) and change your answers. That said, you’d best keep an eye on the remaining time (this is usually shown in the bottom-right corner of the web page).

READ ALSO: Some of the best learner sites for taking your Italian driving test

Once you have reviewed all of your answers and submitted the test, you will be automatically logged out of the exam page.

What happens after I take the test?

Results will be made available online the day following the exam. 

If you pass, you’ll get the ‘pink slip’ (or foglio rosa) and you’ll have 12 months and a total of three attempts to take the practical test.

If you fail, you’ll have to wait a month before you can have another go. Should you fail your second attempt, you’ll have to re-enrol and submit a new request to take the theory exam (this means paying all the relevant fees again).

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