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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

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

From weather warnings to summer festivals, here's a look at the key events in Italy this week that you should know about.

On the agenda: What's happening in Italy this week
Whether you're at the beach or in the city, there's plenty to do in Italy this week.. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Monday

Storms and heatwave peak – once again the country is divided in two by the weather forecast this week following an intense heatwave. Thunderstorms are expected on Monday as the heat breaks in many northern and central regions, including in Piedmont, Lombardy, and Veneto.

READ ALSO: Will summer 2022 be Italy’s hottest ever?

Meanwhile, temperatures will remain around 35-36 in most parts of the south and islands. The heatwave is expected to break across all parts of the country by Tuesday, with rain forecast in some parts of the south.

Wednesday:

San Lorenzo – One of the most romantic evenings of the year in Italy, this is said to be the night when shooting stars can be seen across the country. This is because of the passing of Perseid, a meteor shower that cross the sky at this time of year and is known in Italian as lacrime di san lorenzo, or  ‘San Lorenzo’s tears’. August 10th is the name-day (onomastico) of San Lorenzo.

In fact, there’s a good chance of seeing falling stars any day this week. Other than stargazing, you might want to check out local events held in your town and city to mark the occasion – usually held in Piazza San Lorenzo, if there is one.

Thursday:

Jazz in Rome – for those in the capital, there’s no shortage of events to enjoy this month. Castel Sant’Angelo near the Vatican is putting on ‘Classic Mit Jazz‘ on August 11th: a fusion of jazz and classical music with an ensemble that features a sax and drums as well as a violin and cello. Tickets are €12 full price, €2 for 18-25 year-olds.

Friday

Ferragosto weekend – Most of Italy is already chiuso per ferie (closed for the holidays) from early August, but the Ferragosto national holiday on Monday, August 15th is when the whole country really clocks off and heads to the beach.

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

It’s not unusual for the minority of people  who aren’t already on holiday this month to take a long weekend off starting Friday, August 12th.

Traffic is always particularly heavy over the Ferragosto weekend, particularly southbound on major motorways. So if you’ll be travelling by car it’s a good idea to set off as early as possible on Saturday morning – or Friday if you can.

Weekend

Serie A kicks off – Italy’s top football league starts with the first two matches held on August 13th this year, more than a week earlier than the last competition. While there have been suggestions that the date would have to be pushed back if extreme heat persists, officials insist that there will be no delays.

Summer sales – Last chance for sales shopping (in some regions) – the saldi are closely regulated in Italy, with only two big sales allowed per year

This year’s summer sales season runs until August 13th in Lazio, the region where Rome is based, as well as in Liguria. Offers continue in most other regions until the end of August.

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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in October 2022

From energy bill changes to the start of ski season and a (possible) new government, here's what changes in Italy in October.

What changes about life in Italy in October 2022

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. 

Although mask requirements have been lifted, 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. 

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

It’s still unclear the extent to which the strike will affect passengers, though significant delays or cancellations can not be ruled out. 

Energy bill changes – for some

Those on old Maggior Tutela ‘protected’ contracts governed by Italy’s energy regulator Arera – that’s around one third of Italian households – could find their energy bills spiking from October 1st.

Arera sets electricity and gas tariffs based on market rates, and usually updates them quarterly. From October, however, prices will be updated monthly, and instead of being indexed to the Amsterdam energy exchange, rates will be tied to the Italian virtual exchange point (PSV).

It’s unclear at this stage exactly what effect this will have, but the research institute IRCAF has warned that it could result in bills doubling. For its part, Arera has said the move will protect consumers and guarantee the continuity of supplies.

The majority of Italian households have transitioned away from the Maggior Tutela system – which is due to come to an end completely from January 2023 – and on to free market contracts with private companies since Italy’s energy market opened up to competition.

Those on fixed rate contracts with private companies should be protected from further price hikes until May 2023, under the terms of the decreto bis aid decree.

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 – 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.

(Some) households allowed to switch on heating

Italy has restrictions on when (and how much) you’re allowed to heat your home, and the first places to be allowed to crank up the thermostat are northern and mountainous parts of the country, usually starting from-mid-October.

Italy is divided into several categories depending on when authorities think it’s appropriate to turn the heating on in each area.

Those in the warmer coastal areas in places like Sicily and Calabria are last to be permitted to flick the switch on at the start of December. Here’s when you can turn your heating on in a typical year in Italy.

This year, because of the ongoing energy crisis caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine, the date on which the first households can turn on their heating has been pushed back one week to October 22nd (with concessions for areas where particularly bad weather is forecast).

The maximum number of hours the heating can be switched on over the course of the day has been reduced from 14 to 13 hours.

Pensions increase

Pensions under a certain threshold are set to rise by two percent from October 1st thanks to measures contained in the aiuto bis aid decree.

A reevaluation of pensions usually takes place in Italy at the start of each calendar year, but the process has been brought forward by three months to combat the cost of living crisis.

The increase affects those on pensions of up to €35,000 per year; pensioners on higher incomes will receive a 0.2 percent rise from November.

New government (?)

After the hard-right centrodestra coalition emerged as the victors in Italy’s September general elections, negotiations are now underway to form a new government.

The process has in the past taken anywhere from four to twelve weeks, which means the country could see a new government sworn in by the end of the month – but it’s not a given.

Clocks go back

At 3am on Sunday, October 30th, the clocks will go back by one hour, marking the end of summer time.

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