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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

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

Back to school and booster jabs: 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
Italy's outgoing government is expected to debate an important financial aid bill this week, and the country is preparing for elections. Here's what else is happening. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Monday:

Airport strikesLimited disruption is expected at Italian airports on Monday, as unionised ground staff hold a 24-hour strike to demand an increase in wages and improved work contracts. 

Italy’s ITA Airways said it had cancelled several domestic flights departing from airports in Bologna, Rome, Florence and Venice in advance of the strike action, and warned that other scheduled flights may be subject to changes.

All passengers flying on Monday are advices to contact their airlines and check online flight schedules for real-time updates.

Back to school – The majority of Italy’s schools reopen this Monday or Wednesday after a summer break lasting around three months. That’s except for schools in Sicily and Valle d’Aosta, which don’t go back until the 19th.

Return dates vary by region. The first classes restarted last week in the northern autonomous province of Bolzano, and in Trentino Alto Adige for kindergarten.

Many parents will be busy picking up the last of the required school supplies, the price of which has increased again this year.

Italian healthcare workers preparing doses of Covid vaccine.

The new dual-strain vaccines will be offered first to at-risk patients, including people aged over 60 and care home residents. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Covid booster jab campaign – From Monday, many regional health services in Italy will also begin taking bookings for updated ‘dual-strain’ Covid-19 booster shots.

The dates again vary by region; some areas have already opened bookings, while others may begin a little later.

The new jabs will be offered to priority groups first, authorities said, as the first deliveries of updated vaccines arrived in the country last week.

Booster shots will not be mandatory and no plans to bring back the Covid ‘green pass’ (or any other measures) are currently being discussed.

For information on availability and reservation in your region, see Italy’s official vaccination booking website.

Tuesday:

Energy decree update – Since the end of August the government has reportedly been preparing new financial aid measures intended to offset rising energy prices and the cost of living.

But there has been no sign of the decree so far and disagreements between political parties led to a postponement on September 7th.

The long-awaited extension to the financial aid decree is now expected this week instead after a debate in the Senate on Tuesday, September 13th.

EXPLAINED: How much are energy bills rising in Italy?

After this, we should know more about what sort of financial aid will be available, and therefore just how much utility costs could rise in Italy from the next energy price update at the start of October.

Wednesday:

September heatwave – unusually warm mid-September weather is predicted to spread across parts of the centre and south of Italy from Wednesday and into Thursday.

Up to 35C is expected in parts of the south. Temperatures are also expected to be a few degrees above average in the centre-north, while the mix of hot and cool air currents is expected to mean scattered thunderstorms in northern Tuscany, towards Romagna and part of Marche, forecasts say.

A strong Scirocco wind is also expected to hit the western Tyrrhenian coast and the Strait of Sicily on Wednesday and Thursday – so if you live in this area, get your laundry inside unless you want it covered in Saharan sand.

Thursday:

Italian Bike Week – One of Italy’s popular late summer events, ‘Bike week’ runs from the 15-18th September in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Friuli Venezia Giulia

One of the most important motorcycle events in the country, it’s an industrial showcase of new and custom motorcycles. There are motorbike parades, stunts and exhibitions, as well as plenty of live music and entertainment.

Friday:

Food festivals – Another weekend of Italian food and drink festivals, or sagre, includes the Sagra degli Gnocchi (gnocchi festival) in the pretty hilltop town of Castelnuovo di Porto, north of Rome.

See more of the food and drink festivals happening across Italy in September 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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