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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.

People enjoy an early autumn aperitivo next to Milan's duomo.
People enjoy an early autumn aperitivo next to Milan's duomo. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

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.

Member comments

  1. despite visiting italy several times a year over the last 20 years I have never heard of restrictions to when central heating can be used. Our house and all the homes we visit are heated by wooden pellets or our trees we have felled , apart from one whose central heating works off tonnes of hazelnut shells! Are these forms of heating exempt, even if the wood fire has a back boiler that heats the radiators, or are we all criminals ?

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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

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

From transport strikes to Christmas markets and the start of ski season, here are the key events happening in Italy this week that you should know about.

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

Monday

Ischia rescue efforts continue – Rescue teams are continuing their search for survivors after an avalanche on the island of Ischia left at least seven people dead, with more missing.

A wave of mud and debris hit the small town of Casamicciola Terme early Saturday morning, engulfing at least one house and sweeping cars down to the sea.

READ ALSO: Italy declares state of emergency after deadly Ischia landslide

Italy’s government on Sunday declared a state of emergency and released an initial €2 million in relief funds.

Tuesday

Ruling on vaccine mandates – Italy’s Constitutional Court will rule on the legality of compulsory vaccination against Covid-19 on Tuesday, November 29th.

Judges will be asked to determine whether or not vaccine mandates introduced during the pandemic – which applied to healthcare and school staff as well as over-50s – breached the fundamental rights set out by Italy’s constitution.

Several Italian courts have previously upheld the vaccine oblication, with one Lazio court ruling in March 2022 saying the question of constitutional compatibility was “manifestly unfounded”.

Members of Italy's Constitutional Court will meet on Tuesday to determine whether Italy's Covid vaccine mandate was constitutional.

Members of Italy’s Constitutional Court will meet on Tuesday to determine whether Italy’s Covid vaccine mandates were constitutional. Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP.

Wednesday

Italy’s budget deadline – The Italian government has until Wednesday, November 30th to send the text of the 2023 budget law to Brussels for scrutiny.

Once greenlighted by the EU Commission, the bill will go back to parliament, with both chambers having until December 31st to sign off on it.

READ ALSO: Key points: What Italy’s new budget law means for you

Thursday

Milan’s Christmas market – One of Italy’s most popular Christmas markets will open on Thursday, December 1st.

Stalls in Milan’s iconic Piazza Duomo will be open every day from 9am to 9pm until January 6th. Businesses will be selling everything from Christmas decorations to regional food delicacies.

Milan’s isn’t the only Christmas market in Italy to open on this date; those hosted by Cagliari in Sardinia and Andalo in the Dolomites will also kick off on Thursday.

People walk across a Christmas market in downtown Milan as snow falls on December 8, 2021.

People walk across a Christmas market in downtown Milan as snow falls on December 8, 2021. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

Friday

National transport strike – A 24-hour national strike affecting airline and rail travel as well as local public transport will take place on Friday, December 2nd, likely creating some disruption for people travelling to, from and across Italy.

Staff from Spanish airline Vueling and local public transport operators in the Italian cities of Udine, Trieste, La Spezia, Naples, Foggia and Bari have already announced that they will take part in the strike.

According to the latest local media reports, disruption might also affect travel on Milan’s ATM lines. 

As always, The Local will keep you updated on the strike over the following days.

Saturday

Ski resorts open – All ski resorts managed by the popular Dolomiti Superski association will open on Saturday, December 3rd, offering winter sport enthusiasts a total of 1,200 kilometres of ski slopes. 

Despite early fears that an unusually warm November would force operators to postpone the opening date, the resorts are now expected to regularly open to the public on Saturday thanks to the rigid temperatures of the past week.

Italy's Alpine Dolomiti Superski resorts will Saturday, December 3rd.

Italy’s Alpine Dolomiti Superski resorts will Saturday, December 3rd. Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP.

Sunday

Free museum Sunday – People across Italy will be able to visit museums for free once again this Sunday, December 4th, under the nationwide Domenica al Museo or ‘free museum Sundays’ scheme allowing ticketless entry on the first Sunday of every month.

Find out more about how it works here.

WW2 bomb disposal – Around 900 residents of the eastern Italian city of Pesaro will be asked to temporarily evacuate their homes on Sunday, December 4th to allow for the safe disposal of a 500-kg US-made World War II bomb.

The device is located in the Case Bruciate area, next to the A14 highway.

A hotline will be set up in the following days to give residents all the necessary info. 

The closure of the A14 highway on the day is being considered by local authorities.

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