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EXPLAINED: When can you turn your heating on in Italy this winter?

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The Local ([email protected])
EXPLAINED: When can you turn your heating on in Italy this winter?
When can you turn the heating on in Italy? Photo by Dominik Kuhn on Unsplash

Italy has updated the rules on when and for how long you can switch on your central heating – as well as how high you can turn it up. Here's a look at the dates for this winter.

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One thing new residents are often surprised to learn is that Italy has rules dictating the dates when you can switch on the heating, based on the part of the country - or 'climate zone' - you live in.

These rules were updated recently under a new energy-saving decree, which shortens the winter heating season by 15 days, postponing the switch-on date by eight days and bringing the switch-off forward by seven for all zones.

READ ALSO: Key points: Italy's new heating restrictions for winter

In the interests of saving energy, Italy has long had rules in place about when different provinces can use central heating (riscaldamento centralizzato), based on their average seasonal temperature.

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As you might expect, northern and mountainous areas are the first to be allowed to switch on the heat in October, while some parts of the south can’t turn up the dial until December.

How have the rules changed this year?

As mentioned above, the season has been shortened by 15 days, The government's new energy-saving plan also says heating systems should be used for one hour less each day and set one degree lower than last year.

The decree requires businesses not to put the heating over 18C (down from 19C), while private citizens are asked to set their heating at a maximum of 19C (down from 20C).

Here’s an overview of this year’s updated restrictions:

Zone A: December 8th to March 7th, 5 hours a day

  • Lampedusa, Linosa and Lampione
  • Porto Empedocle

Zone B: December 8th to March 23rd, 7 hours a day

  • Agrigento
  • Catania
  • Messina
  • Palermo
  • Siracusa
  • Trapani
  • Reggio Calabria
  • Crotone

Zone C: November 22nd to March 23rd, 9 hours a day

  • North-west: Imperia.
  • Centre: Latina.
  • South: Bari; Benevento; Brindisi; Cagliari; Caserta; Catanzaro; Cosenza; Lecce; Naples; Oristano; Ragusa; Salerno; Sassari; Taranto.

Zone D: November 8th to April 7th, 11 hours a day

  • North-west: Genoa; La Spezia; Savona.
  • North-east: Forlì.
  • Centre: Ancona; Ascoli Piceno; Florence; Grosseto; Livorno; Lucca; Macerata; Massa Carrara; Pesaro; Pisa; Pistoia; Prato; Rome; Siena; Terni; Viterbo.
  • South: Avellino; Caltanissetta; Chieti; Foggia; Isernia; Matera; Nuoro; Pescara; Teramo; Vibo Valentia.

Zone E: October 22nd to April 7th, 13 hours/day

  • North-west: Alessandria; Aosta; Asti; Bergamo; Biella; Brescia; Como; Cremona; Lecco; Lodi; Milan; Novara; Padova; Pavia; Sondrio; Torino; Varese; Verbania; Vercelli.
  • North-east: Bologna; Bolzano; Ferrara; Gorizia; Modena; Parma; Piacenza; Pordenone; Ravenna; Reggio Emilia; Rimini; Rovigo; Treviso; Trieste; Udine; Venice; Verona; Vicenza.
  • Centre: Arezzo; Perugia; Frosinone; Rieti.
  • South: Campobasso; Enna; L’Aquila; Potenza.

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Zone F: No restrictions

  • Cuneo
  • Trento
  • Belluno 

How are these rules enforced?

The rules are supposed to apply to every property in Italy, including independent houses and apartments with their own independent heating systems (riscaldamento autonomo), where it’s up to individual occupants to limit their heating use. 

But the restrictions are more easily enforced in shared buildings with a single, communal boiler, such as apartment blocks, offices, schools and hotels. In that case the amministratore, or building manager, will be responsible for regulating when the heating comes on and off.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on using wood-burning stoves in Italy?

The new decree doesn't contain any mention of fines, inspections or any sort of enforcement of the rules for homes with independent heating systems, though businesses and condominiums can be subject to inspections.

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