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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

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

From Halloween celebrations to changing Covid health measures, here's a look at the key events in Italy this week you should know about.

On the agenda: What's happening in Italy this week
You might not see many carved pumpkins in Italy this week, but we do get a day off work. Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

Monday 

Halloween celebrations – While Halloween is less of a big deal in Italy than it is in some other countries, that’s not to say it isn’t celebrated at all.

Unsurprisingly, Italian children have really taken to the idea of roaming their neighbourhood in spooky costumes demanding sugary treats.

So, while celebrations are not as ubiquitous as they are elsewhere, a few mini ghouls or witches might come knocking on your door and shout “dolcetto o scherzetto!” (trick or treat) on October 31st.

Adult celebrations mainly involve eating out, with restaurants across the country putting on special Halloween-themed dinner menus.

As for pumpkins, Italian supermarkets will have no shortage of them at this time of year, though they’re more likely to be destined for a delicious risotto than for any complex carving exercises.

READ ALSO: Five scary Italian horror movies to watch at Halloween

Tuesday 

End of Covid mask rules in healthcare?

The requirement to wear face masks in hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities expires on October 31st.

The government will meet on Monday to decide whether to extend the measure, and to discuss plans to end the vaccination obligation for healthcare staff, which is currently in place until December.

All Saints’ Day

November 1st is Ognissanti’ or ‘giorno di tutti i Santi’ in Italian and it is a national bank holiday in Italy.

As suggested by the name, Ognissanti is a solemn celebration of all the Catholic saints, even those that haven’t been formally canonised.

READ ALSO: The Italian holiday calendar for 2022

On the day, most people are home from work and tend to spend time with their families.

In many Italian regions, soup is the traditional Ognissanti dish – though with temperatures still well above seasonal average some might pick a different starter this time around. 

Wednesday, 2nd

All Souls’ Day – As in other Christian countries, November 2nd is All Souls’ Day, or ‘Festa dei Morti’.

Italy’s Festa dei Morti is a religious day of remembrance, marked with prayers, flowers and, of course, more food.

Celebrations are usually very sombre, though in many parts of Italy families prepare sweets (usually biscuits) collectively known as ‘dolci dei morti’.

Friday, 4th

National Unity Day

November 4th is another national holiday – one you’ve quite possibly never heard of.

And you don’t get a day off work for this one, either.

National Unity Day, or to give it its full title, the Giornata dell’Unità Nazionale e delle Forze Armate (‘Day of National Unity and the Armed Forces’), commemorates the end of World War I for Italy.

It’s celebrated on November 4th, the day an armistice ended the fighting between Italian forces and the battered Austro-Hungarian Army in 1918. Read more about it here.

A pastry chef shows a piece of rolled dough during the making of a traditional Panettone, a brioche-style dessert from the Lombardy region. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Weekend

Three-day food festival in Ferrara – The Ferrara Food Festival will start on Friday, November 4th, bringing entertainment and array of food- and wine-sampling sessions to the Emilian city spread over three days.

The programme for this year’s edition is available here.

Panettone World Cup in Milan – The third edition of the Panettone World Cup – yes, you read that right – will take place in Milan over the weekend. 

The event will give the public the opportunity to meet the world’s most skilled makers of the iconic Christmas dessert, watch them work and ultimately sample their creations.  

Panettone fans can grab a ticket here.

READ ALSO: The one dessert you have to try in each of Italy’s regions

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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

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

From public holidays to food festivals, 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 schools reopens – Primary schools will reopen in Ischia on Monday, just over a week after a deadly landslide that has so far claimed at least 11 lives led to evacuations and closures.

In a press conference on Saturday, Ischia commissioner Giovanni Legnini said that around one thousand of the island’s displaced residents were staying with friends and relatives, with over 400 more in hotels or independent accommodation.

High schools on the island are due to reopen on Wednesday.

Tuesday

Booking opens for Orient Express – Wealthy travellers looking for an Agatha Christie-style experience can book tickets for a ride on Italy’s new ‘La Dolce Vita’ Orient Express on Tuesday – a full two years before it sets off for the first time.

The train will reportedly have six different itineraries, from the Alps to the beaches of southern Italy, and incorporate 12 deluxe cabins, 18 suites, one La Dolce Vita suite, and a restaurant with 5-star service.

Passengers wanting to make an advance booking will need to pay a €500 deposit, with tickets starting at €2,000 per night.

Italy will get its own Orient Express luxury train service - in two years' time.

Italy will get its own Orient Express luxury train service – in two years’ time. Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP.

Wednesday 

Day off in Milan – December 7th is a public holiday in Milan as residents commemorate their beloved patron saint, St Ambrose.

The annual Festa di Sant’Ambrogio gives residents an opportunity to catch up with family and friends and unofficially marks the start of the festive season in the northern metropolis.

READ ALSO: Why do Milan residents get a day off on December 7th?

On the day, families get together to celebrate in the best way known to Italians: with a big lunch, featuring local delicacies including Milanese-style risotto, mondeghili (meatballs) and rostin negàa (veal cutlets).

And the city has no shortage of events and activities to enjoy after the feast.

Thursday

National public holiday – Thursday, December 8th is a public holiday throughout Italy as residents celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which commemorates the conception of the Virgin Mary.

Most Italian families celebrate with a big lunch, and may hold firework displays or light bonfires outside. 

READ ALSO: Why is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception a holiday in Italy?

December 8th unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas period, with most towns putting up their Christmas lights on the day and pretty much everything in the country – especially administration-related procedures – noticeably slowing down from this point on.

This means you might want to get any important paperwork done before December 8th, or else you may have to wait until January 6th, when the Italian holidays officially end.

Friday

Abruzzo truffle festival – The first edition of the Abruzzo International Truffle Fair is set to take place from 9th-11th December in the region’s capital, L’Aquila.

The festival will involve 42 stalls and more than 60 companies, and will incorporate truffle-based food trucks, entertainment, master classes and seminars.

The event will be held in L’Aquila’s in the park surrounding the city’s 16th century castle, close to the historic centre.

L'Aquila in Abruzzo will host its first international truffle fair on December 9th-11th.

L’Aquila in Abruzzo will host its first international truffle fair on December 9th-11th. Photo by Valentine CHAPUIS / AFP.

Saturday

Modena food festival – The 11th edition of the ‘Zampone and Cotechino Modena’ Festival returns to Modena’s Piazza Roma from 9th-11th December, after two years of pandemic cancellations and restrictions.

Students from some of Italy’s leading catering schools will compete to make the most mouthwatering dish, turning the square into an open-air kitchen. This one’s not for vegetarians: zampone and cotechino are types of spiced, slow-cooked pork.

Massimo Bottura, the owner-chef of Modena’s three-Michelin-star restaurant Osteria Francescana, has reportedly picked the 10 best recipes submitted by participating student-chefs and will lead the jury judging the competition.

Sunday

Trenitalia winter timetable – Italy’s main train operator Trenitalia switches to a winter timetable from Sunday, December 11th.

New features include an increase in the number of Frecciarossa Rome-Milan non-stop fast trains, double-decker carriages with a capacity of 900 passengers, and podcasts with guides to the passenger’s destination, the company announced.

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