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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 new rail links to a gas station strike, here's what to expect in Italy this week.

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

Monday 23rd

PM Meloni in Algeria for energy talks

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is in Algeria on Monday for a meeting with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, reportedly to discuss further increasing gas exports to Italy amid efforts to reduce energy dependence on Russia.

Meloni’s predecessor Mario Draghi sealed a series of deals with Tebboune in July, including an oil and gas production-sharing agreement between Algeria and energy companies including Italian giant Eni.

Algeria, which has an undersea pipeline to Italy, is Africa’s biggest gas exporter.

‘Fastest-ever’ Rome-Milan rail link opens

On Monday, Trenitalia’s new non-stop rail service will begin carrying passengers between Rome’s Tiburtina station and Milan Rogoredo in record time.

“Rome and Milan will be connected in 2 hours and 45 minutes with Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa,” the rail operator said in a statement. 

The journey takes 2 hours and 59 minutes on the fastest connection available so far, which is between Rome Termini and Milan Central.

READ ALSO: The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

The new service will run to and from Milan once a day: the Frecciarossa 9682 will leave Rome at 5.30am and arrive at Milan at 8.15am, and the Frecciarossa 9681 will depart Milan at 20.44 arriving in Rome at 23.29.

The new connection does not stop at Rome Termini and Milan Central, a decision which Trenitalia said was intended to “reduce congestion” at the main stations.

Read more here.

Tuesday 24th

Gas station strike begins

Italy’s petrol station operators plan to strike for 48 hours starting at 7pm on January 24th, meaning many petrol stations, particularly along motorways, will not be manned and some may be closed altogether.

The strike will also affect self-service facilities, unions said at a press conference on Friday, but “the minimum level of essential services” will be available. Such strikes do not usually involve stations owned directly by oil companies.

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this January 

The protests were called after the government brought in new rules for gas stations, which it said would improve the transparency of fuel prices and stop speculative hikes after prices soared at the beginning of January. The new rules mean stations must display the average national price of fuel alongside their rates.

Gas station operators deny that they are to blame for the recent steep price rises and demand the government scrap the new rules.

Italian motorists faced a spike in fuel prices again at the beginning of January. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP)

Wednesday 25th

Weather to improve from midweek

Delayed wintry weather arrived last week across Italy, with northern regions in particular experiencing freezing temperatures, snow and icy conditions into the beginning of this week. The centre and southern regions have been hit instead by heavy rain, high winds, and thunderstorms in many areas.

The weather will improve somewhat from midweek, forecasts say, with rain easing off and temperatures rising slightly while remaining below the seasonal average in many areas.

Friday 27th

Holocaust Remembrance Day

From September 1943, German and Italian Fascist troops occupied central and northern Italy and deported around 9,000 Jewish people to Auschwitz or other camps, where most were killed in the gas chambers or died from disease and starvation.

Every year on January 27th, Holocaust memorial events are held across Italy to commemorate these mass murders.

READ ALSO: Four places to remember the Holocaust in Italy

This year’s events will include a special programme at 9pm on Rai 1 telling the story of Liliana Segre, the 92-year-old Italian senator for life and Holocaust survivor who was deported from Milan to Auschwitz along with her family.

Thursday 26th

First in a series of talks on feminism in Milan

Gender stereotypes, inclusive language, motherhood, the gender pay gap, gender-based violence and toxic relationships are some of the topics to be discussed – in Italian – at a series of meetings in Milan named ‘Chiacchierata femminista’ or ‘Feminist chat’.

The first meeting begins on Thursday with ‘Cara, sei maschilista?’ (‘Darling, are you a male chauvinist?’) a talk by author Karen Ricci on “dealing with internalised sexism”. Details and sign-up here.

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