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

From chocolate and truffle festivals to student protests and World War II bomb disposal operations, here's what's happening in Italy this week.

Bologna's Cioccoshow chocolate exhibition is just one of the events to look out for in Italy this week.
Bologna's Cioccoshow chocolate exhibition is just one of the events to look out for in Italy this week. Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.


Storms on the way – The prolonged spell of unseasonably warm weather across Italy is expected to end on Monday, with forecasters warning that a series of storms is on the way.

Heavy rain and snow is expected to arrive in the north-west on Monday, moving to the centre-south by midweek. Further storms are expected at the weekend.

Anti-fascist exhibition in Rome – The exhibition ‘A woman, a mother’ (Una donna, una madre) by artist Clelia Mori opens in memory of Genoeffa Cocconi, mother of the seven Cervi brothers, who are considered heroes of anti-fascism for their organised resistance to Mussolini’s regime.

The exhibition will be held at the Casa Cervi Museum in Gattatico in Reggio Emilia and runs until December 28th – the 79th anniversary of the execution of the brothers.


It may seem odd to be discussing snow tyres when the sun is shining and temperatures remain higher than the seasonal average across Italy, but the Highway Code states that winter tires are obligatory from November 15th.

In fact, motorists are supposed to change their tyres from October 15th, but there’s a one-month grace period before the requirement is enforced by fines of up to 335 euros.

The final date for switching back to summer tyres is April 15th.


Italy new interior minister Matteo Piantedosi is scheduled to give an urgent cabinet briefing on France and Italy’s migrant ship stand off at 11.45am on Wednesday, as tensions mount between the two countries.

READ ALSO: Why are France and Italy rowing over migrants and what are the consequences?

France on Friday accepted the Ocean Viking rescue ship that had been seeking safe harbour in Italy, but in return said it would suspend a previous plan to take in 3,500 refugees currently in Italy, and urged other EU nations to do the same. 

Piantedosi said France’s move is incomprehensible and disproportionate, and calls into question the principle of European solidarity.

France on Friday allowed people on the Ocean Viking rescue ship to disembark on its shores.

France on Friday allowed people on the Ocean Viking rescue ship to disembark on its shores. Photo by Vincenzo Circosta / AFP.


Chocolate lovers, rejoice: it’s the start of Cioccoshow in Bologna, which this year is happening on November 17th-20th.

The exhibit will be held this year in Piazza XX Settembre; approximately 40 chocolate makers from all over the country will be showcasing their delicacies.

If truffles and wine are more your thing, look no further than Genova’s Tartufando festival, taking place on the same dates in Piazza Sarzano.


From Bari to Milan, students across Italy will be taking to the streets on Friday to call for schools to be placed at the top of the new government’s list of priorities.

Italy’s Students Union is making five demands, including the introduction of a law on the right to study, reform of the current rules with regard to student representation and participation, and increased inclusivity in schools.


Around 2,000 residents of Orvieto Scalo and Ciconia will be asked to temporarily evacuate their homes on Sunday in order to allow for the safe diffusion of a 500-pound US-made World War II bomb, which was recently discovered in the Paglia riverbed.

The extraction operation will begin at 7 am and must be completed by 9 am, after which the bomb will be safely detonated; until 1 pm there will be an absolute ban on entering and remaining in the area.

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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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.