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WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

What changes in Italy in December 2022

From public holidays to another transport strike, here’s a look at the important dates to come this month if you live in Italy.

Christmas tree in Rome
Most Italian cities will be decorated with light displays and traditional Christmas trees starting from early December. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Fuel discounts halved from December 1st

The current discount on fuel tax will be halved starting from December 1st, bringing it down from 30.5 cents on every litre of petrol or diesel to around 18.3 cents per litre.

The discount on methane – 10.4 cents per litre – will instead remain unchanged.

The measure, which was included in the 2023 draft budget law published earlier this week, has attracted significant criticism from consumer groups amid the soaring cost of living.

24-hour national strike 

Some travellers will find their journeys to, from and within Italy will be disrupted by strike action again during the last month of 2022. 

READ ALSO: Nine things to know if you’re visiting Italy in December

The demonstration currently expected to create the greatest amount of disruption will be on Friday, December 2nd: be a 24-hour national strike affecting air and rail travel as well as local public transport in some cities. 

See the details available about the strike action so far here.

National and regional train services will be affected by Italy's strikes on Friday.

National and regional train services will be affected by Italy’s strikes on Friday. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

Public holiday

Thursday, December 8th is a public holiday in Italy as residents celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Festa dell’Immacolata Concezione).

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

As a word of advice, you might want to get any important paperwork done before December 8th – or else it may have to wait until January 6th when the Italian holidays officially end.

World Cup final 

Despite being plagued with controversy over its host’s poor human rights record, the Qatar 2022 World Cup is now underway and many football fans in Italy will be following along.

December 18th is when the final match of the tournament will take place, and bars and sports venues up and down the country will be screening the event.

READ ALSO: How to find football World Cup matches on Italian TV

Since Italy’s national team failed to qualify this year, it’s unlikely there will be much disruption on the day.

Winter solstice

Don’t forget that the winter solstice (solstizio d’inverno) will fall on December 21st.

The winter solstice, which is when the Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted the furthest away from the Sun, marks the official beginning of the astronomical winter (December 21st-March 20th).

It’ll also be the shortest day of the year: people in Italy will only get between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of daylight, depending on location.

Christmas holidays 

This Christmas looks set to be Italy’s first in two years without any Covid restrictions.

That means the country’s traditional Christmas markets, a number of which were cancelled last year due to safety concerns, are up and running again this December.

READ ALSO: Seven of Italy’s most enchanting Christmas markets in 2022

Contrary to what some may think, December 24th (Christmas Eve) is not an official public holiday in Italy. However, many companies do give their staff the day off as a gesture of goodwill, so don’t forget to speak with your employer to know what they’ll be offering you this year.

Unlike December 24th, December 25th (Christmas Day) is a public holiday but, sadly, it falls on a Sunday this year, meaning there will be no extra day off.

That said, residents do eventually get a day off on Monday, December 26th, known as St Stephen’s Day in Italy and Boxing Day in English-speaking countries.

Christmas balls on display in Bolzano's Christmas market.

Christmas balls on display in Bolzano’s Christmas market. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP.

New Year’s Eve celebrations

This year, we’ll be ringing in the New Year on a Saturday, which once again means no extra day off work for most.

That said, we doubt that the unlucky coincidence will dampen celebrations, especially after the past two editions were dulled to some extent by social restrictions and a not-so-bright collective mood. 

READ ALSO: Red pants, smashed plates and bingo: Six reasons Italian New Year is awesome

Italy’s budget law deadline 

After weeks of back-to-back consultations between ministers, Italy’s new cabinet unveiled its 2023 draft budget law earlier this week, with parliament now having until December 31st to approve the law’s text.

The new budget bill includes measures amounting to a total of 35 billion euros, with more than 21 billion going towards supporting households and businesses in the face of soaring utility bills.

However, the government’s decision to allow businesses to refuse card payments for smaller amounts has been dubbed a “gift to tax dodgers”.

READ ALSO: What will Italy’s new budget law mean for you?

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN ITALY

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

From freezing weather to the start of Carnival celebrations, here's what to expect in Italy this week.

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

Monday

Colder weather on the way

Temperatures are expected to drop again in the coming days as a cold air front moves in from the north-east.

Below-zero temperatures are predicted for the north in particular, including in the cities of Milan, Turin and Bologna.

READ ALSO: Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather like a true Italian

Forecasts say the Alps and some sections of the Apennines could see snowstorms, while southern regions, including the islands, are expected to be hit by heavy rain.

Tuesday

New anti-waste app launches

There are various apps on the market tracking food waste and Italy is now set to have its own, as the Sprecometro app developed by the Waste Watcher International Observatory together with the University of Bologna will be launched on Tuesday, January 31st.

The free app aims to help reduce food waste, help develop more sustainable eating habits, and raise awareness of environmental impact.

Wednesday

Instalment plans for energy bills

Energy bills are stretching many household budgets in Italy as elsewhere this winter, but it’s possible to pay in instalments..

Energy provider Plenitude, a subsidiary of Italy’s oil giant Eni, offers interest-free payment plans to households and small businesses, and the window to sign up for 2023 opens on Wednesday, February 1st. Find information on Plenitude’s website.

Saturday

Carnival celebrations start in Venice and Viareggio

Though Carnival celebrations will peak in the six-day period between Thursday, February 16th (giovedì grasso) and Tuesday, February 21st (martedì grasso), Carnival-related events will officially start on Saturday, February 4th.

Venice’s famous Carnival will kick off celebrations with a floating parade along the Grand Canal while in Viareggio, Tuscany, the 2023 Carnival opening ceremony will be followed by a fireworks show.

Sunday

Italy faces France in Rome in Six Nations opener

Italy’s national rugby team will start their journey in the historic Six Nations Championship by facing title holders France in Rome on Sunday, February 5th. 

The game will be broadcast on both SkySport Italy and TV8 (channel eight on your TV set).

Those wishing to see the Azzurri in action from up close can get tickets for the Stadio Olimpico matchup here.

Free Museum Sunday

State museums and archaeological sites across Italy will allow free entrance on Sunday, February 5th as part of the monthly Domenica al Museo, known as ‘Free Museum Sundays’ in English, which is held on every first Sunday of the month. Read more here.

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