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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 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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