For members


What changes about life in Italy in February 2023

From carnival celebrations to tax reform announcements, here's what people living in Italy can expect next month.

A masked figure poses in St Mark Square during Venice's Carnival on February 12, 2022.
Carnival is the highlight of the month in Italy, but what else is happening in February? Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP.


February in Italy is carnival season, and the most famous events of all are held in Venice, with celebrations this year running from February 4th-21st.

Participants can ride a gondola down the Grand Canal to attend the Grand Masquerade Ball at Palazzo Pisani Moretta and stuff themselves with fried treats like frittelle Veneziane. 

Tickets for many events must be bought well in advance. Find the full festival programme and ticket information on the official website.

Venice is of course not the only part of Italy famed for its colourful fairs, parades and parties during carnival season.

While it might not be as well known internationally, Viareggio’s carnival has nothing to envy to Venice’s festivities and this year this small town on the Tuscan coast celebrates its 150th Carnevale from February 4th-25th.

A costumed couple poses on St Mark's Square during Venice's Carnival on February 13, 2022.

A costumed couple poses on St Mark’s Square during Venice’s Carnival on February 13, 2022. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Every year Viareggio sees masked participants carry hundreds of papier-mâché floats along the seafront to music and dancing, in a truly unique spectacle.

Find more information about events and tickets here.

Sanremo Music Festival

February festivities continue with Italy’s most famous song competition, which is back for another year.

READ ALSO: Why is the Sanremo music festival so important to Italians?

Italy’s answer to Eurovision, the Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo is held in the Ligurian seaside town of the same name at Theatre Ariston, which has been the venue for the festival since 1977.

Artists will compete for the winning spot over five nights from February 7th – 5th.

Regional elections in Lazio and Lombardy

Italy’s two most important regions – Lombardy around Milan, and Rome’s Lazio – will hold local government elections on Sunday 12th and Monday 13th February.

Voting for members of the regional council, including the governor, will be open to all residents of these regions who have Italian citizenship, are over 18 years of age, and are registered on the electoral roll in your municipality.

You must vote in the town in which you’re registered to vote, unless you’re in a special category, such as soldiers or police officers stationed elsewhere.

Check your local comune‘s website for information on how to vote.

Valentine’s Day

Italy celebrates Valentine’s Day in largely the same way as the rest of the world: it’s a heavily commercialised holiday during which couples can expect to spend over the odds on a weekend away or a meal out. 

That said, St Valentine is widely believed to have been an Italian saint (or several), and is the patron saint of multiple Italian towns including Terni, Padua, Sadali in Sardinia, Quero and Pozzoleone in Veneto, Palmoli in Abruzzo, and Vico del Gargano in Puglia.

Each of these towns has their own way of celebrating the day – in Palmoli, the floor of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is covered in laurel leaves, while Quero has a tradition of blessing oranges and throwing them off a hill near the Church of St Valentine for good luck.

Verona, where Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet and which has appointed a particular balcony in the historic centre ‘Juliet’s balcony’, has embraced the kitschier aspects of the festival, and every year puts on the four-day-long Valentines-themed event ‘Verona in Love‘.

What does make Italy unique is the designation of February 15th as La Festa dei Single (Singles’ Day) or Festa di San Faustino (Feast of San Faustino).

EU-wide gas price cap comes in

On a much less romantic note, anyone worried about a repeat of the spikes in gas and energy prices we saw in 2022 may be somewhat reassured by the EU-wide price cap that will come into force across the bloc from February 15th.

Gas prices in Europe have been falling again in recent weeks, but any future price shocks should be contained by the cap, which will protect consumers from gas price spikes over 180 euros per megawatt hour.

While gas prices in Italy and elsewhere in Europe shouldn’t reach the eye-watering figures recorded last year, analysts say tariffs will still remain far higher than pre-crisis levels.

Tax reforms on the way

This month we can also expect to find out what the government’s plans are for the first step in planned major tax reforms, which are thought likely to simplify, if not lower, taxes for many workers and households.

The government says its aim within its five-year term is to extend the 15 percent flat tax rate, which currently applies to self-employed workers earning under 85,000 a year, to others, including employees and pensioners.

READ ALSO: Flat tax, superbonus and wild boar: What’s in Italy’s 2023 budget?

It’s not yet clear what the first steps towards this will look like, though the government is expected to announce some initial changes to the income tax system, according to media reports.

Changes to the way tax is calculated for families and the rates of VAT applied to many products are also expected, though no details have been given so far.

The first draft of the new bill on budget reform will come “between February and March”, according to the deputy finance minister.

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For members


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

From mafia victims remembrance day to celebrations for the Florentine New Year, here's what to expect in Italy this week.

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


Start of spring

The spring equinox, which falls on March 20th this year, will mark the first day of astronomical spring in the northern hemisphere.

After the equinox – which, scientifically speaking, is the moment when the sun appears directly above the earth’s equator – daylight will gradually increase up until the summer solstice on June 21st.


Mafia victims remembrance day

Italy will commemorate the victims of mafia crimes on Tuesday, March 21st, which is known as National Remembrance Day for Innocent Mafia Victims (Giornata della Memoria delle Vittime Innocenti delle Mafie).

Anti-mafia organisation Libera created the event back in 1996, but it was only officially recognised by the Italian state in 2017. 

READ ALSO: ‘Very violent’: How Italy’s youngest mafia is terrorising the Puglia region

March held in memory of mafia victims

Italy will commemorate the victims of mafia crimes on Tuesday, March 21st. Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP

The day is not a national holiday, meaning public institutions and schools will remain open, but a number of events paying homage to mafia victims will take place around the country.

A march followed by guest talks and seminars on the history of the mafia will take place in Milan – the ‘capital’ of this year’s Remembrance Day – on Tuesday morning.


Surrealism in Milan

An exhibition exploring the relationship between surrealism and non-western cultures will open at Milan’s Mudec Museum on Wednesday, March 22nd. 

The show, titled ‘Dalì, Magritt, Man Ray and Surrealism’, will display over 180 items, including some lesser-known artworks and historical documents, that are expressive of the cultural syncretism lying at the heart of surrealist art. 

READ ALSO: Metro, bus or tram: How to use Milan’s public transport

The exhibition will remain open to the public until late July. Tickets can be bought here.


European Gelato Day

Friday, March 24th will be Europe’s Artisanal Gelato Day.

The event, which was first launched back in 2012, is to this day the only food-related recurrence recognised by the European parliament. 

Austria’s very own apfelstrudel ice cream will be the centrepiece this year, with gelato makers from all around Europe having a crack at producing the strudel-flavoured delicacy. The flavour will be on offer at artisanal gelaterie in Italy.

Gelato makers in Italy

The 11th edition of the European Artisanal Gelato Day will take place on Friday, March 24th. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP


Florentine New Year

Florence residents will be ringing in the Florentine New Year on Saturday, March 25th.

The Tuscan city marked the official start of its calendar year on March 25th – the day of the Annunciation of the Lord according to Catholic tradition – from the early Middle Ages right up to 1749, when it switched to the Gregorian calendar by order of Grand Duke Francis II.

 Florence residents have carried on holding celebrations on the day through the centuries, with the former capodanno being a beloved cultural event to this very day.

READ ALSO: What are the best Florence neighbourhoods for international residents?

As usual, this year’s celebration will be marked by a costume parade starting in Piazza di Parte Guelfa and ending before the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, where a solemn ceremony will be held.

A wealth of events (special art exhibitions, guest talks, conferences and so on) will take place in the days preceding and following March 25th. You can find out more about those here.


Clocks go forward

Italy will make the switch to Daylight Savings Time (also known as summer time, or ora legale in Italian) in the early hours of Sunday, March 26th.

READ ALSO: Whatever happened to the EU plan to ditch the changing of the clocks?

Clocks will jump forward by one hour at 2am, meaning a lost hour of sleep that night but one more hour of sunlight from then on.

While the EU voted in 2019 to scrap Daylight Savings Time (DST) by 2021, Covid, Brexit and an intra-EU stalemate all delayed the move, which means the switch will go ahead once again this March for all EU states.