How Italy is marking International Women’s Day

From protests to free museum tickets, here's a look at what towns and cities across Italy are doing for International Women's Day on March 8th.

Protesters at a 2020 march against gender-based violence in Rome.
Protesters at a 2020 march against gender-based violence in Rome. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP.

On International Women’s Day, Italy is once again offering free entry to all state museums, parks and archeological sites for women across the country.

Many of the venues are highlighting the work of women artists, and organising guided tours and itineraries focused on their contributions.

But this is far from the only initiative planned in Italy to mark the occasion: towns and cities along the length of the boot have announced an array of marches, talks, concerts, readings and exhibitions.

Here are some of the more notable events taking place in Italy in recognition of International Women’s Day.


Womens’ rights organisation Non Una di Meno (‘Not One Less’) is organising a transfeminist protest against gender violence and for abortion rights and equal pay in 37 cities and towns across the country.

This is the seventh consecutive year the organisation is protesting on this date; Rome, Milan, Florence, Palermo, Turin, Genoa, Trento and other cities will participate in the march, which coincides with a nationwide public transport strike.

READ ALSO: How will Wednesday’s strike affect public transport in Italy?


Mayor Giuseppe Sala will inaugurate the Parco 8 marzo or ‘8th of March Park’, named for International Women’s Day, in the vicinity of the former Porta Vittoria station.

The new park features walking and cycle paths, play areas for children and tables and benches for socialising. 

The city will also offer free admission to its civic museums for women on Friday, March 10th.


In Palermo, the city’s social and healthcare entities (ASP) are holding what they’re calling ‘The Mimosas of Prevention’ (mimosa flowers are often given to women in Italy on March 8th), a cancer screening drop-in clinic.

From 8.30am to 4.30pm, a mobile ‘health village’ will be set up on Via dello Spirito Santo at the Monte di Pietà, inside the former Falletta barracks, to free provide screenings for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer, as well as for melanomas and STD infections.

The same service will reportedly be available in family clinics throughout the province until March 12th.

READ ALSO: 11 statistics that show the state of gender equality in Italy


In Naples, the Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory is hosting a talk about women astronomers and scientists, followed by the opportunity to look through its telescopes.

The free event, titled ‘Women and Girls in Astronomy – When I grow up I’ll be an astrophysicist’ starts at 8.30pm with a conversation with the observatory’s astronomers Giulia De Somma and Clementina Sasso, and finishes with observations of the night sky.

Women will also be granted free entry to the Herculaneum Archeological Park throughout the day.


Genoa’s city centre is hosting an open-air photographic exhibition of trailblazing women from Italy’s history titled Pionere, or ‘Pioneers’, which will remain up until March 19th.

The exhibit features three-metre-high photographs installed around Piazza De Ferrari, as well as outside the town halls in Savona, La Spezia and Imperia, with captions and QR codes to access more information about the women featured.

In the regional council’s Sala Trasparenza, running continuously until 8pm, there will be talks from modern-day women ‘pioneers’, including athletes, medics and scientists.


Starting at 11am, the Museum of the Roman Republic has organised a free guided tour showcasing the role of women fighters, journalists, medics and others in the defence of Rome in 1849.

The Porta Pinciana outpatient clinic, inside Villa Borghese, will provide free pap tests and thyroid screenings throughout the day, and other clinics around the city will offer free HPV and STD tests, mammograms and colorectal screenings, under a scheme sponsored by Roma Football Club.

You can find a full list of the clinics involved on the Roma website.

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Protesters gather in Milan as Italy limits same-sex parents’ rights

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Milan on Saturday in protest against a new government directive stopping local authorities from registering the births of same-sex couples' children.

Protesters gather in Milan as Italy limits same-sex parents' rights

“You explain to my son that I’m not his mother,” read one sign held up amid a sea of rainbow flags that filled the northern city’s central Scala Square.

Italy legalised same-sex civil unions in 2016, but opposition from the Catholic Church meant it stopped short of granting gay couples the right to adopt.

Decisions have instead been made on a case-by-case basis by the courts as parents take legal action, although some local authorities decided to act unilaterally.

Milan’s city hall had been recognising children of same-sex couples conceived overseas through surrogacy, which is illegal in Italy, or medically assisted reproduction, which is only available for heterosexual couples.

But its centre-left mayor Beppe Sala revealed earlier this week that this had stopped after the interior ministry sent a letter insisting that the courts must decide.

READ ALSO: Milan stops recognising children born to same-sex couples

“It is an obvious step backwards from a political and social point of view, and I put myself in the shoes of those parents who thought they could count on this possibility in Milan,” he said in a podcast, vowing to fight the change.

Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala

Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala has assured residents that he will fight to have the new government directive overturned. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Fabrizio Marrazzo of the Gay Party said about 20 children are waiting to be registered in Milan, condemning the change as “unjust and discriminatory”.

A mother or father who is not legally recognised as their child’s parent can face huge bureaucratic problems, with the risk of losing the child if the registered parent dies or the couple’s relationship breaks down.

Elly Schlein, newly elected leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, was among opposition politicians who attended the protest on Saturday, where many campaigners railed against the new government.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party came top in the September elections, puts a strong emphasis on traditional family values.

“Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby!” she said in a speech last year before her election at the head of a right-wing coalition that includes Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigration League.

Earlier this week, a Senate committee voted against an EU plan to oblige member states to recognise the rights of same-sex parents granted elsewhere in the bloc.