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

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On the agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week
Florence residents will ring in the Florentine New Year on Saturday, March 25th. (Photo by CLAUDIO GIOVANNINI / AFP)

From mafia victims remembrance day to celebrations for the Florentine New Year, here's what to expect 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titled ‘Dalì, Magritt, Man Ray and Surrealism’, will display over 180 items, including some lesser-known artworks and historical documents, that are expressive of the cultural syncretism lying at the heart of surrealist art.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.


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