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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
A picture taken in December 2022 shows a detail of the traditional large-scale Christmas Tree on Rome's Capitoline Hill. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

From a doctors’ strike to the events that mark the start of the festive season, here's what people in Italy can expect this week.



Second round of ticket sales for Euro 2024

The second and last round of ticket sales for the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship will open on Monday, December 4th.

The contest will take place in Germany from June 14th to July 14th, with Italy set to face Spain, Croatia and Albania in the group stage.


Nationwide 24-hour doctors’ strike 

Scheduled doctor’s appointments, diagnostic tests and non-emergency hospital stays may be subject to changes on Tuesday, December 5th, as medical staff with the national healthcare system (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, or SSN) plan to take part in a nationwide 24-hour strike. 

Unlike non-emergency departments, ERs at hospitals around the country should operate as normal throughout the walkout. 

The protest was called in early November by two of Italy’s largest healthcare workers unions in protest against the government’s 2024 budget law, which, union leaders say, gives the health sector “crumbs”.

Nurse, X rays

A nurse views the x-rays of a patient at Rome's Casalpalocco hospital in October 2021. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP


Feast of Saint Nicholas

Italy will celebrate Saint Nicholas, one of its most beloved saints, on Wednesday, December 6th.

The Festa di San Nicola is a special occasion for many around the country, particularly for people in Bari, Puglia, where the day will be marked by the usual mix of city-wide events and religious functions.

The occasion is also celebrated in a number of northern regions, where parents give their children small gifts as a homage to the saint’s generosity in life.



Milan celebrates Saint Ambrose 

Many of Milan's residents will get a day off work on Thursday, December 7th, as that’s when the city commemorates Saint Ambrose, its patron saint.

The annual Festa di Sant’Ambrogio is one of the city’s most anticipated local festivals, giving people in the northern metropolis an early opportunity to catch up with family and friends just as the festive season gets underway.

READ ALSO: Why do Milan residents get a day off on December 7th?

Scattered public transport strikes 

Commuters in Naples, Messina, Verona, Udine and Bolzano may face travel disruption on Thursday, December 7th due to a series of planned local public transport strikes. 

The protests are expected to affect the normal operation of all types of public transport services (bus, trams, metro lines, etc.) but shouldn’t impact long-distance trains and taxis. 

The duration of these walkouts, and the severity of any disruption they cause, will vary by city. Anyone planning to use public transport on this date is advised to check the status of services with the operator.

READ ALSO: The strikes affecting travel in Italy in December 2023

Milan's Piazza Duomo in December

People gather around a large-scale Christmas tree in Piazza del Duomo, Milan in December 2019. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP


National public holiday (and a long weekend) 

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

The holiday falls on a Friday this year, which means a three-day weekend for many (and a four-day one for some lucky Milan residents).

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

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 unofficially end.


Heavy traffic

Motorists on Italian roads may face heavy traffic in the second half of the week, as thousands of people are expected to set off to spend the long weekend away from home. 

Forecasts show that Thursday evening, Friday morning and Sunday evening are set to be the worst times to hit the road.

Motorways and smaller state roads (strade statali) leading to and from popular holiday hotspots in the mountains are generally the most likely to become clogged with traffic this time of the year.



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