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

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
On the agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week
Commuters inside an underground train carriage in Milan in December 2015. Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

From local transport strikes to Holocaust Memorial Day, here’s what to expect in Italy this week.



Minister risks dismissal over ‘stolen painting' scandal

Italy’s parliament was set on Monday to debate culture undersecretary Vittorio Sgarbi's future after demands from the opposition that he be removed from office following a police investigation into his alleged possession of a stolen painting.

Sgarbi – an art critic and controversial figure already facing tax fraud accusations – is accused of obscuring the fact that a work of art in his possession (a 17th-century painting by Rutilio Manetti) was obtained illegally.

The painting in Sgarbi's possession is believed to be the same one that disappeared from a castle near Turin, northern Italy, in 2013.

The art critic has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, insisting that “there are two paintings”, with the stolen artwork being a “bad copy” of the original, which he claims to own. 


Taxi strike in Rome

Taxi services in the capital may be significantly limited on Tuesday, January 23rd due to a 24-hour local taxi drivers’ strike.

The protest was called earlier this month by USB – one of Italy's largest transport unions – in protest against the government's recent move to increase the number of taxi licences available and general increased competition within the sector.

It's not yet known how many drivers will participate in the walkout, but anyone planning to use cab services on the day should be prepared to find alternative transportation.

Taxi, Rome

A taxi station near the Rome's Colosseum in February 2017. Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP


Ticket sales for Sanremo music festival

Ticket sales for the 2024 edition of the Sanremo music festival – Italy’s most famous song competition – will open at 9am on Tuesday, January 23rd. 

As per tradition, the festival will be held in the Ariston Theatre, in the Ligurian seaside town of Sanremo, and will unfold from Tuesday, February 6th to Sunday, February 10th. 

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

Ticket prices will reportedly range from 110 to 730 euros depending on the seat (balcony or parterre) and festival day, with passes for the finale being the most expensive.


Double whammy of transport strikes

Commuters in Italy are expected to face significant travel disruption on Wednesday, January 24th as public transport staff around the country plan to take part in a 24-hour walkout. 

The strike is expected to affect bus, subway and tram services but shouldn’t impact the normal operation of interregional and long-distance trains. 

The level of disruption caused by the walkout will vary by city, with services in large metropolitan areas, including Milan and Rome, expected to be among the most heavily affected. 

READ ALSO: The transport strikes that will hit travel in Italy in January 2024

Airline passengers travelling to or from Italy may face flight delays and/or cancellations on the same day as staff at national air traffic control company Enav plan to strike from 1pm to 5pm.

Though no airline has announced changes to inbound or outbound flights so far, passengers planning to fly to or from Italian airports on Wednesday are advised to check the status of their flight before setting off. 



Holocaust Memorial Day

Italy will commemorate the victims of the Holocaust on Saturday, January 27th, which marks the international Holocaust Memorial Day (or Giorno della Memoria in Italian).

Italy actively took part in the genocide of Jewish people during World War II in what’s unanimously regarded as the darkest page in the country’s history.

Rome, Stumble Stones

A photograph taken in Rome in January 2023 shows 'stumble stones' commemorating Italian Jews who were killed during World War II. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

Between September 1943 and April 1945, the Fascist regime along with Nazi troops seized and deported about 9,000 Italian Jews to concentration camps, where most were killed in gas chambers or died from disease or starvation.

READ ALSO: Four places to remember the Holocaust in Italy

Hundreds of events will take place around the country to commemorate the day, particularly in Rome, which has Italy’s oldest Jewish community and several Holocaust memorials, including hundreds of ‘stumble stones’.

Venice Carnival starts

Venice’s famous Carnival celebrations will start as early as January 27th this year with the launch of a 'Street Show' consisting of multiple music, dancing, and theatre performances held at various locations around the city.

READ ALSO: Venice Carnival: What to expect if you’re attending in 2024

This will be followed by nearly three weeks of carnevale events (the grand finale is on Tuesday, February 13th), with a programme of water parades, fine-dining experiences and street-art events taking place along the city's canals and across its squares.

The overall theme of this year’s festival is the adventures of Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant who, aged only 17, set out on a journey of unprecedented scale through Asia in the late 13th century.


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