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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
Italian farmers drive their tractors through Milan’s city centre during a protest held on February 1st 2024. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

A farmers protest in Rome, the Sanremo music festival and nationwide carnival celebrations – here’s what to expect in Italy this week.



Italian farmers plan protest in Rome

Italian farmers protesting against EU agricultural policies and high taxation are expected to stage a demonstration in Rome this week.

Though the exact date and details of the rally haven’t been announced yet, farmers’ representative Danilo Calvani said on Friday that he expected "thousands from all over Italy to take part”.

“In the coming days we will gather the tractors outside the city. There won't be any blockade, but there definitely will be disruption,” Calvani added.

This week’s protest will follow a series of smaller demonstrations held in recent days, with impromptu blockades temporarily halting traffic in multiple locations around the country. 

Similar blockades are currently being staged elsewhere in Europe, including France, Germany and Belgium.


Sanremo music festival starts 

The Sanremo music festival – Italy’s most famous song competition– will return on Tuesday, February 6th.

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

Considered by many as Italy’s answer to the Eurovision contest, Sanremo is a key date in the country’s cultural calendar as every year the event drums up excitement among broadcasters, journalists and viewers alike.

The contest will once again be held in the historic Ariston Theatre in the Ligurian town of Sanremo, with 30 artists vying for the winning spot over five nights. The grand finale will be held on Saturday, February 10th.


Italian actor Roberto Benigni arrives at Sanremo's Ariston Theatre on horseback in February 2011. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP



Italy amps up carnival celebrations

Carnival celebrations all around the country will be at their peak from Thursday, February 8th, also known as giovedì grasso (literally, ‘fat Thursday’) in Italy.

Over the following six days, people across Italy can expect to see bright parades of floats roll through city centres and confetti (or coriandoli) line the sides of the busiest streets.

READ ALSO: Beyond Venice: Eight other carnivals to visit in Italy in February 2024

This will also be the perfect time to sample some of Italy’s traditional carnival sweets.

Celebrations will end on Shrove Tuesday for much of the country but will continue until Saturday, February 17th for Milan residents as the northern city follows the Ambrosian liturgical calendar as opposed to the Roman one.



Baggage handlers’ strike at Linate and Malpensa airports

Passengers flying to or from Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa may experience disruption on Friday, February 9th as baggage handlers at both airports plan to take part in a 24-hour strike.

There were no details available at the time of writing as to how the walkout may impact air travel, though ground operations such as check-ins and baggage collection may experience delays.

READ ALSO: What are my rights in Italy if a flight is cancelled or delayed?

Potential changes to outbound flights’ scheduled departure times cannot be ruled out.

Malpensa airport

A passenger walks inside Terminal 1 of Milan's Malpensa Airport in March 2008. Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP


National remembrance day of the Foibe massacres 

Italy will commemorate the victims of the Foibe massacres – a series of mass killings perpetrated in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia by Yugoslav forces both during and after World War II – on Saturday, February 10th. 

The exact number of Foibe victims is disputed to this day, though some historians estimate that as many as 15,000 civilians may have been killed during the massacres, with a further 250,000 Italians forced to leave their homes in what’s known as the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus.

This year’s Foibe remembrance day will come little over a week after PM Giorgia Meloni’s cabinet approved the creation of a new museum in Rome in memory of the attacks.



Argentine President Javier Milei to visit Italy

New Argentine President Javier Milei will reportedly make an official visit to Italy on Sunday, February 11th.

Though the reasons behind the trip aren't fully clear yet, Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Minister Diana Mondino said last Friday that "Italy can give us a lot” and “can be a gateway to the bloc, with all that that entails”.

Milei – a right-wing libertarian known for his flamboyant personality – took office on December 10th 2023 after defeating centre-left rival Sergio Massa in the November general election.


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