Special Times & Events Celebrated in Italy
There's lots to praise in this beautiful country and naturally they have many Italy holidays that vary depending on locality, as well as 12 public ones that everyone enjoys. It's important to know the calendar dates for these, especially if you are looking to get the most out of your trip.
Italy is a country that is filled with festivities year-round. Many of these Italian holidays have roots in Catholicism. While many still celebrate the faith-based meanings for these special days, for others they have become dates for celebration, feasting, partying or simply spending time away from work - with family and friends.
During an Italian holiday - stores, businesses and government buildings will be closed. It is therefore important that you research which holidays Italy does celebrate during your stay here, so that you can plan your shopping and sightseeing accordingly to ensure that you get the most out of your vacation.
Public Holidays in Italy
Listed below are statutory holidays in Italy, therefore - during these days most stores, banks, schools, attractions and government buildings will be closed. Some tourist attractions and museums will remain open except for Christmas Day & New Years Day. Some museums will also be closed May 1 which is Labour day. If you need to commute to get to your next destination - not a problem, transportation will still be available to the public and will run on a Sunday schedule.
- January 1st, New Year’s Day - Capodanno: Just like most other countries in the world, New Year’s Day is a statutory holiday and most businesses and attractions In Italy will be closed with everyone either recuperating from the celebration of night before or simply relaxing and enjoying the day off.
- January 6th, Epiphany - Epifania: This day Italy celebrates the end of their Christmas season and children in Italy await presents from the witch - La Befana. On this day people take it to the streets in a very colourful celebration with costumes and masks, there's nothing like a Venetian carnival on the day of Epiphany.
- Sunday after Full Moon date following March 20, Easter Sunday - Pasqua: An observational Italy holiday when the Pope addresses the nation with the Easter Mass from the Vatican. Kids enjoy this holiday as well since they get treats in the form of large chocolate eggs.
- Day after Easter Sunday, Easter Monday - Pasquetta or Lunedì dell'Angelo: On this day there is usually plenty of exciting things throughout the country like festivals, concerts and outdoor activities. Family picnics are something that is often enjoyed on this day, the weather is just beginning to get nice and it's usually quite pleasant if the sun is out.
- April 25, Liberation Day - Festa della Liberazione: Each year on this day, Italians celebrate the Day of Liberation of their beloved country which took place in 1945 - from Nazi occupation. Many ceremonies and historical re-enactments can be witnessed throughout Italy on this day.
- May 1st, Labour Day - Festa dei Lavoratori: Is the day that absolutely all Italians celebrate the day of the worker. Many festivals and events can be seen all around Italy and some cities become extremely crowded as a result. In fact, many Italians take time off between Liberation Day and Labour day. It's not a surprise to see a protest rally here and there, stay alert and try to avoid over-crowded areas but most of all, have fun!
- June 2nd, Republic Day - Festa della Repubblica: By a voted referendum in 1946 Italy became a Republic on this day, and this is another day very much celebrated with events, concerts, military parades and music. The president himself is very much involved in events surrounding this holiday.
- August 15th, Assumption Day - Ferragosto: This day commemorates the death of the Virgin Mary and is a day of feasting and celebrations in Italy. During the few weeks prior to and after this day is the time when many Italians take their summer vacations and therefore tourist sites, beaches and airports are at their busiest. Although August 15th is a national holiday and most attractions remain open, many restaurant and shops will be closed. If you love fireworks, a few magnificent displays can be found on this day as well as many other events, parades, festivals and so much more.
- November 1, All Saint’s Day - Ognissanti: This is a day for celebrating and remembering all of the Catholic saints usually with a mass followed by feasting in their honour. Flowers are placed on the following day on the tombs of their ancestors, so many bouquets will be available for sale around this time. It is worth mentioning the growing popularity of Halloween which of course happens the evening before and many amazing events will be happening all over major cities for people to enjoy.
- December 8th, Immaculate Conception - Immacolata: Celebration of belief in Virgin Mary's Immaculate conception. Italians love to feast on this day with family and friends. Around this time is when we can start to see some colder than normal temperatures and the mark of Italian winter seasons. With Christmas around the corner it's typical to see markets start opening which will be filled with festive merchandise. With only two weeks left till Christmas, better get that shopping done, but not today - most businesses will be closed.
- December 25th, Christmas Day - Natale: Christmas day is a very important day in Italy and in the Christian faith. Many of the churches throughout Italy will hold midnight mass. Families get together on this day and prepare many delicious dishes to feast on. All businesses and tourist attractions are closed including many restaurants, so plan ahead for getting the munchies.
- December 26, Saint Stephan's Day - Santo Stefano: The day after Christmas as celebrated in the Latin Church in honour of Saint Stephan. On this day expect most banks, shops and government buildings to be closed - while most tourist sites will be open.
More Italy Holidays
- February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day - Festa degli Innamorati or San Valentino: Also known as the “Feast of Lovers”, Valentine’s day is celebrated throughout the country as a day to pay tribute to your loved ones. This is not a statutory holiday and most businesses will be open on this day.
- 40 days before Easter, Carnavale - Carnavale is similar to the Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States, people dress in colourful costumes and masks. Street parties and parades are held in many cities across Italy. This celebration can last for many days leading up to Ash Wednesday and is not a statutory holiday.
- December 31st, New Years Eve - La Vigilia di Copodanno: New Years Eve in Italy is also known as St. Sylvester’s Feast who was an early pope in the Catholic church. There are a few holidays associated with feasting in the honour of different saints, depending on locality. This holiday is celebrated all throughout the country not to mention many people will continue their celebrations by ringing in the New Year with parties and fireworks. Business will operate as usual on this day since it's not a statutory holiday.
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