Italy has many holidays, so it is not surprising that there are so many! Every region, each city, and every town has its own holiday (often involving local saints), but there is also a variety of national holidays.
It is essential to know the Italian holiday calendar if you are planning on traveling to Italy. You can take advantage of special events by knowing the calendar. Sometimes, however, restaurants, shops and museums will close, especially on January 1, May 1, and December 25, respectively.
Here is the Italian calendar with all the important national holidays, and how you can celebrate them.
January 1, After a long night, many Italians choose to take January 1 off and relax. Some attractions will remain open, but double-check as most state-run attractions, stores, and restaurants will be closed.
January 6 The Epiphany is a national holiday that marks the 12th day of Christmas. One of the most popular traditions in Rome is la befana. This witch riding a broomstick brings coal and candy to the children who have received it the night before. For more information, check out our fun video on la befana ).
February 14, Valentine’s Day: Valentine’s Day is also known as the “Festival of Lovers”, but it’s not only about love. Its roots go back to the Roman Empire. If you are looking for romance, Italy has plenty of options. You can choose to spend the night in a castle or take a hot-air balloon ride through Tuscany. For more options, check out our guide to Italy’s most romantic experiences. ).
Carnevale –Italians get ready for Lent (the 40 days before Easter). They indulge in sweet treats and throw a lively party. Venice is the most well-known Italian destination for Carnival. This is because of the extravagant costumes and masks that are worn up to a week prior to the event. The date of Easter will affect the dates. (Here’s where to learn all about Venice during Carnevale! ).
March 8 If you are in Italy in March, yellow mimosa flowers may be visible everywhere. These flowers are given out to women in celebration of la Festa delle Donne (International Women’s Day), and often include free entry into national museums or attractions.
Easter The date of this highly-respected religious holiday varies between March and April according to the Gregorian Calendar. It doesn’t matter when it falls exactly, but tourists flock to Italy during the week leading to Easter Sunday. This is because it attracts people from all over the world, including to the Vatican.
You want to celebrate Easter like the Italians. Traditional Easter meals include lamb and Colomba sweet bread. Pasquetta, or Easter Monday, is when friends get together and head to the park or countryside for a picnic. Here are five facts about Easter in Italy. ).
April 25, Italians commemorate the end of World War II through the Festa della Liberazione. Many people extend the holiday to Labor Day, May 1. They take a vacation to experience the beginning of spring.
May 1, Labor Day is one of few Italian holidays where most shops and museums are closed.
On June 2, The Festa della Repubblica celebrates the unification and birth of the Italian Republic. You should make a trip to Rome for the national holiday. There you will be able to enjoy the huge patriotic military parade.
August 15, marks the official start of ferragosto. It is when Italians shut down their shops and head for the mountains or the beach. Although traditionally August 15 was the official beginning of summer, many Italians now take vacations before or after their holiday. Here are five things to know before you travel to Italy in August.
November 1:Halloween in Italy isn’t widely celebrated, but Ognissanti (All Saint’s Day), is a national holiday that celebrates the lives and works of saints.
December 8, This holy day and bank holiday celebrates the Immaculate Conception Mary. It has nothing to do with Christ’s birth. This is just the day that the Church ruled that Mary was not contaminated by original sin. The Day of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Day of the Christmas Season, is when lights and nativity scenes are lit and the world-famous Christmas market begins.
Christmas 25:Christmas can be a magical time to visit Italy thanks to its beautiful decorations and festive atmosphere. Christmas Eve is a great day to prepare for with a fish meal and midnight mass. Christmas Day is celebrated with a big lunch with the family. Nearly all restaurants, shops, and museums are closed.
December 26: The day of Santo Stefano, also known as Saint Stephen, is also a national holiday.
December 31:New Year’s Eve is an important celebration in Italy. You’ll see piazzas filled with strangers, lighting up the sky at midnight, and people dancing together. The new year is marked by some unusual traditions.
Italian traditions and holidays: Although there are many national holidays on the Italian calendar, these are not the only occasions when Italians celebrate (and sometimes take off work). Italians celebrate the patron saint of their hometown in a variety of ways, including taking the day off work and enjoying events such as parades and markets. The most celebrated local celebrations include April 25th, Venice (Saint Mark), June 24, Florence, Genoa, and Turin (St. John the Baptist), June 29th in Rome(Saints Peter Peter and Paul), September 19, Naples (Saint Gennaro), and December 7th Milan (Saint Ambrogio).