Agenda: What’s happening in Italy this week
August is the month when most people in Italy flee the sizzling heat of the cities to seek relief at the beach.
This year’s traditional holiday month, however, will also feature an unprecedented summer electoral campaign following the recent collapse of the government.
READ ALSO: The 7 signs that August has arrived in Italy
Here’s what to look out for in Italy this August.
To help motorists and businesses with the rising cost of living, the government in July confirmed an extension to the fuel tax cut until August 21st.
The tax relief, which means savings of 30 cents per litre of petrol or diesel, has been extended several times since it was introduced in March.
The measure is expected to be extended again until September.
Summer election campaign
Italy’s parliamentary summer break officially runs throughout August until early September, but it’s all but cancelled this year as the country is heading for snap elections after Mario Draghi’s government collapsed at the end of July.
The date set for the election is September 25th, meaning holidays are cancelled as parties will be campaigning hard over the summer. Negotiations are already well underway as to which coalitions might form and who will lead them.
READ ALSO: Why has Italy’s government collapsed in the middle of summer?
August 26th – 30 days before the election – is the first date parties can put up campaign posters, but you can expect to be targeted with radio jingles and TV ads from the start of the month.
Until then the current government remains in office in a caretaker capacity.
Italians flock to the beach en masse on the August 15th Ferragosto holiday. Photo by OLIVIER MORIN / AFP
An end to smart working (for some)
The automatic right for vulnerable people and those with children under the age of 14 in Italy to do their job from home (provided the nature of their work makes remote working possible) ends on July 31st.
From the start of August, only private sector workers who have an informal agreement with their employer, parents of under-14s whose partner is not on unemployment benefits, and workers whose medical vulnerability has been certified with a doctor’s note will have the right to continue performing 100 percent of their work remotely.
That changes again on August 31st: after this date employees and employers must have a formal written agreement on any remote working arrangements.
Most of Italy is generally chiuso per ferie (closed for the holidays) throughout the month of August, but the Ferragosto national holiday on August 15th is when the whole country really clocks off and heads to the beach.
This year’s Ferragosto falls on a Monday, meaning those few Italians who aren’t already on holiday are likely to take a long weekend off starting Friday, August 12th.
READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Ferragosto, Italy’s national summer holiday
Road traffic is always particularly bad around the Ferragosto weekend, so it’s a good idea to avoid making long drives on those dates.
Italian schools remain on holiday until the end of August and beyond, with kids not returning to the classroom until at least September 12th in most regions.