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

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New Year’s Day

Unlike New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day (primo dell’anno) is a public holiday in Italy. Sadly though, residents will get no extra day off as January 1st falls on a Sunday. 

READ ALSO: Calendar: How to make the most of Italy’s public holidays in 2023 

As for local traditions, there isn’t much in the way of celebrations on the day, as most Italians prefer to do all of their partying on New Year’s Eve (capodanno) and get some rest the following day. 

For those enjoying long holidays, New Year’s Day is generally the perfect time to travel to a location in the mountains and enjoy a settimana bianca.

Major changes to building superbonus

Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’, which offers homeowners a tax deduction of up to 110 percent of the cost of renovation work, has been extended into 2023 – albeit in a reduced form.

Under Italy’s new budget bill, as of January 1st the maximum available rebate will drop from 110 to 90 percent and the scheme will exclude many of those who were previously eligible to claim.

Find more details about changes planned for the superbonus HERE.

Several other bonuses and tax breaks will be extended into the new year under Italy’s 2023 budget. Read more about those HERE.

Builders on rooftop

Italy’s superbonus will offer a 90-percent rebate in 2023, down by 20 percent compared to 2022. Photo by Philippe HUGUEN / AFP

Covid hotline closed

From January 1st, Italy’s 1500 freephone Covid information hotline will no longer be operational. It is currently unclear whether or not the line will be replaced by another service.

The return of Serie A

After a lengthy break due to the Qatar World Cup, which saw Messi’s Argentina triumph over France in the final, the Italian Serie A will resume on Wednesday, January 4th.

Inter Milan v Napoli is set to be the highlight of matchday 16 as the nerazzurri will try stop Napoli’s 11-game winning streak and claw their way back into the title race.

Winter sales

Italy’s saldi invernali are by far the favourite time of the year for shoppers as businesses from all over the country apply generous discounts to their merchandise.

The start and end dates of Italy’s winter sales vary from region to region, though most places tend to start on January 5th, the day before Epiphany, and finish in early March.

The exact dates for your region can be found HERE

It’s worth noting that shops participating in the saldi are required to display both the original and discounted prices, so you’ll know exactly how much of a bargain you’re getting.

People walking by a clothes shop in Italy

Winter sales start on January 5th in most Italian regions. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Epiphany

Epiphany, which is when, according to Catholic tradition, the Wise Men reached the manger sheltering Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, is a public holiday in Italy. 

And, as January 6th falls on a Friday this year, all residents will enjoy a three-day weekend. 

But, while some locals may refer to the long weekend as the ‘Epiphany bridge’ (ponte dell’Epifania), others may call it the ‘ponte della Befana’ (Befana’s bridge).

READ ALSO: Italian expression of the day: ‘Fare il ponte’

That’s because January 6th is also the day when residents celebrate ‘La Befana’, a good witch who, according to popular folklore, visits the houses of all Italian children the night before the holiday, filling their socks with candy and other presents if they’ve been good or lumps of sweet coal if they’ve been bad.

La Befana is a beloved character in Italy but celebrations on the day are generally bittersweet as the January 6th recurrence marks the end of the holiday season, with most people going back to work on the first working day following the date (January 9th this year).

Schools go back

Epiphany will also mark the end of Italy’s winter school break.

Pupils in Tuscany, Lombardy, Sardinia, Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, Campania, Trento and Bolzano will begrudgingly filing back into their classrooms on Saturday, January 7th. 

In all other Italian regions, children will go back to school on Monday, January 9th. 

It’ll be a long time before Italian pupils can enjoy another school break, with the next holiday in early April (Easter).

World Pizza Day

Though we doubt anyone needs much encouragement to choose pizza for dinner, World Pizza Day, falling on Tuesday, January 17th, will be the perfect occasion to indulge once more.

January 17th has been International Pizza Day since 2017, when ‘the traditional craft of the Neapolitan pizza-maker’ was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Am Italian pizza being prepared

Italian residents will celebrate World Pizza Day on January 17th. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

Should you be wondering why January 17th was chosen as ‘Pizza Day’ in the first place, that’s because it is the day when Italians celebrate Saint Anthony the Abbot, the patron saint of pizzaioli (pizza-makers).

The past two editions of Pizza Day were limited by Covid restrictions, but this year you can expect plenty of events, especially in the world’s pizza capital, Naples.