For members


What changes about life in Italy in April 2021?

From schools reopening to updated Covid-19 restrictions and a new vaccine, here's everything on Italy's calendar for April 2021.

What changes about life in Italy in April 2021?
The app allows you to receive possibly life-saving notifications at any time wherever you are. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP)

‘April fish’

Italy doesn’t do April Fool’s: instead it does April fish.

The country’s traditional April 1st prank involves drawing a picture of a pesciolino – a ‘little fish’ – and sticking it on an unsuspecting victim’s back. Find out about the tradition here.

Easter holidays

Pupils – and teachers – get a break over Easter week, though with many schools teaching lessons remotely it might not make too much of a difference to parents.

This year’s public school holiday is from Thursday, April 1st to Tuesday, April 6th in all regions of Italy, though private schools may have different dates.

For those of us no longer in education, we’re entitled to two public holidays: Easter Sunday on April 4th, and Easter Monday (known as Pasquetta, or ‘little Easter’) on April 5th. Italy does not take Good Friday off.

… and an Easter lockdown

We won’t be able to do a great deal with the time off, since Italy is going into a nationwide lockdown from Saturday, April 3rd to Monday, April 5th.

The entire country will become a temporary ‘red zone’, with maximum restrictions in place. That means restaurants and most shops are closed, and you should stay at home except for essential reasons such as buying groceries or going to work. Find a guide to the rules in red zones here.

Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

There are also extra restrictions on international travel. On top of all the limits on tourism from outside the EU, which remain unchanged, people visiting or returning to Italy from within the bloc now have to quarantine for five days. That applies until April 30th: more details here.

There is, however, a special exception for socializing: while visiting friends and family is usually forbidden in red zones, over the holiday weekend you will be permitted to go to someone else’s house within the same region as you. You shouldn’t take more than one other adult with you, and you need to return to your own home by 10pm when Italy’s nightly curfew kicks in. 

Find all Italy’s rules for travel over Easter here.

A new emergency decree

Italy’s current emergency decree, which sets rules on travel, curfew, and business and school openings among others, expires on April 6th.

The government has already confirmed that most of the measures currently in place will be extended throughout the month, notably the system of regional restrictions based on weekly health data.

READ ALSO: Italy to remain in partial lockdown until end of April

All regions of Italy will remain either ‘red’ or ‘orange’ zones – the two highest-risk zones, with tight restrictions in place – from April 7th to 30th, the government says, though it hasn’t ruled out a possible easing of some measures before the end of the month if the figures improve.

That means no travel between towns or regions, no dining in restaurants or bars, and no museums reopening for at least another month. Here’s more information on the rules in red zones and orange zones.

Primary schools reopen, even in red zones

The only area in which the government plans to relax the rules is schools: Prime Minister Mario Draghi has confirmed that pupils up to the prima media (the equivalent of sixth grade in the US or Year 7 in the UK) will be allowed to return to class in person after Easter, even in red zones.

Previously all schools in red zones had to go remote. 

Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

Local authorities still have the power to order schools closed, however, so some primary schools may continue teaching all or part of their lessons online even after the holiday.

Secondary pupils in upper years will continue following all their lessons remotely in red zones, and 25-50 percent of them online in orange zones.

More ‘Covid-tested’ flights between Italy and the US

Following Alitalia’s lead, Delta Air Lines will start offering ‘Covid-tested’ flights between New York’s JFK airport and Milan Malpensa airport from April 1st, as well as JFK to Rome Fiumicino (details here).

READ ALSO: Italy approves Covid-tested flights from US to Milan

That gives passengers extra options to fly between the US and Italy without quarantine, provided they test negative for coronavirus both before and after arriving. The Italian government initially authorized airlines to trial the scheme until April 6th, but now permission has been extended until at least June 30th 2021

Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrives

Italy will get a fourth vaccine in April: the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which unlike the three others currently in use, requires just a single dose for full effectiveness.

The first doses are expected to arrive in Italy on April 19th, with more than 7 million on order between April and June. 

Meanwhile more people will continue to become eligible for vaccination as Italian health services work their way down the list of priority groups. Most parts of Italy will be offering jabs to people in their 70s and 60s within the month.


Italy submits its plan for EU recovery funds

Italy is set to receive more than €200 billion from the EU’s Covid-19 recovery fund, more than any other member state. But first it has to tell Brussels how it plans to spend it.

While the previous government had earmarked billions of euros for investment in the health service, green initiatives and transportation projects, Italy’s new government, which took office in February, has not yet revealed its proposals for the funds. It is due to present its final spending plan to the European Commission by the end of April.

If you could do with some recovery funds yourself, you can use April to apply for the Italian government’s latest financial aid measures: applications opened on March 30th and run until May 28th. Find out how you could benefit here.

Utility bills go up

You can expect bigger power bills at the end of April: Italy’s energy regulator, Arera, has announced a price increase starting from April 1st. The change will add an average of 3.8 percent to your electricity bill and 3.9 percent for gas.

Small businesses, though, can benefit from discounts on their power bills throughout April, May and June: find more details on Arera’s website.

Permesso di soggiorno extensions may run out

As part of Italy’s emergency decree, the government extended out-of-date residency permits, or permessi di soggiorno, until April 30th. The extension applies to documents that expired after January 31st 2020, and is designed to give non-EU residents extra time to renew their immigration papers amid delays caused by the pandemic. 

Italy has issued similar extensions several times over the past year and may well do so again in its new April decree. But unless and until they do, permessi are due to run out at the end of the month. 

Italy celebrates Liberation Day

Easter isn’t the only holiday in April: Italy celebrates il Giorno della Liberazione, ‘Liberation Day’, on April 25th.

Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

It marks the end of the Nazi occupation and victory of the Resistance in 1945, and it’s a public holiday. This year, unfortunately, it falls on a Sunday – meaning most of us don’t get an extra day off.

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For members


What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

From the gradual easing of Covid restrictions to the clocks jumping forward an hour, here's what to expect in Italy in March.

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

International travel rules change

From March 1st, Italy will allow all fully-vaccinated or recently-recovered travellers from non-EU countries to enter the country without the additional need for a negative Covid test.

Any of a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result will allow extra-EU arrivals entry into Italy without any quarantine requirement – so unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter the country with just proof of a negative test.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s travel rules change in March

Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.

All arrivals will still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

See further details of the upcoming changes to the travel restrictions here.

International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day (la Giornata internazionale dei diritti della donna or simply la Festa della Donna in Italian) and while it’s not any kind of official holiday in Italy, it’s still widely recognised in the form of small-scale celebrations or marches and demonstrations.

You can expect to see bunches of feathery yellow mimosa flowers pop up in florists’ stalls, as it’s traditional in Italy to give these to a woman on International Women’s Day. 

According to Italian Marie Claire, the flower was chosen by early 20th century activists Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei both because it can readily be found flowering in the countryside in March, and because despite its delicate appearance, it’s deceptively strong and resilient.

Hospital visits for relatives and food and drink returns to cinemas

Following a unanimous vote by the Italian parliament’s Social Affairs Commission, March 10th is the date on which it will once again become possible for family members to visit their relatives in hospital.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will reportedly be able to access health facilities to visit their relatives without any further requirements, while people who haven’t received a booster shot will need a negative test to enter.

From the same date, it will also be possible to eat and drink in Italy’s cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums, Italian news media reports.

Italy’s government had banned the consumption of food and beverages in these venues last Christmas Eve in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. 

Rome marathon

On March 27th, Rome will host its annual marathon once again.

Starting and ending by the Colosseum, the 26 mile course takes runners along the Tiber and past numerous historic sites including the ancient Roman Circo Massimo chariot race track, the Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica, to name a few.

That means if you’re planning on travelling around central Rome on this date, you should prepare for most of the roads to be cordoned off and for traffic to be significantly diverted.

The race starts at 8.30am, and the maximum completion time is six and a half hours. For those who aren’t fans of running, the event also welcomes power walkers, according to its official website.

The Rome marathon starts and ends at the Colosseum. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The clocks go forward

March 27th is also the date Daylight Savings Time begins: the clocks jump forward at 2am, and everyone loses an hour of sleep.

While the EU voted in 2019 to scrap DST by 2021, a combination of Covid, Brexit, and an intra-EU stalemate (the EU Council and the EU Commission each insists the other needs to act first before anything can be done) has delayed putting a stop to the clock change, which means it will go ahead once again this March.

READ ALSO: Clocks go back in Italy despite EU deal on scrapping hour change

Italy, for one, is glad of the delays, having previously filed a formal request that the current system be kept in place.

That’s because in southern countries such as Italy or Spain daylight savings actually lengthens the days, helping people save on their energy bills – while in northern Europe the change doesn’t bring any such benefits.

Italy’s state of emergency ends

Italy’s current state of emergency or stato di emergenza, in place since January 31st, 2020, will end on March 31st, 2022, Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced at a business conference on February 23rd. 

The state of emergency is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

READ ALSO: Italy to end Covid state of emergency and cut ‘super green pass’, PM confirms

Bringing the state of emergency to an end doesn’t automatically mean that all current restrictions will be immediately dropped; however Draghi has already confirmed that after March 31st, some rules will be removed.

These include the abolition of Italy’s four-tiered colour coded system of Covid restrictions; the removal of outdoor mask mandates throughout Italy; and an end to the requirements for schoolchildren to wear high-grade FFP2 masks in the classroom or to quarantine if one of their classmates tests positive for the virus.