Every year, Italy celebrates 12 official public holidays. These days of rest and celebration range from national days to religious holidays which are widely observed by a majority of the public.
During public holidays in Italy, institutions like schools and post offices will be closed. Most private businesses also close on these official national holidays but this is at their own discretion and recent years have seen more and more stay open. Major monuments like the Colosseum close on some major public holidays, but tend to stay open more often than not, with the exception of Christmas day and New Year’s Day.
Wondering if you’ll be in Italy during a national holiday? Here is a complete list of the public holidays in the country.
National Holidays in Italy
1 January: New Year’s Day. Most stores remain closed, but some will reopen later in the day.
6 January: The Epiphany. La Epifania, also known as La Befana, is a holiday that has its roots in the Catholic Church but is still recognized as a public holiday to this day. This is also officially the last day of Christmas in Italy and many decorations will come down this week. This is widely celebrated as a holiday for children, so you may see performers dressed up like La Befana or come across local festivals.
Easter Sunday: The celebrations for Easter begin earlier in the week and include a major event at the Colosseum on Good Friday known as the Via Crucis. However, the official public holiday is not until Easter Sunday, with Easter Monday also a national holiday in all of Italy. Easter is a moveable feast that occurs in spring but the dates change each year. In 2020, Easter Sunday falls on April 12th.
Easter Monday: Pasquetta. Sometimes known as “little Easter” the Monday after Easter is also a public holiday in Italy. This is typically a day spent eating and enjoying the beginning of spring with friends. Some schools close for the entire week leading up to Easter, with Pasquetta set as the last day off before classes recommence. Easter Monday always immediately follows Easter Sunday. In 2020, Easter Monday is on April 13th.
25 April: Liberation Day. Festa della Liberazione is celebrated to mark the end of the Italian Civil War and the end of the Nazi occupation of Italy. It remembers those who lost their lives in the resistance movements and may include marches and rallies.
1 May: Primo Maggio. The first of May is labor day in Italy and in many other countries around the world. This national holiday is the unofficial kickoff to spring and summer weather, with many people planning picnics in the countryside or attending festivals like the major concert in Piazza San Giovanni in Rome.
2 June: Festa della Repubblica. This is the Italian National day or Republic Day. The holiday marks the day in 1946 when Italians were called to the polls and voted to end the monarchy and transition to a Republic following World War II. It is marked with a major military parade in Rome. Though it is officially a major national holiday, many private businesses remain open on June 2nd.
15 August: Ferragosto. Ferragosto is Italy’s major summer holiday. The public holiday lasts just one day, but you will find that many businesses close for several weeks around August 15th, giving employees a chance to enjoy their own vacations. The day celebrates the Virgin Mary’s accession to heaven, though its origins pre-date the Catholic Church and are tied to an ancient Roman mid-summer festival. It is also known as the Feast of the Assumption.
1 November: All Saint’s Day. Halloween is slowly catching on in Italy (at least among the younger generations), however, the public holiday is the next day on November 1st. All Saint’s Day (Ognissanti) was established by Pope Gregory II in the 7th century. It is a day when churchgoers celebrate all Catholic saints, and many Italians travel home to be with family and to remember lost loved ones on 2 November (All Soul’s Day).
8 December: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception. L’Immocolata is another Italian public holiday with deep links to the church. It celebrates the assumption of Mary, but these days it is a festive day that acts as the start of the Christmas season. This is when public and private decorations are usually illuminated and many towns and neighborhoods host street fairs.
25 December: Christmas Day. Christmas is a major holiday in Italy that tends to be family-centric. Virtually all businesses close and transportation will run on a very limited schedule. Some restaurants remain open for lunch, but it is highly recommended you secure reservations in advance. Here are some Italian Christmas traditions if you would like to join in.
26 December: St. Stephen’s Day. The day after Christmas is also a national holiday in Italy. Many families use it as a day to visit friends, and while some stores and restaurants reopen, this should not be counted on.
Note: The above is a full list of all of the public holidays in Italy. While these are the official national holidays, travelers should keep in mind that different cities and regions may have additional holidays that are recognized locally. Many of these are linked to local patron saints and their arrival means similar business and school closures in the areas where they are celebrated.