Published: 29/08/2022 By The Abode TeamAs the summer holidays wind down and schools start back up, Italy has something unusual in store this September: an unprecedented autumn general election.
September is usually a relatively low-key month in Italy, as families return from the beach and ease back into their usual routine but things are different this year, as the country is gearing up to elect a new government before the end of the month. The general election will be the main event on everyone’s horizon, but it’s far from the only thing happening. Here’s what to look out for in September.
Italians will head to the polls on September 25th to vote for their next government in autumn general election. The vote wasn’t due to take place until early 2023, but snap elections were called after Mario Draghi’s ‘unity’ coalition government collapsed in July. Parties have begun campaigning and have released their election manifestos, which feature promises to lower taxes and axe VAT on basic goods. A hard-right coalition led by the post-fascist Brothers of Italy is currently on track to win by a landslide.
Back to school
Italy’s schoolchildren will be filing back into the classroom in September, with back-to-school dates ranging from September 5th to September 19th.
Italy’s schools are managed by regional authorities, so the return dates vary according to region. This year, these are:
September 5th: Bolzano, Trentino Alto Adige infants schools/kindergartens
September 12th: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige
September 14th: Calabria, Campania, Liguria, Le Marche, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia, Umbria
September 15th: Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio
September 19th: Sicily, Valle D’Aosta
New school Covid rules
Covid restrictions have been mostly phased out in Italy, but they will remain in place (on a very limited basis) in schools for the new academic year. These include requirements for students with a positive Covid status or a fever to stay at home; for pupils or staff at “at risk of developing severe forms of Covid” to wear FFP2 masks; and vague stipulations that everyone should follow correct hand hygiene and “respiratory etiquette” and that schools should ensure “frequent air changes”. Most of the rules have been significantly relaxed: unvaccinated teachers will be allowed to return to the classroom to teach for the first time since December 2021, and a universal masking requirement that had been in place until the end of the 2022 academic year will be scrapped.
With Russia’s war on Ukraine continuing to cause fuel prices to skyrocket, Italy is taking further measures in September to try to offset some of these costs for the average consumer. An existing discount on fuel duties that was due to expire on August 21st will be extended again to September 20th, though the value of the discount will drop from 30 to 25 cents. The cut was initially introduced as far back as March when the average prices at the pump for petrol and diesel both exceeded the two-euro mark.
Public transport discount
A fuel discount isn’t the only cost-saving provision Italy’s government is implementing: from September, a ‘transport bonus’ (bonus trasporti) will be available to all pensioners, students, and employees with an Isee of up to €35,000. The bonus takes the form of a one-time €60 discount to be used on the purchase of monthly or yearly tickets for local transport services. The government will allocate a total of 101 million euros to funding the bonus; 22 million more than had originally been allocated to the scheme.
The autumn equinox – the moment when the sun is directly above the earth’s equator and day and night are of equal length – will fall on September 23rd this year. It’s the date that’s considered to mark the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere, which in Italy means you can start to look forward to sagre harvest festivals and fairs all over the country.
September is famously an excellent time to be in Italy if you enjoy visiting the sagre, or local food festivals – and who doesn’t? A month-long truffle sagra in Girone, Tuscany, a grape sagra in Giovo, Trentino, a porcini mushroom sagra in Rocca Priora, Lazio, and Made in Malga, a mountain cheeses sagra in Asiago, Veneto are just a few of the events you can enjoy this month with more to come later on in the Autumn.