Italian public holidays
Often tourists are caught unaware by local holidays when they travel. Tourists for obvious reasons travel when it’s convenient for them and not when the locals find it convenient. Some of the holidays you will find quite familiar. The New Year, Easter period and Christmas have basically the same dates worldwide. The other Italian public holidays (called bank holidays in the UK) are likely less familiar to you. April 25th is Liberation Day. May 1st is the European labour day. June 2nd is Republic day. August 15th is Ferragosto aka Assumption of Mary. November 1st is all Saints day. December 8th Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
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Ponte what they are and why you should care.
The literal translation of Ponte is bridge. The term when used with reference to holidays means long weekends. Often holidays are mid week. The bridge would encompass the weekend ,the holiday and the days in between. For example in 2019 the April 25th holiday falls on a Thursday. You will find many Italian tourists taking not just the 25th off work but also the 26th. The next week the May 1st holiday will also fall on a Thursday. This holiday won’t just mean Italian tourist but the majority of Europe will have the day off. The UK is the only major European country that doesn’t celebrate May 1st.
One other thing to look for is holidays midweek. If the holiday falls on a Wednesday you’ll actually have two ponte. One before the holiday and the second after. Both can be busy.
What should be obvious is that any of these dates will be high season. You will find hotels and touristy sites busier then usual. You can expect higher lodging prices. If you can manage to travel outside of these dates you can potentially save on your hotel. You can also expect flights with in the EU to be more expensive. Trains will be more crowded than usual. It’s unlikely on any day a train will sell out but you may find some cars and classes full. If you’re expecting to travel by train it is best to book in advance.
Most Italian public holidays are outside of the summer tourist season. If you can only travel during the summer the August 15th holiday is the main one to worry about. Historically it has been a major Italian holiday. With the changes in society the holiday is no longer the major event it used to be. You will still find a large number of Italians traveling but you will also find many still at work.