Most public holidays are the same all over the western world and Italy is no exception, although there are some (April 25, June 2) that are celebrated only in Italy, being dates associated with significant events in the history of the country. Rome even has its own public holiday, on June 29th.
Public holidays Rome and Italy
There are some holidays that are celebrated, or at least have some significance, in most European countries, but more so in Italy (August 15 and November 1), whereas others (e.g. Pentecost, Good Friday) are important elsewhere, but are not celebrated at all in Italy.
There is even one holiday, San Pietro and Paolo, which is strictly local. This holiday (June 29) is celebrated in honor of the patron saints of the city of Rome, and only affects the Italian capital.
- January 1: New Year’s Day
- January 6: Epifenia
- March 17: A new public holiday, to be celebrated for the first time in 2011, in honor of the 150th anniversary of a Unified Italy.
- Easter: April 24 (Pasqua)
- Easter Monday: April 25 (Pasquetta, or “Little Easter”)
- May 1: Labor Day. Usually on this day there are free live concerts and other events all over the city.
- June 2: Festa della Repubblica, to celebrate the birth of the Italian Republic on this date in 1946.
- June 29: San Pietro e Paolo (see above)
- August 15: Ferragosto. Although for Roman Catholics this day is the commemoration of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, its origins go back to Roman times, feriae Augusti referring to the holidays of (the Emperor) Augustus.
- November 1: Ognissanti (All Saints’ Day)
- December 8: Immacolata Concezione (Immaculate Conception). Every year on this date the Pope leads a celebration on the Piazza Mignanelli near the Spanish Steps.
- December 25: Natale (Christmas Day)
- December 26: Santo Stefano (St. Stephen’s Day)
Finding accommodation on a public holiday
On some of these days it will be very difficult to find reasonably priced accommodation in Rome, unless you book well in advance. Contrary to what most people expect, Christmas is not one of these days, since it is a holiday generally celebrated at home, with the family.
By far the busiest days are the Easter Weekend, the New Year’s period and especially the May 1 celebration.