In general, Italians try to reconcile work with private life, reserving enough time for family and private interests.
However, the high unemployment rate and the growth of new variations of part time and temporary jobs are currently placing higher pressure, on young people in particular, who are looking for and trying to keep a job.
It is still common for young people to live with their parents until they get married , due to a combination of economic and cultural constraints . Likewise, ties to one’s birth area remain strong. Mobility is often enforced however when looking for a (better) job.Family, in its “extended” form with strong links between several generations, is still a source of security and stability even if its importance is diminishing, due to a falling birth rate and new economic conditions.
The Italian culture appreciates individual thinking and creativity. Nonetheless, individual decisions are expected to take into account family interests.
Summer holidays are usually taken during August, when most large industries are closed. The second choice is July. Consider this when planning a meeting or trying to contact a company during the summer. The period between Christmas, New Year Day and the Epiphany is also characterised by reduced business activity.
Main holidays in Italy are:
- New Year’s Day: January 1
- Epiphany: January 6
- Easter Monday
- Liberation Day: April 25
- Labor Day: May 1
- Republic Day: June 2
- Assumption Day (“Ferragosto”): August 15
- All Saints’ Day: November 1
- Immaculate Conception: December 8
- Christmas Day: 25 December
- St. Stephen’s Day: 26 December
- In addition, all Italian cities celebrate the patron saint as a legal holiday. All businesses are closed on:
- St. John’s Day (June 24) in Florence and Genoa
- St. Peter’s Day (June 29) in Rome
- St. Rosalia’s Day (July 15) in Palermo
- St. Gennaro’s Day (September 19) in Naples
- St. Ambrogio’s Day (December 7) in Milan
In the private sector, Italians tend to work long hours. A typical week’s working hours is from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.30 pm to 6.00 pm, from Monday to Friday.
Frequently, you can find people still at work after 6.00 pm. This is especially true for managers who tend to take work home for the weekend or stay longer at the office.
In the public sector, typical working hours are from 8.00 am to 2.00 pm from Monday to Saturday. However, many public offices compensate for being closed on Saturday with a couple of working afternoons.
According to this schedule, a morning meeting can easily be scheduled at 9.30, a late morning appointment can be placed at 11.00 – 12.00 am and an after lunch meeting can be arranged around 2.30 – 3.00 pm.
Lunch breaks are normally kept to a minimum especially in large cities. Occasionally, however, lunches with your Italian business partners can be quite sophisticated and long lasting. In such cases, lunches are used to build/reinforce a personal relationship – especially during first meetings.
The public National Health Service (S.S.N. “Servizio Sanitario Nazionale”) operates through a network of Local Health Units (ASL – Aziende Sanitarie Locali, about 197 all over the country) and hospitals (Aziende Ospedaliere) at a regional or national level located throughout the country.
In all regions, you can access the “health emergency service” (“Pronto Soccorso”) by calling the number 118.
European citizens requiring urgent or unforeseen health treatment during a temporary stay in Italy can obtain health treatments from the SSN by presenting a Community certificate (the most common of which is the European Health Insurance Card – EHIC) ).
Information on the Medical Care system can be found on:
- www.ministerosalute.it [Italian]