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Festa dei Lavoratori: Celebrating Labor Day in Italy


Italians celebrate International Labor Day with fervor, flair, and food! In this article, you’ll learn about the history of Labor Day in Italy, what events Italians hold to celebrate, and more. While you read, compare Italian celebrations for Labor Day with those in your country!

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Labor Day?

Labor Day is about honoring workers around the world, celebrating economic and social gains workers have made, and demonstrating for even more rights and privileges.

In Italy, Labor Day began near the end of the 1800s, particularly with the protest for an eight-hour workday in 1886 in the United States. However, this holiday was suspended during the years of the fascist regime in the early 1900s, finally being restored in 1945, following WWII.

On Labor Day, Italy closes many businesses and schools, and most people get the day off of work. Depending on when May 1 is, Italians may also get an entire Labor Day weekend to rest and enjoy themselves.

2. When is Labor Day in Italy?

Labor Day is on May 1

Each year, Italians celebrate Labor Day on May 1 (primo maggio). This is the same date that International Labor Day is celebrated around the world, except in the United States, where it takes place on the first Monday of September.

3. How Do They Celebrate Labor Day in Italy?

A Woman Raising a Glass of Wine at an Outdoor Lunch with Friends

On Labor Day, Italians celebrate with concerts, parades, picnics, or a relaxing time at home.

A popular celebration for Labor Day in Rome, Italy, is the concerto a San Giovanni, or “concert in San Giovanni.” Approximately half of all citizens in Rome attend this massive concert—which features both Italian and international artists, and lasts several hours—and people outside the city andare a Roma per il concerto, or “go to Rome for the concert.” This concert is sponsored by CGIL, CISL, and UIL, which are Italian labor unions.

Many people also enjoy the opportunity to festeggiare con gli amici, or “party with friends.” This often involves lots of good food and wine, sometimes consumed during a picnic all’aperto, or “outdoor picnic.”

Other people spend this time with their families, go to the beach, or simply stay at home and relax the entire day!

4. Workers’ Rights in Italy

Here are just a few modern-day Italian employee rights.

  • Every person has the right to work and is guaranteed paid holidays.
  • Each week, a worker is required to take one day off for every six they work.
  • Women are paid eighty percent of their salary for a five-month maternity leave period (two months before childbirth and three after).

Interested in learning more about working in Italy? has an entire article about How to Find a Job in Italy!

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Labor Day

An Up-Close Shot of an Orchestra Playing at a Concert

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this lesson? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Labor Day in Italy!

  • Concerto — “Concert”
  • Festa dei Lavoratori — “Labor Day”
  • Primo maggio — “May 1”
  • Sindacato — “Labor union”
  • Concerto del primo maggio a Roma — “May 1 concert in Rome”
  • Andare a Roma — “Go to Rome”
  • Andare a Roma per il concerto — “Go to Rome for the concert”
  • Concerto a San Giovanni — “Concert in San Giovanni”
  • Picnic all’aperto — “Outdoor picnic”
  • Andare al mare — “Go to the sea”
  • Bere vino — “Drink wine”
  • Festeggiare con gli amici — “Party with friends”

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Italian Labor Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Labor Day holiday in Italy with us, and that you took away some valuable information.

How do you celebrate Labor Day in your country? We look forward to hearing all about it in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning even more about Italian culture and society, check out the following pages on

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Happy Labor Day! 🙂

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