Italy

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Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about Italy on the EURES Portal.

How to find a job

To help you to find a job in Italy, you can register as unemployed with a job centre (CPI) in any part of Italy. In addition to performing administrative tasks, CPIs also provide guidance and advisory services, short training courses and matching of skills and jobs. 

To find your nearest CPI, you can search in the ‘Cerca lo sportello’ [branch locator] section on www.anpal.gov.it, the portal of the National Agency for Active Employment Policies (ANPAL). Job offers covering the whole of Italy are also published on the portal, as well as news and information about the world of work and careers. In order to apply for jobs, you need to register on the MyAnpal platform and upload your CV.

The EURES service is available at each CPI, providing information on vacancies in the European Economic Area and guidance and advice on living and working conditions in the various European countries.

You can also contact private job agencies; approximately 4 000 of these are currently authorised by the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy and appear in the job agencies’ register.

In addition to dedicated newsletters and magazines, many daily and weekly newspapers also publish regional and national classified job advertisements.

There are also various tools that you can use to find companies to which to send a speculative application such as, for example, Pagine GialleGuida Monaci and Kompass.

The internet also provides a wealth of resources, such as company websites, Chambers of Commerce websites, specialist private portals and, increasingly, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).

Currently in Italy, only a part of the employment opportunities are accessed via official/institutional job search and worker recruitment channels; personal networks and existing contacts from work or school also provide a considerable number of opportunities.

All EU citizens (including Croatian citizens from 1 July 2015) can be employed or self-employed without having to obtain a work permit – with the sole exception of those activities that are still reserved for Italian citizens – as they enjoy equal treatment with Italian citizens. 

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How to apply for a job

You can apply for a particular vacancy or send in a speculative application to businesses that might be interested in your profile.

In the former case, the application procedure is usually described in the text of the job advert, while for spontaneous applications, usually company websites have a ‘work for us’ section with instructions on how to send an application online. Generally speaking, you should always have an updated CV tailored to the position for which you are applying, along with a cover letter/motivation letter that should be sent via email or fax.

The cover letter should personalise your application and highlight your best points, objectives, and the reasons why you feel you are the best candidate for the job.

You can use the Europass form, which you can download and fill in from the Cedefop-Europass website. It should contain your consent to the processing of personal data pursuant to Italian Legislative Decree No 196/2003. Unless specifically requested, you do not need to include a photo, nor any evidence of qualifications or references, etc. (either originals or copies). 

Job centres offer advice on writing CVs and cover letters. On the www.cliclavoro.gov.it portal, there is a dedicated section offering practical advice, suggestions and examples for an effective job application.

For some local businesses, it may be a good idea to visit the company in person and leave your CV with the human resources or personnel manager.

In order to cope with the labour shortages in agriculture caused by the Covid-19 emergency, a number of instruments have been put in place to help match labour supply and demand. They include the AgriJob Platform, created by the Farmers’ Union Confagricoltura and the ‘restoincampo’ app, developed by Anpal (National Agency for Active Employment Policies) in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, which can be downloaded free of charge on all devices in five languages (Italian, English, French, Romanian, Punjabi).

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Finding accommodation

The property market and rental of accommodation in Italy vary greatly depending on the location. There can be price differences between regions, towns and neighbourhoods. Prices are higher in tourist areas, historic city centres and areas well served by main urban or interurban transport links (metro, tram, bus, etc.). In tourist areas, prices differ significantly between the high and the low season, except for cultural heritage cities that attract high tourist flows throughout the year. Today, you can find information on houses to rent or for sale mainly from the internet, the classified sections of local newspapers, posters near the accommodation, notice boards in gathering points (universities, stations, etc.) or estate agents. Free-market rents can be extremely high and you will often need to search out of town and city centres to find reasonable prices. Flat-sharing is a very common way of reducing the costs of rent and bills, particularly among young people. As the legally determined fair rent no longer exists, the best option to save money is an ‘agreed rent tenancy’ [canone concordato]. This is a rental agreement at a controlled price that benefits both the tenant and the owner, due to the associated tax benefits. Long-term rental agreements are renewed every 4 years. You can also rent an apartment at a price freely agreed with the owner. Agreements must always be made in writing and registered with the Public Revenue Agency. In any case, the Public Revenue Agency must be notified of the rental agreement using the new RLI form. 

When buying a property, you must consult a notary public to ascertain the terms and conditions of sale, and to draw up the deed of sale. As soon as you have signed your rental agreement or deed of sale, you should contact all the utility companies supplying electricity, gas and water. Notify the relevant public records office of your address or place of residence as soon as possible.

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Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

  1. The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

  1. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

  1. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

  1. Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

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Types of employment

The minimum age at which a person may work is 16, with the further requirement of having completed at least 10 years of compulsory education. Minors who have already turned 15 but are not yet 16 can access training apprenticeships for vocational qualifications.

The main types of work contracts are:

   1.Permanent and fixed-term employment contracts with specified working hours, workplace and duties. A fixed-term employment contract cannot exceed 12 months, or 24 months if there are temporary and objective requirements that are unrelated to ordinary activities, requirements related to the substitution of other workers or connected to temporary and significant increases in ordinary activities that could not be planned for, unless otherwise specified by collective agreements; the contract may be freely extended in the first 12 months and subsequently, only when the above conditions apply (these conditions have been temporarily expanded, given the emergency health situation relating to the Covid-19 pandemic), in any case, for a maximum of four times within a 24-month period, regardless of the number of contracts.

Employment contracts include:

   1.Freelance employment contracts for professionals, consultants and professional activities, including manual trades, with full autonomy concerning working hours and methods.

   2.Occasional services for infrequent work of limited amount: each worker can work in this mode for no more than EUR 5 000 net in the calendar year and no more than EUR 2 500 net with each user. The maximum limit for these services cannot, in any case, exceed 280 hours per year. Occasional services are applicable only by micro-enterprises (enterprises with no more than 5 permanent workers) and by public administrations only for special projects reserved for certain categories

A traineeship is for educational purposes and is not an employment contract. However, it is frequently used by companies for integration and reintegration into the labour market. It has a maximum duration of 6 months (more for some categories) and a minimum monthly allowance set by each region must be provided.

Domestic work is where the employer is an individual or a family at whose home the work is carried out, which consists of assisting the family in its day-to-day functioning.

The main professions covered by this type of contract are domestic workers, carers and housekeepers or home help (housekeepers may have a live-in arrangement, which includes salary, board and lodging).

Starting on 9th March 2020 the Italian Government adopt severs restrictions at national level, to fase the Covid emergency.

On the basis of the National Decrees, all employees in the sectors Agriculture (909 thousand), Transport and storage (1 million 143 thousand), Information and communication (618 thousand), Financial and insurance activities (636 thousand), Government (1 million 243 thousand), Education (1 million 589 thousand), Health (1 million 922 thousand) and Household Services (733 thousand) remained active, although some of them continued mainly or almost exclusively through distance work.

On the other hand, the situation in the other sectors appears different.

In the “suspended” sectors, the rate of persons employed shall not exceed 20% in the activities real estate, professional, scientific and technical, rental, agencies travel, business support services (about 536 thousand employed), in trade share rises to 43% (over 1.4 million), while in industry and in the constructions more than the half of the workforce work in suspended fields (56.4% and 60.7% respectively; 3.5 million workers). The rate is higher in the hotel and restoration sector (78.5%, just below 1,2 million) and other collective and personal service activities (71,9%, 755.000)-

Agriculture

In this moment is very difficult to find reliable statistics on this topics.

In Italy, the situation in the agricultural sector is dramatic. The Covid-19 emergency and the consequent lockdown affected the number of seasonal workers, because the quarantine period had to be observed or because workers decided to return to their country of origin and then because they could not or did not want to enter. 

Currently the sector is in a strong crisis also because the harvest season has entered in the full activity.

What has the Italian Government done to address the situation of seasonal workers?

According to Law No. 27 of 24 April 2020: all residence permits of seasonal workers, expiring between 31 January 2020 and 31 July 2020, have been extended to 31 August 2020.

Waiting the annual Decree that should regulate the flows of seasonal workers, the Decree Law No. 34 of 19 May 2020, the so-called "Decreto Rilancio" of the Government, confirmed and extended the allowance of 600 euros (introduced on April) to other categories of workers who closed, reduced or suspended their activity or employment relationship. In particular, it provide measures and support for:

The same Decree establishes that Italian employers or citizens of a Member State of the European Union, or foreign employers holding a residence permit, may apply to conclude an employment contract with foreign nationals present in the Italian territory or to declare the existence of an irregular employment relationship still in progress with Italian citizens or foreign nationals.

Similarly, the Decree establishes that foreign citizens, with a residence permit, may apply for a “temporary residence permit”, valid only in Italian territory for a duration of 6 months. That period shall begin from the date on which the application is lodged.

This framework is applicable to agriculture, livestock farming, fisheries and aquaculture and related activities; assistance to the person; domestic work.

http://www.governo.it/it/coronavirus-misure-del-governo 

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Employment contracts

An employment contract is an agreement between an employer and a worker on the basis of which the worker performs work in return for remuneration from the employer.

In Italy, all types of employment relationships in the private sector are based on direct recruitment.

Before (no later than the day before) hiring a new worker, the employer must send a mandatory telematic notice (CO) to the job centre in whose catchment area the workplace is located. This notice is also sent to the inspection offices of the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy, the National Social Welfare Institution (INPS), and the Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work (INAIL). The Unilav form is not used for self-employment.

The employer must also provide each newly-hired worker with a copy of the above-mentioned notice or of his/her employment contract, including information on pay and legal conditions. An employment contract can be amended by collective bargaining agreements or by the employer and employee only in the cases specified by law.

The employer must provide sound reasons if the place of employment is moved to more than 50 km away.

The essential elements of an employment contract are:

the agreement of the parties to the content of the contract (start date, working time, contractual conditions, duration of trial period if applicable, terms of notice in case of termination, basic salary, place of work, identities of the parties to the contract);

the grounds: these must comply with the law and must define the exchange of work for payment;

duties: the work to be performed, which must be consistent with the contractual reference category;

form: it must be in writing;

duration (specifying the end of contract in case of a fixed-term contract).

In the case of traineeships, the required documentation is the agreement between the promoter and the host (company), and the training project setting out the learning content. Since traineeships are managed by regional governments, each region sets its own rules and arrangements under the national framework law.

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Working time

Working time is generally 40 hours per week, not necessarily calculated on the basis of a set working week but for each seven-day period. In both public and private employment, during the Covid-19 health emergency, whenever possible, arrangements for remote working should be made (teleworking or smart working, the latter having more flexible arrangements compared to teleworking).

Collective agreements may stipulate a normal working week of less than 40 hours. There is no fixed daily limit on working hours nor is there a narrow definition of the working week; a ‘working week’ is, in fact, any period of seven days, which means an employer can select any day as the start of a reference week.

Whether or not a contract has been signed, the number of hours worked per week may not exceed 48 hours, including overtime. 

The 48-hour limit is calculated over a 7-day period within a time period of no more than 4 months. This allows the 48-hour limit to be respected by means of a compensation mechanism: the limit may be exceeded in a working week provided the reference period includes working weeks of under 48 hours. 

Workers are entitled to a rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours every 7 days. The calculation of the 24 hours also includes the daily rest period (which must be at least 11 hours). The weekly rest period may also fall on a day other than Sunday and may even be arranged by means of shifts in special cases.

Workers are entitled to annual paid leave of at least four weeks. This minimum amount of leave cannot be replaced by ‘compensation for leave not taken’, unless an employment relationship is being terminated.

Working hours may also be part-time (less than 40 hours a week). The employment contract must state in writing the number of hours and the scheduling of the working hours in terms of days, weeks, months and years. 

Overtime (hours in addition to the agreed working hours) is possible and can be carried out on the basis of the procedures provided for in the collective agreement and within the limits of normal working hours. An employer may require a worker to work overtime, but this must not exceed 25% of the agreed weekly hours. Overtime is paid at a rate that is 15% more than actual full hourly pay.

Night work must be stipulated in the individual contract, and is governed by the collective agreement.

Night work means a period of at least 7 consecutive hours that includes the time between midnight and 5.00.

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Leave (annual leave, parental leave, etc.)

All workers are entitled to paid leave of 3 working days per year in the event of serious illness or death of their spouse or second-degree relative or a partner certified to be living with them by the appropriate documentation. Alternative working arrangements may be agreed with the employer in the event of serious illness. Continuous or discontinuous leave of up to 2 years may be granted for serious, documented family reasons. Workers are not entitled to remuneration for this kind of leave, and the period is not included in the calculation of length of service for social security purposes. During the health emergency period, the types of leave available have been extended, in particular for certain categories of workers.

Other types of leave are: 

Maternity and paternity leave (compulsory leave) 

Female employees may not be given work for 2 months prior to the expected date of childbirth and for 3 months following the actual date of childbirth. Before taking such leave, female workers must submit a written application to the paying institute – or INPS – and the employer, attaching a medical certificate of pregnancy indicating the expected date of birth. Throughout the period of maternity or paternity leave, a daily allowance equivalent to 80% of the most recent salary is payable by INPS, including any payment for sickness. Female workers may opt to take their statutory maternity leave still for a period of 5 months, from 1 month before the due date of birth and for 4 months after the birth.

Parental leave (optional leave) 

During the first 12 years of the child’s life, the parents are entitled to take up to a maximum of 10 months’ leave in a year. Until the sixth year of the child’s life, the compensation during parental leave is the equivalent of 30% of pay, for a maximum period for both parents of 6 months. If an individual’s earnings are below a set threshold (2.5 times the minimum pension from general compulsory insurance), then the compensation is paid until the eighth year of the child’s life.

During working hours, pregnant mothers are entitled to special paid leave to attend antenatal tests and clinical check-ups. 

Both parents may also choose to request parental leave in hours rather than on a daily basis. This leave can be taken on an hourly basis equivalent to half the average daily working hours in the 4-week period or month of paid work that immediately precedes the start of the parental leave.

Leave to attend to a sick child 

During the first 8 years of a child’s life, the parents are entitled to be absent from work when their child is ill, but they are not entitled to remuneration. A working mother is entitled to a daily rest period for breastfeeding upon application to her employer. At the end of the compulsory period of maternity or paternity leave, and any optional periods of leave taken, female and male workers are entitled to keep their job. 

Study and training leave

There are three types of study and training leave:

  1. leave for student workers, who can use special leave for examinations;
  2. leave for training for workers with at least 5 years of service, suspending work for a period of up to 11 months over the entire working life;
  3. leave for continuous training established by the collective agreement.

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Remuneration

Article 36 of the Italian Constitution states that workers are entitled to remuneration commensurate to the quantity and quality of their work and in all cases to an adequate remuneration ensuring them and their families a free and dignified existence. The law does not set a minimum wage guaranteed to all workers; it is common practice for the purpose of establishing a minimum wage to refer to the national collective agreements (CCNL), which also cover workers who are not affiliated to trade unions. 

The sum of all the items in the payslip makes up gross pay, from which social security contributions and withholding taxes are deducted.

Social security contributions are required by law and are calculated as a percentage of basic pay: one part is paid by the employer and one part by the worker. Remuneration comprises everything the worker receives in cash or in kind, minus any deductions. However, some items are excluded from remuneration and are not subject to contributions, for example: family allowances, sums spent on study grants, nursery schools and summer camps for employees’ families. The contributions must be paid each month and declared by the employer to INPS. 

Once the contributions have been deducted from gross pay, the result is the taxable base, from which taxes are deducted. What is left at the end is net pay. 

Remuneration comprises fixed and variable parts. 

Fixed payments include: 

Variable payslip elements include: 

Pay increases for overtime, night work and work on public holidays. 

Statutory allowances, such as payment in lieu of holidays

Contractual allowances, such as productivity/performance bonuses and lunch allowances, being on-call, working unsociable hours, travel and cash allowances.

Payment of remuneration must be accompanied by a payslip (or salary statement). The salary statement must include the worker’s details and professional grade, the period to which the wage refers, the family allowances and all other elements of remuneration, as well as all an itemised list of deductions. The employer arranges to pay the net salary by cheque or directly into a bank or post office account or in cash (for amounts less than EUR 3 000).

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End of employment

Under the Italian system, a relationship may be terminated after the probationary period in the following circumstances: 

To safeguard the worker, the employer must notify him/her of the dismissal with good cause or justified grounds in full compliance with the statutory formalities and procedures. The worker may appeal against the dismissal within 60 days of receiving notice. To ensure the effectiveness of the appeal, the worker must, within 180 days, either file for judicial redress with a Labour Court or inform the other party of a request for conciliation or arbitration (at a trade union or local offices of the regional labour directorate of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

If a judge finds that a dismissal is discriminatory, null and void, made orally or due to an inability to carry out tasks because of injury or illness, the employer is ordered to reinstate the worker in the same post and to pay compensation and social security contributions.

In the event of dismissal without good cause or justified grounds, the judge will declare the employment relationship terminated and will order the employer to pay compensation of between 6 months’ and 36 months’ pay. The worker only has the right to reinstatement if the judge finds the absence of the material fact that triggered the good cause or justified grounds for dismissal.

In the event of dismissal made without notice of grounds or in breach of the procedure on disciplinary investigations, the judge will declare the employment relationship terminated and will order the employer to pay compensation of between 2 months’ and 12 months’ pay.

When either the employer or the worker terminates the employment contract, the terminating party must give notice in accordance with the terms and procedures laid down in the collective agreements under Article 2118 of the Italian Civil Code. Where the terminating party fails to give notice, it is bound to pay the other party compensation equivalent to the amount of remuneration that would have been due for the period of notice. 

In relation to pensions, from 1 January 2012, the service pension – which allowed the retirement age to be brought forward if certain contribution requirements were met – was replaced by the early retirement pension, which has different conditions, depending on when the worker started paying contributions (e.g. from 1 January 2014, women must have a working career of 41 years and 6 months, and men of 42 years and 6 months). The entitlement can be exercised when a person reaches a set point between the minimum retirement age and the time at which that person has at least 35 years of contributions.

The right to the old age pension is conditional on reaching retirement age, which has been set in increments according to retirement period (e.g. for the 2014-2015 retirement period, the statutory retirement age was 66 years and 3 months for men and 63 years and 9 months for women; in the 2016-2017 period, the retirement age was 66 years and 3 months for men, and 65 years and 3 months for women). These requirements are adapted to life expectancy.

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Health system

Italian citizens and non-nationals legally residing in Italy are entitled to healthcare. This includes the right to choose a general practitioner for adults and, for children up to the age of 14, a paediatrician. 

EU citizens who travel to Italy with an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) are entitled to urgent medical services; they will receive the same medical treatment as Italian citizens by presenting the card to the relevant local health authority (ASS). 

In order to receive healthcare, you must register for free with the national health service and select a general practitioner or paediatrician, the names of which are included in a specific list available at the district offices of the ASS. 

When you register, you will be issued with a health card that you must then present to receive health services. 

For further information and updates, please contact the relevant local health authority (see the website for the addresses).

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Incomes and taxation

Remuneration is the employer’s main obligation to the worker in return for the work performed (see Articles 2094 and 2099 of the Italian Civil Code). In Italy, remuneration must be based on an agreement between the parties on the basis of the contractual minimum pay levels under the relevant collective agreement. Remuneration is frequently expressed net of direct taxes withheld at source and of the social security contributions borne by the employer and the employee, and includes all various pay components, including the basic salary and supplemental pay, benefits in cash or in kind (basic pay, special supplementary allowances, additional months, performance bonuses and any other benefits). The amount of each pay component is usually established in the individual or collective employment agreement. Italy’s real average wages are the lowest among the leading industrialised countries of Europe: the average net monthly income in Italy is EUR 1 560 (2016). In the 2009-2019 period, inflation-adjusted income decreased by 2%.

Equal pay for equal work is a principle of the Italian labour system only with regard to the work of women compared to the work of men and of workers who are minors compared to adult workers (Article 37 of the Italian Constitution).

Taxation on personal income (IRPEF) is a direct, progressive tax, proportional to the actual total of all income received by the taxpayer, who pays tax on the basis of income bands. The rates remained unchanged in 2017, ranging from 23% to 43% across five bands. A reform of the tax system is under way, with the aim of improving its effectiveness.

Value added tax (VAT) is a consumption tax affecting every stage of the production of specified goods and services. The standard VAT rate in Italy is 22%, following an increase which came into force on 1 October 2013.

Local taxes are taxes on housing – namely property tax (IMU) – calculated on the basis of municipal rates (excluding first homes), taxes on waste (TARI), and taxes on shared services which are paid by the owner or tenant (excluding main residence). These taxes vary from one city to another. 

Vehicle taxes are applied to vehicles and motor vehicles and are managed by the regions; the rate is calculated on the basis of on kW or CV.

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Education system

Compulsory education

Compulsory education lasts 10 years, from 6 to 16 years of age. It comprises the 8 years of the first cycle of education and the first 2 years of the second cycle, which can be spent in upper secondary schools – run by the State – or attending regional vocational training courses. Moreover, all young people have the right and duty of education and training for at least 12 years or until they obtain a 3-year vocational qualification by the age of 18. Compulsory education can be delivered by State schools or accredited private schools (paritarie), which together make up the public education system; alternatively, it can be obtained from non-accredited private schools or by means of home schooling. However, in the two latter cases, for the compulsory schooling requirement to be satisfied, certain conditions apply, including taking examinations. On completion of the compulsory education period, which is usually the end of the second year of upper secondary school, those pupils who do not continue their schooling are issued a certification of competences acquired. Pupils who complete their upper secondary schooling, passing the State examination, can access tertiary education (universities, art and music academies and technical colleges). Some university degree programmes are on a limited access basis and applicants must pass an entry test. Following a major reform, the Italian university system is now based on two cycles: a 3-year bachelor's degree (Laurea – L) followed by a specialist or master’s degree requiring a further 2 years of specialist study (Laurea Specialistica – LS). There are also some single-cycle degree courses, with no degree awarded after the first 3 years, and leading directly to a master’s degree.

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Social and cultural life

Italy is famous all over the world for the unique beauty of its natural, historical and artistic heritage, to the extent that it is known as ‘il bel paese’ [the beautiful country]. Its splendid heritage cities such as Venice, Ravenna, Ferrara, Bologna, Florence, Siena, Rome, Naples, Palermo, etc. still bear indelible witness to the country’s history, culture and ancient art. Italy offers a variety of ways to spend your free time: hobbies, sports, attending concerts and plays, traditional festivals or sporting events; visiting heritage cities and towns, streets and squares, churches, palaces, archaeological sites, museums; indulging in shopping, relaxing with friends in a bar sipping a cappuccino or a glass of fine wine, or exploring the great diversity of food culture (the most popular restaurants in the cities famous for their cuisine, but also the many more modest restaurants located in the most atmospheric corners of the historic centres or along any street in Italy).

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