International Women’s Day (La Festa delle Donne) is a bigger deal in Italy than it is in the United States (where it is barely, if even, acknowledged).
Each year on March 8, you’ll see sellers of mimosas, those yellow puffs of flowers. Women buy them for each other to wear on their lapels. And men will also offer mimosas to their significant others as well as female friends and colleagues.
I think it’s a lovely (if fleeting) gesture — a sunny, springtime-is-here recognition of the women who do so much work and emotional labor in front of and behind the scenes.
Beyond the restaurants, cafes, and bars that offer gratis sweets or drinks on the Festa delle Donne are the museums that offer discounted or free entry. The Italian Culture and Tourism Ministry (MiBACT) offers free entry to all state-owned museums on International Women’s Day. In recent years, this offer has come paired with a fun social media campaign (#8marzoalmuseo) imploring visitors to capture, upload, and tag photos of the women who appear in various art works.
Of course, you don’t need one day a year to celebrate women. Nor do you need to stay within the circuit of free museums to find female inspiration on marble or canvas. But it’s always nice to have a reason to celebrate (and save a few bucks).