1st May is Labour Day in Italy, known locally as the Festa dei Lavoratori. It is an annual public holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers.
The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. On 21 April 1856 Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight hour day. Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as the first organized workers in the world to achieve an eight hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day and May Day. (source: Wikipedia).
In Italy on May 1st demonstrations by trade unions are common and a huge free concert is organised in Rome, attended by 700,000 people in 2007.
Banks, state museums (including the Uffizi and Accademia galleries in Florence), schools and many shops close on 1st May. The bus service in Livorno is suspended.