TIME IN ITALY – Current Time, Time Zone & More

Traveling to Italy and need to know how big the time difference is? Wondering how the jet lag will be? Need to call your nonna or mamma in Italy and don’t want to wake her up in the middle of the night? We’ve got you covered. 


Learn more about the time in Italy, and its time zone. We’ll demystify the 24-hour clock, daylight savings time in Italy, and what time it is in Italy compared to other world cities. You’ll also find out what time local daily customs happen in Italy, such as mealtimes, restaurant and supermarket hours, bedtimes, and school hours.

To learn how to say what time it is in Italian, read What time is it? Time in Italian.


Italy is on Central European Time (CET). All of Italy is in the same time zone, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. 

Even though San Marino and Vatican City are separate countries, they lie within Italy and are also on CET time.

Italy is in the same time zone as Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm, Budapest, Warsaw, Belgrade, Algiers and Casablanca. 


Home office with a laptop opened up with the time displayed - 18:00.  There is also a small old teal typewriter, 6 books, an open notebook, a small desklamp,  a mini globe, and a plant on the wooden desk.  The wall is painted white brick.  There is a graphic speech bubble with 'sono le 18:00.'

In Italy, all timetables and schedules use the 24-hour system. You’ll see it on parking signs, shop hours, and when making appointments. Italians also use the 24-hour system in normal conversation as well.

So how does the 24-hour clock work? Just like military time. Noon is 12 o’clock, and after that the hours count up to 24 o’clock (midnight). For example:

18:00 is 6 pm (Italians say le diciotto)
23:30 is 11:30 pm (Italians say le ventitre e trenta

Italians don’t use the words am and pm. If they don’t wish to use 24-hour system to express the time, they’ll use the following phrases to specify which part of the day they mean: 

di mattina in the morning
del pomeriggio in the afternoon
di sera in the evening
di notte at night

For example: 

3:00 am Sono le tre di notte. It’s three o’clock at night.
2:00 pm Sono le due del pomeriggio. It’s two o’clock in the afternoon.

Find out more about how to express the time in Italian here: What time is it? Time in Italian.


Italy changes its clocks twice a year to observe Daylight Savings time. The last Sunday in October clocks go back one hour, and the last Sunday in March clocks go forward one hour. 

This is not always in sync with North America, for example. For most of the year, Italy is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST), which includes New York City and Washington DC. 

However, most of the US pushes its clocks forward the second Sunday in March, and back the first Sunday in November. This means that Italy is only 5 hours ahead of New York for a few weeks every year.


Here’s a chart with the time in other world cities in relation to the time in Italy. These times may shift by an hour depending on when countries shift into Daylight Savings Time.

1 hour behindLondon, Lisbon, Dublin, Dakar, AkkraGMT/Greenwich Mean Time
4 hours behindBrasiliaBRT/Brasília Time
4 hours behindBuenos AiresART/Argentina Time
5 hours behindHalifaxAST/Atlantic Standard Time
5 hours behindLa PazBOT/Bolivia Time
6 hours behindNew York City, Washington DC, Detroit, MontrealEST/Eastern Standard Time
7 hours behindDallas, Minneapolis, New Orleans, WinnipegCST/Central Standard Time
8 hours behindCalgary, Salt Lake City, DenverMST/Mountain Standard Time
9 hours behindLos Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver PST/Pacific Standard Time
10 hours behindJuneau, AnchorageAKST/Alaska Standard Time
11 hours behindHonoluluHST/Hawaii Standard Time
1 hour aheadCape Town, Johannesburg SAST/South Africa Standard Time
1 hour aheadKigali, Khartoum, LilongweCAT/Central Africa Time
1 hour aheadCairo, Beirut, Bucharest, Kyiv, HelsinkiEET/Eastern European Time
2 hours aheadNairobi, Addis Ababa, MogadishuEAT/Eastern Africa Time
2 hours aheadBaghdadAST/Arabia Standard Time
2 hours aheadAnkara TRT/Turkey Time
2 hours aheadMoscowMSK/Moscow Standard Time
2.5 hours aheadTehran IRST/Iran Standard Time
4 hours aheadIslamabadPKT/Pakistan Standard Time
4.5 hours aheadNew Delhi, KolkataIST/India Standard Time
6 hours aheadHanoiICT/Indochina Time
6 hours aheadJakartaWIB/Western Indonesian Time
7 hours aheadPerthAWST/Australian Western Standard Time
7 hours aheadHong KongHKT/Hong Kong Time
7 hours aheadBeijingCST/China Standard Time
8 hours aheadTokyoJST/Japan Standard Time
8 hours aheadSeoulKST/Korea Standard Time
10 hours aheadSydneyAEDT/Australian Eastern Daylight Time
12 hours aheadAucklandNZDT/New Zealand Daylight Time


View of Italian clock tower from below.  You can see the time is almost 12:00.   The tower is of the Sant'Agostino church in Montepulciano, in Tuscany, Italy.


Breakfast is not generally a large meal in Italy, in fact many Italians have a pastry and a coffee or cappuccino in the morning. For traditionalists, cappuccino is strictly a morning drink for breakfast. 

Lunch is generally at about 12:30 or 1 pm. 

8 pm is the common dinner time in Italy, but of course it varies depending on the region. 7 pm is about the earliest any self-respecting Italian will eat dinner. 


Lunch service is usually from 12:30 pm or 1pm until 3pm. Dinner service usually begins at 7:30 or 8 pm. It is rare for a restaurant to have orario continuato, or all day service, except in tourist areas. 

Restaurants usually have a giorno di chiusura, or day when they are closed. 


If you need something to eat before 12:30 pm, or between 3 pm and 7:30 pm, look for a bar. Bars are open all day (orario continuato) and often serve pastries and sandwiches in addition to coffee and drinks. 

Learn different ways to greet people (like hello and goodbye) when you enter a bar, restaurant, or shop in Italy.


Grade school generally starts at about 8 or 8:30 am. Many schools have days that finish at lunchtime, and students go home for lunch. Other schools finish at about 4 or 4:30 pm. Some students go to school on Saturday mornings.


Store hours can vary, but in small towns and even big cities, most shops will close at lunchtime, usually from 1 pm until about 4 pm. 

Supermarkets and other stores may have orario continuato (open all day without any breaks). In any case, most stores close by 8 pm. 

Do not expect stores or supermarkets to be open on Sundays. Even though some are open, always double check. Sunday is usually the giorno di chiusura (closed day) along with an additional day of the week. 


Italy is a great place to be a kid. The idea of bedtime practically doesn’t exist- at least not the way it does in Anglosphere countries (sorry, Mom!). In fact, there is not even a good translation of bedtime in Italian. 

Mealtimes are something to enjoy as a family. And since Italians generally don’t eat dinner before 7:30 pm, how can children have a bedtime before at least 8:30 or 9 pm? It is common to see small children and babies out for dinner in Italy until 10 or 11 pm. 

This is not to say the Italian children don’t have a general time when they regularly go to bed each night. But for most children, it is later than their Anglosphere counterparts: it certainly isn’t at 7 pm. And in the summer, it isn’t before dark. 

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