Every March 8 is International Women’s Day, which can be marked with anything from giving flowers and chocolates to taking to the streets in protest.
But this year Italy, where the day is known as Festa Della Donna, is upping the ante by giving all women free admission to museums and cultural sites throughout the country, from famous landmarks like Florence’s Uffizi as well as ancient historical sites like Pompeii.
Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage announced in 2017 that the project, known as “8 Marzo al Museo” (March 8 at the Museum) would “celebrate the feminine world.”
And it’s not just about free museum entry – the cultural institutions are making a point to feature both work from female artists and pieces that celebrate notable women, including “saints and prostitutes, goddesses and commoners, intellectuals and artists, actresses and martyrs, writers and poets, mothers, Madonnas and revolutionaries.”
So if you can’t simply hop on a plane to Italy to take advantage of the free tickets, all’s not lost: Museitani, the official Instagram account of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, has been featuring some female-centric works of art, all chosen by some of the country’s top curators, on its account.
Festa Della Donna is commonly marked in Italy with gifts of yellow mimosa flowers, a tradition which began after World War II. It’s also fashionable to incorporate the bright yellow color into clothing, jewelry, or even cakes every March 8.
However, the holiday has its roots in political activism.
The first one was marked in New York City in 1909 as a way to call attention to dangerous working conditions many women faced, specifically in the garment industry.
This year, many American women will walk off the job on March 8 as part of the “A Day Without a Woman” protest, which addresses the wage gap and other inequalities faced by women in the workplace.