If you happen to be in Italy between the end of July and the first half of september, you surely have to deal with this sign.
You will find it anywhere. Stores, Coffee shops, bookstores, even public libraries and offices will be closed to the public or will be open with a orario ridotto (‘reduced’ business hours).
Le ferie, ‘holidays’, not a generic holiday but specifically the break you take from your job (if you are retired or unoccupied you don’t go to ferie but just in vacanza ‘take a vacation’), typically in August, are a genuine Italian institution that originates at the time of the glorious Roman Empire. They were instituted by Emperor Ottaviano Augusto himself. And the people of Italy couldn’t be more proud of this noble Italic tradition.
As a proud member of the community I disappeared at the end of July to the end of September. What a Patriot! And now here I am, at the end of a long season of fancazzismo (the less-politically-correct-version of the dolce far niente described in Eat Pray Love) ready for new adventures.